Thursday, 9 April 2009

S1E2: UK 2009 - London calling.

I am at home today nursing the snuffles and a cough. Thankfully I have been allowed to not be on call tonight so I can take some delightful medication to knock me out and stop me spluttering everywhere the second I lie down. But thankfully I am still able to continue the story of food....

I left you when I had just landed in London. My lovely friend and travel buddy Jen picked me up and we caught the tube back to her place where I learnt that in the UK, Just Right does not have honey in it but Special K does have milk powder in it. Cereal and toast with Vegemite formed the majority of my breakfasts over there, especially seeing as Jen had forced me into staying in hostels.

I arrived at 6am, so once home and fed we took off to experience some trademark London tourist destinations. One of these was Tesco Express, where we went for early lunch.

Behold, the vegan prepackaged sandwich! Any vegan prepackaged sandwich in England is virtually guaranteed to be salad and hummus, but as I was to find out later in the journey you are not guaranteed to find a vegan prepackaged sandwich at many places. It was a bit dry, but hit the spot. We enjoyed our sandwiches while sitting on the grass at St James Park, surrounded by daffodils and a cute little squirrel!

More walking and site seeing. Jen took me to Oxford St where she showed me Primart, which I now know is hell on earth. Around about 3pm, the fact I had not really slept for the past 48 hours suddenly occurred to my brain. So we caught the tube for some emergency late lunch before heading home for me to rest my weary soul.

The place of emergency food was Red Veg, the one on Dean St for those who know it, because apparently there are more. Red Veg is like a vegetarian/vegan fast food haven. I had the Vegwurst with caramelised onions, mustard and ketchup. The bread is sweet and cardboardy, just like fast food should be. It was pretty OK, though nothing too special. We also got some fries, which were good but went cold so quickly, and some spicy potato wedges. These were fabulous, and from this point on potatoes started popping up fairly regularly in our dining needs!

Home to Jen's to doze, and then somehow I managed to make dinner.

It was a pretty simple concoction of spaghetti with garlic and chili (super hot chili, it was good), roasted zucchini and a sort of sauce made by sauteing cherry tomatoes in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. Good stuff before I had to head off to bed for official sleeping.

The next day was more wandering and site seeing. We met us with Zara, a friend of mine from Sydney days, and had lunch at a place called Chi Vegetarian Buffet, which was somewhere near Leicester Square.

It was 8.50 for all you could eat, so I got two heaping plates. The food was OK, but not particularly hot. As you can see, there was a whole selection of different things - rice, noodles, spring rolls, prawn crackers, broccoli, seaweed, stir-fry vegetables, roast potato, red and green curries, sweet and sour, brown sauce, black bean sauce... The list goes on. There seem to be quite a few similar places around London, and to be honest some of the other places we walked past looked a bit better than this one.

For dinner we went out for Indian with Jen's housemates. We went to Tulsi Pure Vegetarian,
which is near Wembley. While described as vegan friendly by Happy Cow, most items do have dairy, but if you ask there are a few that don't they can point out to you. Though it was a little hard for this to be fully understood.

I had a Vegetable Moghlai, which was quite nice though a bit sweet. Had a good amount of heat in it, which I like. For non-vegans there is an extensive menu, though there are no descriptions so sometimes it is a magical mystery as to what your dinner will be like. Everyone else really enjoyed their dinners though!

Then home to sleep. And wake up in the morning to pick up the car and begin the first leg of our journey. A leg that would end in that magical place called Brighton.


  1. An Asian buffet that does roast Potatoes?? WOW!
    I'm liking the sound of the Fast food place too. I wasn't vegan when I lived in London so when I do go back there I will have oodles of places to visit and try out. Where I lived in Hackney there was a Vegetarian/Vegan restaurant at the end of my road. It was called Pumpkins. Not sure if it's still there or not but it was an awesome place.

  2. Hope your snuffles go. Did you avoid being ill on your holiday? I know you had a bit of a cold before you went.

  3. I was struck with some snuffles that started in Bath, around about day 4 of the road trip of awesome. My head doesn't like sudden extreme changes of temperature LOL

    And I know, the roast potatoes at the asian buffet were... odd, but tasty! Would have been better if they had been actually hot. But, as you will see, I am a shameless potato addict.

  4. Wow! You did well, 48 hours before your brain realized no sleep!!

    Mmmm potatoey goodness!

    I said it yesterday but feel better soon! Sniffles suck in the worst way!

  5. weird, i was just tucking into my bugsy sandwich that I bought at lunchtime and what did i see pop up on ma google reader - your pic of said sarnie!!

    I think i need to visit london soon, there's no veggie places round here!

  6. i am jealous of your trip! yummy eats!

  7. I am so jealous of all the London yumminess! The food from Red Veg is really making me drool.

    I hope the snuffles and the cough go away soon!

  8. Red Veg sounds like a place that needs to open up in Aus!

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