Whenever I go up to London, there are usually two things on my agenda: Friends and food, and luckily the two usually go hand in hand.
As much as I do find London exhausting, ever since I left uni I often find myself missing the craziness and excitement of the city so this Sunday I decided to take a day trip up and catch up with one of my best friends for the day.
After getting off the train at Blackfriars, getting totally lost and ending up in Westminster (this is what happens when you no longer live in London), I’d worked up a massive appetite by the time I met my friend at Covent Garden. I’d completely forgotten just how busy London gets at the weekend so we had to get a bit inventive finding a place to eat.
My friend told me about this really useful app called Dojo to help us find food. It works by finding all the independent places from restaurants and cafes to exhibitions and gigs in London. You can filter it by place e.g around me, Shoreditch etc or by categories and key words like brunch or vegan. At the moment it only works for London but I wish they had this app in every city because it’s a really cool idea.
We found a brunch cafe called The Black Penny just a four-minute walk away and decided to try there instead. This little independent cafe was so much nicer than any of the chains would have been and even though it was only over the road from Covent Garden, it was really quiet. That’s the great thing about London, no matter how busy it gets, finding quiet cafes and the best food is just a case of heading into the backstreets.
The Black Penny is very trendy with its exposed brickwork, cute crockery and great food. The brunch menu wasn’t massive and it wasn’t super cheap but by London standards it’s ok (around £15 for brunch and coffee) but what was on the menu looked really good.
The menu standouts was probably the brioche french toast with whipped lemon ricotta and the Black Penny Hashes (the wild mushroom and polenta one sounded particularly good). I really fancied the Black Penny butter beans on toast which came with burrata cheese on top (one of my favourites) and my friend went for the Ozdemir Pasha which had grilled halloumi and butterbean hummus and also looked incredible.
There were lots of Gluten free options such as the polenta hash and everything else could be substituted with gluten-free toast or gluten free buns. There weren’t lots of vegan options but again you could subsitute things and build your own brunch and they had a good range of dairy free milks including oat milk.
Before I left there were a couple of food related places that I always have to stop by when I visit London and luckily these are all in walking distance of each other in Piccadilly Circus. These are Fortnum and Masons’s (If you haven’t been to the foodhall in this fantastic store then you’ve been missing out), Carpo (a store that they have all over Athens that specialises in Greek coffee, amazing handmade chocolates and nuts) and Whole Foods (literally my first port of call whenever I visit the US). Since I’ve been aiming to eat more vegan recently I was super excited to see Whole Foods amazing selection of vegan donuts (pictured below) including amazing flavours like Chocolate truffle and Tropical coconut- How good do these look?!
Obviously there’s other stuff to do in London: the parks, palaces, indie galleries, but honestly, we all know it’s about the food.