Thursday, July 5, 2012
When I first moved to London I stayed in a hotel in Belgravia for three weeks. Despite not being in the neighborhood for a long time, I fell in love with it. The leafy squares, beautiful architecture, and great shops and restaurants all won me over. Then I moved to Hampstead and didn’t get down to Belgravia very often. But last week I was invited to the 25th annual Motcomb Street Party, and I had a great excuse to return.
The Motcomb Street Party is an annual celebration put on by The Motcomb Street Traders Association. The party raises money for charities (this year they were the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and the Household Cavalry Foundation). Local restaurants, shops, and performers converge on the street, offering an evening of entertainment to the community.
I arrived just as things were getting started, and had an opportunity to peruse the restaurant stalls before the street got crowded. There was Koffmann’s at The Berkeley, The Rib Room at Jumeirah Carlton Tower, the Fifth Floor Cafe at Harvey Nichols, and one of my favorite restaurants in London, Nahm at The Halkin hotel.
After enjoying a great meal at the Nahm in London in January and another at the Nahm in Bangkok in February, I was excited to be offered a taste of Nahm’s grilled halibut Thai curry at the party. I wasn’t disappointed, either. The halibut was nice and meaty, and the spices balanced out the clean taste of the white fish nicely. I was tempted to stay for seconds.
But there was more of the Motcomb Street Party to explore. Back behind Amaya—another of my favorite restaurants in London—there was a VIP area. Canapes abounded, and I had a chance to sample everything from smoked salmon to sushi.
As the food made its rounds, so did several celebrity impersonators. I met a Captain Jack Sparrow that bore such an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp that I almost believed it was he. Nearby were James Bond and a man in a green plaid blazer and top hat. He looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place him.
Speaking of celebrity look-alikes, back on the road the Motcomb Street Party was heating up with the sounds of a Tom Jones impersonator named Billy Lee. He and several others entertained the crowd with covers of “Stars in Their Eyes” and other classics.
By the time the concert got underway, the area was packed and the festivities were in full swing. I spent some more time walking around, listening to the music, and catching up with people before making the long trek back to north London.
But not for long. This week I moved to South Kensington, which is just down the road from Belgravia. That means that the next time the Motcomb Street Party comes around, I will have a much shorter trip home. In fact, I might not even wait for the festivities before I return to enjoy the likes of Nahm, Amaya, and my other favorite restaurants in the area. I can’t wait!