Happy September, folks! September has always been one of my favorite months of the year. I always appreciate it when the weather turns cooler, and I love the “back-to-school” vibes everybody experiences at this time. Yes—even though it’s been literally a decade and change since I was in school, I still appreciate the return to routine that this month brings.

I’m especially feeling that way because I just got back from a 10 day vacation in London, England! I spent the first half of the trip catching up with one of my best friends from college, along with his group of friends that I’ve graciously been inducted to. On the latter half of my trip, I met up with my mom (who was in town with HER group of friends from high school). All in all, we had a great time and were able to hit up many restaurants, bakeries, and bars.

bread ahead chocolate donuts on metal sheet pan

Everywhere I Ate And Drank In London (In No Particular Order)

There’s a list of everywhere I ate and drank below (which, I made sure to record this time around, since according to The Reader Survey many of you missed my travel posts!). Historically, London doesn’t have the best reputation for having good food and drink… but I respectfully disagree. Some of my favorite restaurants are in the city—you just have to know where to look!

Weirdough (Walthamstow)

This was a cute little bakery in my friend’s neighborhood! I’m not sure it’s worth trekking for since it’s pretty small and neighborhoody, but if you happen to be in Walthamstow, I recommend their foccacia pizzas!

Long & Short Coffee (Walthamstow)

This was a cute coffee shop in my friend’s neighborhood! Again, I’m not sure it’s worth traveling for since it’s pretty far north. But it is in a cool building (called “The Crate”, lol) made of stacked shipping containers with lots of little shops and restaurants (including a Crosstown Doughnuts location!), so again, if you happen to be in Walthamstow, check it out!

Panadera Bakery (Camden Town)

I’ve literally been stalking this place on Instagram since they opened a few years ago. It’s the sister bakery of a restaurant group that also claims to own the first Filipino ice cream shop in the U.K.! The bakery specializes in Filipino pan de sal, and serves Filipino style drinks like ube iced coffee and buko pandan frappes. They even have taho on the weekends!

I liked this bakery a lot, but I will admit that it’s more fusiony Filipino than authentic Filipino. They shape the pan de sal to be more like milk bread (as opposed to more traditional bread buns), and then served them like Japanese style katso sandwiches. I really liked the corned beef one. Filipino corned beef tends to be really shredded and almost mushy (almost like pulled pork or carnitas). But they’d somehow found out how to bread it and fry it so that it was like a croquette! Very cool.

Omotesando Koffee (Fitzrovia)

I dragged my friend to this Japanese coffee shop after, weirdly enough, researching coffee shops to go to in Manila (where I plan to go this winter!). This shop kept popping up in all the “Best Coffee in Manila” lists! After poking around on their website, I realized they had a London location too.

The coffee here was incredible and unique. The move is to get one of their iced cappucinos. They have some special machine that foams up the cream to create really big bubbles. The bubbles sit on the surface of the coffee and give it a mottled appearance (similar to tiramisu)—you can see what it looks like here, here, and here. I wish I’d taken my own photo, but I’d inhaled it immediately because it was so good!

bowl of beef and egg yolk on wooden table with a wooden spoon

Bao (Multiple locations, but I went to the one in Borough Market—I also stayed by the one in King’s Cross, which I recommend because the space is beautiful and it’s in a nice, walkable area!)

Izy from Top With Cinnamon recommended this fast-casual, Taiwanese-inspired chain to me years and years ago! Although they’re most well known for their bao buns, they’ve since expanded their menu and offer hard-to-find-outside-of-Taiwan dishes like this beef rump rice (pictured above).

Bread Ahead Bakery (Southwark)

You’ve probably heard of this bakery before—they’re known for their plump, custard-filled donuts. I love this place and make a point to visit every time I’m in London… especially since I’ve made their donuts at home, and it is literally a THREE DAY LONG PROCESS that I’m not 100% sure is worth it.

Plus, they have new flavors every time I stop by! This time around, I got a pistachio filled donut that I loved, loved, LOVED. I also wish I’d had room for their chocolate ganache donut (a photo of which I share in this post).

Mangal 2 (Hackney)

Turkish food is hard to come by in my city of Portland. So I always make a point to go to a Turkish restaurant in Europe (since the Turkish community there is much bigger). You can usually find lots of options for casual and upscale Turkish food.

