Here's the thing: I'm a typical 20-something living month-to-month on an extremely strict budget, so I usually find myself snacking on some frozen meals from Trader Joe's when the sun goes down (not much has changed since college). I never thought in a million years I'd be given the opportunity to devour dishes in the fanciest restaurants of London, but I was wrong. On a trip to London last month, you can totally say that I ate like a royal for a day (or five), and I don't think my taste buds will ever be the same. If you want to eat like a royal, too, here's where to eat in London during your next visit.
So, you might be wondering why I went to London, and why I was basically restaurant hopping the entire time I was there. It all has to do with a certain couple that's getting married in May: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Have you heard of them? LOL, of course you have. Anyway, I was given the opportunity to check out some lovely spots in London prior to their big day for a few reasons: 1) So I can tell everyone who's visiting England for the wedding about must-go tourist spots and restaurants, and 2) So I could be treated like a royal, dammit.
In order to make the #foodporn-worthy trip possible, I visited places that were recommended by American Express Travel Destination Managers based in London, England. Basically, Destination Managers get to know the ins and outs of their assigned cities and recommend must-go places to Amex travel consultants. Then, the travel consultants relay the information to Amex card holders so they can visit the spots during their trip. American Express made sure I got the "royal" experience while I was in London... and boy, did I. Every single meal — from the breakfast I was served in bed to the dinner I was served on an adorable river boat — was fit for a royal. It's safe to say that my tastebuds are still in shock.
Breakfast In Bed, Ham Yard Hotel
American Express Travel introduced me to the Ham Yard Hotel in the heart of Soho, London, which was added to American Express's Fine Hotel & Resorts program in 2017. Since I was basically a princess during the trip, I got breakfast in bed — and it was beyond lovely.
I ordered avocado toast on fresh grain bread with poached eggs on the side. I also got a bowl of seasonal fruit, pressed juice, and a freaking French press for all the coffee I desired. Believe it or not, that was my first time using a French press, and I felt classy AF. It was a wonderful way to start my "royal" day.
Lunch & Wine Tasting, Berry Brothers & Rudd
If you love wine as much as I do, you'll love Berry Brothers & Rudd. Not only is Berry Brothers & Rudd the oldest wine merchant in the United Kingdom (they've traded from the same shop since 1698 and had wine on the Titanic), but they're also the official wine supplier for the royal family. Plus, their chefs cook delectable food that pairs flawlessly with the wine they serve.
When we arrived at Berry Brothers & Rudd, we tasted a special white wine called Sparkling England (2013 Berry Bros & Rudd by Gusbourne Estate). Apparently, it's the royal family's favorite. The company couldn't confirm or deny whether they are serving Sparkling England at the upcoming royal wedding, but If they do provide this wine for the wedding, I can say I drank the same vino as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
Now, let's talk about food. Lunch at Berry Brothers & Rudd was my favorite during the trip, because the food was light, filling, and flavorful. I ate roasted and shaved cauliflower with cashew nut cream and truffle, as well as the loin of monkfish with Umbrian lentils, cotechino, and sage. That wasn't all, though. The lunch was topped off with three cheeses, including Stilton, Tunworth, and Lincolnshire Poacher. The wines we drank throughout the meal were White Burgundy (2013 Mâcon-la Roche Vineuse, Les Cras Olivier Merlin), Red U.S.A (2015 Au Bon Climat Pinor Noir, Santa Maria Valley, California), and Crusted Port (Berry Bros. & Rud by Dow — bottled in 2012).
Needless to say, the combination of cauliflower, cheese, and wine was delectable.
Afternoon Tea, Sketch
Nothing screams "royal" like afternoon tea, am I right? If you want to truly live like a queen while you're in London, you need to check out Sketch, a millennial pink tea room that transforms into a cocktail lounge. Sketch has an extensive menu of teas and treats, and it's perfect for a post-lunch pick-me-up. Plus, it's totally Insta-worthy. (Trust me, you'll be taking photos for hours inside the rose-colored booths and against the millennial pink walls.)
Dinner, Bocca di Lupo
Guys. I ate dinner where Meghan Markle ate dinner.
I'm not kidding. Apparently, Bocca di Lupo is one of Meghan Markle's go-to dinner spots, and I ate there (that basically makes us friends, right?). Markle has been seen eating at the restaurant, and I can totally understand why. The food was outstanding.
The group I traveled with ordered a little bit of everything off the Italian menu, and we ate family-style at the table. There were scallops, fried artichoke, pasta, cod, and more. TBH, it's the perfect spot if you're visiting London with your boo and need a romantic place to eat. Maybe, if you visit, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will be sitting at the table behind you. (Wishful thinking, I know.)
Cocktails, The American Bar At The Savoy
I ended my London trip sipping on cocktails at the best bar on the planet. The American Bar at The Savoy was named the Best Bar in the World by World's 50 Best Bars in 2017, and it definitely lived up to the honor. The pre-Prohibition-era spot is one of them most historic bars in West London. It sells American-style cocktails and provides a cozy and intimate environment for visitors. Plus, the extensive drink menu tells you background info and ingredients about each beverage, It's a bar fit for royals, and I felt like a princess while sipping on my cocktail.
Other notable restaurants and bars I visited throughout my trip to London include Pollen Street Social, Mr. Fogg's Residence, Hopper's, Duck and Waffle, and Darcie & May Green. If you're visiting London on an empty stomach, I'd recommend all of these places. Who knows, maybe you'll run into the royal family while you're there. If you do, offer them some Sparkling England wine.