Sunday, November 20, 2016

Last Call London!

Trip date: October 2016

My absolutely over-the-top awesome trip was coming to an end but not without one last fun-packed day. We had planned a group brunch at Mac & Wild with some local friends. This place is delicious! Forest described the concept as "gun to table" and that is spot on. In fact each day the menu clearly states who shot the game and from where, as well as which farms provided the beef and which breed it was.

The restaurant was really loud which made it difficult to catch up, but the food was excellent. We shared haggis mac and cheese for the table, and then while the others all ordered the famed burger (1 venison patty, 1 beef patty) I opted for the Sunday roast. The platter was amazing, with slices of rare venison nestled inside a huge popover, a boat of gravy, and roasted vegetables. The popover was bit drier than I like but overall it was a good roast!
Forest and I said goodbye to our friends, grabbed an Uber and headed to the Bethnal Green area. It was the last day of London Cocktail Week and we were up for one last cocktail crawl. This neighborhood is out there a bit but it is kind of an up-and-coming area and fun to check out. Our first stop was the East London Liquor Company.
As the name implies, they are distilling their own spirits and serving up cocktails made with them. I wasn't interested in the LCW drink so I chose one with their gin, Lillet, and violet. The cocktail was ok, too heavy on the violet for me, but neither of us were blown away by the drinks or the service here. And when we stopped into the bottle shop to inquire about a few things on the shelves, the woman working knew absolutely nothing about the products.

We enjoyed a nice 20-minute walk to our next destination, Satan's Whiskers. This may have been one of my favorite bars on this trip! Our bartender Dan was excellent; he made fantastic drinks while chatting with us about our visit, and telling us a bit about the area, and his thoughts on other bars in London. The atmosphere is awesome, just big enough as not to be tiny, cool decor with requisite taxidermy, and super friendly staff. And delicious drinks! We started with their LCW daiquiri special which was delicious using Bacardi 8 yr rum.
This area probably isn't one that most people visiting London will be in, but if you find yourself near, do yourself a favor and get into this bar!

From here we headed a few blocks away towards the overhead train tracks and to the row of bars and restaurants housed underneath, known as Paradise Row. One of them is Sager & Wilde, a two-level bar with a cozy "living room" upstairs, that is dimly lit and very industrial feeling.

The cocktail menu here is quite unique; I started with a mezcal drink made with burnt and clarified milk, bay leaf, caramel, cinnamon, and lemon.
For round two we each ordered a different expression from their Old Fashioned menu; mine contained olive oil while Forest's had toasted coconut. Again, if you happen to be in this interesting area of London, I'd absolutely recommend checking out Sager & Wilde (they looked to have some tasty food as well).

We had our Uber drop us off back in our 'hood at Percy & Founders for one last martini. And with that our awesome time in London, partaking in both the World's 50 Best Bar awards and London Cocktail Week wrapped up.
The next morning I took an Uber to Paddington Station, just 10 minutes away,  where I boarded the Heathrow Express train to the airport. Nothing could have been easier or nicer than using this service. I just wish I would have done it on the way in also! I booked my ticket online, found the track easily at the station, and boarded the very nice train (they run every 15 minutes) for my 15-minute ride to Heathrow. No stops, no crowded tube, quiet and clean.

At Heathrow the train has a special platform with dedicated lifts up to the departure floor. Seriously, this is the only way to go!

I checked in for my flight, was invited to go through Fast Track security since I was flying 1st class, and as I was the only one in the queue was crazy quick and easy! After a little duty-free shopping, I checked into The Clubhouse that Delta shares with Virgin. Now this was a serious lounge. Table service, both a regular menu and also a deli with smoked salmon, sliced meats, cheeses, yogurts, etc. The lounge is one of the nicest I have been in with a spa, library, showers, quiet rooms, lovely bar, etc.


I chose a few things from the deli, ordered a mimosa, and some coffee, and caught up on some journaling. The only thing not great about The Clubhouse is that the location was a good 15+ minute walk to my gate, where I was the first to board. Gotta have time for a glass of Duetz before take off!

Shortly after take off, lunch was served and I was happy to see there was a choice of Indian food! Oh London! And unlike most airline meals, this one was really good!

Unfortunately the same could not be said for my seat whose lie-flat feature was broken which I found out when I went to take a nap. Fortunately the nice gentleman sitting behind me traded seats with me as he said he was going to work the entire time. Classy.

A few hours later I woke up to a snack service of salad and Cubano sandwich, also very good.

And then the sights of home came into view. Thank you London for such a super fun holiday!

All London photos here.

All posts from this trip:
World's 50 Best Bars 2016
Let's London Cocktail Week
London Delivers
From Brunch to Bed in Londontown