We were in London today to collect our new passports. Being there with Badgerman was a very different experience to going on my own, although I wouldn’t go as far as saying it was particularly more relaxed.
For one thing, he was not allowed inside the Consulate with us. Considering the size of the place and how busy it can get, I was not surprised but it was nonetheless a very odd moment. Instead he went off and bought himself a coffee, whilst I queued and got my fingerprints checked.
The good thing is that he is as much of a foodie as I am and he was quite keen to find somewhere interesting to have lunch and so we had a little look around South Kensington. The previous two times I went up to London, I approached the trips in an entirely practical way. How quick can I make it there and back with minimum fuss? Of course I was alone with Little Girl and not on a tourist trip, and I used to work just round the corner for four years so I was not going to linger more than necessary. I just went as fast as possible to hopefully minimize the likelihood of Little Girl having a melt-down on the train on the way back to Sussex. This involved eating on the go from one of the Victoria Station food stalls
or a sneaky McDonald’s.
Today we took our time and had lunch in the most unlikely of places, a wonderful cheese shop just around the corner from South Kensington station called La Cave à Fromage. Now, I am a big cheese fan but I will be the first to admit that I was reluctant at first to open the door on a sweltering day like today and then eat there. To put it politely, most cheese shops I’ve been to before have had a certain whiff about them, sometimes even from across the street, that make it difficult to breathe in them. But the sandwiches on offer in this particular shop looked amazing and so we decided to give it a go.
I was pleasantly surprised when it was lovely, cool and almost scent-free inside. Obviously, you still know you’re in a cheese shop but that’s because everywhere you look you are surrounded by cheese, not because you start to smell like one.
The sandwiches were on fresh artisan baguettes with sun-dried tomatoes, charcuterie, roasted artichokes and obviously cheese. The type of charcuterie and cheese differed from one sandwich to the next so between the two of us, we had one with a hard cheese – it might have been a Comté or something like that – and one with a mild goat’s cheese; they were both delicious. I had a glass of fragrant white wine with it which enhanced the taste of the food and was so generous we ended up sharing it. Who would have thought that wine would go with a sandwich?
It is primarily a shop and not a restaurant so the menu was limited but there were other things on offer such as a salad, platters of charcuterie and cheeses and hot dishes of French cheese specialties such as Raclette and Tartiflette. Had it been colder weather, I might have been tempted by one of the last two.
In any case, the food was delicious, the staff friendly and when we were done, we headed next door to Wafflemeister for a warm Belgian waffle with hot chocolate sauce, whipped cream and a scoop of strawberry gelato (I know, healthy!).
Sometimes a nice lunch is all you need to have a pleasant day. Well, the sun was nice too.