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Canadian visiting England: London, Cambridge, Exeter and Penzance


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re: breakfasts in London

Besides the Wolseley (where I've dined on a couple previous trips), are there any restaurants you'd recommend that are close (which for me, would be within a 20 minute walk) to Mayfair or Green Park?

I realize there are some modest, economical Cafes in/near Shepherd Market, and I'm aware of Automat (but prefer English, or at least non-American style, breakfasts when I'm visiting London). If you have a favourite place to breakfast, please share!

re: source for quality produce near Mayfair/Green Park?

Is there a place you'd recommend for nicer-than-average fruit, that would be within a 20 minute walk of Green Park? I've passed by Sainsbury's, and I guess I could look for fruit in the Food Halls of some of the nearby Department Stores within a 20-30 minute walk, but I would love to hear about any independent food shops selling good fruit/produce! Thanks for any suggestions.

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. We had many lovely meals during our visit to the UK.

Here's my quick trip report, omitting a handful of meals or snacks that were mediocre.

London

Breakfasts

Day 1 at the Patisserie Valerie location at the corner of Picadilly and Abermaryle. Decent breakfasts. I ordered the eggs florentine with a cappuccino (milkier than what I've come to expect in Canada and the US), and my friend was happy with his porridge, toast and pot of coffee.

Day 2 at the Wolseley. I loved their fruit salad. Delicious rich canelé with a cappuccino. The cappuccino is also milkier than most cappuccini I order in Canada. Interestingly, my friend preferred Patisserie Valerie's porridge to the Wolseley's.

Day 3 early breakfast at 7 am at the Wolseley, before the neighbouring Patisserie Valerie, Napkit and Henry's Pub have opened for breakfast. I enjoyed the rich, crusts-off Croque Monsieur, which came with a grilled tomato.

Dinner

J Sheekey, post-theatre. http://www.j-sheekey.co.uk/menu/ Lovely place to dine.Loved the prawn and endive salad. My friend's Cornish seafood stew was very good. I'm glad I tried the fish pie. The menu's offerings were slightly different that the online menu I had read the day before. My friend loved the plum crumble. Will return again. Down-to-earth and outgoing manager. Our server was serious and seemed to communicate more with the regulars than the non-UK-raised tourist/traveller types (like me and the people seated at the table next to mine).

Cambridge

Breakfasts

All 3 breakfasts at the Bistro Du Vin, at the Hotel Du Vin. Very nice continental cold buffet, including fresh squeezed orange juice, and interesting hot options which are available a la carte. Day 1- kippers, Day 2- muesli and pastry, Day 3, full English breakfast.

Dinner

Very good prix fixe at Alimentum. http://www.restaurantalimentum.co.uk/ Surprisingly beautiful plating. Innovative take on "Scotch egg"- with a quails egg(soft yolk) surrounded by salt cod, breaded and deep-fried, and delicious pork cheek with pork sausage.

Exeter

Breakfasts

All 3 breakfasts at Michael Caines Restaurant in the ABode hotel, which can be purchased at a discount, in advance, when booking a room. Good English breakfasts. A Vegetarian English Breakfast with vegetarian sausage was also offered. Their eggs benedict came with a non-lemony hollandaise, and ham that was more like bacon. Would stick with the English breakfast.

Dinners

Day 1

Michael Caines Restaurant. http://www.michaelcaines.com/restaurants/exeter Tried the prix fixe offered to the hotel's guests. Very nice cod, and good strawberry parfait.

Day 2

Attempted to dine at At Angela's, The Conservatory, and Michael Caines' Restaurant as walk-ins on a Saturday night, but each restaurant was competely full. We ended up ordering a casual meal at Michael Caines' cafe in the Hotel ABode http://www.michaelcaines.com/cafe-bar/exeter/cafe-bar-menu , which turned out to be fine. I liked the pea and mint risotto with parmesan crisp, as well as the grilled asparagus with hollandaise. My friend was happy with his grilled lamb cutlets.

Day 3

Lovely dinner At Angela's. http://www.angelasrestaurant.co.uk/ First time I've tried Grouse, and very nice summer pudding. If I return to Exeter, I'd make reservations At Angela's.

Budleigh Salterton

Premier Cafe for Fish and Chips. http://www.budleighfishandchips.co.uk/ Lovely haddock and tasty chips. My friend enjoyed the sardines. Friendly service. Neat little place to visit.

Sidmouth

snack

coffee, devon cream and chocolate fudge from a fudge shop- not sure of the name, but the fudge was pretty good.

Tavistock

snack

decent Cornish (pixie-sized) pasty and a cappuccino from an Oggy Oggy location. Surprisingly good cappuccino. Very friendly people at the counter.

