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The Delaunay...and more fireworks!

First meal of the day: impressive brunch spread at the Delaunnay

We have had our fair share of fireworks-watching this year. 
We seem to stumble upon them everywhere we go! No complaining!
Last Saturday they provided the customary impressive ending to Lord Mayor's parade in the City of London, hence, we had the ingenious idea (always so modest) of watching them from Sushi Samba in Herron Tower. 

But that was just the end to our lovely day; here's what else we got up to!

View from Herron Tower, can you spot St Paul's dome?

I was going to name this post "Nameday Shenanigans" but then I'd be steering away from the main point:  brunch at the Delauney. So good! And I'd have you wondering about what a "Nameday" is, too.
For those of us with a Greek upbringing, "Nameday" is a real celebration with all the gifts, treats and wishes of a second birthday! If your name happens to be celebrated by the Orthodox Church, then you too have a Nameday and you get one more special day per year!
Any excuse for a party! 

When I was growing up, people used to pop in unannounced for Nameday wishes and that meant that my grandma would start cooking early in the morning when it was my grandpa's Nameday, because we never knew how many people would turn up for wishes...and lunch!  The more respected in your community you were, the more people you would have to feed on the day, it seemed! 
But nowadays things are simpler and everybody is busy, so no unannounced guests any more! I haven't decided if it's relieving or sad... 

The older you get the more important your Nameday celebrations become  - a good excuse for birthday numbers to fade away in people's memories. So, my dad always makes sure he visits to spend the day with me and this year was no exception. 
We started the day at St Sophia's Cathedral in Bayswater for blessings. If you are interested in architecture, pop into St Sophia for a look, the structure and décor will blow your mind away. The dome opens up the space immensely and is decorated with spectacular paintings and mosaics. Not to mention the wooden panelled altar and the essence of burning candles. This semi-lit space can provide a very peaceful escape in the middle of ever-bustling London life. Religious or not, it is healthy to make space in your mind for a moment of peace throughout the day. But that's just me, anyway.

Left: Christmas red in Covent Garden Market. Right: The impressive conservatory in Royal Opera House

On to Covent Garden for brunch; we got there early and had a look around the market. I have to admit that as much as I used to love Covent Garden, you won't find me around there very often any more, firstly because it's a nightmare to park at and secondly because it's always so busy with tourists...I like peace and quite as you may have already realised!

Still, I was very pleasantly surprised to see that on the east side of the market a food fair was talking over the air with amazing sizzling and barbecuing smells. Off course I went off and looked up the details and apparently the market is called Real Food Market and is on every Thursday (although it was on last Saturday too?). If we hadn't booked a table at the Delaunay I would have attacked the slow cooked pulled pork from Dixie Union followed by the cutest mini red velvet cupcakes from Crumbs & Doilies!
Oh! and we got to pet two real reindeers too! There seems to be a lot happening around Covent Garden market this Christmas so stay tuned here!   

Now, about this charming little place called the Delaunay...it is Art Deco at its' best with a hint of olde-worlde need for manners and use of silverware! The brunch menu has it all covered: from eggs Benedict to Kedgeree and  Viennese Schnitzel. It was a tough choice. 

I went for the Arnold Bennett Omelette. It was almost constructed as a fish pie, with flaky cod in a cream sauce and an omelette for cover, instead of pastry. Very filling and light at the same time. I also had almost no bread with it and I felt perfectly full. I did say "almost"...

My husband had the eggs Benedict, a good old staple. My dad was excited to see the Viennese breakfast: a plate full of cold meats, cheese and a pretzel, oh and a boiled egg. Not sure it was what he expected, but he liked the setting so much that he kept sipping on his Black Velvet cocktail, spoiling his whiskers (he has a neat white beard) with the Guinness/Champagne foam. 
Oh yes, Guinness and Champagne all in one go, not for the faint hearted!

It was a lovely day with two of my favourite people and we managed to navigate through horrendous traffic to  get to Sushi Samba just in time for the fireworks. The view is always mesmerising, I just cannot believe how much London has changed in the last fifteen years...it reminded me of Singapore with all these skyscrapers and lights. 
But then, there is always St Paul's and the Tower of London, to remind you good, old, Dickensian London! Let's hope they won't be obscured by the mega-structures popping up around them, any time soon! x

Early Start in East London

Oh, the pleasure of being a tourist in your own city!

For months now I've been craving for a "pretend" touristy day around London and yesterday it finally happened! I had an early start, picking my dad up from the airport and then since I had the day off work, I thought "why don't I take him down to Shoreditch to have a look around"?  I've been telling him about how much it has changed since I used to live there a good ten years ago, so this was the perfect excuse.
Driving through Hackney and Dalston was unfolding like a movie: all of the East London characters out and about first thing in the morning, workshops opening up unloading all sorts of deliveries, traditional chippies (fish and chip shops) in full swing and the occasional City worker rushing around all suited up. Life!  
We parked up around Arnold Circus, one of my favourite places around there for some quite time and lovely architecture. Perfectly symmetrical  Grade II listed, red-brick blocks of flats, built around the equally tall trees of Boundary Gardens, a break from the hustle & bustle of Shoreditch High Street. Calvert Avenue off the Circus has a New York village feel to it: Paper & Cup seems like the perfect spot to have your morning coffee, read a book and  watch the world go by.
On to Columbia Road, for a look around the vintage shops and cafes. Unfortunately we were too early and none of them was open; apart from the smallest café in the world! A hole in the wall, or in someone's hallway to be precise! How resourceful! Right across the street a primary school was the only lively place in this sleepy little street. We were in desperate need for a coffee and breakfast so on to Hoxton square, the Breakfast Club never fails me!

Hoxton square was in waking up mode too, everyone setting up tables and chairs outside. My dad said "who's going to sit outside in the middle of November?"
"Just wait for a glimpse of sunshine, this place will be buzzing", I said.
The yellow door at the Breakfast Club was shut and for a moment I thought...is it closed? But once we pushed it and got in we were very happily welcomed by bright colours and 90's pop tunes; big smiles! It's so retro! Mismatched chairs and benches and tables and all sorts of cool stuff. Love the comfy sofas and armchairs here and there too! There was a piano at the end of our table...yes my dad had to test it out! Big Kid!

My Caramel Latte came before I even had the chance to look at the menu, service is quite good! What we had for brekkie? Well, how about a stack of pancakes with vanilla cream and the Full Monty, a proper English fry-up, with sausages, bacon, beans and scrambled eggs? And tonnes of coffee! 

I love the Breakfast Club because no matter what time you wake up on a Sunday...they still serve breakfast! Thanks guys, we would like you to know that we do appreciate it!

Back to the car at Arnold Circus, I had to go in Leila's Shop to have a good look around a massive basket with all sorts of pumpkins. Remember I told you last year that I am obsessed with white pumpkins but I couldn't get any in London? Well, here they are, Leila's Shop and also at Daylesford Farm's shop in Westbourne Grove. Two doors down I couldn't hold back a smile when I saw a good old, tall and chubby cooking pot, steaming away on the stove inside Leila's restaurant, too bad we just had breakfast, otherwise I would have heard lunch calling.

There is a nice neighbourhood feeling around Calvert Avenue, go see for yourself next time you are around! x
© Life Love London

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