London is in the rear view mirror, and we'll be heading to Rome in a few days. Right now, we're in the middle of a little travel experiment. We basically picked our current destination by blindly pointing at a map. We'll be writing about this adventure soon, but first we have to share a London food find.
We got into a really nice work/explore groove while in London. We were on the go a lot – taking advantage of the fantastic weather – but we strived to carve out time to chill out long enough to have a unique food experience each day.
Although it was sunny and clear, the November air had a bit of a bite to it. So, when we took a break from our maniacal pace, we were often laser focused on rooting out hearty, warm meals that would send us back to the street well fueled. Because London hasn't made a "cheapest cities" list lately, we were also committed to keeping our meals as low cost as possible.
A challenge? Yes. But not when you luck out with a place like Mandalay.
A lot of people and guides pointed us to Mandalay, so we were very happy to have the popular place to ourselves during our entire lunch the other day. A welcome reprieve from the madness of ever-bustling London. When we found out Mandalay is believed to offer London's only Burmese food, we couldn't resist. Plus the promise of Indian and Chinese fusion intrigued us.
And at about six pounds for a full lunch, we would have been stupid to resist.
First course... delicious tea jazzed up with milk and sugar. They wisely prepare you for what is to come by presenting robust sauces – ginger/tamarind, sweet/hot chili and soy – while you enjoy your tea.
We then decided on the vegetarian curry in addition to the standard spring roll, rice and cool cucumber salad. You can't tell from the picture, but that plate of food packed some major heat and intense flavor. We appreciated that everything was straightforward and had a very homemade feel. Like eating dinner at your Burmese aunt's house. Um, in London.
The meal was rounded out with banana fritters, topped with a not-too-sweet palm sugar syrup. Delicious.
Just what we needed before another few hours of sightseeing. And before this ultimate budget meal for dinner - champagne, a baguette and cheese.
Next time you're in London, check out Mandalay. It's located North of Hyde Park at 444 Edgware Road. In addition to the remarkable food, you'll find warm service and some unusual things – such as unique tableware and decorations – that make this place anything but cookie cutter.
Or, just stay in your room with champagne and good bread. We won't judge.
We want to take a moment to wish everyone an incredible holiday season. Please join us in – from time to time – taking a break from the fast pace of the season in order to to lend a hand to someone in need. There's a lot of hardship around the globe, and we can all make a difference in building a better world. Wondering what you can do? Join us in spreading the word about Oxfam's GROW campaign.