I don't go out in my local hood that often but god knows when I do, not even a broken ankles gonna stop the shenanigans...first stop (well actually there was only two) was a pretty Russian restaurant we'd been meaning to check out for ages...Nikita's. Name checking Elton John as a favourite customer on their website, the restaurant featured a veritable cacophony of beautiful, distinctive interior murals inspired by ornate Russian houses and originally designed to brighten the long winter nights.
Nikita's food was heartily divine (see dumplings above), the vodka flowed freely, the waitresses eminated that idiosyncratic charm only Russian ladies can and when we least expected it, the crazy accordion player (below) started busting out traditional balalaika tunes...turned up to 11. According to the website he was Bibs Ekkel 'one of the top masters of the balalaika outside Russia', however he seemed to be favouring Abba tunes at our table that night in tribute to my two stunning Swedish (almost) identical twin sister dining compadres.
After Nikita's we hobbled along to my favourite London cafe - The Troubadour. I first discovered this magical place at the age of 17 and spent months trying to locate its wonderful selection of rickety teapots in the window again years later when I finally came to reside in the city.
With a chequered, bohemian history dating from its inception in the 1950s, the cafe includes a subterranean live music bar - keeping alive a tradition of folk and jazz which reputedly saw the likes of Bob Dylan play at the venue.
What I love most though are the curious interiors (below) - traditional and European in style, featuring all kinds of hanging saucepans, iron work, enormous keys and locks, wooden puppets, musical instruments and statues. The cafe also has a fertile, fairy-lit beergarden out the back, a really beautiful atmosphere in which to spend a midsumummer night's dream...