"When a man is tired of London, then he is tired of life"Oscar Wilde
What a weekend! It was at least two days too short, but our two day sojourn to the Big Smoke was a feast for the senses. It almost ended before it had begun with all trains cancelled from Worcester to Paddington (aaaaarrgh!) but a detour to Birmingham and a mad dash across New Street station to make the connection meant we arrived no later than originally planned.
A black cab took us the short distance to our hotel - The London Edition on Berners Street. When you walk into the lobby your jaw hits the floor. It is INCREDIBLE! The grand period features - double height ceilings, unbelievably ornate cornicing (there are angel carvings, for goodness sake!) and wrought iron balconies give the feeling of intense old-moneyed luxury whilst the furniture and fittings remaining entirely modern. Breathtakingly beautiful...
|Photo by Nicholas Koenig|
Our room wasn't available until later in the afternoon, but we had a table booked at Polpo on Beak Street for 1.30, so we wandered out towards Soho. We bumped into my big brother there as he was recording a voiceover for a video game nearby, which was a gorgeous surprise as was the delicious food.
Polpo's website describes it as "a bacaro, which is a Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good, young local wines". Basically it serves unbelievably good small dishes - like Italian tapas. It was packed to the rafters (as you might expect on a Friday lunchtime), but our selection arrived swiftly. The highlight for me were the spicy pork and fennel meatballs and the pizzette with cured pork shoulder and pickled pepper.
So good - salty and spicy and just mmmmmm.
After lunch, we wandered back up Regent Street via Liberty for a spot of anniversary present shopping. *New bag alert*
|Bag - Marc By Marc Jacobs @ Liberty|
Mr Wren and I are totally stealing most of the design details from this room for our next bedroom redesign. It had the perfect blend of cocooning cosiness and luxury. Love love love.
Dinner was booked at the restaurant downstairs, The Berners Tavern, and having read that you'd feel out of place if you didn't dress up, I dutifully donned a proper posh frock.
I have never before eaten anywhere so utterly beautiful. And the service, wine and food didn't disappoint either. Mr Wren went for prawn and lobster cocktail (so very 70s!) followed by Macaroni cheese with braised ox cheek (so rich and delicious). I had the ham egg and peas (deep fried runny-yolked duck egg, with minted peas and crisped ham - amazing) followed by the breast and braised leg of duck with caramel apples and plum puree which was utterly wonderful. Mr Wren then declared himself too full for pudding at which point I informed him that he would be having pudding so that I could taste two.
which I did try and it was divine - particularly the almond sorbet, which was like iced marzipan and completely heavenly. My own choice was the Toasted coconut creme brulee with pineapple, coconut and malibu sorbet. Incredible. I didn't want to leave my seat. I mean, I could quite seriously move into this place but Mr Wren needed to stand up so that he could digest the epic proportions of cream and carbohydrates he had just consumed. So we wandered the 50 metres to the Lobby bar, where Mr Wren had what he declared to be the best Old Fashioned ever made for him.
Then we chanced our arm and managed to get a table at the hotel's reservations only Punch Room which has the feel of an old manor house library or a gentleman's club with it's oak panelled walls, huge open fire and chesterfield detailed seating. We shared a jasmine tea infused punch bowl for two, ladleing glassfuls from the silver vessel placed between us which felt incredibly decadent and deceptively light and palate cleansing (forget about all the gin that went into it). This has got to be one of the best bars in the world - great music, delicious drinks, private laid back atmosphere - do whatever you can to get a reservation.
And that goes for the London Edition as a whole. Whether you're travelling on business, romance, or even with children (we saw several very contented children around the hotel) this is a wonderful place to stay. It has a great location, a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street but it feels remarkably calm. If you have a celebratory meal coming up, I can't think of many places that would feel more special than the Berners Tavern. If you're meeting friends or colleagues for a drink, then any of the bars would be a treat to prop up. Breakfast was pretty amazing too. I loved this place. I don't think I'll be able to stay anywhere else in London again. It's like a home away from home. If your home happens to be the most beautifully designed and catered place in the world. Oh Edition. I miss you. Let's do it again sometime.