Every so often, a glorious free day opens up where you have no commitments, friends are otherwise engaged, work has been miraculously accomplished (or is being studiously ignored in the misguided hope that it may somehow go away) and I have the leisure to do precisely as I chose. London is made for these perfect, me-time days, and in fact that is what I call them: Perfect Days. When one looms on the horizon, I get excited and anticipate all the lovely things I'm going to get up to, and at the end of November, one occurred.
So naturally I went for breakfast at Selfridges.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. I set off bright and early into Old London Town to first of all join the queue on The Strand outside the Adelphi Theatre. Each morning, 20 day tickets are released at a discounted price, available to the first 20 people who care to queue for them. With my ticket for the matinee of Made In Dagenham secured, I wandered the couple of miles through Soho to Oxford circus, enjoying the lights, the window displays and the general pre-Christmas hustle and bustle. My destination was Oxford Street; Selfridges to be more precise, and Le Chalet to be specific.
Le Chalet is Selfridges shiny new pop-up restaurant. London is delightfully awash with such seasonal offerings and Le Chalet is decked out to look like a ski lodge, complete with cosy blankets, skis, alpine greenery and of course, twinkly lights. As they opened for service, there was already a queue. I didn't have a reservation, but they managed to find me a table as long as I promised to leave in an hour. No problem. My table was right in the window, overlooking London's skyline and the pale winter sunshine filtering across the restaurant gave it a wonderful glow. It was busy, and about ten minutes after opening, every table was full and the buzz of excited conversation hung in the air.
I turned to my menu. It's time to confess that my main reason for wishing to visit this particular winter-themed restaurant was the promise of a selection of delectably naughty hot chocolates. And I wasn't disappointed! I ordered banana bread for breakfast, served warm and buttery with fresh strawberries, and asked the waitress if they were serving their hot choctails that morning. She didn't bat an eyelid at my request for an alcoholic breakfast accompaniment and I gleefully ordered a Chocwork Orange.
It was the most alcoholic hot chocolate I have ever had for breakfast. Or ever had, y'know, ever. The chocolate was bitter, dark and smooth and it warmed you in and out. The cream rounded out the flavour perfectly and the orange was deliciously tangy. Just...yum. So much yum. As I sipped, I wrote a couple of postcards and pondered the advisability of becoming inebriated before elevensies. So I followed up my breakfast of cake and cocktails with a steadying pot of tea. Very wise.
It was a very decadent way to begin the day, and with a little bit of Christmas shopping and a musical on the horizon, I was well pleased... but that's another story for another day.
P.S. Next on my list is a very special Christmas afternoon tea. Fingers crossed I can squeeze it in!