You will have noticed by now that it’s getting darker earlier by the day. And the weather is getting more miserable by the day too. Nothing can compensate for the fact that (unless your job causes you to be outdoors for a lot of the time during daylight) you are going to experience darkness, cold and wetness most of the time you are travelling to and from work. For the next six months or so anyway. It’s a depressing time of year and I can’t wait for the Spring.
Still, some places try to make you feel good by trying to recreate a kind of “tropical”, warm weather, feeling. Take The O2 for example. Formerly known as the Millennium Dome, this entertainment complex has it’s own wannabe equivalent of Leicester Square right outside it’s main entrance. Being there the other day for a show, and we couldn’t help but be captivated by the “hot springs” in operation in the square outside. Which incidentally isn’t square, but goes by the name of Peninsula Square.
“Hot springs” in Peninsula Square outside The O2
(Taken with my cameraphone of course.)
The “hot springs” were a lot of fun!
London is quite well-served by international airports. There’s four obvious ones that make a claim to be serving London to international jet-setters; LHR and LGW are familiar ones (Heathrow and Gatwick) and LTN and STN are the dubious ones (London Luton? and London Stansted?). But there’s also LCY. Yes, London City Airport. In the heart of Docklands. Well in the heart of somewhere near Silvertown near North Woolwich I suppose. I used it for the first time the other day, and I would say that it’s, er, quite alright really. It’s small, and I like that. It’s only 5 minutes from the plane to the street. And that’s because there aren’t huge crowds of people to cater for due to the fact that the planes that use this airport hold far fewer people than the planes that use the big airports. But the great thing about this airport is that it’s only two DLR stops from the Jubilee Line, which is my tube line home.
London City Airport station on Docklands Light Railway.
(Taken with my cameraphone as I waited 6 mins having just missed a train.)
I LOVE Singapore Fried Noodles. I usually get this tasty dish from my local Chinese takeway when I come home late after work and there’s no concept of a dinner at home for me to prepare or reheat. Well recently I had an urge to cook this favourite dish of mine from scratch – all by myself. And so I did. And what a thoroughly enjoyable experience it was. If you like Indian-Chinese “fusion” type stuff then you will love Singapore Fried Noodle. Why not have a go at making it yourself? Click here to see how I did it.
Singapore Fried Noodles!
(Taken with my cameraphone as I served it out ready to eat!)
It was ace. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.
There is a wonderful little café-style Indian restaurant in my neighbourhood called Rose Veg. It has an extremely extensive menu that sprawls across about 20 pages of plastic-laminated booklet that covers all types of Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisine. From Northern chaats to Southern dosas and idlis, the menu at first seems overwhelming. Personally, I think it’s a great place. Because the food is cheap and the service very unpretentious; You sit at the table of your choice, you order, and you eat. As it comes. And then you pay the owner of the place (who happens to man the till) on the way out. It does take-away too. It’s “pure” veg in the sense that no animal products are used at all. Also, it’s alcohol-free, so it’s not the sort of place you go for a “beer and a curry”. Apparently it was nominated for a UK national award for the best UK vegetarian restaurant a couple of years back, therefore, it’s really popular with the local (mostly Gujurati” population, and it’s reputation causes people to travel from afar to eat there. Although they have a website, it’s marketing is mostly limited to “word of mouth” and it’s packed out most weekday evening and weekend lunchtimes. We love this place because the taste-to-value ratio is extremely good, and it’s an extremely relaxing place to have a really tasty and informal lunch at the weekend.
So, when a couple of “lads” came and sat down inside this place a few days ago and started to look the through the menu booklet we couldn’t help but be bemused by overhearing their comments about the “strange” items on the menu and the lack of “beer”. We figured that they were “newbies” who had never eaten there before and probably had expectations of it being a standard sort-of “curry house”. It was amusing hearing them “complain” about the strangeness of the menu (“what no chicken tikka masala?”) and generally just mocking the whole thing in a really quite condescending way. I wondered why they had come here in the first place? Anyway, all was revealed when they were joined by what seemed to be their “lady friends”; who must have been parking the car or something in the previous few minutes. As soon as the ladies sat down next to their “laddish” partners, the conversation took a sudden and dramatic change: the ladies were excited about being here, they had been here before and they thought the food was excellent. They were recommending all kinds of dishes from the menu and were looking forward to ordering their favourite items. They talked about how this place was really popluar with “Jains”, who observe extremely strict dietary requirements, and how tasty the chaats, South Indian and Indo-Chinese fusion dishes were.
Needless to say, the attitude of their “lads” changed quite suddenly. Far from being mocking and disappointed with where they were eating, they were full of respect for the place. Nodding and agreeing with everything their partners were suggesting.
It’s amazing how attitudes can change and be influenced so quickly by different points of view. Especially when those points of view belong to your nearest and dearest.
Anyway, if you ever find yourself in the North-West London area looking for a place to eat a real Indian-style lunch on a budget, then you can’t go much too wrong at Rose Veg. It’s excellent.