London | 03

Neal's Yard

Neal's Yard - a colorful place situated somewhere around Covent Garden. It took quite a while to find this place.

 

A tea shop, also located somewhere in Covent Garden. This place is so nice.

Today is an off day, meaning that we are free to go and do what we please - you'd think that this would be waste of precious holiday hours but no, sometimes just walking around and getting lost in a city is a fulfilling experience itself.

I'm taking a stroll along Covent Garden today.

 

But before that, it's important to have our breakfast first. Now this is one unique looking busker.

 

This picture came out a bit blurry. :/ Basically Covent Garden is one large piazza - one large market place which is so fun to get lost into. The shops are not as grand as one may find in Oxford Street, but the buildings, stalls and little shops everywhere will sure reming people of the 60's.

 

This one came out blurry too. Must be due to the lack of food I'm sure.

 

Due to the large amount of tourists coming in, many Londoners feel as if the place had transformed into a tourist trap, of sort which dilutes its cultural importance.

 

Nonetheless there's just so much that this place has to offer that it would be a bummer to not visit it.

 

We encountered lots of Eastern and Asian-themed restaurants along the road. But my mom's friend who was with us redirected us to a specific place that she had in mind. "Cheaper and tastier." She's been living in London for more than 14 years now.


Odeon is like the largest cinema chain in the UK. Frozen and The Hobbit 2 were hot during this time I believe. It was said that the Odeon branch in Waterloo will blow your mind if you've never been to a proper IMAX cinema before.

The cinema screen there is over 20 metres high - that's like stacking 5 double-decker buses on top of one another.

 

Covent Garden is very near to Trafalgar Square. We passed by the square on our way for breakfast but I'll not be putting any pictures of it in this entry. That one is for another entry altogether


After nearly 10 minutes of walking, we came by this one manly looking place.


Very near to it is a place with a very familiar scent and scenery. But no, this is not our place for breakfast.

A quick search on the net says that this place is now closed.

 

This area's name is Chinatown, which is a district above Leicester Square. There's a very genuine downtown like feel around this area. We're going upstairs. 


I can't for the love of me remember the name of this restaurant. I feel guilty about it because the food here is really-really good. The owner is a Malay-Singaporean. Here's a partial address of the place.

First Floor, Unit M4/5
55-57 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0NE
Nearest station: Leichester Square.

The restaurant is right next to this barber shop, owned by a fellow Malay.


Here's a picture gallery of the place. The karipap was so nice that even my mother praised it. We ordered laksa penang, mee kari and nasi lemak with sambal sotong. The laksa was great.


The interior is not highly ornate nor it wants to -  it tries to capture the feel of a Malaysian kopitiam and I think it succeeded. Do come here if you're in London. Highly recommended.

 

A bad weather can really mess up with your travel plan. I'm thankful that the weather was good. A good tip is to visit the museum if the weather's bad. The British Museum was amazing. I'll cover that on the next entry along with Trafalgar Square.

 

Londoners walk fast.

 

I'm currently searching a place I've been yearning to go since the start of this trip.

 

It was quite hard to find, we were lead to a couple of dead-ends before finally seeing the entrance sign. 

 

Here is Neal's Yard, situated somewhere around Covent Garden. The place is a little bit off the beaten path but so worth it if you manage find it. 

 

I can only imagine how beautiful the place looks like during the summer. A very cute looking little backyard that everyone should come and take a photo of.

 

The garish choice of colours really make this place standout. That's hard to do here in London.


We didn't stay here for long. We sat down, enjoyed the view a bit, took a couple of photos and that's it - but does it leave a lasting impression on you, this was no doubt one of the highlights from this trip.

 

Apple Market is nice to have a stroll through. All stalls here sell handmade products. 

 

CG evening - 13.jpg

Laduree. We'll be having a bite here soon.


Covent Garden is actually a well known busking location. Here's a fact that blew my mind when I first read this - busking is 100% legal in the UK. 

For a famous busking location such as this, one must obtain a permit then undergo an audition before they are allowed to perform.

 

Food stalls with home made goodness. Too bad I can't try these out for an obvious reason.

 

These stalls will close by 6.00PM.

 

The foods are not exactly cheap, but nothing in London is. I do love the fact that they are giving an outlet for small entrepreneurs to sell goods of their own.

Fast forward to nighttime and this is what the place looked like - the food stalls closed, the street performers gone, the acoustics from daylight slightly diminished - but there's still a sense of identity to this place.

 

Like this one.

 

I find myself enjoying a walk at night more than during daytime. Shops are normally closed at 6.00PM,but during weekends many will extend their opening hours to 8.00PM.

 

Kak Sherry, my parent's friend whom had been tagging along with us said that she's "more afraid to walk alone at anytime in Malaysia than to walk at night alone in London", signalling that nighttime in London is perfectly safe.

 

My mother and sisters were looking for clothes at this moment if my mind is not playing tricks on me. There's one shop on the right that's having a winter clearance sale where most clothes are under £10.00. 

 

I went to the Apple Market to look for souvenirs but they were too expensive. Most sellers are closing their stalls at the moment. Lots of nice looking paintings were on sale.

 

I would totally buy that Last Supper Superhero Assemble painting if I've had money to spare.

 

Another thing that you must do in London is to watch a theatre or a play - like this one, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. I've watched a Shakespeare theatre the night before at Shakespeare's Globe and it was nice. 


Hope & Greendwood Chocolates
1 Russell St, London WC2B 5JD, 
Covent Garden.
Nearest building: Royal Opera House

I recommend every candy and chocolate lover to pay this shop a visit.

But be sure to ask the shopkeeper which sweets are alcohol free, because lots of them have it in their ingredients.

 

The shop owners had a 4-part miniseries on BBC ion their love for sweet things which aired on BBC2.


Ladurée
1, The Market, 
Covent Garden Market, London 
Nearest buiding: Royal Opera House.

Ladurée, a brand most famous for their macarons. There's a saying that if we were the restaurant to music, their patisseries are the composers, and the macarons were their masterpiece symphonies. 

 

This French patisserie was founded over 150 years ago and is credited as the inventor of macaron sandwiches which made them rose to fame. 

 

The subtle hue for the macarons are due to them using natural ingredients in their bakings, they claimed that no artificial colorings were used.

 

Along with macarons and tea, my sister ordered this tasty looking raspberry tart. We weren't allowed to share our pot of tea so each of us ended up ordering different flavored ones.

The waiters here were unfriendly though, most of them do not smile and were not attentive to orders. They talked loudly too (in French) with each other which dampens the experience a bit.

 

I love the usage of light colours for their interior.

 

One macaron costs £2.10 which translates to roughly RM11.00. So five of these around roughly fifty six ringgit. Normally I’d try to finish a sweet 2 bites top, but knowing the price I knew that I had to indulge the thing slowly. The red-rose flavored one was the best by far, followed by the green. Though not pictured, we also ordered chocolate and yellow colored ones.

 

The outside were crisp - like an eggshell but thinner - and the middle portion were moist and soft. It was creamy enough that you can chew it for a while to let the flavor soak in. The flavor all comes together when your tongue reaches the sweet inner meringue.

 

If you have a sweet tooth, do come to this place.

 

What an eventful day, well it's time to go home.

 

He is still here??