The 5 Tuns Pub & Kitchen
Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport
(020) 8283 5065
Hours: 5:30am – last departing flight
And so I was on my way back home to Canada…
Heathrow Airport follows the rigid mold of too many poorly thought out transportation hubs – overpriced and bad food, many tacky souvenir shops and of course long, long lines. Now normally I’d ease the pain and boredom that comes with waiting for my flight by either a) finding a comfy chair in the Star Alliance lounge or b) hitting the bar. But since I was flying with BA, option a. was out of the realm of possibility so off I went in a quest for the nearest place to get some suds. Unfortunately, the week of very little sleep had gotten me down and I was afraid I’d get real sleepy drinking alone and it made me reconsider what I was doing.
With its welcoming feel and design, the 5 Tuns Pub & Kitchen on the top floor level of Terminal 5 was my chosen place to hunker down after my taxi ride in. I’d asked a security guard what my options were and this seemed the best of the lot. Frankly, there really isn’t much choice for food and drink outside of the security barrier at the airport where you can still gather with those not going on flights. There’s a couple more inside past all the screening but not that extraordinary in their offerings and more expensive since they have you trapped inside. With a football game on the tele, I figured it would do as I arrived with time to spare and needed to get me a bite to eat before dealing with the prolonged formalities of checking in.
44 Blythe Road
(020) 7602 9333
Open 7 days a week
Lunch: noon to 2:30pm / Dinner: 5:30pm to 11:30pm
What Comes Around, Goes Around. Karma.
How fitting that a fine dining, Indian restaurant entrench itself in the posh neighborhood of West Kensington in London and more importantly, in the home country of the former colonizer of the ancient lands known as Mother India. Striking out from the nearby buildings with its bold dark colored facade that stretches around a strip on Blythe Road, even the entrance to this lauded restaurant exudes a confident position entrenched right on the street corner. My how times have changed.
For its hard not to notice the incredible influx of India cuisine and cooking in many aspects of UK life. From fast food stands, hole-in-the-wall eateries all the way up to white table cloth establishments such as this place, the vast flavors, textures and rich aromas of Indian food has clearly been accepted by the locals and is now considered one of its appeals. I’m sure you’ve all heard how much good Indian you can get in London nowadays. Some even go as far as to say the best you can find outside of India.
In stark contrast in both volume as well as price (five times more!) to the English Breakfast I had the previous day, I had to have a very early morning, room-service delivered meal before heading out of my hotel room by 6am, as I had a very long day in the city of London.
36 Blythe Road
(020) 7603 5262
The West Kensington neighborhood I found to be an interesting place to stroll around. Mainly functioning as a residential area, its streets were relatively quiet during the day and empty aside from the passing commuters on their way to work. And at night, a slightly eerie silence engulfed the streets as I meandered about with my camera and only saw a few folks out walking their dogs in the darkness. For fans of classic architecture, being in this place makes for a lot of neck craning, with all of the attractive multiple-level, terraced Victorian-style buildings. I noted a few for-sale signs posted outside some flats, no doubt not the cheapest place to buy real estate in town. I thought it would be fantastic to live in a neighborhood like this, with plentiful access to transit and assorted shops and eateries located nearby.
One morning, jet-lagged and finding myself awake at 5am despite only turning the lights off in my room just four hours earlier, I took part in a must-do activity in London – have a hearty English breakfast. Near an Underground station was a simple greasy spoon that served just that, and I happily stepped inside George’s Cafe.
Unit 1034, Southern Terrace
Westfield Shopping Centre, Ariel Way
+44 020 8600 3320
Open every day for lunch and dinner
Monday – Friday & Sunday: 9:00am – 11:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am – 11:00pm
The London Underground, also affectionately known as “the Tube”, is a convenient way to navigate the city when you are car-less in London. Ironically, not all of the rail network is even below ground. With its distinct logo, the stations are easy to pick out from the street, making for effective navigation by tourists and locals alike.
In the West London district is an area called Shepherd’s Bush. Walking around the green park common area, I found it had an interesting character – with a balanced mixture of small businesses and eateries, outlets of larger corporations, entertainment complexes and residences. As I made my way up and down the streets, just exploring on my won, I saw an assortment of people, some young, some old, some working class and some dressed up like they have a white collar office job. With the large hub of transportation (including a large bus terminal), the area seemed to my novice eyes as a transit-heavy spot, with intersecting modes and lines of transport shutting people into and out of the core of London city.
Quickly now, what comes to your mind when you hear the words French Cuisine?
For me, fine dining, regional, and an assortment of French translations for common ingredients that are clearly the fading remnants of my eight plus years of childhood education in the language come rushing out at me.
Now do the same for say, Italian or Chinese. I’m sure strong images pop into your mind, mainly of the favorable variety, including some great dishes or full meals you’ve had associated with the countries from which they came.