Plymouth

tea and cake at the Tudor Rose. http://tudorrosetearoom.co.uk/ Victoria Sponge for me, and Banoffee pie for my friend- better than we expected, and no commercial taste to the cakes, despite the Tudor Rose Tea Room's location in a tourist district. A good option if you're looking for tea and cake in Plymouth, in a nice enclosed garden setting.

Friendly service.

Penzance

Breakfasts

All 3 tasty breakfasts at The Bay, in the Hotel Penzance. Best tasting breakfast sausage I've had in an English breakfast. Lovely smoked haddock, too. Would return to the Bay Restaurant for their Cornish breakfast, which is a very good deal at 6.5 GBP if I recall correctly. The breakfast is included with the room for hotel guests.

Dinners

Day 1 at the Bay Restaurant. http://www.bay-penzance.co.uk/ Modern British cuisine made with local ingredients. Tried local scallops, European sea bass, a panache of vegetables, as well as the selection of desserts, including saffron poached pear, sultana fancler, white cholate mousse, pistachio parfait. Coffee came with a sable cookie,fudge, and a truffle.

Day 2 at Harris's Restaurant. http://www.harrissrestaurant.co.uk/ Classic British cuisine with French influences. Enjoyed the crab florentine, and the John Dory with saffron white wine cream sauce. Mixed vegetables were included with the meal. Very generous slice of treacle tart. Some small sweets were included with the coffee. Friendly service. Nice place for classic dishes and seafood.

Truro

Dinner at Saffron. http://www.saffronrestauranttruro.co.uk/ Very good deal, especially if you're in time for the early bird dinner, which runs from 5-6:45 pm during the week. Delicate summer vegetable ribollita, perfectly cooked Coley with potato, kea plum parfait for around 16 GBP. Neat little place.

St. Ives

a Cornish pasty (steak) from St. Ives Bakery http://fullofcake.blogspot.com/2008/06/st-ives-bakery.html , and a saffron bun from a small bakery near the bus station. The pasty had the nicest crust of the 3 pasties I ordered in the UK this trip.

Falmouth

Lunch of cod & chips at Harbour Lights. http://www.harbourlights.co.uk/ I didn't know fish and chips could be as tasty as what I found at Harbour Lights, and at Premier in Budleigh Salterton. Perfect cod. Friend ordered crab cakes, which seemed to have a fair amount of potato, compared to a more North American style crab cake (to which I'm more accustomed), which does not tend to include potato.

snack

a scoop of Roskilly's Cornish Fairing ice cream. http://www.roskillys.co.uk/My friend tried the Banoffee ice cream. Completely different texture than North American ice cream or gelato- more dense and sticky.

Overall, we lucked out with good food on this trip, especially in Devon and Cornwall, where the seafood and vegetables always seemed to be top quality. I was surprised to see parfaits are a very common dessert in the Southwest of England. Almost every restaurant offered a parfait of some sort each night.

If you're heading to Devon or Cornwall, I recommend making reservations in advance, especially if there are particular restaurants you'd like to visit.

I found I got much more bang for my buck (better quality food for less $) in Devonshire and Cornwall than I've usually experienced in London, Cambridge and Oxford for similar types of food (in this case, mostly classic and modern British foods, heavy on English breakfasts, pasties and seafood).

Looking forward to dining in the UK in the future. I hope to try more of the London restaurants that have been recommended on my next visit.

Edited by phoenikia (log)
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Really glad you enjoyed Angela's, strangely I also enjoyed my first taste of Grouse there.

The 3 that you tried on Saturday in Exeter are nearly always fully booked in advance. I think this is due to a combination of them being very good, but also that they are possibly the only restaurants of anywhere near their standard in the area (bar ''The HH'' mentioned earlier).

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Glad you enjoyed it. Too late for your trip, but I had a lovely breakfast at Cecconi's in Mayfair on Sunday. Scrambled eggs with truffles - just the ticket. About the same price and quality as the Wolseley - different atmosphere - more continental in feel - very Italian, unsprpisingly though they do a full English. Fabulous coffee.

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Glad you enjoyed it. Too late for your trip, but I had a lovely breakfast at Cecconi's in Mayfair on Sunday. Scrambled eggs with truffles - just the ticket. About the same price and quality as the Wolseley - different atmosphere - more continental in feel - very Italian, unsprpisingly though they do a full English. Fabulous coffee.

Thanks for mentioning your good experience at Cecconi's. Hope to try the breakfast at Cecconi's on another visit!

http://www.cecconis.co.uk/food-menus/breakfast-1

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