Loving and leaving London

The last week has been pretty tumultuous.  On Monday night I watched riots spread across London from the safety of the television and internet before I heard sirens and shouting outside my flat as the rioting moved to Notting Hill.  We double locked the door while around the corner from my flat the brave Ledbury kitchen staff defended their customers with rolling pins and kitchen kit and my local pub The Walmer Castle had its windows smashed in.

The Ledbury the morning after the riots

It was shocking and frightening.  I was devastated walking to the tube the next morning and seeing all the damage.  Ironically the riots came just as MTV boyfriend and I made the decision to move back to Australia via some travelling in Europe and Asia.  Friends and family called to say: “You must be glad to be leaving London after what has happened.”  No, I’m not.

Hyde Park in spring  

It says a lot about the spirit of this city that all I can think about is how sad I am to leave and all the things I will miss:

British strawberries.
Sitting in the front seat on the top of a double decker bus.
Ginger pig sausage rolls.
Hyde Park.
Pret carrot cake (my guilty pleasure).
The push for champagne button at Bob Bob Ricard.
Standing on the pavements outside pubs drinking (this is illegal in Australia!).
Madelines hot out of the oven at St John.
Black cabs and the way they always know where they are going.
Portobello road market.  Right next to my flat – very convenient.
Borough market.  Right next to my work – even more convenient.
Decent cups of tea.
Bavette at Vinoteca.
My Olive magazine subscription.
Lamb chops from Tayyabs.
Polite queues.
Boris bikes.
Banh mi at City Caphe.
Being so close to Europe.
Pierre Hermรฉ macarons.
The tube.  (Seriously. Despite the tube’s faults I love it.  Particularly announcements of “alight here” and “mind the gap”).
Long hours of daylight in summer.
Ottolenghi’s aubergine salad.
The theatre.
Brindisa chorizo roll.
Beers at the Walmer Castle.
Wines at Negozia.
Being able to split the bill.
Crunchy tuna rolls at Pham Sushi.
London’s broom army and all those who organised and contributed to @riotcleanup, Keep Aaron cutting, Help Siva and #OperationCupOfTea.  These are the true Londoners not the rioters.*

Hyde Park in Winter

We plan to leave in about a month.  I have lots of wining and dining plans before then and a long list of things I have never got around to doing during my four years here.  I’ll be out enjoying the brilliant city that London is rather than hiding behind a double locked door.

*This list is inspired by a similar list Krista of Passport Delicious made when she left London. 

Gourmet Giveaway

Thanks to everyone who entered the Gourmet Giveaway to win two tickets to the Sunday session of Alex James Presents Harvest Festival.  The winner is Campari & Soda.  Congratulations!


  1. You’re off?! Yikes. Well, absolutely the best of luck with your travels and new adventures.

    As a through-and-through Brit, it gives me a warm fuzzy glow to know that other people love this place for some of the same reasons I do. x

  2. What a lovely post. Sad to be leaving london, but how exciting to have all the culinary delights of australia ahead of you. And the sunshine!

    Can’t quite believe you’ll miss the tube (!) but pimms, sausage rolls and British strawberries…I’m 100% with you there ๐Ÿ™‚

    Looking forward to reading about your adventures down under.

  3. Yay, Lovely post, lovely to read such a positive view of London, even at this time, and tinged with such sadness.

    You’re leaving! Booo!

    Hope we have time to meet before you leave.


  4. What a lovely post… It’salways sad toleave a place you love… ButI’m sure you’ll have a great time in Australia! Hey, at least you’ll have much better weather;) i’m looking forward to reading about your travels around Europe and Asia!!

  5. Ah, I had a feeling you were on the move when you said you were cramming in alot of travel lately.

    I can relate to your list so much I was very unsure about my move back and the week before was extremely emotional, Libbie thought she might have to some to the airport and help me onto the plane.
    I miss all those things too but Australia has welcomed me so well I can hardly complain.

