London: From The Connaught to IKEA…(with some mice thrown in)

by Sasha Wilkins on January 21, 2014 · 5 comments


I am surprised that anyone who comes near me at the moment isn’t keeling over at the smell of bleach which emanates from my person, and everything that I touch: I’ve spent the last forty-eight hours on my hands and knees, scouring everything in the kitchen, after the sighting of a mouse scurrying away behind the drinks cupboard.


Whilst you won’t find me standing on a stool, screaming 1950s housewife style, I’m not best pleased at the idea of having mice in residence, as I’m fearful that I’ll pull out a little-opened drawer or box to find some treasured piece of vintage chewed up for luxury mouse bedding.

I don’t know why I have mice for, as documented previously, all my edible dried goods are sealed away in dozens of Kilner jars so, apart from my clothes, there is nothing for the furry f*ckers to eat here.

Then again, the ambition of mice will never astonish me since I awoke in the East Village one night to the sight of a mouse dragging an empty Twix wrapper, extracted from my (very high) wastepaper basket, across the wooden bedroom floor.

Anyway, it turns out that my upstairs neighbours are similarly plagued, so I think it is time for Rentokil to pay a visit.

In other ground-breaking news, I have found my new favourite thing to eat for breakfast: the York & Albany’s wild mushrooms on toast, with poached eggs (at top). It is, essentially, heaven in matutinal form, from the buttery toast, and the slightly crisped around the edge mushrooms, to the perfect poached eggs. They also make rocket fuel Americanos. Two of them this morning, and I was practically incoherent.


Yesterday was high on efficiency (and bleach), and low on organisational skills, but I did manage to take P Bad to Regent’s Park for a constitutional. (I’m not sure that the wearing of running tights and trainers to walk the dog really counts as a gym equivalent, but I am nothing if not delusional where my exercise regimen is concerned.)

I then spent several pleasant hours in the gorgeous Connaught Bar, where Helene Darroze was hosting the annual Galette des Rois party for her fellow London chefs and food obsessives. I took Brig as my guest, and we had a wonderful time, talking food, sealing wax and cabbages and kings with lovely Ravinder and Kerstin, and lots of other very interesting people. (Amongst whom I was thrilled to finally meet Simon Rogan, who opens his new restaurant in Claridge’s in April, all being well..)

galette-des -ois

Although I sacrificially broke my January no-sugar regime, in the interests of culinary research, to eat a piece of delectable galette, I didn’t find a bean. Ravinder, however, found a little china angel (above) in her slice, and won a weekend at The Connaught. (I decided that wrestling her to the ground for angel possession was undignified in the circumstances.)

And afterwards it was all about the anti-glamour, as I hied myself to IKEA in Wembley (in party dress and heels) to buy some storage stuff, and coloured china for my current project. I am such an IKEA pro: I was out of The Connaught, in and around the store, and back home to Camden in under an hour and a half. Although I always bitterly regret living on my own when I return home and have to heft everything up the stairs. I should have put on my trainers and called it exercise.

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