Like Mangal II! This place was a little fancier and in a VERY trendy neighborhood. If I had to describe their menu, I’d label it as “(New) Turkish cuisine” (similar to New American cuisine, lol), or even Turkish tapas. Portions were small and elegant, but really delicious. I really recommend this place if you want fancy Turkish food that’s not coming from a takeaway grill/kebab kind of place!

photo of violet bakery cupcake with pink raspberry frosting on white paper plate

Violet Bakery (Hackney)

The cupcake above is a chocolate and raspberry cupcake from Violet Bakery. Alright, most of you probably know this place as the bakery that baked Meghan and Harry’s wedding cake. I’ve been a fan of their cookbook since 2015 (see: these egg yolk chocolate chip cookies, and this buttermilk banana bread recipe from their book) but literally only visited the bakery on this past trip.

If I’m being honest, the bakery was okay… just okay. To be fair, it was pretty good! It’s just that they specialized in “American style baked goods” that didn’t feel particularly special to ME, an American who bakes these kinds of desserts frequently in her home kitchen. I think I would’ve liked it a lot more if I were a British person who doesn’t have the same access to American baked goods.

I am happy to report, however, that my version of their baked goods tasted pretty much the same as their version. So the recipes in their cookbook really are trustworthy and will allow you to make their baked goods at home!

Ramo Ramen (Soho)

A friend of a friend recommended this place and I was intrigued by its concept: Filipino-style ramen. That is, ramen but with broths and ingredients flavored and inspired by Filipino dishes like kare kare, sinigang, and more. It’s also run by the Panadera Bakery folks, so I was optimistic about the concept!

All in all, it was pretty good! I do think I still prefer the traditional versions of each cuisine though (lol).

Honey & Co (Bloomsbury)

According to my British friends, brunch isn’t really a thing over there. Honey & Co is the rare exception to that rule, serving an epic, Middle Eastern style mezze breakfast. It’s a bit pricey for brunch, but totally worth it! For a set price, you get a ton of mezze dishes and the egg dish of your choice. It’s a LOT of really delicious food, and I truly recommend it if you’re a big brunch person.

Gymkhana (Mayfair)

This is one of London’s most famous Indian restaurants, and for good reason. It’s absolutely amazing. Maybe even the best traditional Indian food I’ve ever had? I don’t have anything more to say that hasn’t already been said, but go, go, GO. If I had to make one “you can’t miss this!” recommendation from all the places on this list, it’d probably be Gymkhana.

Also, make a reservation early—like, three months early. This place is VERY popular and hard to get into!

photo of three uncles cantonese bbq in white takeaway box

Three Uncles (Multiple locations, but I went to the one in Camden Town)

I stumbled into this place randomly while exploring the relatively new (and so incredibly nice!) Hawley Market in Camden Market. Although there were lots of delicious looking options in the market, I chose Three Uncles on a random whim. Mostly because my favorite Cantonese BBQ restaurant in Portland shuttered without notice while I was gone, and I worried this would be the last time I’d have a chance to get that kind of cuisine.

I was not disappointed. Of all the things I ate on this trip, this was the best surprise—maybe because I hadn’t researched it, and didn’t realize it was kind of a famous and well-regarded place? In any case, if you’re the Camden Market area and need a respite from the crazy crowds, head to the slightly quieter and much cleaner Hawley Market and get some delicious roast meats from here.

The Alley (Multiple locations, but I went to the one in Camden Market)

This is not a boba shop that is exclusive to London. In fact, I’ve been to The Alley in Vancouver (Canada), Seoul (South Korea), and Manila (The Philippines). I really like their brown sugar boba! That’s why I make a point to go every time I see one, like I did when I was walking around Camden Town.

But I will admit, I was disappointed by the one I had in this particular location. They were a little too stingy with the brown sugar boba!

Brigadiers (City of London)

Erlend and I first visited this restaurant during our last trip to London (which was all the way back in 2019), and I made a point to come back during this visit because it was SO. FREAKING. GOOD. Brigadiers is the more “casual” sister restaurant of Gymkhana; it serves much less traditional Indian food, and instead focuses on Indian “barbecue”. Think: racks of lamb, chicken wings, and more, all seasoned generously with Indian flavors, sauces, and spices.

