London Percent/ Thom Wong
Created: 19 May 2019
Last updated: 1 December 2019
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An ordered list of the 100 things I most enjoy about living in London.
1. Tate Membership
A plus-guest membership at the Tate costs you £120 if you pay by Direct Debit. As the name implies, it grants you and a guest free entry to every show in every Tate, which includes Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St. Ives, as well as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. You also receive a 10% discount in the shops, and access to the various Tate member rooms.
It is, without hyperbole, the best thing I have ever owned.
The London portion alone is worth the price. It's the absolute best way to entertain visitors to the city, and also the chillest place to spend a Friday night working on your unfinished novel. It's worth it even though London is probably home to the most free quality art in the world. At £10 a month, the cost of a fancy lunch at Itsu, you're practically stealing from them, stealing priceless works of art right from out of their generous, loving hands.
It's so rad.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a food in London which receives outsized praise must then be cut down to size with a scathing, albeit funny, review.
The Iberico katsu sandwich from the Ta Ta Eatery team, now regularly available at Tōu, was celebrated to the heavens a couple of years ago. Subsequently it’s been dragged through the coals for daring to be a sandwich priced above £10.
So how good is the Iberico katsu sandwich from Tōu?
It's so good it's better than any art gallery or museum in London not named Tate. It's so good a bunch of people on television, actual television presenters who are paid to present things on television, giggled and fawned over it like it was a particularly cute and talented child. It's good. It's outrageously good.
The key is the balance. The softness of the bread. The crispness of the batter. The sheer fatty decadence of the pork.
It's £14 and it's worth it.
3. Cocktails at Behind This Wall
Down the stairs under a sign that says BAR is this tidy cocktail lounge with completely acceptable seating and an owner who makes his own kombucha. How you feel about that last point will be a fairly good predictor of how you'll feel about the bar as a whole, and also of you as a person and probably lover.
There was a year when I'd wander down on a Sunday night and be the only person there, just me and the two or three staff and a friend of theirs playing records and some interesting Italian wines and oysters. For a little while they made a mushroom poke bowl that was one of the five best things I've ever eaten. They don't make that anymore, and it's still number 3.
4. Breakfast at Esters
"I find that this cafe does the best brunch in London, the food is exceptional as are the coffees and the customer service has always been excellent."
The above quote was part of a two-star review on Google. The best brunch in London, food that is exceptional, two stars. I quote this for two reasons. One, to demonstrate how batshit crazy some people are when they leave reviews. And two, this person is absolutely correct. Esters has the best brunch in London.
More specifically, Esters has the best breakfasts you can eat throughout the day on the weekend, and they do a pretty mean lunch during the week after their breakfast menu ends. Esters just cares more about what you're eating than other places. Every dish is an actual dish, and not just a selection of breakfast items stacked dry on a plate. There's consideration to the amounts, which some people decry as stingy. There's the quality of the cooking, which means your poached eggs have shape AND soft yokes.
And tying it all together is one or more glorious sauces. Oh, the sauces. Perfectly balanced, unifying each item on the plate. God I'm hungry.
5. White Cube
6. Vanilla custard donuts from Bread Ahead
7. Dinner at St John Bread and Wine
8. Sweetbread kebab from Mangal No.1
9. Guinea fowl chi shiang rice at Bao
10. Bacon maple croissant from Pophams
11. Maltby Street Market
12. Ginger ice cream, miso caramel, sweet potato crisps and black sesame seeds at Jidori
13. Udon at toconoco
14. Cake at Esters
15. Karaoke at The Spread Eagle
16. Oxtail stew in Brixton
17. Columbia Road Flower Market
18. Ramen from Koi
19. Jazz at Vortex
20. Sticky rice ball from Kim Lien Mini Market
21. Pistachio ice cream from Romeo e Giulietta
22. Flowers Gallery
23. Jazz at Servant Jazz Quarters
24. Prawn katsu sandwich from Monocle Cafe
25. Horlicks ice cream bao at Bao
26. South London Gallery
27. Beer at Ghost Whale
28. Broadway Market/Netil Market
29. Picnic in London Fields
30. Matcha cheesecake at toconoco
31. Ramen at Kanada-Ya
32. Middle plate chicken with belt noodles from Silk Road
33. Chicken with jollof rice from Suya Express
34/35/36. Beer at The King's Arms/Beer at Red Hand/Beer at The Axe
37. Dance at Troy 22
38. The Castle Cinema
39. Salt fish patty in Brixton
40. Beer at The Beer Shop
41. Stationery at Present & Correct
42. Stilton sausage roll at Ginger Pig
43. Steamed rolls at Loong Kee
45. Concert at the Barbican
46. Whitechapel Gallery
47. Vietnamese food on Kingsland Road
48. Onigiri and miso soup at moko made
49. Interior courtyard of the V&A
50. Lunch at Rochelle Canteen
51. Serpentine Gallery
52. Books at Ti Pi Tin
53. Regent's Canal from Angel to Broadway Market
54. Camden Passage
55. The New River Walk
56. Flat white at 46b Espresso Hut
57. Flat white at Climpson & Sons
58. Pottery class by Jess Jos
59. The stuffed walrus at the Horniman Museum
60. The Arnolfini Portrait at The National Gallery
62. Epping Forest
63. Red velvet cake at Kahaila
64. Room 90 at The British Museum
65. Books at Daunt in Marylebone
66. Borough Market
67. Matcha cookie from Store Street Espresso
68. Concert at Rough Trade East
69. Beer along the canal in Hackney Wick
70. Cecil Court
71. Books at Oxfam Books Bloomsbury
72. Deer herds in Richmond Park
73. Peanut butter ‘milkshake’ from Genesis Cafe
74. Kitchenware at Gill Wing
75. Kitchenware from TK Maxx
76. Used books at Skoob
77. The elevated walk at Kew Gardens
78. Steak at Hill & Szrok
79. Books at Libreria
80. Deutsche Börse Prize at The Photographers' Gallery
81. Momos at House of MoMo
82. Pork and leek dumplings from Dumpling Shack
83. Sausage roll at Yellow Warbler
84. Nasi lemak at Makan Cafe
85. Tea at Camden Arts Centre
86. Art supplies at L. Cornelissen & Son
87. Chicken rice box at Twiggs
88. Salt beef bagel from Beigel Bake
89. St. Paul's Cathedral from Tate Modern viewing level
90. Beer at Hop Burns and Black
91. Refreshing black fungus with coriander at Xi'an biang biang noodles
92. Flat white at Federation Coffee
93. Dinner at artusi
94. Sir John Soane’s Museum
95. Books at John Sandoe
96. Khan’s Bargains
97. Lambeth County Fair
98. Brockwell Park Lido
99. Lunch at Archies Antiques Market
100. Osteological negroni at Lounge Bohemia