Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hidden Gems- London

I’ve been in England for about a month now and I’m pretty sick of British food.

Say what you want. Tell me that I haven’t been ordering the right stuff or eating at the right places. But let’s be honest here, is it really known for being the most amazing cuisine in the world? Now, I would never totally hate on British food because that would mean hating on comfort food. What’s not to like about meat and potatoes? At the end of the day, British food is honest, unfussy, and simple...

...and heavy and, well, unimaginative. Look, I need some complex flavors. And where’s the pizazz in fish and chips or steak and ale pie? However, I must admit that there is ONE traditional dish that I can’t seem to get enough of, and surprise, it's a dessert.

I know. I’m a glutton for sweets. I believe in pre-dinner desserts and midnight sweet snacks. Every day. These ladies had the right idea.

Midnight cheesecake solves everything. You go girls.

If you haven’t had this delicious dessert before, here’s the run down. Sticky toffee pudding is a moist, steamed sponge cake made with chopped dates and topped with a velvety toffee sauce. Many enjoy it with vanilla custard, but I like mine a la mode. This dish is a heart-warming, soul-satisfying sweet treat.

We wandered around the affluent, elegant Notting Hill area of London, looking for a place that was still open, and more importantly, serving sticky toffee pudding. We hopped from pub to pub with no luck. It was ridiculous, really. I mean, an hour to find a place serving sticky toffee pudding in London?

Just when we were about to throw our hands in the air and give up, we found Ffiona's.

It was a busy night, so we were lucky to be seated after a group failed to make their reservation time. After a month of eating in chippy's and pubs, I had no idea what to expect, but Ffiona's turned out to be one of the coziest little bistros I have ever been to. It was romantic and glowing with candlelight. It was so intimate that I felt like I was eating in someone's home. Ffiona herself bustled around the restaurant, serving, cleaning, and taking orders. She was a little overworked, a bit eccentric, and maybe even bossy, but she was amazingly quick and attentive. She had a sort of don’t-mess-with-me attitude, and I could tell that she had a following because she was on a first name basis with some of her customers. It was charming. 

It is a bit on the pricey upmarket side, so I would save it for a farewell to London dinner, or just stop by for coffee and dessert. But if you're looking for an "off the beaten path" restaurant in London, I would highly recommend Ffiona's.

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