I travel to London for work quite a lot and often take the opportunity to catch up with friends when I’m down there. But it’s usually a quick drink or dinner before I rush off to catch the train back home. It’s always lovely to spend time, however short, with friends but we always part with so much more to say, wishing we had more time. So a few weeks ago, I decided to coincide a work trip with a day off and a chance to spend more quality time with my lovely friend Becs. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of doing this before but a Thursday meeting meant we could both take the day off on Friday and start the weekend early.
After a lovely and relaxing dinner at hers followed by a trip to the health club for a swim – we managed a few lengths but spent most of the time at either end of the pool gabbing, obviously – we headed out the next day for shopping, lunching, mooching and more shopping in Covent Garden.
We lived in London for 7 years a little while ago and whilst we spent the odd occasion in Covent Garden for drinks and dinner, I saw it more as a tourist destination than a place for people who lived in the City. It certainly wasn’t a place that I would head to for shopping.
But given that it’s been a few years since I could call myself a Londoner – I guess I am a tourist now – and I’d seen that Petersham Nurseries had recently opened a new restaurant, we decided to head there.
And it has changed quite a bit. It’s still a crush of tourists around the main piazza but the side streets off this are more relaxed and refined. None more so than Floral Court, a beautiful oasis of a courtyard where Petersham Nurseries now has a city outpost.
There are two choices for eating; The Petersham which is the fine dining restaurant and La Goccia, the more relaxed grill serving small plates. After having a look at the menu at The Petersham and not finding much that particularly excited us (although the interior is amazing), we headed to La Goccia where we scored a couple of seats at the bar in front of the open kitchen.
I love sitting at a bar to eat, it reminds me of European city breaks and I feel all sophisticated. As you do. We started with a couple of glasses of fizz whilst we chose our food and watched the kitchen action.
We chose three dishes each and shared; grazing, drinking and chatting, as you do when you get together with good friends, about everything minor to major.
Burrata, Chilli, Oregano, Olive Oil and Prosciutto Croquettes.
Crab Linguine and Pizzetta with Nduja.
Chicken Spiedino, Gremolata and Courgettes with Olive Oil.
And dessert. Which we’d chosen before the main course, obviously. Wood fired Nespole, Thyme, Honey and Mascarpone Semifreddo, Nut and Praline Wafer. Both delicious.
Full and happy, we were ready to carry on shopping. We had a mooch around the Petersham shop, which is bursting at the seams with lovely things, all wonderfully styled. What a job to have – I’d be in my element.
Just across the road from Floral Court is The Shop at Bluebird, another mini oasis from the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden.
To say I wanted everything in this place would be an understatement. Everything was beautifully styled and the building itself is spectacular.
After that we headed back to the real world join the throngs in Zara and Mango, not quite such a lovely experience, and then it was time for me to head for the train. Such a lovely day and one which I am definitely going to repeat again and again.