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It's been a little while since I've picked up the travel post baton, but it's all about to ramp up in that department again soon as I begin to pack my bags and return to my babe that is the land of Japan in October. Honestly, the trip couldn't come sooner.
For now though, I very happily accepted a collaboration with the marvellous Hotels.com with their endeavor to showcase our local gemstone neighbourhoods in The Big City, with one of my absolute favourites being the chic, divine, charming Covent Garden. My spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own, naturally! Also if you're staying local to this absolute stunner of a London nugget to explore more and for longer, you should definitely check out these hotels near Covent Garden for your best stay ever.
"Covent Garden is in the West End, London’s main theatre and entertainment area. Tourists fill its elegant, car-free Piazza, home to fashion stores, crafts at the Apple Market and the Royal Opera House. Street entertainers perform by 17th-century St. Paul’s Church, and the London Transport Museum houses vintage vehicles. Restaurants with pre-show deals and high-end spots like The Ivy cater to theatregoers." - Google
The thing I love most about our beloved CG is the bustling diversity of its personality and charm. Even if you're just meandering around the central market plaza and nothing more, you've got designer boutiques hugging against the tradition its market stalls, whilst at the same time offering some of the broadest selections in dining options for all budgets, from Shake Shack to The Ivy, all in a really welcoming, pedestrian friendly coup.
It's only a small factor too, but one worth noting, the main Covent Garden tube station is literally one of the most conveniently located in the city, aside from the giants that are Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street (in my opinion anyway. I'm not all that keen on walking too far to the "main bits", because I'm lazy).
So let's talk about recommendations, shall we? That's what we're here for.
If you know me by now you'll know that I'm Japan obsessed. I've traveled a good chunk of the country so far, with much more to go this year, so if there's Japanese food anywhere to sniff out then I'm there.
Sticks N Sushi is a chain, there are a fair few around, but boy you won't ever be disappointed with how beautifully they prepare and serve up their food.
"Sticks’n’Sushi serve high-quality, fresh food based on a unique combination of traditional sushi and yakitori sticks from the grill. So for those less keen on fish, there is a selection of chicken, pork, beef and vegetable skewers - all grilled fresh to order." - Sticks'n'Sushi
Address: 11 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PY
First off - BOOK A TABLE. No matter how small your party size, make sure you book online as this place fills up fast from midday onward. The venue itself is extremely intimate and has people spaced out perfectly for privacy, so room is limited. Don't disappoint yourself by taking the risk and simply dropping in.
From the menu I can highly recommend the traditional Miso soup (It's the most authentic tasting I've had outside of Japan itself), and wholly suggest taking things a little more special with your orders and checking out the set menus. They give you a perfect way of sampling as much of the cooking as possible without getting your mind blown with the selection of single dishes.
For two people and your first time at Sticks'n'Sushi I would say check out the "Mixed Emotions" platter.
NIGIRI shrimp, salmon, hiramasa, tuna
MAKI pink Alaska, spicy tuna and gypsy roll
I could write on for days on how every morsel was utterly mouthwatering and insatiably filling, but we need to move on before this turns into a Sticks'n'Sushi spesh. Basically, if you adore Japanese cuisine, perfectly cooked meat, deliciously constructed sushi, and faultless attention and service from waiting staff, then do yourself an enormous favour the next time you're in the area and have your lunch/dinner at Sticks'n'Sushi.
Oh now come on, if you're anywhere near familiar with Instagram and ice cream, then you're absolutely in the know when it comes to the beloved Milk Train.
I'm not sure where I heard this, but apparently (and I hope this is right), Milk Train take pride in their original flavour of soft serve which should conjure up thoughts and memories of those last dregs of milk at the bottom of your cereal bowl of a morning breakfast. I'm convinced, actually! It isn't at all the taste of your regular Ice Cream Van fun stuff, it's got a much less sweet but ultimately way more milky and creamy stance to it. Really nice.
Let's step outside the central hub for a moment and show some love to this sweet little thing
"Our staff are waiting to welcome you to London’s little piece of kawaii paradise! We’re very central and convenient to get to; just check out the instructions below on how to get there. Be sure to visit the newly opened Tofu Cute concession in store!" Art Box
Address: 44 Shelton St, London WC2H 9HZ
For ages I just roamed the main market square area of Covent Garden thinking that was pretty much it - and let's face it, there's plenty there to spend a day on right?
Thing is, all this time spent being a Kawaii fiend both offline and on my Twitch Channel , collecting cute little Japanese trinkets, plushies, stationery, and DIY candy kits to share - I had absolutely no idea that Artbox and Tofu Cute were perfectly combined just around the corner!
Walls lined with the latest Sanrio superstar merchandise, Pusheen for days, Japanese sweets, even ceramics and kitchenware - you can't actually find much more Kawaii authenticity than you can at this little beaut.
The staff are unbelievable kind and personable too, with one lady raiding the entire basement for as many DIY candy kits as she could for me to dig through and take home to construct up for my sweet toothed audience.
For even more about my love of Japanese culture when it comes to cute things, you can check out my time at Hyper Japan this year. Artbox/Tofu Cute are always there too.
Love you, CG! You're just 3 simple Piccadilly stops away form my main babe Kings Cross, and I thank you for it.
So yeah! Absorb the unity of the main Central Market Square with it's history, modern additions, and street performances, as well as the tasty treats on offer off every corner.
As I say, it's absolutely worth taking the time to steer away from Market Square for a moment too to check out the "back streets" round by Shelton Street for sure. There's even a really nice little quiet Costa up there too which seems to keep a low tempo, and of course Mango and Brandy & Melville for your fashion fixes.
Also, if you're looking for a really easy to get to Charlotte Tilbury independent store for the beauty lovers, there's one just outside the tube station as you come out. Be aware though, it gets utterly rammed in there.
Thanks for stopping by!
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