Day two of cycling in London and we decided to ride to Enfield in North London to have coffee with the dad of Letad.
Bike riding in London is a new and exciting adventure only to be undertaken by the very brave or the very foolish.
As we were flat hunting, we decided it would be a great idea to do it by bike and so set off from Chalk Farm to Swiss Cottage and on to South Hampstead.
That was all very nice with the exception of the Swiss Cottage intersection which required careful navigation.
Arriving in South Hampstead it seemed we had missed the estate agent by five minutes (they don’t wait around for long) and so it was off to our next destination, Stoke Newington.
We set off up a long, slow gradient towards Hampstead Village, I had plotted the route on the iPhone which unfortunately didn’t take hills into consideration. Halfway up Fitzjohns Avenue, we stopped for a breather. The Purple Duchess was proving to be quite heavy and fitness levels needed a little improving.
5:30am and I was up. The birds had been singing for half an hour as they were lulled into a false sense of Spring by the unseasonably warm winter but time to get up, I was off to Paris for the day.
Having complained last winter when London was minus two degrees celcius, imagine my horror as New York was minus eight today. And that was the high.
I’ve decided, despite my deeply ingrained fear of English public swimming pools, to go swimming.
After two years in London I have finally found (thanks to Noodle) a fantastic Japanese restaurant! Hurray, WabiSabi has been equalled and I can satisfy my yearning for yellowtail.
Atari-ya in Swiss Cottage for anyone who might be in the area, is definitely worth a visit and having eaten at several Nobu’s as well as many years of sushi in California, this place rates very highly.
We started with a seaweed and cucumber salad, crisp and refreshing with a taste of the sea before progressing to extremely delicious spicy prawns. I could easily have ordered these again but instead we progressed to yellowtail sashimi, melt in the mouth soft, buttery and perfect, my absolute favourite. Then unagi (eel), an excellent spicy tuna roll and then a small rest before continuing on.
We were quaffing hot saki which was going down very well and then we progressed to a perfect black cod, delicate and flaky before finishing with the ultimate test, yellowtail with jalapeño in citrus sauce. This is my benchmark dish and I have to say I was impressed, presentation needed a little finessing but the overall flavour and texture were spot on. I was complete.
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the cheapest night out but it was absolutely delicious and after almost accepting defeat, a welcome surprise to find excellent sushi in London.
As the despondency of flat hunting continues, we have been forced to extend our search beyond the comfort of the nice NW post codes.
We decided it was time to venture into South Hampstead (a pleasant surprise) and then unfortunately, into Kilburn. Despite the deceptive post code of NW2 (lovely Chalk Farm is NW3), Kilburn was not quite what we hoped for.
Things started off fairly well. I left work and jumped on the 31 bus. At the risk of sounding like a public transport loser, it is one of my favourite bus routes as it conveniently runs from Camden to Swiss Cottage and on to Maida Vale and Notting Hill Gate, very convenient. It also runs through Kilburn.
Getting off the 31 bus I headed up the Kilburn High Road. It was a little bit rough to put it mildly and as I tripped along in my faux fur vest and firkin (fake Birkin) I looked a little out of place (despite the knock-offs!)
I reached the road (a handy betting shop on the corner), stepped in a giant dog turd and skidded on one foot with arms outstretched desperately trying not to fall. Thankfully I didn’t.
Arriving at the flat, I met Letad and taking off our shoes (so gross) we went inside. And big surprise, another overpriced dump.
I think the giant dog turd summed up the whole experience.
Let’s just say we’re not quite ready for Kilburn.