I was cruising London in a double decker bus shortly after I landed (Please see Finally in London). Along the way I spotted celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s restaurant “Italian” not too far from Westminster Abbey. Since I’m vegetarian and British food doesn’t have the most vegetarian options, the next best things is to try the food of a famous British chef with a more veggie friendly menu. I got off at the next stop and walked back to the restaurant. This was my first British dining experience and I was really looking forward to it. While the food was good and this restaurant was very reasonably priced, I can’t say it was in line with the healthy eating theme he advocates.
For my appetizer I had the spicy Italian “nachos”. This was mini fried cheese raviolis topped off with cheese and a spicy tomato sauce to go with it. It was filled with a smoky cheese, which isn’t my favorite, but overall the flavor was really good.
And for the main course, I had the blue potato gnocchi with pesto, goat cheese, veggies. This was incredibly good. The freshness of all the ingredients came through. The flavors all worked so well with each other and the warm, crispy, salty blue chips on top added just the right amount of texture. This was an excellent dish.
In typical urban style the tables at this restaurant were placed close to each other. I was sitting next to an older British couple that had come into town for the weekend. While we sat at our separate tables, it felt like we were dining together. The lady was a teacher and her husband was an engineer with a government agency. They were sharing stories about their life in the UK and how London had changed over their lifetime and they were curious about my solo trip. They were very helpful in telling me where to go and what to see in London. They even gave me a map and drew on it to make sure it was clear. It was so heart warming to have a meal with total strangers and just share stories. This was the first in many meals what I would eat with people I didn’t know, and enjoy just getting to sharing a common experience. The British are so friendly and welcoming. This couple, like so many other people I met, made my meal and this trip that much more memorable. So grateful to all the hospitality. My first meal in London was clearly a memorable one.