We spent this weekend in London, cramming lots of exciting things into a couple of days. As well as seeing friends our main focus of our trip was a visit to a concert at The Festival Hall. As big fans of Neil Hannon this show caught our attention a while ago and we managed to bag a couple of bargain tickets.
The Southbank Centre currently have an ongoing festival – “Pull Out All The Stops” celebrating the completion of a six-year restoration project of the Festival Hall’s huge organ (double entendre-tastic). Mr Hannon was commissioned to write a new composition making use of this spectacular wall of sound. The evening performance was broadcast live on Radio 3 accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Voicelab choir (if you’re quick enough, you can listen to the entire show on BBC iPlayer)
We were lucky enough to also be given a voucher to stay at a Mr and Mrs Smith listed hotel, so rather than a late night hellish journey home on an engineering works weekend, we opted to put this towards a stay at The Ampersand Hotel in Kensington – somewhere we’ve had our eye on for a while. Thanks to a lost reservation we ended up with an upgrade to a much larger room than originally booked. For once, a mishap went in our favour. So, instead of a Science-themed room (the hotel is a stone’s throw from the V&A and Natural History Museum) we had a room “inspired by music”, which obviously suited our trip much better! The hotel was so comfy, thoughtfully designed, stylish with a perfect location. We’ve not had such a pleasant stay anywhere in a long time.
Before the concert we crammed in a long-awaited trip to Dishoom. Last time we visited we tried to get a table here but the queue was so huge we gave up. Having the brainwave of booking in advance we finally got here and boy… we can see why it was so in demand. We opted for the Bombay Cafe in Covent Garden in St Martin’s Lane. The staff were super friendly and helped us pick out some gems from the menu. Ian particularly enjoyed his Lamb Boti and somewhere here you can see my delight at having the genius to pick out Memsahib’s Mess from the dessert menu (a twist on an Eton Mess with Rose Syrup and Gulkand). We will be back!
Here are some snaps from our little break…