Tuesday, October 24, 2006

London weekend


London on the weekend - and during half-term - is all about dodging human traffic: on the sidewalks, crossing the roads, in the stores, in the museums...but it is such a great city, with wonderful old buildings, plenty of free museums and great cafes... plenty to see, despite the weather (although I must say that Saturday was a beautiful day, Sunday not so much). It was especially good to see my cousins, who brought me around and put me up.

We hit the museums - the Royal Academy, the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate Modern. Opting to not queue for tickets for the new exhibitions, we wandered the permanent exhibitions, but the crowds were too great. I did get to have a look at the Unilever Series: Test Site by Carsten Holler, essentially a series of whirly slides, from the second, third, fourth and fifth floors of the Tate Modern, a former powerhouse. The timed tickets went quick and we weren't staying that long anyway as I had a train to catch back to Brighton that evening. But did it look fun. Sliders got a sack to sit on and off they went - both young and old. Making art fun huh.
Tate Modern
Another highlight was the eating:
Loved those lights!

Delicate cakes and coffee or tea.sketch1
My favourite was the coconut-coriander-green apple snow dome. It sure didn't sound or look too appetising (when it's halved, it kinda looks like a vegetable bao) but we took a gamble and it was great. None of the flavours overwhelmed and it was instead really yummy. The chocolate cake was quite standard, quite chocolatey. The raspberry tart, was well, a raspberry tart (but rather generous with the berries). The cardinal was a purple blackcurrent delight, although it did somewhat taste a bit like a blackcurrent pastille, it did have great contrasting textures.
Coffee and tea were served in these delightful crockery and the napkins all had the cafe's phone number scrawled on them.
The toilet cubicles were egg-shaped pods, rather claustrophic in their airplane-like enclosures.
Korean food for dinner (haven't seen a Korean restaurant in Brighton yet!) where the spicy beef stew warmed me up on a chilly night.
Dim sum for Sunday late lunch at 3pm. In Chinatown of course. Followed by hot tau huay at the back of the Kowloon bakery, where I picked up a boxful of Chinese baked goods home.

The ride back was a half-train half-bus journey, stopping at Hayward Heath and bussing all the passengers back over to Brighton. And then it was a 15 minute walk back in the drizzling rain.

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