I’m sitting here with a steaming mug of tea having just caught up on Murray crashing out of the Rolly G while chatting to my friends in the UK on Whatsapp. My mum has just sent through a picture of the lush green fields of the Peak District as seen from her office, not long ago I tweeted my old workmates about a new rooftop bar that has opened in London, and Made in Chelsea is playing on the TV in the background.
I may be over 3,000 miles away, but the UK is definitely on my mind. Particularly my favourite city in the whole world: London; The Big Smoke.
It’s not surprising that when somewhere holds such a huge place in your heart, you try to replicate it wherever you go.
Last weekend, Rich and I headed to one of our favourite breakfast places on The Pearl, Alison Nelson’s Chocolate Bar. The hot chocolate is creamy and delicious and the staff are just brilliant but the main reason for heading down there on a Friday morning is for their big baskets of pastries and full English breakfasts.
Shame about the veal bacon (which I would never touch for ethical reasons!) and lack of Heinz Baked Beans, but other than that, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Particularly when they bring out the little pots of Tiptree jam for you to smother your toast with.
Breakfast was great, but this is only one meal of many that us Brits are famous for. As soon as breakfast is over, it’s time to start thinking about lunch. And after lunch comes my favourite meal of them all. Afternoon tea!
Luckily for us, the Qataris seem to take some delight in the terribly British past-time of quaffing on sandwiches and scones and cakes and tea too, so there are numerous places that offer this delectable afternoon treat. Arguably, the most special of these places sits high above the city in Tea Garden on the 21st floor the iconic Torch building. We took a trip there last Saturday.
After a few exclamations at the view, we loaded up our plates until they were full to spilling point with the huge selection of savoury snacks, cakes and scones on offer, and then sat back to enjoy the meal.
Soon, the afternoon sun started to dip over the desert beyond, and we were faced with the most stunning view as we patted our full stomachs and finished our teas.
But there wasn’t much time for us to stop and stare, because supper was almost upon us.
Last week, my favourite British celebrity chef, Peter Lloyd was in town to deliver his Taste of Thailand tasting menu in the W hotel’s Spice Market.
I had fasted for most of the day in preparation, so by the time we arrived for supper that evening, I was more than ready for the hundreds of courses that ensued. And they were worth the wait.
Luckily for us, the renowned mixologist, Domingo Barreres was also in the house, trying out some of his new signature cocktails. It would have been rude not to help him out by sampling a few and giving our verdict.
Delicious, if you’re interested.
But the highlight of the meal was when Chef Lloyd himself came over to say hello and congratulate me on passing my probation at work. What a lovely guy and what a lovely evening!
Now, the most difficult British insitution to recreate over here is what comes after supper. The infamous London nightlife.
However, there are some evening entertainment opportunities that come around every now and again that when you’re there, if you try very hard, you can almost imagine you’re back in a Blighty nightspot.
Like heading to Sundowners on a Friday evening to dance the night away on a terrace in Sharq Village with workmates.
Or spending an evening chatting in a hotel bar.
Or going to watch the awesome Showtek play a set in Club 7 as part of his tour of the Middle East.
At one point, he may have reached down from the decks, grabbed my phone and taken a cheeky selfie of us…no biggie.
When you’re out of the glaring heat of the sun, it does almost feel like London over here on occasion.
And I like it.