The other weekend I went down to London for a little adventure with my friend. It was all a bit of a whirlwind, last minute trip which didn’t leave us time to do all the typical tourist things I usually do when I head to the capital. This time we went for a night out and some food mainly. And I do love a few drinks and a sneaky bite to eat. In fact, I’d say they were my main two pleasures in life. Unfortunately I didn’t take my *real* camera out with me, as it’s new I didn’t trust myself not to break it. So unfortunately we’re just going to have to settle for a few phone pictures and a few more words for this blog post. I guess this is a kind of guide to London on a budget at the last minute!?
Of course, there are a thousand places to choose from to eat when in London, but fortunately for me Ping Pong got in touch and asked if I’d like to try their menu. Yipee! Ping Pong is one of those places you always walk past and want to try when in London, but it always seems a little bit too busy to nip in at the times I go. However when I actually go there they had the swiftest system to get in to a seat as soon as possible (this wasn’t even due to the fact I was reviewing them either, several people were about and got seated in super quick time before we did!). Having the meal pre-arranged obviously made the trip so much easier, not only because making a food decision had been eradicated from the equation, but because the menu at Ping Pong is SO simple with a quick service time to boot. After browsing their menu, you simply tick what you want and hand it back to your server when the come to your table. The menu was really easy to follow, with a quality over quantity approach to the selection on offer. We opted for the Ping Pong set menu for two, which came in at the bargain price of £32! £32 to feed two hungry mouths in London is a bargain not to be sniffed at. At first we were wary that we’d literally get one tiny serving of Dim Sum each, but nope! Each delicious dish was ample in size, consisting of at least three generous sized portions. Each dish tasted completely different, with the duck spring rolls being a particular highlight. We enjoyed a few cocktails to, to get us prepared for the night ahead. My favourite cocktail was the Ginger and Limoncello Caipirinha, which was a scrummy mix of fresh ginger, limes, limoncello, cachaco and chambord served in a tall glass with plenty of ice. Another cocktail I tried on the night was the Hibiscus Spritz, which came in two(?!) glasses. One contained a lovely refreshing mix of prossecco and elderflower liquor, whilst the other beaker like glass had a fizzy mix of blackcurrant and hibiscus. There was even a REAL flower in one of the glasses. I was a little confused as to how to drink it though, so I drank each separately for a bit, then mixed the remaining halves together so I got the best of both worlds, haha.The way the meal was served was also worth noting. Each ‘course’ came out separately, but the timing was spot on. You didn’t feel as though you were rushed, but there was also no waiting in between yumming down the delicious dim sum and rice dishes. I absolutely love trying a bit of everything in new restaurants and the Set Menu from Ping Pong was the perfect way to do so. I am definitely going back!
After the meal we popped back on the underground and went for a few drinks and dances down in Camden for Nightmare Festival. Nightmare Camden is a one day event, where you buy a wrist band for 20 quid and you can go in a load of bars and clubs to see some bands do their thing. I’ve never actually been out in London before, so I was quite excited, but when I got there it was all a bit weird. The event itself was awesome, the organisers had sorted it all out with military precision and the bars we went in to were absolutely fine. I just found it really weird walking around London getting tipsy and dressed for a night out when the streets were still packed to the brim with tourists and people mooching around shops! London is such a big place, and I suppose it’s just the unfamiliarity of it all which I found weird. Whenever I get drunk in another city I always feel aware the first few times, but London is a whole new ball game! I’m just glad I was with someone else who knew what they were doing to navigate us around, as I am completely useless even when I’m not full of cocktails and dimsum! Alas, we stayed for a while and went to Electric Ballroom, Brewdog and Barfly and got to see an impressive line up consisting of King Charles, Blood Red Shoes and Feed The Rhino for the low cost ticket price of £20!
I ended up staying in the Travelodge at Covent Garden, which was a great location in the end. Ditching the car at Acton and popping on the ‘red line’ (I’ve no idea what I’m on about when it comes to the London Underground) we jumped off at Holborn and took a short walk to the hotel. I’ve got to say, the Travelodge at Covent Garden has completely changed my opinion of them! The King Size ‘Dreamer Bed’ bed certainly gave you a dreamy nights sleep, and the view from the room was perfect. Granted, the facilities are all a little basic, but when you can nab one for as little as £50 if you pick the right day, what more could you ask for? It was super quiet as well, despite there obviously being a range of tourist and people partying staying at the hotel. The entire night I didn’t hear a peep from any other rooms – and I usually have to sleep with earplugs in! We started the next day with the Travelodge’s all you can eat breakfast. For £7.99 you can eat as much porridge and croissants and bacon as your heart desires, which is the best way to start the next day when there’s always so much walking to do. After breakfast we took the short stroll to Covent Garden itself to have a quick look around. It’s always one of my favourite areas to visit in London as the atmosphere is so relaxed despite the crowds of people.
Overall I had a pretty good visit to London and packed more than I thought in to my little jaunt there. I really can’t wait to go back, if only for that delicious dim sum!