Wow. Four days off in a row felt like such a treat to this rare holidayer; Friday also marked the five year anniversary of the boy’s business, my namesake, and as much as I’d like to pretend a magnum of champagne is just my regular Friday evening tipple, sadly this is not the case. It did however feel like a fitting way to celebrate as well as starting the long weekend off in style; we lowered the tone with a filthy curry and a couple of hours of crap TV.
Saturday saw me meet up with a bunch of friends at the brilliant Brockley Market. A quick Dark Fluid espresso and lamenting of sold out lemon curd sourdough doughnuts from The London Particular precursed the main reason for my visit; Spit and Roast currently have a guest spot, and I’d heard some pretty tantelising stories about their buttermilk fried chicken. My two portions didn’t dissapoint; unbelievably tender and moist, the batter formed a thick, spicy and flavourful crust, a tiny pot of gravy was packed disproportionately full of flavour, a corn bread muffin seemed superfluous, though acted as an ok mop for the gravy….blood orange San Pellegrino brought a ray of sunshine to an otherwise rather limp morning.
All thoughts of those lemon curd doughnuts (almost) vanished when I tasted the ice cream from Ruby Violet; salted caramel was crammed to bursting with salty, nutty chunks, but it’s the cardamom and lemon that lingers like a delicate dream in my memory, a combination I fully intend to rip off shortly. An unexpected, and sadly singular visit from the sunshine this weekend, made the perfect excuse for a spot of beer garden drinking at the Goldsmiths Tavern. We couldn’t resist a peek upstairs and found that #MEATLIQUOR still rather spookily haunts the area….
The day of the Queens flotilla down the Thames was in hindsight maybe not the day to join the actual whole world as it descended upon London en mass, I spent the afternoon baffled by the insanity and trying to avoid great swathes of tourists with flags, a disturbing number of whom had the Queens face slung casually around their necks….No, I was here to meet a friend at Bea’s Maltby Street Diner, possibly a rather highfaluting name for a room underneath those increasingly popular arches. Bea’s is open every Saturday, but the only trader open on this Sunday, it took me a couple of fruitless wanders up and down Druid Street before I spotted the inconspicuous opening. I’ll admit I’ve never been to Bea’s cake shops, as gorgeous as I’m sure they are, they just don’t have the draw of a proper Amercian style diner. If she can nail it she’s surely on to a winner, I can’t think of anywhere else that does it properly, and more importantly, well.
We may not have come for Jubilee inspired celebrations but it was always going to be hard to avoid, and Bea’s was in full patriotic mode; a giant screen was set up for Queen themed action, bunting was strung, and a life size cardboard cutout of the Queen stood by, slightly disturbingly, as we ate. What the hell, we put on our stylish crown and tiara and got involved, the relatively short menu had me drooling, and the ‘bottomless’ Hasbean filter was a no brainer. My friend wanted the best of both sweet and savoury so had a half and half, that I believe Bea is now adding to the menu; a small stack of pancakes with vanilla cream and a poached egg on a muffin with hollandaise sauce, with a giant side of maple streaky bacon, it was handsome indeed. I ordered the brioche french toast with caramel bananas, walnuts and obligatory maple streaky bacon. I have to apologise here, I actually swore as our waitress presented the most immense plate of food I’ve clapped eyes on in some time; the french toast was doorstop thick, crispy around the edges and all gooey and eggy in the centre, bananas were soft and bathed in caramel, bacon was piled high in a belly aching mound, an unnecessary but delicious blob of sweet cream was the cherry on an artery busting cake. I did have to eventually stop as I feared imminent heart attack, but what a way to go…every mouthful an absolute joy. I’m not sure how long the diner is running for, but DO GO.
Afternoon drinking led to a battle against the tide to get out of Charing Cross station in order to meet the boy, eventually I escaped with a little pleading with a kind policeman; madness I tell you! There was only one choice for our dinner, oh yes, the Byron #ChilliQueen.
Monday marked my only planned activity of the weekend; a session on the Bompas and Parr cake themed crazy golf course above Selfridges. Luckily the weather resisted raining on our parade, and we had a jolly time navigating the jellies and giant frosted creations; I hate to admit defeat, but I lost 1 point to the boy, mainly I have to say, because I insisted on tackling all the obsticles like a good sport, whereas he didn’t bother ie. CHEATED. We treated ourselves to an afternoon brunch at the accompanying Dalesford Organic pop-up cafe, and although expensive we thoroughly enjoyed it. Both platters were beautifully presented and well thought out, I appreciated the little jars of pickles and chutneys that are sometimes overlooked. My gin, violet and eldeflower jelly almost too pretty to eat.
A detour through Chinatown stopped us in our tracks, curious to see what was behind a close huddle, I suspected initially some sort of crazy eating competition, but on closer inspection discovered it was a different kind of challenge; that of vegetable carving. The entries beautifully intricate and carved with incredible speed and dexterity.
A trip to Fortnum and Mason to see how the posh people celebrate could have left me seriously out of pocket, but I restrained myself enough to limit treats to just one, and left with the most beautiful jar of marmalade, literally bursting with sparkling gold leaf. I couldn’t think of a more fitting and decadent end to the weekend than dipping a fresh batch of miniature doughnuts into my gilded preserve.