As the title suggests, it has been two months since we moved to London. We haven't quite completely assimilated yet though. My Aussie accent has had me in trouble a couple of times, and produced many laughs from my colleagues at work. Here's a classic which still makes us all giggle:
Talking about tipping culture, I said: 'A fancy restaurant, like a degustation?'
They thought I said: 'A fancy restaurant, like a dingo station?'
There was clearly some confusion over what I believed made a restaurant qualify as fancy, and what exactly a 'dingo station' was. In the end we all decided that we should open a restaurant called 'dingo station' and when an order didn't arrive for a diner, we could just say 'dingo stole your dinner'. I know, very poor taste.
Other amusing Aussie terms my work colleagues have enjoyed include 'coffee plunger', which is called a 'cafetiere' here, and 'daggy', which is just not used at all here.
Anyway, besides these few minor language hiccups, we have settled into the Hackney area easily and have actually kind of found the London equivalent of North Melbourne. Like North Melbourne, it is coffee snob and fixie bike central, with lots of yuppies running around, walking their cute dogs, going to yoga or producing some elaborate street art installation between their chai-quinoa brekkie and their vintage American style burger lunch. Naturally, I feel right at home!
I haven even started writing some articles about my new home. There's my Dorchester Hotel high tea review on High Tea Society, plus a little round up of brunch places in London that I wrote for Geckos Tales here.
Another recent discovery in our North Melbourne-esque neighbourhood was a board games cafe called Draughts. They have over 500 board games to choose from, and a 'Games Guru' on duty to help you select the right game based on how long you want to play and how many players you have. If you don't know how to play a game, or want to try a new one, the Games Guru will set up the game for you and teach you how to play. The tables are large and quite high, perfect for board games, with handy little metal racks underneath to hold board game boxes, extra pieces, bags and anything else you don't want on the table during a game. Plus you can order a beer, a coffee, snacks like jelly beans and cheese boards, or a small selection of more dinner-y type items while you play.
We are also absolutely loving the number of cute English pubs in London that serve great food. East London must have the highest density of gastro pubs in the world. On Saturday we went on a 'date night' to The Three Crowns. They had a delicious seasonal menu and I started the night with a quince champagne cocktail (check my instagram feed for a pic) and ended it with a giant hazelnut brownie served warm, with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce.
Speaking of chocolate, we also managed to squeeze in a trip to a chocolate show, called the Salon du Chocolat, between rugby games two weekends ago. There were a huge number of free tastings and very delicious products, but highlights for me were the desserts at the Valrhona dessert bar and the Italian chocolates tasting session which involved a lot of samples of high-end nutella-like spreads. Yuuuuuuuuuuum!
On the less fun side of moving to London, I'm having to get very creative with the soups, risottos and pasta dishes I know how to make, as we now haven't had a working oven for about a month. First the wrong person came out to look at the oven (they thought they were there to look at the waste disposal unit), then a new part had to be ordered and now it looks like a whole new oven is required, which the landlord, no doubt, wants to avoid paying for for as long as possible. On the plus side, I think I've finally convinced Ed to come over to the dark side and love pasta as much as I do. It's all about silver linings, especially when there are now so many rain clouds in London in which to find them!