London: dim sum at Grand Imperial

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Luckily all my friends appreciate good food, but out of them Gaby is definitely my dim sum buddy! Last time we went for dim sum she introduced me to a new restaurant, and one of her favourites; the  Grand Imperial at The Grosvenor Hotel just next to Victoria Station.

We ordered most of their dim sum menu; xialong bao, pork buns, scallop dumplings and prawn dumplings, duck spring rolls with hoisin sauce and the most amazing turnip cake.

All the dishes were really nice and very authentic. Although it lacks the bustle of China Town, which I find charming, it’s very authentic yet more upmarket without being expensive.

Grand Imperial, The Grosvenor Hotel, 101 Buckingham Palace Rd, London SW1W 0SJ

A wonderful day – spa, Busaba and cake

I had the afternoon off yesterday to go to a spa with Jenny. We had some time before our appointment, so we started with the sauna and the pool. After an hour or so we had our hot sugar scrub that after having showered the sticky mixture off, left the skin feeling sooo soft. The next treatment was a full body massage which was wonderful, and after this we were feeling very relaxed. After a nice hot shower we felt reborn and went up to the hotel bar to have a wonderful fruit smoothie and a fruit platter, all included in the package, and that truly hit the spot.

By this point it was early evening and we were hungry, so we went to Busaba Eathai for dinner. I really like this place, founded by the man behind Wagamama and Hakkasan, it is cheap, really nice food in nice surroundings. Compared to Wagamama this feels more luxurious because of the dark wood decor and burning incense, but the idea is the same; you sit at communal tables and you can not book in advance.

We started with something to drink, of course, and I tried coconut water for the first time. It came with ice and fresh muddled raspberries and it was amazing. Why have I not tried this sooner?! I am definitely hooked now. Jenny tried an equally amazing mango lassi. It was silky smooth and tasted lovely.

We ordered quite a lot of food, vegetarian spring rolls with the best sweet chilli dip I have ever had, Pat King Talay was my choice (stir fry with squid, scallops, prawns and woodear mushrooms), Jenny opted for the Pla Sam Rod (talapia fillets with a gorgeous pomegranate sauce) and perfect coconut rice and Morning Glory as a side; water spinach with garlic and chilli – absolutely fantastic and Jenny said it tasted exactly the same as in Thailand.

A happy and content Jenny!

We were very pleased with our cheap eat, the bill only came to around £40, so very good value for money. It is definitely worth going, and it is best to come around or before 6pm to avoid the queue, but it would be worth queueing for a little while as well.

On our way to the restaurant we had noticed a few bakeries on the same street (Wardour Street) and we felt we had to have something sweet to finish off the meal. We noticed a new (for us at least) branch of the Hummingbird Bakery but they did not have much left to choose from this late in the day. Instead we went to the place next door; L’Eto who had plenty of good-looking cakes in the window. After a few minutes to decide we went for the lemon meringue pie and the mille feuille with strawberry and plum. The lemon filling in the pie was nice and creamy, and the meringue on top was the almost unbaked one which was lovely. The mille feuille has obscene amounts of cream in it, which we happily scoffed down. Delicious! This place seems to be great for lunch as well with fresh looking salads, chicken patties, baked salmon etc.