Bank holiday recap 4

‘Why don’t we have lunch at Mildreds and then go to Liberty?’ I suggested as we were mulling over how we should spend the last day of bank holiday. It was about time to taste their insanely delectable Sri Lankan sweet potato & cashew nuts curry again, I reasoned. It would be wonderful if I could cook the dish at home since I bought their cookbook recently. However, Hubbie is never keen on spicy food, therefore, I have to satisfy my craving for spicy dishes when I eat out with my friends who love hot stuff. 

Man, you don’t know what you are missing out…

I pitied him as I watched him wolfing down his veggie burger with sweet potato chips. 

Bella’s behaviour at the restaurant was as impeccable as usual. Fast asleep and not bothered by smells of foods….

After lunch, we headed to our next destination, Liberty…

We wanted to buy Bella a lead / harness with the famous Liberty prints. However, we were disappointed to find that they didn’t do any accessories for four-legged creatures! What a shame…

Ok then, I will look for doggie related objects in the store, I decided. 

I found mugs with dogs…

I would have bought one if there were any Yorkie one.

Medium-size flower vases…

And figurines and more vases….

I found those holes on their heads rather creepy. It looked like they were lobotomized! I have no idea how they are meant to be used, but don’t you agree it would look rather disturbing if pencils (or scissors!) were stuck in them?

A ceramic dachshund…

Small plates with a spaniel / Irish setter type dog…

Stuffed dogs made with leather…

A set of stickers with dogs…

I found dogs alright but didn’t find any Yorkie! Why?! Are Yorkshire terriers not that popular in the U.K??? 

Do you feel snubbed by Liberty, Bella?

She loves the store (especially their fourth floor) as long as they have shaggy rugs!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bank holiday recap 2

‘Give me an hour or so. I’ll come with you.’ Hubbie mumbled under his duvet with his eyes half-opened. I just told him that Bella and I were leaving shortly to Broadway Market to say hi to Heza who had a weekly stall there. ‘No, you aren’t coming with us today. You are staying at home to get rid of the migraine.’ It may sounded rather heartless, but who would want a zombie to tag along with you? I wouldn’t. Besides, a nine months old puppy with boundless energy like Bella would naturally bark and run around all day long, and which would make his headache worse. So I justified myself going out with her, leaving Hubbie wrapped up in his duvet.

The market was pretty busy with locals and tourists. It was not very warm but not too windy, and people were sampling street foods and sipping drinks from papercups….

I found Heza at his usual spot, and we chatted for a while. After agreeing to meet up on Friday for a proper catch-up, Bella and I headed to Mare Street to board on a 55 bus. I was concerned about her behaviour during the previous day’s car journey and wanted to make sure she was still happy to travel by bus.

Well, my concern was unfound…

She was happy as punch on her favourite seat!

Look, those petals are beautiful, aren’t they?

She was so chilled out and a completely different girl from the previous day.

I sometimes hold her on my lap during our bus journeys too. Therefore, her distress of last Friday was not related to being held in arms. Why? What was the difference? I was truly puzzled.

We got off at Wardour Street and walked to GAIL’s Bakery, my favourite cafe. I ordered a ham & cheese croissant with mocha and sat at the table on the side street…

Ohhh, I haven’t had this combo for quite a while… Every now and then, there is a moment I just want to eat carb and processed meat with normal coffee even though I also enjoy Hubbie’s detox menu.

On our way home, Bella met a friendly whippet…

Bella was saying to him, ‘You made my day!’

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

The Society Club

The Society Club is another doggie friendly venue in Soho. They are found on Ingestre Place, a quiet street tucked behind lively Berwick Street and Broadwick Street…

They are a rare and out-of-print bookshop…

However, they also offer tea and coffee during the daytime and cocktails in the evening….

Tables and chairs are dotted around this small but airy space, and the customers are free to leaf through the books on the shelves.

We sat ourselves down around one of the table in the corner and ordered a pot of English Breakfast tea. I was delighted to find a book about the British wartime films as I was a big fun of old black & white films made by the Rank Organization. Hubbie and I had an impromptu game of who could name more famous British war films while we sipped our tea.
‘In which we serve?’ ‘Cruel Sea?’ ‘Sailor of the King?’ ‘Desert Rats?’ ‘The Man Who Never Was?’ ‘Sink the Bismarck?’ ‘Dunkirk?’ ‘Mrs.Minibar?’ ‘Battle of Britain?’ ‘Decision before Dawn?’ ‘A Canterbury Tale?’ ‘Reach for the Sky?’ ‘We dive at Dawn?’ etc, etc…

Again, Bella was a very good girl. She sat on a cushion and was chilled…

Guess how much this paperback copy of The Naked Civil Servant by Quentin Crisp’s was?

The book was autographed by Mr.Crisp himself, and it was £95.

After enjoying a quiet break at the shop, we headed home via Berwick Street.

The street was a little windy and Bella hated it…

‘I am not moving until the wind stops blowing into my face!’ She insisted.

A street market on Berwick Street was a quieter affair in the weekend. There were only a handful of stalls opened and one of them was a used bookshop.

