During mine and the Beards Staycation earlier this month it was my Birthday. It was lovely to have time off for it and once again the sun was beaming down and the temperature lovely and warm. This meant another day out in London was in order, a special Birthday one. So after a morning spent getting Pampered followed by a Birthday brunch at home (accompanied by Bucks Fizz of course!) we headed out into the Sunshine. On the previous two days of our staycation we did some Hiking in Hampstead Heath, followed the next day by even more walking around the parks in Greenwich. So this time I wanted to do something a little more relaxing, with more of a City-vibe, something more ‘Hey, I’m turning 29 today, drink anyone?’ With this in mind we headed to Soho.
I’ve been to Soho on countless nights out, it’s one of my favourite places in London, but it’s not somewhere I get to hang out during the day much anymore, not since I first moved to London in 2007. So after a little bit of shopping near Tottenham Court Road, we headed to Brewer Street so I could check out the Vintage Magazine Shop. I don’t know how I’ve lived in London seven years and not been to this place before, it’s fantastic! It’s packed with framed art work, hilarious gift cards, retro T-shirts and you guessed it – Vintage Magazines. It’s a gem of a place to go and kick about in if you find yourself wandering through the heart of Soho. The Beard and I are already planning to go back to buy some Posters for the flat, I’ve got my eye on some amazing Pin Up Girl pictures I want.
Next up was The Yard for some drinks in their, well, yard. Although ‘Yard’ is an understatement as it’s more of a glamorous courtyard with beautiful statues and Disco Balls. Whilst at night it is a busy gay bar with twinkling lights and booming dance music, during the day (well, from 4pm) it is a cool, relaxed, open garden, a perfect spot for an afternoon cocktail – they don’t really do a lot of beers, so definitely go for the cocktails. With it being my Birthday I ordered myself a champagne Bellini which went down very well as we chattered away to the naked statues.
Next stop was Garlic & Shots. Odd name, right? But this place literally serves Garlic with ALL their meals and is also famous for having over 100 different vodka shots available. It also has a cute – albeit slightly narrow – beer garden which is why we picked it. We were in no rush to head indoors. We popped our bums down on a table and ordered some Ciders as we enjoyed the sunshine and watched the family of Pigeons who live above the bar go about their birdy business.
We arrived at Garlic and Shots at 5pm and by 6pm the Beer Garden was already filling up, this is definitely a popular place for after work drinks, and I can see why – it’s relaxed, the staff are polite, the drinks aren’t overpriced, and if you like Garlic, it’s perfect! We didn’t try the food this time because we had reservations for a Birthday Meal somewhere else, but I’m keen to go back one day to try it out.
At 7pm the Beard and I headed to Cay Tre where we met 7 of our friends, including my lovely Sister. Cay Tre is a Vietnamese restaurant that I specifically chose for my Birthday meal because I was insisting that everyone try Vietnamese food. I’d heard good things about Cay Tre and all of it was true; it was great atmosphere and great food. It did take a while for the waiter to take our orders, but to be fair the place was absolutely jam packed and the staff were run off their feet – it was a good job we reserved a big table.
One of the reasons I love Vietnamese food is because of all the little ‘sharing’ dishes, it’s basically an excuse to order loads of food. My Sister and I shared some amazing barbequed ribs, and I ordered us some Vietnamese Wild Shrimp Spring rolls to share because she had never tried them before, and she NEEDED to try them. Suffice to say, they went down a treat. Pho was a popular choice at our table, but I went for Chicken Bun Sa, which is basically a big bowl of Chicken and Noodles with beansprouts, cucumber, herbs, shallots, lemongrass and sprinkled with crushed peanuts … my mouth is actually watering just thinking about it. This was all washed down with quite a few glasses of Prosecco.
As you can imagine, post-meal drinks took place to help all the Vietnamese goodness digest, or something along those lines. The drinks mainly involved cheap cocktails being drank at the Wetherspoons – Porn Star Martini’s I think – and the night ended with us falling out of GAY Bar at 1am. I’m so glad I had the following day off work to do nothing but be hungover. At 29 years old Hangovers are not as easy as they used to be.