Asian: Chinese, Indian, Japanese & Vietnamese

You’ll quickly find that Indian food in London is commonplace, similar to Mexican food in Texas.

Dishoom (Multiple)

This Bombay café has several locations, and offers a great breakfast, lunch, afternoon chai and dinner. We enjoyed a wonderful paneer mango salad and house black dahl, cooked for 24 hours. Always busy and open late, so book ahead.

Hakkasan (Multiple)

Not your typical Chinese restaurant with its sleek interior and unusual twists on traditional Cantonese dishes (cod with champagne and honey, Peking duck salad with pomelo). Apparently, their recipe for success works. Hakkasan is the only Michelin-rated Chinese restaurant in London and they have grown to 12 locations world-wide. Book one of their London locations to experience where it started.

Ichi Sushi & Sashimi Bar (London)

Generally, I am not as inclined to go to hotel restaurants versus stand-alone establishments. However, The Park Plaza hotel features a wonderful sushi restaurant that is fresh, yummy and located close to Waterloo with a great view of Big Ben. They also offer a reasonably priced sushi afternoon tea and sushi-making masterclasses. ✆ +44 2076 207373

Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London SE1 7UT

Not on Top 10 Lists

If you search on-line for top 10 places to go in and around London, these places generally won’t come up, but they are definitely worth checking out.

What I love about this Museum is that they give out an age-specific scavenger hunt sheet for the kids to complete during the visit with a prize at the end.  The audiovisual displays and use of computer technology will hold the kids’ attention.  Trying their hand at picking up a bar of gold was a highlight. +44 2076 014444
Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AH

Afternoon Tea

Beyond the world-famous Ritz London’s Afternoon Tea, there are traditional,
not so traditional and downright quirky teas, an English tradition
I’ve happily embraced!

Alice in Wonderland Tea Cruise (Guilford)

What better way to enjoy tea than on an Edwardian-style boat in picturesque Oxford?  Your guide, an authority on all things Oxford, will provide commentary and answer questions on your waterway cruise to the spots Lewis Carroll visited and inspired in the story of Alice in Wonderland.

Cafe in the Crypt (London)

Across the street from Trafalgar Square is St. Martin’s in the Fields Café. This 18th century building with its brick-vaulted ceilings is a great place to stop in and escape from the summer heat and stream of tourists. They offer a basic afternoon tea minus the fancy cake stand. They also have a good and inexpensive ‘cafeteria’ style lunch. +44 2077 661158
Ducannon Street, London WC2N 4JF

Fortnum & Mason (London)

The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon opened by HM The Queen is the perfect place to have traditional a very memorable afternoon tea. What made our visit particularly special was a tour led by the resident archivist, who is well versed in the institution’s 300-year history. +44 2077 348040
181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER

Mark Your Diary

While there are literally half a dozen things you can do every week of the year in London, these are the ones to mark on your diary*.

Get into London Theatre* (January)

Every January London theatres offer tickets as low as £10/seat for over 50 shows until mid-February as part of their annual 'Get into London Theatre' annual promotion.  This offer is a great opportunity to see some fab shows — including West End hits Billy Elliott, Lion King and War Horse along with other off-West End shows such as Curious Incident and Once or fun musical ones like Jersey Boys and Thriller. Book* early to get the best seats.

London Fashion Weekend (February & September)

London Fashion Week (LFW) is one of the highest profile fashion events in the world and one of the ‘big four’ (New York, London, Milan and Paris). London Fashion Week is limited to members of the press, buyers or if you are a celebrity. However, tickets for Vodaphone London Fashion Weekend, which follows directly from LFW, uses the same exhibition and catwalk venue. You can also add the designer shopping event to shop from designers of LFW caliber, from the high profile to the emerging and includes a ‘catwalk’ show. Go to soak up the atmosphere and inspire your wardrobe!
Strand, London WC2R 1LA

Oxford Cambridge Boat Race (March or April)

The annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge Crews is one of the oldest sporting events. No ticket is needed — just turn up* and join the thousands who watch from the banks of The Tideway. The 17-20 minute race starts at Putney and ends at Chiswick Bridge. While you can watch
from the bank (which has the convenience of food and drink), it is exciting to watch from the middle of Putney, Hammersmith or Chiswick bridges as the teams head to the finish.

London via Surrey

Overwhelmed by what to do first?  Anxious to get it all in?
Tired of taking visitors to the same places over and over again?

London via Surrey is an insider's guide to the best of London and Surrey — with mini reviews of what to do, where to eat, tips on living here and more. The is the information I wish I had when I arrived. Each Wednesday, I will be sharing the first two to three listings of each section of the book app that's nearly ready to download — alternating between what to do and where to eat.

But before I can do any of that — I have to thank my dear friend Laura Mellberg for introducing me to Mod Maude and inspiring me with her blog; fellow foodie Lynn O’Brien for her recommendations of places to try; Betsy Cook Speer for sharing her expertise having written her first book; and Tracy Southwick who convinced me there would be more than an audience of one.

Lastly, just as many of you saved my many e-mails of ideas and tips, I saved each of your responses with your positive feedback and supportive comments. So thanks to each of you and all the others who joined me on the adventures that follow!