It is always delightful to find a secondhand book stall on the street…

Because you never know what gem or bargain may be waiting for you. I found mine in the shape of “Los Angeles – The architecture of four ecologies” by Reyner Banham…

I remember reading it when I was a student at UCL. After all these years, we met again. ‘Can you buy this for me?’ I handed the book to Hubbie. When we got home, I found a postcard placed between the pages of the book…

As the spring approaches, and we spend more time out on the street, the odds of finding serendipity in all shapes and sizes will increase. I am so looking forward to it! Aren’t you?

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mildreds Restaurant @ W1

‘Oh, come in! We are very dog-friendly.’ Hubbie, I and Bella were ushered to a dining area at Mildreds on Lexington Street, Soho. It was Saturday lunchtime and the restaurant was packed.

Originally, Mildreds started serving their delicious vegetarian / vegan menu on Greek Street in the 80s. I used to dine at there with my friends, and then we moved on to Maison Bertaux for dessert.

Bella can be rather wild when she is at home. However, she behaves like an angel when we are eating out…

Because we never feed her at the table at home, she considers our food is not for her. She sniffs at it and then curls up for a kip.

My Sri Lankan sweet potato and green bean curry with roasted lime cashews, pea basmati rice and coconuts tomato sambal…

The dish was soooo delicious! I just love love love this curry. I am drooling over the image as I write the sentence!

Hubbie had classic burger which was made with smoked tofu, lentil and piquillo pepper. The burger looked very substantial.

On our way home, we encountered Million Women Rise March at Oxford Circus…

Go women go!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Girl’s Dinner @ Patara Soho

Yesterday, a bad weather descended upon Britain and even though London escaped from its fiercest might, the heavy rain drenched evening commuters and Christmas shoppers, including me. I was there to meet up  with my dearest girlfriends, Fei, Letizia & Alex, for our pre-Christmas feast at Patara on Greek Street, Soho.

Around 7pm on Carnaby Street, the sky started to spit tiny raindrops but no one was yet to anticipate that it would turn a proper downpour shortly…

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Fei and I met up at Topshop first and scouted the shop floor for her headdress and cape for her office Christmas party. Upon leaving the store, we were confronted with a stormy rain and a herd of shoppers taking shelter. Why there is no cab when I want one? We gingerly unfolded our umbrellas and headed towards Soho. Oh my, what an epic journey it was! Our folding brollies were too flimsy to brave the elements and we could hardly see where we were walking into. Therefore, it was a great relief when we had a sign “Patara” glowing on the facia in our sight.

Once all of us got together at their bar, we were ushered to our table…

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The Magnificent Four!
Our appearance was slightly dishevelled by the elements…

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Year 2013 had its ups & downs for all of us. However, we stuck together and weathered it very well. Without them, my year would have been a much dimmer one because of my unforeseen health problem. I am truly thankful for their love & support. I love you, girls!

For our feast, we ordered three starters to share as well as a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc…

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Kong Nueng Ruam…

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Assorted steamed handcrafted dumplings with prawn, chicken and pork fillings.
The purple one had pork filling and tasted sweet. Very interesting flavour for dumpling. It was non-spicy and Hubbie would like it.

Kamon Bueng DIY…

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Do-It-Yourself Thai tacos of chicken and prawn with cucumber tomato salad. My apology for an out of focus pic. The taco filling in the bowl appeared deceptively benign but it was fiery! I was caught completely off guard.

Then, we favoured this Yum Nua Yang the most…

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Grilled sirloin beef spicy salad with rocket and onion. The beef was tender and dressed exquisitely.

For main course, I ordered Gae Yang Somtam…

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Grilled herb-marinated tender rack of lamb, accompanied with sweet rice rolls, spicy salad & chilli sauce. The lamb was succulent and flavoursome. And the rice roll, its delicate sweetness was a perfect accompaniment to the meat.

Letizia & Fei had Pla Hima Tod…

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Grilled black cod, accented with savoury ginger and pickled yellow bean sauce.

And Alex opted for Pia Yang Bai-tong…

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Sea bass fillet char-grilled with herb curry in banana leaf.

In the middle of main course, our wine ran out and we ordered another bottle.
Then, for dessert, Fei picked Tart Sangkaya…

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It was coconut custard baked pudding with ginger flavoured ice-cream. Again, the flavour was delicate but far from dull.

And the rest of us had Chocolate pudding with mango sorbet…

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Normally, I would opt for more tangy fruits such as berries to eat with chocolate pudding. But their fresh mango as well as the sorbet added the  sweetness and depth to the otherwise bitter chocolate pudding. The marriage was quite successful.

In spite of the restaurant being busy, the service we received was attentive and pleasant. Therefore, I highly endorse this beautiful eatery in Soho.

After lots of hugs, kisses & holiday wishes to each other, Alex & Letizia headed to Tottenham Court Road station and Fei & I beelined to Piccadilly Circus.
At Piccadilly Circus, we saw the Eros in a gigantic snow-dorm…

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Then, a cheeky intruder jumped in the frame!

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A complete stranger! Still, the mood amongst the crowd was buoyant and good-natured. This must be another Christmas magic…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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