Do! B Bagel Bakery Bar

It’s no secret that Americans LOVE bagels. I used to consume at least three a week back in the States. I really think it’s one of the greatest culinary losses an American expat faces when moving abroad. Bagels, classic cheeseburgers, iced coffees, diner coffee, NY style cheesecake, pies (and not the U.K. meat pies), guilty-pleasure Chinese and Mexican food, movie theater buttered popcorn, classic BBQ, fudge pops (my latest craving), and oh so much more are on my list of what is missing here in the U.K. But, as you can see, good bagels are numero uno.

Bagels here are done all wrong, and I don’t understand it. Bagels are perfect, so why aren’t they everywhere? Okay, fine, so they’re not the healthiest, but England is no picture of fitness, so let’s not blame the lack of one of my favorites on being health-conscious. Let’s look at why bagels are so great.

  1. They’re delicious. You have a nice golden exterior and a soft interior of the best chewy dough imaginable. This amazing carb is coated or kneaded with your favorite flavor addition, whether it’s cinnamon and raisins, dried onions, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, blueberries, just plain salt, a little bit of everything, and many more endless possibilities, it’s all fricken delicious. Not only do you have the perfect punch of flavor, but you get to top it off with the salty, smooth, cream cheese of your choosing. Or butter or peanut butter or jelly if you’re one of those people, but let’s just focus on the cheese. It’s amazing. My go-to, Everything Bagel, toasted with Scallion Cream Cheese, is something I could consume every single day if done right, which, as established, is hard to come by in London.
  2. They’re cheap. You can have a delicious, fresh, filling bagel, and it will pretty much always be under $5.00. How can you beat that? With this price point and the endless flavor combinations, anyone can afford this tasty meal, making it a favorite of teenagers, anyone hungover, and adults alike.
  3. They’re convenient. You can have a bagel in your bare hands, on the go, in the car, at a Monday morning meeting, anywhere! It is the easiest full meal to consume and a real crowd pleaser if you’re purchasing an assortment for a large group. Everyone is happy with a bagel!

There you have it. Sorry about my little bagel rant, but clearly it’s been awhile. Now let me get to the real point of this post. The B Bagel Bakery Bar. This Fulham Road establishment is clearly a thought out “do” if I am this passionate about bagels. While B Bagel will never be a replacement for a traditional NYC bagel place, any American will feel at home sinking their teeth into one of their warm, soft bagels.

Bagel deliciousness at B Bagel Bakery Bar, London

While their choices are limited, B Bagel has attractive poppy seed, sesame seed, plain, and onion bagels to choose from. I opted for the onion bagel, toasted with cream cheese, to eat in, and honestly it was perfect. While I would have loved to see a “salted everything” option, the onion bagel was good enough to make me forget what I wished was there. They have all the other bagel spread and bagel meat sandwich options, but I don’t fool around with any of that. You don’t need to.

Despite the deliciousness available at B Bagel Bakery Bar, I thought their table service was a little strange. A bagel is the type of thing you want to order up front, seeing the choices you’re faced with, pay, and then sit with your food once it has been handed to you. At B Bagel, if you want to sit, you have to participate in a full table service song and dance. Very annoying for a bill that ends up less than £4.oo. You don’t get to look at your options, you have to interact with more people than you may care to, and if you want to eat just half your bagel and wrap it back up in the nice stiff parchment paper you would expect to see, well you just can’t. Their bagels come exposed on a platter, and, for the weirdest part, WITH A STRANGE LITTLE SALAD. I do not understand it. That salad does not match a bagel, nor does it make my bagel look any more appetizing. It actually detracts from what is going on. It had strange dressed red peppers on top and made me channel Dorothy. I wasn’t in America anymore.

An unnecessary salad with a delicious bagel at B Bagel Bakery Bar, London

Aside from those little grievances–just give me a wrapped bagel and let me perch on a seat for a moment–B Bagel Bakery Bar is absolutely worth a visit. If you’re like me, an American missing a home classic, or someone that just appreciates the simplicity and perfection of a winning flavor combo, head to the Fulham Road bakery and grab yourself a bagel today! Enjoy.

B Bagel Bakery Bar, Fulham Road, London


B Bagel
236D Fulham Road
London SW10 9NB

Do! Electric Cinema

While I cannot recommend the movie Fifty Shades Darker, I can absolutely send you in the direction of the Electric Cinema. The Electric Cinema’s Portobello Road location is one of the coolest venues to catch a movie with its comfortable seating, tasty snacks, and impressive acoustics. While it may be difficult to get yourself a ticket (booking in advance is definitely a must), and sometimes their selection may not be up your alley, it is definitely worth checking out one of the oldest cinemas in the country the first opportunity you get!

