I was lucky enough to spend a few weeks in London this summer, and thought I would give a quick overview of the things I did while I was there. A few highlights:
This is a stately home near Baker Street that has been turned into a museum to showcase an extensive and impressive art collection. I know very little about art, but I enjoyed seeing the Laughing Cavalier, as well as the rest of the collection of Dutch art (I like Rembrandt). There was also an impressive collection of armour, which was strikingly presented.
I love the V&A. I’ve been once before, gravitating to the medieval collections and not seeing much else. This time, in order to broaden my perspective, I restricted myself to their permanent gallery on Theatre & Performance, and also had a look at their temporary exhibition on Luxury. The Luxury exhibition was one of my favourite things about London this summer. It’s fairly small, so easy enough to take everything in, and says some really interesting things about how luxury has been constructed in the past and how we may relate to it in the future. I’m really excited now about the V&A opening in Dundee.
This was absolutely my highlight of the trip. It’s the Hotel Chocolat restaurant, where cacao is part of every dish. The food was incredible. As I was uncertain what cacao would taste like in a savoury dish, I ordered a simple starter of sourdough bread with three dips – The dips were cacao butter (good, but my least favourite), pesto (slightly chunky and absolutely delicious, with chunks of pine nuts and cacao), and chocolate balsamic (also delicious, I desperately want to try it with strawberries). I had braised lamb for the main with some kind of cacao glaze, plus a cacao/roasted garlic mash, which was fantastic. I think my favourite was the pudding – chocolate lava cake. I finished up with a cacao infusion. I thought this would taste something like the chocolate tea you get in Anteaques in Edinburgh, which is black tea including chocolate, but this was an infusion of the cacao pods themselves and therefore didn’t taste particularly chocolatey. It was a really good after-dinner drink, like a tisane. I would definitely recommend this restaurant – a wonderful treat.