Cheapy Chinese and spaghetti alla marinara

So intent was I on writing my blog on Tuesday morning that I ended up running late (again!) to meet my old workmate, Catherine, for lunch in Chinatown. For years while we worked together, and every year I’ve been back to London since, we’ve eaten at Hing Loon on Lisle Street – and this time is no exception. We barely need to glance at the menu because, of course, we order the same thing we’ve always had – beef with chili in black bean sauce for me, bean curd in black bean sauce for Catherine, and boiled rice for two. The food at this tiny restaurant isn’t going to win awards any time soon but it’s great value (you can have a two-course set lunch for £5), the staff are friendly and you know exactly what you’re going to get. I don’t take any photos (motto from now on: ALWAYS take photos) so instead I’m going to post this curious shot of a giraffe in a telephone box! It’s one of a whole series of arty phone boxes that I proceed to enjoy snapping around the West End.

Arty phone box, West End, London

Arty phone box, West End

After treating myself to a nostalgic scoop of Caramel Chew Chew from Ben & Jerry’s in Leicester Square I have the obligatory snoop round the shops up Long Acre. Call it a cynical marketing ploy if you like but I’m continually excited to see the extent of the patriotic fervour that has hit London. At M&S Food there are so many things packaged in Union Jacks and their famous pre-packed sandwich range has been infiltrated by such combinations as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, pork pie and egg, and coronation chicken. Hell, I even find a shop that’s just one big Union Jack!

Shop on KIng Street, Covent Garden

Shop on KIng Street, Covent Garden

Anyway, I should probably write about some food now, given that’s what this blog is supposed to be about! At my darling friend Henni’s in the evening we start off with a glass or two of rosé and some Marmite flatbreads dipped in caramelised onion hummus which is strangely yummy.

Marmite flatbreads and caramelised onion humous

Marmite flatbreads and caramelised onion hummus

For dinner Henni has made one of my favourites – a beautiful seafood pasta with muscles, prawns, squid, onion, garlic, chili and tomato, sprinkled with flat leaf parsley. It’s tasty and comforting, and relaxing in Henni’s gorgeous flat and being looked after is just what the doctor ordered after two days of walking and being out and about until late. Afterwards I stretch out on the sofa under a rug and catch up on old favourites, EastEnders and Midsomer Murders. What bliss!

Spagetti alla marinara

Spaghetti alla marinara, chez Henni

Hing Loon
25 Lisle Street, Soho, London
Visited 19 June 2012

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