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  • Writer's pictureClaire

Culture and Cuisine: A day trip to Brick Lane, London

Half term is here again, and we wanted to do something with the boys that would appeal to them both (sometimes a difficult feat with a 4.5 year age gap). We saw the Immersive Dali Exhibition advertised and agreed that would be a good thing for the whole family to do. Nicely situated off of Brick Lane in East London, we knew that a day here would be a good day out for food, tasty treats and other shopping delights. We were also accompanied by some friends and their children, which made the day out all the more fun for everyone involved. After an early train into London we decided that we needed coffee and a small bite to eat before we go to the Dali exhibition. A thought immediately sprung to mind, A bagel! Isn't Brick Lane supposed to be famous for them; so as soon as we arrived in Brick Lane we set out to find a bagel place. Walking to our destination we admire all the talented graffiti and street art along the lane. The area attracts a lot of street artists such as Banksy, ROA and D*Face. The area also has a thriving fashion scene particularly vintage clothing with shops such as Rokit and Hunky Dory Vintage. Then we spot the sign, 24 hour bakery! at Beigel Bake. Now, if this is open 24 hours then these must be some serious Beigels, and Oh My Goodness, they so were! I went for the classic smoked salmon and cream cheese and my husband had the salt beef with mustard and pickles. Both were absolutely delicious. The best bagels I have ever eaten hands down. Not only do they serve Beigels but the bakery also produced the biggest Chollas I have ever seen and other interesting rye breads.

We set off to see the Metaverse at the Dali Immersive Experience. Dali has always been one of my favourite artists and seeing it in this way is next level Dali! We all loved it, it was engaging, relaxing and the VR headset experience at the end was so much fun making this exhibit undeniably cool.

A couple of us wanted to go to some record shops and having the vintage market in Brick Lane, you can get some second hand vinyl finds here. There is also Rough Trade East for any vinyl lovers out there.

Pretty soon it was lunch time. Brick Lane is renowned for its Bangledeshi Cuisine as it's the heart of the country's Bangledeshi community. As much as I love curry we didn't think curry for lunch with the young ones would hit the spot, so we plumped for a traditional Lebanese restaurant called Babel Grill House. Between us we went for the set mixed meze menu and it was all delicious. Lots of individually tasty treats culminating in a wonderful meal. It was a non-alcoholic establishment, which admittedly we were not aware of beforehand; after the initial shock of not getting a glass of wine, we had some delicious mint lemonade and Lebanese tea for the table which paired beautifully with the food - we should trust the process and not be lushes who lunch. However if you are having a particularly adult day out the Truman Brewery is also situated on Brick Lane.

To end our visit to Brick Lane saw a shop selling all kinds of Turkish Delight in the window, as well as other tasty sweet treats such as Baklava. My eldest and my friend decide that Turkish Delight is where it was at and they would do a taste and vote on the way home, for me it was a selection box of the sweet and nutty baklava from Rajmahal Sweets.

After all this my youngest's wish for his first time in London to see by Big Ben was to be granted, on our return to the train station. Back at Waterloo we decided that this top day out deserved an alcoholic beverage for the adults. We swung into the newly opened Brewdog Brewery, which not only gave us an overwhelming choice of all sorts of beer but had an inside slide for the kids to use, (clearly a family man with a plan!). They also have a fridge titled Train Beer with cans for you to take away for your journey - how very thoughtful.

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