Back in January, like every idiot going, I decided to set myself a couple of new year’s resolutions. And despite imminent failure hanging over my head at every turn, I was determined to see these resolutions through. My mission was helped along by the fact that one of my resolutions was a really good one, mainly because it was vague AF. All I resolved to do was ‘see a bit more of London’.
Eaaaasy mate. Easy.
To further help myself out, I created a really cool* & handy excel spreadsheet listing all the unique / touristy / amazing places in London that I haven’t been to yet. Woo.
Resolutions 0 Harriet 1.
(*Not even being slightly sarcastic with the word cool here, I actually love an excel spreadsheet and google sheets are my current BAE for planning life, seriously, give it a go!)
The other not so vague resolution I made was to give up drinking alcohol for the whole of January. dun, dun duuuuuuuuh.
Yeaaaaah good one Hazza.
Apparently not content with being cold, broke and lacking some serious amounts of vitamin D thanks to the sun setting at approx 3.06pm every day (SERIOUSLY WINTER WTF IS UP WITH THAT. IT’S NOT EVEN NIGHTTIME – GET IN THE SEA (soz just found this guy on twitter and now I keep telling everything to get in the sea))…I also thought that no booze was the way to go for the first month of 2016.
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Or maybe not…because it turns out that being a sober Susan and attempting to get out and see more of London actually go hand in hand.
(The main reason for that is that when you’re not blind drunk or wallowing in a pit of hungoverness you actually get shit done. Shit like visiting lots of cool / touristy / amazing places…places that aren’t wild bars & dark clubs or the corner shop for all the beige food and bottles of yazoo to nurse your hangover.)
So with my vague & not so vague resolutions combined, I embarked on the new year with a renewed sense of hope & motivation.
And whaddyaknow…clever old me managed to not drink for the whole month (and I even went to a football match which normally involves me downing at least 8 pints lad, lad, lad (might have exaggerated the number of pints I can drink, double lad, lad, lad)) and this meant that getting out and about in London and ticking places off my spreadsheet was even easier then I thought.
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Oh Hi, don’t mine me, Queen of New Year’s Resolutions & a women with some serious willpower. Yup, Harriet Killen killin’ 2016.
A thank-you, a thank you very much.
So anyway getting to the main part of the story…one of those places on my list was, ta da, The British Museum.
And here’s where I should also probably admit that it was pictures of the ceiling in the atrium of the museum that made me want to go and visit…as opposed to all the interesting artefacts and stuff in the cabinets. Soz not soz. She’s a beauty…look…
Ceiling goals. Amiright? #dontjudgeme
Back to the story….
Thanks to being in full on a booze-free babe mode, I was ready & raring to visit the British Museum early on a Saturday morning (no Friday night jägers for me ta!) and my boyfriend had agreed to tag along for the visit (no I didn’t tell him the real reason for my wanting to go – he doesn’t understand these kinda things) which was great news as he’s a black cabbie so it meant that he could drive us there and I wouldn’t have to get the bus. Black cab boyfriends for the win!
He also said he would treat me to breakfast because he is actually everything you could ever wish for in a boyfriend. (sick bucket for anyone?) and I’m like, the luckiest girl in the world to have found this absolute gem of a man. (bleugh, bleugh, bleugh…ain’t couples gross.)
That said he let me down, a bit, when we arrived outside Aussi breakfast spot Granger & Co in Clerkenwell (a place I’ve been wanting to visit for an age now) and he basically took one look at the menu on the wall outside the door before giving me that ‘are you feckin’ kidding me’ look and then getting back in the taxi to drive over to Exmouth market instead.
I mean, I kinda knew in my heart of hearts that my boyfriend wouldn’t be overly keen on the menu…too many chai seeds and not enough cumberland sausage for him…but I was still a teeny weeny disappointed to miss out on eating there again (last time the queue was too long, ffs). One day Granger & Co, one day.
We didn’t have a specific place in mind when we arrived at Exmouth Market so we walked the length of the street and I took pictures of some of the cute restaurants and shops because Exmouth Market is absolutely adorbs.
There’s Macellaio, a new Italian gaff with red meat & red chesterfields! Not exactly what we were after at 10am on a Saturday morning so we kept walking…(also couldn’t work out whether the meat in the window was real or not?!)
…and sailed past Botanique, a beautiful looking ‘Artisan’ store. I’m not really sure what Artisan actually means but it sounds like it’s in the same hipster category as kale, quinoa and one-gear bikes…gentrification eat your heart out.
Further on down is In with the Old which I think is the ideal place to take your mum if she’s ever in town. Not that I’m stereotyping mums or nuffin’ but I can almost guarantee she wouldn’t be able to walk past this shop without going in…well my mum definitely wouldn’t.
Other cool places on Exmouth Market are:
Caravan which is amazing spot for brunch but there was a queue out the door and we couldn’t be bothered to wait.
Then there’s Paesan which my sister, my mum and I have eaten at before read about my trip here.
You’ve also got the new Coin Laundry where the menu is totes retro and has comforting options such as Chicken Kievs, Ham, Egg & chips and chips & curry sauce. Basically all the stuff your mum and dad used to feed you as a kid, before avocados and courgetti ruled the world and before pretending to be allergic to gluten was a thing! It looks like a really nice place to eat but chicken kiev for brekkie wasn’t really on my agenda…
…So we kept walking and found, cute as a button, Cafe Pistou right at the bottom of Exmouth Market.