    Have a great time doing all those things you wanted to do before you come back and I’ll catch you when you get here

    Debs xx

  6. My things-I-love-about-London list was very similar ie lots of food involved. Enjoy your travels and we’ll see you back in Melbourne soon for more eating and drinking!

    Jetsetting Joyce

  7. Sad to see you go. Enjoy your travelling and I hope to read about it on the blog.

    PS: I get more traffic from your blog than any other source. Thanks for that too!

  8. Sorry to hear you’re leaving but look forward to reading about your foodie travels on the journey home. And love your London list – very cheering to see so many people talking about why they love London in the face of a horrendous few days for the city.

  9. I knew you’d miss me too much to stay! ๐Ÿ˜‰ hehehehe.. just kidding, but let’s catch up on this end of the world. Come visit in Sydney and I’ll come to Melbourne too! FUN!!!

  10. Wow – big news. What will London do without Gourmet Chick? Hoping you are planning to continue the site in Melbourne? Definitely need to do that catch up before you head off.

  11. You will be missed! I assume (and hope) that you’ll still be blogging but from Australia?

  12. You’re leaving! where will i do my morning foodie reads?
    Cannot believe i’ve won-really GOBSMACKED. thank you so much i love ive never been to oxfordshire-anywhere really outside LDN. !!

  13. Sorry to hear you’re leaving, hope you’ll still blog from sunny Oz. Thanks for a lovely post, I feel the same about my beautiful city.

    Best of luck on the next chapter of your life.
    Leila x

  14. Glad I’m not the only one who secretly loves Pret Carrot Cake ๐Ÿ™‚ Sad you’re leaving, but look forward to keeping up with your new life (you are going to keep on blogging, right? You can’t not!)

  15. Honestly, I never eat out without consulting you first. I’m going to be lost! Please reconsider!!

  16. Awwww no way! Sad that you’re leaving, Cara. Best of luck back in Australia – I hope everything goes well. It’s been lovely to have met you on a few occasions – Dan x

  17. You are making me teary-eyed all over again!! Enjoy your last month in London, take lots of photos, and eat well!!

  18. But…but we only just met! Was it something I said?

    Hope to get to see you before you go home. You’ll be missed darl ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Hugh xx

  19. Gosh, what a shame! Where am I to go now for super resto reviews? But better to be going for the right reasons than leaving for the wrong ones ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Enjoy your remaining time in Old London Town!

  20. I am sad that you are leaving ๐Ÿ™ *sigh*

  21. Can’t wait to read about your journey home. And to read the list of all the things you love most about Australia (just to help feed my homesickness a little more).

  22. Sad to see you go, but I’m sure new adventures are to be had. I’ll be looking forward to reading about Aussie tips!

  23. So sad to hear that you are leaving, London is losing one of its best food bloggers… Happy for you that you are going home though.

  24. Sad to see you leave. The riots only highlighted to me the wonderful ppl that we have here and my love for London.

    Hope you do all the things that you want to before going back and I’ll have to catch you on the other side of the world!

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Gosh, big news Cara! All the best back in Australia – looking forward to eating tips on the other side of the world x

  27. I know how you feel, Cara! But you’ve managed to cram in so much good stuff in the time you’ve been here. Now you’ve got marvellous Melbourne to look forward to.

  28. Wow, big news. I’ll be sad to no longer be able to read your verdict on London restaurants but I’m looking forward to keeping up with your escapades back in Melbs, I’m heading there for a couple of months at the end of the year. Enjoy your last few weeks here!

  29. Ditto to all of the above.

    Hope you’ll keep us up to date on the Melbourne scene. Speaking of Aussie food stuff (and a slightly shameless plug) I’ve just posted that Bill Granger’s London location has finally been secured!