If you can’t get a reservation to Gymkhana, I highly recommend checking out Brigadiers instead. It’s truly one of my favorite restaurants in the world (I might even prefer it to Gymkhana, but still recommend Gymkhana for a more classic London experience), and I definitely plan to come back the next time I’m in London!

% Arabica (Covent Garden)

If you’re looking for good coffee in the Covent Garden area, check out % Arabica. I believe it’s a Japanese coffeehouse (I’ve been to their Kyoto location), and I’m literally obsessed with their iced coffee selection. They have Kyoto AND Spanish iced coffee, both of which are spiked with sweetened condensed milk for sweetness.

Buns and Buns (Covent Garden)

I’m not gonna lie, this restaurant was a bit weird. Their menu was all over the place! They serve traditional egg-and-toast breakfasts in the morning, before switching to a pan-Asian style menu with Thai soup and satay, as well as Chinese bao, for lunch and dinner.

We ended up at this place because my mom was hungry and it was in a good spot in Covent Garden. It’s right in the center of things, but with walls that separate you from the crowds. The walls are made of glass, so you can still people watch (which is a fun thing to do in Covent Garden) and enjoy your meal with some seclusion!

Noble Rot (Multiple locations, but I went to the one in Soho—but the Bloomsbury one is across from Honey & Co and looks even cuter!)

I picked this place out from a “Best Restaurants in London” list because it’s a wine bar known for its good food. My mom and her friends are big wine aficionados, and I was hoping to impress them. And while the wine AND the food menu were both pretty good, I have to admit, this wasn’t my favorite place. It felt a little too stuffy and like it was taking itself too seriously? I felt like we were speaking in hushed voices the entire time and couldn’t really let loose in the way we could at both Brigadiers and Gymkhana.

That being said, the food here is pretty good. It’s a bit of a weird menu, though—it’s mostly appetizers, light on vegetables, with a famous roast chicken that everybody should order.

Caravan (Multiple locations, but I went to the one near King’s Cross)

Again, if you’re looking for a more traditional brunch place in London, your options are weirdly limited. It’s not really a thing there? But Caravan is one of the places that does offer a more American-style brunch.

Admittedly, I didn’t actually try the brunch—instead, I grabbed a latte to go because they’re also known for their coffee roastery. I also really like the Coal Drops Yard area that the Caravan I went to is in. There are lots of cute little shops and restaurants, all along a wide open square that makes it feel less crowded and hectic than other parts of London.

photo of mutton roast from marksman pub

The Marksman Pub (Hackney)

This was another place that I’d gone to with Erlend back in 2019 that I thought was worth revisiting on this trip. The Marksman is a traditional English pub but with a really, really good restaurant. They’re especially known for their Sunday roast dinners.

The food here is amazing—it was back in 2019 when I first went, and it was also still amazing this time around. However, service was definitely much worse. They made several mistakes throughout our dinner, bringing us the wrong appetizers and wine orders. We didn’t really complain because what they brought over was delicious, but still. Looking at their reviews online, I don’t think this was a rare experience, either… it seems like the service here has declined severely in the last few years.

So my verdict? I still recommend it, but with some caveats. If you’re looking for a really amazing traditional Sunday roast dinner, go here. It’ll be the best tasting one you get in the city. But it’ll be pricey, with likely bad service. Womp!

Redemption Roasters (Multiple locations, but I went to the one near King’s Cross in Coal Drops Yard)

I really loved the idea of this roastery, which trains incarcerated folks how to roast and brew coffee to help them find a good job and community upon their release. I’m happy to report that, barring the Japanese coffees I got at % Arabica and Omotesando Koffee, Redemption Roasters made the best latte I had while I was in London. Their lattes were so good that I actually went back twice during my visit—a tough sell in a town full of good third wave coffee shops!

