We had a full day planned and started with coffee, as one does. I introduced her to the place I’d gone to nearly every morning. Located at the top of the street on a corner, this branch of Caffè Nero was on the way to everywhere I went. If I needed an Uber they didn’t have to navigate the Strand, a major plus with the massive street overhaul underway. Nero had fresh pastry, all the coffees, and porridge. I could level up in quality and go to Paul’s, but this was the spacious, mismatched chairs and sofas, bring your laptop, draw postcards, bask in the sunlight, plenty of elbowroom kind of joint that suited me. I am not that hip. Comfort is Queen.
We walked to the British Museum for the pleasure of strolling through the London streets. She noticed everything. A vertical garden covered the walls of this building.
Egyptian head detail overhead
One more – this doorway, next to our lunch venue.
On to the British Museum where I have spent so many happy hours. I asked for a photo of me on the steps. I wanted the big picture. Fourth column from the left.
Inside the throngs were just beginning, and I took this photo of Robin on the iconic circular steps.
I steered her to the Enlightenment rooms. To me, they best exemplify the twin impulses of curiosity and acquisition that motivated the British museum’s founders. I love the fine woodwork of the bookshelves and display cabinetry. Afterward, we wandered through the Greek and Roman worlds.
Every man with a beard reminds me of Robert.
I made sure Robin saw the Sutton Hoo Helmet, the Warren Cup, and the Lewis Chess pieces. I got to say goodbye to them.
The Lewis Chess Queen looks as homesick as I’ve been.
We headed out for an upscale lunch at Frog.
Ever since our trip to Prague where we stumbled across Field and had one of the most delicious and entertaining meals ever, we book a meal at a place with Michelin stars and good reviews, hoping lightning will strike twice. We’re looking for that rare combination of legerdemain and gustatory pleasure, to be surprised by our meal, in a good way.
The opening salvo was awesome. Fun theatrical presentation, and very, very tasty, as befits a tasting menu. We wanted fancy, they nailed it.
The rest of the meal was 90% delightful, delicious and beautiful
Only one misstep for me, the desert. It involved an ice cream that tasted like cough syrup and a cake with a hard disk center. I mean hard like a disk of cardboard hard. Why? We had no knife and the only way to cut into it was to stab repeatedly with a fork to make a line of perforations to pry it apart. It didn’t taste any better (bottom right photo. Looks innocent, doesn’t it?) I was sorry the meal ended on this note. It was a head-scratcher. We didn’t say anything and now I wish I had. Maybe there was a trick to it. The fact that both plates went back to the kitchen all but uneaten might have given them a clue that the last impression was not a good one.
Happily, that sense of disappointment has faded and the delight of the first playful and delectable round has prevailed. As Robin said after the first round of plates, “My bouche was amused.” Mine was too.
I went back to the hotel and started packing because we only have one more day and I wanted to get as much stowed away in advance as possible. She changed and met her London friends for a full evening out that included bowling in Mayfair.
Tomorrow is the Courtauld Gallery, a fancy afternoon tea, and farewell to London.