OK so I *might* have chosen it because the mint green exterior matched my coat but surely that’s good enough reason to eat there anyway.
I’ve just realised what an epic blogger fail it is that I didn’t get a pic of me outside in said matching coat. BUT WHAT YA GONNA DO?
We headed in out of the the cold and once through the front door we pulled back a curtain to get into the restaurant – French places simply LOVE an entrance curtain and I’m partial to one too – they just make the place feel a bit more luxurious, like you’re slipping into a secret den, even if the real reason they’re there isn’t for exclusivity but for the not so exciting reason of keeping the draught out.
We took a table for two on the far side of the restaurant and there were quite a few spare…not sure whether this is good or bad news? I guess it’s good news for those who hate booking in advance but it also had me wondering if maybe it wasn’t packed out because it wasn’t that good, well, only time would tell.
The place itself is fairly big with the bar sitting slap bang in the middle of the venue. There are two tone brick walls which are adorned with brass framed pictures and hanging above the bar are lots of retro French postcards. The place has a lot of the trappings of a classic French-brasserie.
So far, so very lovely.
The breakfast, nay brunch menu (does anyone do breakfast on a weekend anymore?) is your standard affair.
Eggs benny, French toast, Croque Monsieurs and Madames. With Bloody Mary’s and Kir Royales to drink…unless you’re me and you’re doing Dry-Jan in which case you say THANKS BUT NO THANKS.
And instead go for your usual drinks order of a latter for me and an OJ for the boy.
Food wise I was JUST as predictable and had, you guessed it…Eggs Benedict. I wonder if I’ll ever be sick of hollandaise sauce? Probs not.
As for my boyfriend he had the French toast (or eggy bread as he insists on calling it) with a side of crispy bacon.
I also persuaded him into letting me order the goat’s cheese & chorizo pissaladière …these are puff pastry bites topped with caramelised onions and, goat’s cheese & chorizo obvs.
They were really good and as you can hopefully see in the picture above, ideal for sharing. I wasn’t expecting them to be so ‘finger foodie’ but it turned out to be a good thing. The only minor problem I had with them is that the caramelised onion was a bit strong and I’m not a HUGE fan of it anyway…I may have eaten just the cheese & chorizo off the top of the last few.
However if you’re a big group I recks you should get these and the Fig, sunblush tomatoes, Gorgonzola and herbes de Provence one and that would be the perfect sharing starter for you and your pals..
The eggs benny came with a Bayonne ham which is cured ham, dryer and saltier than the ham you usually get with eggsy B but I thought it went well. In my head or rather mouth it was more like a parma ham which I know is Italian and therefore probably nothing like Bayonne ham (which is French) but that’s the only way I can think to describe it.
I also added a side of avocado to my eggs benny and if you haven’t tried this yet then you, my friend, are missing out BIG TIME.
Avocados are like my crack, I will have them wherever, whenever and with whatever I can but it just so happens that they go particularly well with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. So ALWAYS asked for a side of avocrackdo if you’ve ordered Eggs Benedict.
^^^ Hubba hubba!!
I was absolutely stuffed by the end and although we cleaned our plates we didn’t finish all of the goats cheese puff pastry bits but we did solid job of trying!
On the whole Cafe Pistou was very good, I guess the only thing that didn’t make me want to rush back was the atmosphere. I mentioned above it was pretty quiet when we went so there wasn’t much of a buzz about the place. However it’s probably a different kettle of fish (what even is that saying about?!) in the evening…with a lot of the food being sharing stuff I would think you’d probably get some big groups and it’d be a lot livelier.
Fed & watered, we paid the bill and jumped back in the cab to, finally, head over to the British Museum.
Somehow we ended up going in the back entrance which meant that we walked around the whole museum before setting foot in the atrium, basically we saved the best bit until last…that ceiling though!
Okay so maybe that makes me a terribly uncultured and ignorant person by saying that the ceiling is the best bit about the British Museum. Of course there are hundreds of cabinets and rooms filled with loads of historic and important things but, what can I say, I’m a very visual and easily pleased person. And I did like some of the stuff in the cabinets but the ceiling has a certain wow factor. Go and have a look and tell me you don’t feel the same!
We spent about roughly an hour walking around the place and it was pretty busy which is to be expected on a Saturday. Particularly the Egyptian part…everyone seemed to be hanging around those rooms.
Oh yeah another thing to note is that the British Museum is in no way a museum all about being British like I thought it would be. Sadly there are no exhibitions detailing the evolution of tea or why we love to queue or our need to ask about the weather when there’s an awkward silence. Which is a shame because that would be a great museum!
Like all museums in London, The British Musuem is free to visit and therefore it’s a cheap way to spend a morning.
Two out two resolutions nailed we headed home via the flower market where my boyfriend bought me a bunch of flowers (and then I think he threw some insults at me because he was being too nice and it was getting weird) and then I promptly fell asleep on the sofa as soon as we got in. So maybe a sober me isn’t all that different to a hungover me.
Thanks for reading!