Dishoom (Multiple locations, but I went to the one near King’s Cross in Coal Drops Yard)

Barring Gymkhana, Dishoom is probably one of the most well known Indian restaurants in London. They became popular in the mid 2010s by introducing the concept of Indian breakfast and brunch. You can also get dinner there, but I really do recommend the breakfast/brunch experience. It’s really unique and, of course, delicious. I actually immediately Googled the recipe for the dish I ordered (kejriwal, which is basically two fried eggs on chili cheese toast)—I found it published on Food52, but you’ll likely find a version of it on Hummingbird High soon!

dishoom chili cheese eggs on white plate

In Case You Missed It: New Recipes and Posts

Here’s a list of everything I published and updated last month on my different Hummingbird High channels:

  • Strawberry Tiramisu {NEW RECIPE}
    I know it’s not really strawberry season anymore, but if you live in a state where they are seasonal year round (cough, California, cough), definitely check out this recipe. It’s one of my new favorite recipes on Hummingbird High. Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok, too!

  • Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies {UPDATED RECIPE}
    Okay, this isn’t a new recipe, but it’s one I recently revisited because I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The recipe makes 4 (or 6!) chocolate chip cookies with just one egg yolk! I updated on the blog with new and hopefully useful baking information. Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok, too!

  • Small Batch Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins {UPDATED RECIPE}
    Another old recipe that I recently revisited and updated. I was worried about this one since some folks reported that their muffins came out dry; I’ve since adjusted the Bake Time for better results. Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok, too!

  • Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam (A Copycat Starbucks Recipe) {NEW RECIPE}
    Is it me, or have Starbucks prices gotten so out of control lately? Because of this, I’ve started making my own coffee at home. It’s actually been super fun—I’ve been Googling tons of Starbucks hacks. I don’t quite know if they’re as good as the real thing, but I’ll take it over spending $5+ everyday. Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok, too!

  • S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies {UPDATED RECIPE}
    I realized that Smashmallow, my favorite marshmallows to use for baking, went out of business recently. BUMMER. So I needed to update this old recipe to work with a new kind of marshmallow! Plus, it was National S’mores Day, so might as well take advantage of the occasion, right?! Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok.

  • Taste Testing Ghirardelli Brownie Box Mix Hacks {NEW POST}
    When I published this post on the best brownie box mix, several folks asked me if I’d made the brownies using brownie hacks like swapping the oil with butter, the water with milk, etc. I did NOT, so I decided to roundup some of the most popular box mix hacks and taste test them to see if they were worth it! Watch the results of my experiments on Instagram and TikTok!

  • Earl Grey Tiramisu

  • Iced Strawberry Matcha Latte {NEW RECIPE}
    This recipe is part of my series on making my own coffee and tea at home to save cash moneyyy, lol. Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok, too!

  • The Best Banana Cinnamon Muffins {UPDATED RECIPE}
    I had an abundance of spotted bananas last month, so I decided to make these banana cinnamon muffin recipe in the Hummingbird High archives. GUYS. I forgot how good these freaking muffins are. I’m convinced they’re the best banana cinnamon muffin recipe on the internet. SERIOUSLY. Watch the blurb for the recipe on Instagram and TikTok, too!

  • The Best Brownie Box Mix {NEW POST}
    I spent the last few months experimenting with brownie box mix, taste testing the different brands, hacks, and more. I finally decided to roundup all that work in this blog post. And if you think the blog post is TL/DR, then definitely check out my quick hot takes on Instagram and TikTok!

Below are pictures of the two most popular recipes from the month—Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam (A Copycat Starbucks Recipe) and Earl Grey Tiramisu—to inspire you:

photo of hand pouring a jar of vanilla sweet cream cold foam over a glass of iced coffee
photo of earl grey tiramisu in a white casserole dish with a scoop taken out

Finally, On A Lighthearted Note

Whew! Because this post has gone on long enough, I’m going to skip the usual link sharing sections of my monthly update posts. Instead, I’ll leave you with this hilarious video contrasting a woman begging recipe developers not to measure onions in cups while another woman explains why you should measure onions in cups.

That’s all for now, folks. I hope you all are staying safe and healthy! Please let me know how you’re doing in the comments below, and feel free to share the ideas and issues that are floating around in your heads, too.


Michelle holding Weeknight Baking cookbook covering her face.

buy the book
Weeknight Baking:
Recipes to Fit your Schedule

Over the past several years of running Hummingbird High, I kept a crucial aspect of my life hidden from my readers: I had a full-time, extremely demanding job in the tech world. In my debut cookbook, Weeknight Baking, I finally reveal the secrets to baking delicious desserts on a tight schedule.