    Hopefully you’ll catch it in time! TPT x

  30. CARA! You’re leaving? Oh that’s so very sad ๐Ÿ™ Can we do a lunch before you go, if you have time?

  31. Sad to hear you’re leaving Cara – but LOVED reading this post – you’re absolutely right – the rioters are a minority and London will always be to me one of the very best cities in the world.
    Wish you the best of luck moving home and hope you have a fantastic time travelling back – no doubt will (hopefully) read about some of the gourmet tales along the way.
    All the very best, Becs xX

  32. Sorry you’re leaving… I just left london a month ago after my bachelor’s degree, and your list reminds me of how sad I am to have left it too. “Sitting in the front seat on the top of a double decker bus” is just one of the things that make London so lovable for me! And perhaps the tube could be considered cosy at best?? You have written a lovely list.

    Thanks for the picture of the Ledbury, it’s good to know that it’s not completely trashed!

  33. Hi Cara,

    Sad to see that you’re leaving, I’ll miss your London posts.

    Pleased to see that you have so many happy London memories though!

    Best of luck with your new adventures ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Upset that you’re going – Your London posts were always my first go to when looking for somewhere new.

    On the plus side, Iv always wanted to go Australia so at least I know ill have somewhere great to look for recommendations when I eventually do! ๐Ÿ™‚

    All the Best! xx

  35. Hope Asia travelling means we’ll finally see you here in Shanghai? Lots to eat and plenty of fun stuff to discover. Plus Mandarin-speaking guide (and two little Mandarin-speaking kids…) to boot… Have absolutely loved reading this – keep it up once you get home. Looking forward to a catch-up either here or there. Emma xox

  36. Blonde – Yes getting London nostalgic now

    The Little Loaf – Seriously you should see the public transport in Australia. The tube is amazing in comparison.

    Kavey – Thanks very much – yes am sad but also looking forward to Melbourne, family and friends.

    Katherina – Thanks very much. Yes lots of travel posts coming up.

    Debs – Good detective work. I will have to get tips from you on how to readjust and might see you in Sydney soon for a visit…

    Jet Setting Joyce – Yes I have to keep reminding myself life is not over. Looking forward to seeing you and NKOTB and RM.

    Mr Noodles- You will!

    Katy – We can’t let them win…

    Catty – Yes I missed you too much so I had to copy you

    London Rob – Yes will keep it up. We are over due a drink…

    Su-Lin – Thanks yes the plan is to keep going….

    Leila – Thanks very much and yes I will still blog.

    Gin and Crumpets – Yes expect more of a travel and maybe even cooking focus…

    Butters – That is very nice of you to say! Plenty of London eating to come still but then you will have to move to Aus maybe.

    Dan – Thanks will miss all of you guys…

    Krista – Thanks for the inspiration. Now you will have to teach me how to survive post London.

    Hugh – Don’t take it personally…

    Jacqueline – Thanks very much. I will miss London a lot.

    Alice – Thanks Alice

    Tori – You can feed my homesickness for London!

    TexasonThames – Yes plenty of new adventures

    Ute – Aw thanks.

    Kay – Yes that would be great

    Graphic Foodie – Thanks Fran

    Greedy Diva – Do you now…!

    Boo – Oh great news – you might beat me there – I will not be there until December but I recommend Mel Hot or Not and Melbourne Gastronome for tips.

    The Perfect Trough – Ooh exciting news I did not know that!

    Niamh – Lets organise

    Bistro Becs – Yes lots of travel to come.

    SootSoot – Good to hear you are surviving post London. Who doesn’t love the top of the bus?

    Eating up North – Yes lots of happy memories.

    Risha – Thanks very much and yes lots of travel food and Australia tips coming up.

    Emma – Sadly no – would love to come to Shanghai though. I used Asian in the way they do here in the UK to mean India and Nepal. Maybe a trip once we get back to Oz is in order. Catch up soon. xx

  37. Gosh I’ve been so wrapped up in everything these past couple of months I’d totally missed out on the fact you’d left this wonderful city!

    I love the Pret apple cake myself although my mum used to regularly take a box of carrot cake home with her from London before Pret opened branches in Birmingham.

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