Showtime at the Electric Cinema, London

We went to the retro cinema this week for my birthday. I figured, when else could I drag my husband to such a blatant chick flick. The movie turned into a comedy for both of us because the plot and the acting was just that ridiculous. In such a nice venue and giggling at the Fifty Shades awkwardness, we really couldn’t have had a better time. We booked one of the sofas for £45.00. This booking gets both of you in and onto one of the comfiest sofas, complete with cushions, an ottoman to store your belongings and rest your feet, and end tables for all of your drinks and snacks. Every seat in the house, though–whether you’ve booked one of these three couches, one of the flat beds up front, or one of their many armchairs–is comfortable, spacious, and luxe, covered in a plush red velvet and warm leather. There really is not a bad seat in the house!

Located right on Portobello Road, the Electric Cinema is part of the Soho House’s other neighborhood favorite, the Electric Diner. Check out their “Do!” on The London Checklist from last year to learn more. Without going into too much detail about the diner, it’s the perfect spot for dinner before or after your movie. If you dine between 5-6PM during the week and show proof of your Cinema ticket, you can actually get 50% off your entire meal. Not a bad deal!

Nachos inside the Electric Cinema, Notting Hill

If you’re not up for a full Electric Diner experience, you can get a taste of their twists on American classics right inside the theater. If you’re not interested in the candy counter when you first walk in, you can order hot dogs, cheeseburgers, nachos, (amazing) spiced nuts and more from the full bar right inside the theater. The nuts and nachos we ordered were a great start, but we didn’t want to overdo it before our post-theater dinner reservation next door. Next time, however, we might just skip the res and have burgers right inside the theater.

If you’re looking for a rainy day matinee, a different type of date night, a mid-week adventure–anything really–head to the Electric Cinema for an unforgettable movie-going experience. Enjoy some nice lighting, great sound, an unobstructed screen, cozy seating, tasty food, and of course, alcohol! This venue will not disappoint. Enjoy!


Electric Cinema
191 Portobello Road
London, W11 2ED

Do! Somerset House

Once you’ve frequented London’s top museum destinations, such as the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, or the British Museum, you might be looking for something a little more low-key. If so, look no further than the Somerset House!

London’s Somerset House in its glory

The Somerset House, located on the south side of the Strand, is a restored historic building that houses galleries, cafes, film screenings, concerts, and even an ice rink in the winter months. It is far less crowded than the tourist “must-dos” like The National Gallery, so makes for a relaxing time.  You can leisurely visit the galleries without being elbowed and crowded by an overload of people. A  visit to the Somerset House is free, with some exhibits and galleries charging their own admission fee. I find that, unlike some of the other London museums, anything worth seeing is a charge. 

Somerset House’s Hair by Sam McKnight exhibit

But, it’s all definitely worth seeing. The current exhibit, Hair by Sam McKnight, is powerful and visually stunning. Hair chronicles the career of hair stylist Sam McKnight–an editorial and catwalk powerhouse in the world of hair. The exhibit offers high fashion, behind-the-scenes footage, preserved wigs, and photography featuring some of the biggest names in modeling and entertainment. The exhibit spans over multiple floors and covers a large area of a dark industrial space, serving as the perfect backdrop for such a modern, colorful show. Definitely a must-do.

Hair by Sam McKnight at London’s Somerset House

This exhibit only runs for a few more weeks, so take a nice walk along the river and head to the Somerset House as soon as you can before you miss your chance to see some Hair! It makes for a lovely afternoon, rain or shine. 
Somerset House
London, WC2R 1LA

Categories Do!

Don’t! Farmacy

Westbourne Grove’s Farmacy is one of the latest hot spots to arrive in Notting Hill. While the concept is great (and much needed), the all natural eatery missed the mark in too many areas that I do not see myself heading back for a second visit.

Farmacy is part of the clean-eating train that is making its way through London, which, honestly, is long overdue. I find it SO HARD to eat continuously healthy in a city that believes in day-drinking, minimal exercise, and puddings after each meal. To have more options for vegan/vegetarian, chemical-free, and refined sugar-free eating is a huge positive, but, unfortunately, a lot of these concepts come along with a heavy price tag and are considered “on trend.” Farmacy is the definition of this problem.

Dog friendly at Westbourne Grove’s Farmacy
First, they do not take reservations, which is just annoying. It’s bad enough that Granger (down the street) has a forever queue we all suffer through, but, to make Westbourne Grove queuing “a thing” is really unnecessary. Once inside, however, the place is quite spacious and very pretty. It feels very clean and botanical. Almost like a relaxed version of a fancy hotel’s Palm Court. The restaurant is animal friendly which is always nice to see. But, this is where the positives switch to negatives…
After the relief of getting inside and into a table, and taking in the refreshing decor, you immediately run into the first problem with Farmacy. The service. It is beyond slow at certain points, and extremely rushed at others. It took an eternity for someone to come over, greet our table, bring us water, and ask us about drinks or questions. Once we had placed our coffee order, the server came back and hurried us for a food order almost immediately, and then a few seconds later after we asked for more time. Once the food arrived, no one ever checked back on us, and at the end of the meal, I had to physically get up to get the bill after being neglected for about 20 minutes.  I was especially surprised by this ending since we wanted to leave, and they had guests waiting to be seated. The staff is not properly trained, there is not an even flow to the dining experience, and there must be a serious lack of management to not be able to float around the dining room and recognize such problems and distressed faces on customers.

