London – St. James Park & Soho/Chinatown

Diana is my best friend from Dublin days. We kept each other company during the lockdown time when our movements were restricted to a bare mininum. Soon after I moved to Lisbon, she relocated to London. We vowed to meet again, and we did!

London is great to visit anytime of the year, as long as you are prepared for the weather.

Of all the parks in London, my favourite is the St. James. For not only you have the views, the gardens, the water fowls, you may also catch the guard change in front of the Buckingham Palace, if you are there at the right time.

St. James in March

St. James in June

Pictured below: Canada Gate; Australia Gate; the Victoria Memorial with gilded Winged Victory at the top; Spectators of the Guard Change; and South & West Africa Gate

Follow the music…

The park is minutes away from the National Gallery

as well as Soho and Chinatown where good food awaits…

Kiln is a trendy Thai restaurant in Soho that’s always packed as soon as the door opens. The cooking is contemporary Thai with fine British ingredients

I was there several years ago and had the clay pot with glass noodles (pictured above). This time I wanted to try something different. So I ordered Ox heart Laap with Mahkwaen and Vientiane style Koi salad of hake and winter purslane. Both were very well spiced and with fresh herbs – as proper Thai should be – I did notice that the portions had gotten smaller over the years, but apparently that did not stop people from coming.

Note Kiln was placed No. 19 on the Estrella National Restaurant Awards 2022.

Palomar is an Israeli restaurant serving the food of modern day Jerusalem with influences from Southern Spain, North Africa & the Levant.

I was also there years ago and had the moussaka that was unforgettable. Sadly it was no longer on the menu. This time around I ordered the warm and pillowy homemade pitas (the BEST of its kind!) with green olive labneh, za’atar & caramelised pistachios; and Josperised Aubergine smoothered with Tahini, cucumber yoghurt, cherry tomatoes and almonds. Both were fantastic. I definitely will be back for more😋

Note: I found this recipe of the Joseperised Aubergine on Conde Nast Traveller. I look forward to trying it.

Kova Patisserie:

Years ago before Sakurado, This Japanese pastry shop was the place to go for millecrepe.

It is still there in Soho and Chinatown, As to which one is the best, you be the judge.

Bageriet:

When I went to London it was right in the middle of the Lent, I was so happy to find Semlor at this Swedish bakery. They have giant ones too but the small one was enough to quench my thirst.

Dumplings Legend:

When I lived in Seattle, I was surrounded by a good variety of Chinese restaurants. If I craved dim sum and got really picky, Vancouver was just a short drive away. Now in Lisbon, I can pretty much forget about Chinese food.

One of the missions of my London trip, therefore, is to find a good restaurant for dim sum and this is the best I’ve had so far.

The restaurant is known for its XLB – Xiao Long Bao – soup dumplings. It also has the best chicken feet I’ve had anywhere, a really good lotus leaf wrapped chicken sticky rice and steamed Mala sponge cake.

After lunch, Chinatown Bakery is the good place to stock up on snacks and breakfast pastries. Here we have black sesame bun, red bean sesame ball, lotus shaped bbq pastry and wife’s cake.

Note: This was one of the few bakeries in Chinatown that accepts credit cards.

Tsujiri is a Japanese teahouse chain from Kyoto. Its Chinatown location is on Newport Ct, also known as the bubble tea corner where you find all kinds of bubble tea brands.

As to Hong Kong style dessert, Five Friends Desserts is just around the corner. It has an extensive menu with “seasonal” desserts (hot or cold) year round.

So there you have it, my short guide to my favourite park & food in London.

Note: The details of the Changing the Guard ceremony can be found at the House Divisions website here. The schedules is posted here, locate the Buckingham Palace Guard section.

Coming up next: Summer in the French Alps

11 thoughts on “London – St. James Park & Soho/Chinatown

  1. I’ve never heard of nor been to St. James Park, but what a lovely green space, no matter the time of year! I’ve only strolled through Soho and unfortunately did not try out the London food scene as much as I would’ve liked…but Chinatown is calling my name, and I hope to go back to London someday. Looking forward to more posts from the Big Smoke!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s the green space alongside the Mall, not too big but beautiful and enough birdlife to make it interesting. I’m surprised how the Chinatown has become over the years. Lots of new restaurants. I think I will explore more next time as well 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the photographs. Last time I was in London I think Victoria was still living in the Palace. Well, ok, not quite but it has been a very long time – and we have been here in South Australia for 36 years.

    Liked by 1 person

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