A trip down memory lane and beyond - London

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

11th March 2021

By Anni Bray

I’m incredibly lucky to call London my home. I am in love with its charm and hidden restaurants, boutiques and cafes. Whenever I have the chance, I venture to the tube station just a few hundred metres from my door to explore the wonders only a tap of an oyster card away. One of the best parts of living so close to the action, a phrase that should be retired, is that my boyfriend and I are able to find the best restaurants for our taste buds but also our bank accounts. One of the most important qualities of a restaurants that we are trying, is that they aren’t trying to rip us off. Many a time of spending too much has taught us the right price for food… and drink!

Just to challenge myself, I decided last summer to find the best quality restaurants/bars in the most expensive area of London; Oxford street. This was difficult and yet so enjoyable. What more could a girl want, drinks and food paid for by a dashing partner. Just kidding, had to pay for some of my half! The first place was the most surprising. As a tourist would, I decided to drag Chris into Selfridges and found looking at bags I can’t afford is thirsty work! We looked up the bars and restaurants within the building to grab a coffee and the ‘Brasserie of Light’ popped up on our web browser. We scoured the menu and found the prices weren’t as crazy as we expecting, I started to fancy a mid-afternoon mojito. We sat at the most beautiful bar and ordered fancy cocktails, ready to treat ourselves. All round the experience was incredible and the bar snacks we ordered were mouth wateringly delicious and the drinks were dressed for the occasion. Unfortunately, the bill arrived. However, the biggest surprise was the fact these were some of the cheapest drinks I had ordered in the whole of London! As the price was so reasonable, we went back for dinner not even a week after and the food and wine we had was well worth the small price. This is now one our most frequented restaurants in London.

Our venture to Oxford street wouldn’t be complete without finding a cute wine bar. This has been a challenge in our local area to find a wine bar that allows us, as novices in wine stuff, to get out of our comfort zone. Therefore, as a treat for our anniversary, Chris and I were recommended a place near Hyde Park corner; ‘Vinoteca’. We meandered through the back streets of marble arch and stumbled upon a very sweet side road. We had no idea what we were in for! We ordered gorgeous wines and the food was some of the best I’d ever eaten. As I’m sure you can guess the price was even more reasonable than the ‘Brasserie of Light’; maybe something to do with the ‘cute street’ postcode. Sounds strange but we loved this restaurant so much that we took my mum back two days later. We made the waiter incredibly happy that day, I’m pretty sure it might have helped that we bought the wine which we tried. You know, just in case of a rainy day in Lockdown. Very needed!

This adventure had proven that Oxford street is accessible to all, no matter your budget. The restaurants mentioned were only a couple of a huge selection of back ally restaurants buried under the touristy façade; once this wall has been torn down the city is your oyster. No pun intended. Evidently, our current circumstance has halted us from re-visiting these locations but I will be standing at the door for the second they reopen.

As always, looking forward to the next time I can raise a glass to a special occasion or simply wanting to say ‘wow we got through’.

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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