Onto the food. My friend and I both opted for the House Pancakes–buckwheat pancakes, with coconut yogurt, and fresh fruit. This is a very common dish served at a lot of clean-eating establishments, but I have to say, Farmacy’s version was the worst. Primarily because it was ice cold. There is nothing appropriate about cold pancakes. Maybe that is an English vs. American thing, I don’t know, but neither my English friend or American me enjoyed our breakfast. The staff wouldn’t know how we were feeling because they never bothered to check back on us. Had they, we may have been able to get something we could enjoy, or tell them they brought our table the incorrect “Farmacuetical Syringe Shot.” My girlfriend ordered the Beautify shot, and was brought the Fire Starter incorrectly. After waiting awhile for a server to walk by, to no avail, she just drank the one she had received. And, boy, was that a production. These shots actually come in a medical syringe, on a plate, next to a shot glass. It is silly and contrived–completely lame, in my opinion. I guess this place is trying way too hard to justify its high prices and poor service.

A buckwheat breakfast at London’s Farmacy

After finally finishing our mediocre meals and the incorrect shot and hunting down a server to close our tab, we walked out of there feeling liberated to be away from their dining room.  That is not the feeling you want to give to your patrons upon exiting your new neighborhood restaurant.

So, Farmacy, please get it together. We could all stand to be a little healthier, and in theory, restaurants like you are just what the doctor ordered…

A Syringe Shot at London’s Farmacy

74 Westbourne Grove
London W2 5SH

Do! Afternoon Tea at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant

Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of a special, romantic, loving little day like this one, I’m focusing today’s post on something my husband will only do with me when true romance is required! He cut me off from teas a long time ago. Well, with him, anyway. Now I just go with the girls. He thinks he’s suffered enough with little small plates of this and that and tiny cups of tea to sip. Give him a giant cold drink, or even a coffee, and a big plate of meat, potatoes, pancakes, cheese–you know, guy stuff–and he’s a happy camper.  So now, I reserve these special meals for special occasions. Valentine’s Day is all about the girl, anyway, right?

So, for today, I am going to talk to you about the Georgian Restaurant at Harrods. I’ve been to many teas and this one is up there. Going to Harrods in itself is a beautiful London tradition, and getting to make your way up to the fine Georgian restaurant is icing on the cake. I like how they enforce a dress code, as a problem I have with many touristy teas is that anyone off the street can pop in, which can cheapen the whole experience. So, make a booking and dress the part.

Once inside, you’ll enjoy a beautiful open space with elegant tables, plush velvet booths, bright natural lighting, and the sounds of a talented pianist. The staff is nicely uniformed, and very professional throughout the entire experience.

Beautiful treats at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant
The price is right in line with all the other nice teas in the city–£42.00 for a full Afternoon Tea, £52.00 if you want to add a glass of champagne to the experience (obviously). I do have to say, this tea wins best value for money. I left feeling extremely full (and guilty for not being able to finish all of the deliciousness). It’s a ton of food. Amazing sandwiches, delicious cakes and scones, and the trifle at the end is really what puts you over maximum capacity. Everything about the experience was elegant and proper, aside from watching how much we were able to consume. It was all too good.

Sweet treats at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant, London

There really aren’t a lot of negatives. The bathroom is bizarrely far from the tea room. You actually have to go through what seems like a couple other random restaurants to get to it, which kind of gives you a reality check that you aren’t in a proper English faraway land, you’re just in Harrods. Also, walk-ins start to line up in the early afternoon by the front desk, and that can bring in quite a crowd. If you’re seated close to that area, it can be very noisy and distracting. Especially if those waiting have children that start running around and acting up out of boredom. Not sure why they’re at a tea anyway. They should section the tables off with a full wall to rectify this problem.

My last complaint is an issue I see often in London. You have a great dining experience with good service, but then, at the end of the meal, your server just disappears. You’re ready to close out your bill and your water glasses have been empty for awhile, yet no one is to be found. The Georgian Restaurant staff really had it up until that point.

But, with just those little grievances, I will surely be back. And you should head there, too. Let Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant be a romantic little start to your Valentine’s Day, or something to do this weekend with the girls. That is, if you don’t have to wait a month to get in! Enjoy, and may today be filled with magic and love.

Dessert after dessert at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant

The Georgian Restaurant 
87-135 Brompton Rd.
London SW1X 7XL

Categories Do!