Monday morning means Greg heads into the London office and I'm on my own for sightseeing. Our room at the Citizen M Bankside is on the small side (meant to be) so I let Greg get ready first and out the door before I get ready. I head towards the Tate modern museum (stopping for some Starbucks along the way) and cross the Millenium Bridge. My first stop of the day is for some shopping in Covent Garden. I popped into a variety of stores but made purchases at Hotel Chocolat and the London Transport Museum shop. I ended up leaving the area with chocolates for friends, perfume for myself, toys for kids, and quirky tokens for everyone.
My next stop was requested by Greg, Forbidden Planet. Forbidden Planet is full of collectibles, comics, and entertainment paraphernalia. Inside Forbidden Planet I was looking for some blank figurines for Greg to customize but I came out with a Kidrobot collectible and some Harry Potter gear for Porscha.
I haven't visited Chinatown in London before so now was a great time to visit since I was in the area. I decided to enjoy lunch solo at Beijing Dumpling House. I definitely ordered too much food for one person but I wanted to try different items and get a feel of the restaurant overall. I really liked the ambiance of the restaurant although it was a little awkward when I'm facing the front of the restaurant and then a gentleman was seated at the table in front of me facing the back of the restaurant. The staff were welcoming but not overly friendly.
I ordered the honey garlic ribs, pickled cucumbers, and the pork xiao long bao (also known as soup dumplings). I've ordered these exact items from a couple of different menus over the last year (I may be predictable lol) but the ribs and pickled cucumbers were the best I've tried. The ribs had a good amount of meat on them and we well balanced between sweet and savory. The cucumbers were refreshing and were not overpowered by garlic as I've had in the past. The xiao long bao's were good but I still prefer the ones from Gourmet Dumpling House in Boston.
Time to walk off lunch! I made my way over to Carnaby Street. I had finished my shopping for the day but my sister and I love the unique shoes from Irregular Choice. Irregular Choice shoes are feminine, quirky, and bold. The perfect accessory for us! I had instructions to head to the store and see if that had a couple of different styles available in my sisters size. It's not exactly easy to work with staff at a store while waiting for responses from your sister with a time change while she's at work. Luckily I found shoes that she was looking for (think Star Wars) and got to see the fun and quirky store for myself.
As the sun was finally coming out and us pedestrians were thawing I hopped in a cab and headed back to the hotel. I had such a good time chatting with Steve my cab driver! We chatted about traffic, construction, geography, traveling, blogging, It was really wonderful having a fun chat with someone after spending the day solo.
Back at the hotel I poured a glass of wine, put on a free movie, and relaxed until Greg was done working for the day.
I made way back across the river and met up with Greg and a few of his co-workers. Our first stop of the evening was to their favorite local pub, Three Cranes. We ordered beers and wine (for me) and were able to snag the table in the back room so that we could all sit down and chat. I'm not sure how many rounds we enjoyed but the room was filled with conversations about work, life, travel, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and lots of laughter. The proprietor finally had to ask if we were done because he was wanting to go home.
I definitely needed some food and luckily I wasn't alone in this. Around the corner from Three Cranes is Thai Square Mansion. Luckily the restaurant allowed us to order before closing. We ordered a couple of duck spring rolls, a couple chicken masaman curries, and a couple green curries. The food was very good and I really liked the contemporary feel of the restaurant.
After dinner the three of us said our good nights to the rest of the group and walked back to our hotel.