Saturday, 26 June 2021

The Saturday List #312 - My ten released from lockdown destinations

 As lockdown has eased, I've been ticking off the places that I've really, really been missing. I thought I'd share my list with you and a few observations.

1. The Bleeding Heart in Hatton Garden. This is my favourite restaurant in London. It was the first place we went when we were able to eat outside, the bistro has a pleasant outdoor area. We went back last night for Clare's birthday. As ever it was busy. The food is amazing and we took our grown up kids yesterday, it isn't cheap but it is well worth it.

2. Bar Italia in |Frith St. I've mentioned this in other blogs, but it is worth mentioning again. It really is the only place to get a cheeky Peroni or an Espresso in Soho. Often it is the gathering spot for Londons Mods on scooter runs. I always feel the world is right when I am at Bar Italia.

3. Ronnie Scotts. There are many gig venues I will be visiting, but I made Ronnies the first, because Jazz is the music best suited to sitting down and enjoying. I couldn't imaging watching Punk, Soul or Ska if I was stuck in a chair. An added bonus was we got to see the rather wonderful Ray Gelato.

4. The Rake in Borough Market. One of my best mates lives in Croyden, I hadn't seen him for a year. We meet on a monthly basis, drink real ale and have a curry. We have about six different runs, but as we could both get a train easily to London Bridge, we thought the Rake would be a good first stop. It has an excellent selection of ales. As it was a Monday night, I didn't want anything too strong, so I orderd the weakest IPA on the menu. We started a tab. I ordered the weakest beer and we had 2 pints. When the bill came, it was rather more expensive than anticipated. When I queried, it turned out they'd given me a pint of the said brewery's other beer, which is 8.4% alcohol. It was lucky we stopped at two. They kindly only charged me the rate for the weak beer. It was great to just have a couple of pints with a mate. The staff tell me that the weekends are busy, which is good. 

5. Est India in Union St. There are many Indian Restaurants I love. Est India does an amazing 'Railway Curry' which is a Lamb dish. I rarely eat Lamb, as when I eat with Clare, as she doesn't eat meat, we have King Prawn, fish or veggie curries and swap bits of dishes. Having a lamb curry always feels linke being naughty, which is fun. I was pleased to report there were a  few other diners on a wet Monday night.

6. South Bank walk. I used to work in Park St. Every day I'd walk from Blackfriars Thameslink Station to the office. There wasn't a day when I wouldn't stop and look at the views, the river etc. Sometimes at low tide, I'd walk along the waterfront, seeing the detritus of London's 2,000 years washed up on the bank. I will never tire of that walk. 

7. The Claddagh Ring in Hendon. This was the first pub I visited locally after lockdown. I just needed a pint of draught Guinness. I love the place. The guvnor Finbar runs a very well organised pub and it is busy every night. It confirms what I always suspected. The best places will get through this crisis and ultimately thrive.

8. The Wet Fish Cafe in West Hampstead. This is another place we love. It is really easy to get to from Mill Hill, ten minutes on Thameslink. The food is amazing and it has a really lovely chilled ambience. As you can probably guess, the fish is very good. It is not too pricey. When we went, they had six tables outside. For me, it is important to support the places you love. We will be back.

9. The Lighterman in Kings Cross. This was the first place we went. It was a whim on the spur of the moment, the first day we were allowed to go to pubs and sit outside. I had a burger and chips. I love the new Kings Cross around Coal Drops Yard. We had a good walk around and the Lighterman was the only place we could get into. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed it and the burger was great with a pint of good beer. 

10. Hadley FC. And finally, I support two football teams. I am a season ticket holder at Hadley FC, who are based at Brickfield Lane (Opposite the Gate pub in Barnet). They are in the sixth tier. The club invited me up for an end of season prize draw and drink a couple of weeks ago. Sadly their was no game, but we watched the Wales vs Belgium game in the clubhouse. I caught up with many of the Hadley Family. The draw was drawn by Sutton Utd manager Steve Clark, who has strong Hadley connections. It was a gloriously sunny day and it was bliss. 

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