sunny days in september are a prized rarity for any londoner. last sunday, it was sunny and warm, i needed to reconcile myself with the comforts of london after a month spent travelling around india and my best friend was happy to join me for a lazy day of art, shopping and, naturally, food explorations. i couldn't have asked for more...the perfect day was served.
we started at fernandez and wells in beak street, a lazy and empty road on the borders of soho. i walked in dreaming of a classic italian breakfast, a simple croissant or a slice of cake, but the artistically arranged display tickled my appetite. after much debate, i went for an extra-large croissant filled with comté cheese, tomatoes and thickly-sliced ham, my best friend being slightly braver with a montgomery cheese and leek toast. as we waited for tea, coffee and food we found our spot by the window and soaked in the sunday morning atmosphere, uncluttered white walls behind us, sunlit pavement in front of our eyes, the smell of good food and a newspaper on the table. everything called for a slow pace and we were more than happy to indulge in girly conversations over excellent food.
as the day moved on, we felt the need to feed our brains with some art at the photographers' gallery and some people watching around covent garden. a lot of walking and chatting later, we felt we deserved a reward...so we headed to scoop, back in the heart of covent garden, for a proper italian ice-cream in honour of the last summery day of the year. i had been looking forward to trying scoop, as it does appear to offer the most authentic italian ice-cream in london. the nocciola tonda delle langhe and pistacchio puro di bronte are flavours that remind me of classy gelaterie at home and i was therefore eager to see if the taste would live up to the names. walking into the shop was already an italian experience, the colours and the decor credible, the selection of cones and waffles familiar. only the orderly queue signalled the central-london location. overall, we could have been on a busy italian street, but in that case it wouldn't have been the best ice-cream parlour in town. the ice-cream turned out to be a bit watery, lacking the creaminess i was craving, but i'll suspend my judgement til my next visit (and therefore the next summer), as that might have depended on my slightly unconventional choice of flavours.
while heading back to my best friend's old neighbourhood, if only to pop in our favorite kennard's and have a chat about the impossibility of meeting eligible bachelors in london, we realised it was still too early to part and put an end to our perfect day. so we enjoyed the luxury of a bus and returned to where we had started from, finally ticking a meal in china town off our “list of 101 things to do in london”. as we were trying to keep it classical, we went straight to gerrard street and quickly picked golden dragon, which we had never tried before but had heard about. having to wait five minutes to be seated in a half-empty restaurant seemed slightly bizarre, but wasn't such a big deal. the atmosphere was old-style china town, big rooms, plain decor, stained tablecloths and loud customers. which is exactly what we were hoping for. the dinner satisfied all our chinese food cravings, with the right balance of greasiness and spiciness, big plates who didn't make us feel ashamed of mixing prawns, chicken and noodles in the same meal.
perfect days cannot be repeated, but london offers so much that i'm sure we'll find another fantastic selection of cafes and restaurants to sit in on our next lazy sunday. in the meantime, menus do tend to be repetitive, so i'll soon be going back to fernandez & wells or golden dragon for some more good food and relaxing times.