My first full day in London was spent exploring with Greg (no work until Monday). A couple blocks from the Citizen M Bankside hotel is Borough Market. Our breakfast was definitely unorthodox. Greg enjoyed a porchetta inspired sandwich (pork, herbs, arugula, and crunchy skin) from Roast Hog. I decided to go a sweeter route and ordered a delicious dairy free cupcake from The Free From Bakehouse. To wash down our breakfast we went across the street to Starbucks. I can't live without my Matcha Lemonade. Unfortunately, London doesn't know how to make a Matcha Lemonade. The barista was happy to listen to me on how to make it and was happy with the end result and was all ready to Instagram it. Later on in our stay a barista (at a different location) tried to give me lemonade, milk, and matcha in a glass - so thankful I looked at it before sipping!!
We walked along the river to Shakespeare's Globe Theater where we had tickets for a tour. The tour takes you through to the outside of the theater, inside to the first level, and then up to the second level. During our tour there was a youth group performing and so they ask you not to take any photographs. Luckily we were able to get a few in while the group was backstage. Hearing about the history of the original theater and this theater was wonderful. We both agree that if we get back to London during the season we would love to see a play here!
After the tour we had a very windy and cold walk across Millennium Bridge to St Paul's Cathedral. We pre-purchased tickets and had no wait. Whenever I visit a church I always make sure to light a candle, say a prayer, and be thankful for our blessings. The church is beautiful and I wish we were allowed to take pictures so that I could share them with you.
We did climb all the way to the top of the Dome and the views were well worth it! The climb up and down did help us to work up an appetite and while it is something we could get at home, Wagamama on a cold and dreary day sounded perfect! Wagamama's new Tantanmen Beef Brisket Ramen was hot, savory, and slightly spicy. Perfect!
After lunch we continued walking east to Leadenhall Market. Sadly, the market was closed but it turned out to be a good thing for uncrowded photographs. As we walked back to our hotel we took the longer route and went over Tower Bridge. It was around this point that my foot was killing me (I apparently had a pulled tendon in my foot and saw my dr right before the trip). I was hoping that a cab would cross our path but we had no such luck. We continued walking to our hotel where I finally sat down with a glass of wine and some Motrin.
I was so hopeful for a wonderful dinner at Maze by Gordon Ramsay. After checking in for our reservation the staff helped us with our coats and showed us to our table. Once at our table the sommelier showed us the wine list but we opted for a cocktail followed by a bottle of Sake. Unfortunately, it took at least 15 minutes for our waiter and our drinks to come to the table.
For dinner we ordered 5 piece sashimi for 2, Scallop, Octopus, Foie Gras, Eggplant miso, Congee, and the Duck. I wasn't thrilled with the the way the restaurant brings out multiple dishes at once. We basically had two sessions, appetizers and then entree. I know it's several weeks later but the only dish that was memorable was the Eggplant Miso. The eggplant was tender without being overcooked and the flavor was bold and unique. Our second favorite dish was probably the Scallop. All of the others were just average. My biggest problem is that we hardly ever saw our waiter. We had empty dishes sitting in front of us during both courses for over 10 minutes. The table next to us was seated after us and finished their desserts before our entree dishes were cleared. We asked to see the dessert menu but after waiting and waiting and waiting we decided to say no thank you.
The manager came over to ask if there was a problem and we said yes. There was a big problem with the service. I explained that the food was good, the speed of the kitchen wasn't a problem, but that our waiter was hardly ever around. We spent at least 45 minutes (out of the 2 hours and 15 minutes we were there) waiting for assistance with dirty dishes, had to pour our own sake's, and took forever to receive the dessert menus.
The manager was apologetic and wanted to do something for us but we already paid and weren't looking for any special treatments. I was happy though that he read the notes in our reservation asking for permission to take pictures in the kitchen. It was very nice getting a quick tour, taking pictures, and hearing about the chefs process.
My final thoughts are that for the cost there are many other restaurants in London that offer terrific food and wonderful service.
We ended our night at the bar inside of Citizen M Bankside Hotel with Greg's co-worker. We thoroughly enjoyed many cocktails, waters, and laughs before heading to bed!!