Tour in Twickenham


After our lovely foodie holiday in France, my daughter and I headed back to busy London, where she lives. We had a whole wonderful day together, on which we celebrated my birthday and an early Mum’s day. But on my last day in Europe she had to get back to work.

But I had previously contacted Kay Gale, whose blog I’ve followed for as long as I can remember. She is the author of the The Single Gourmet and Traveller. Posts of her culinary endeavors, restaurant experiences, and trips around Europe have always appealed to me. She is, indeed, the single gourmet and traveller, and I’m a bit envious!

Kay had penciled me in for April 23rd. I thought we’d manage coffee and a pastry, but Kay was so accommodating that she carved out five whole hours of her day in order to show me around the lovely area she calls home. I was very excited. She told me she lived in Richmond.

In the U.S., we’ve got it easy. Someone asks you where you live and you give a city and a state. That’s it. No township, county, province, borough, by-the-mountain or in-the-valley. In Europe, it’s completely different.

If I was smarter I would have looked everything up on a map, but I didn’t. I was probably on foodie overload. So it turns out that Kay indeed lives in Richmond, a suburb or borough of London, officially called Richmond upon Thames. But Twickenham is the town in Richmond where Kay lives. I swear the Brits use all of these names interchangeably. And I say this with no disrespect whatsoever, just confusion!

In any case, Twickenham is a lovely town southwest of London that stretches along the Thames, also known as the home of English rugby.

I took a car from central London to Kay’s lovely home, and was initially surprised at how tall she is! It’s odd how you have preconceived notions from blog photos!

Kay was just as nice as I expected. We immediately hit it off. To save time, she drove us here and there, to give me a thorough tour of the area. Richmond is quite busy; it’s not in the countryside. But its location along the Thames makes it beautiful and peaceful. This was especially so on this warm April day, with the flowers blooming. And there’s nothing like the new spring green as in England.

We started our tour with a coffee at Ruben’s Bakehouse, a popular bakery in the area. Then we checked out Eel Pie island, which is an actual island in the Thames. It’s an artists’ residence, only open to the public on specific days.

We walked along the Thames, observed some beautiful Georgian architecture, and walked around Richmond Hill, which has a spectacular view. Part of the view is occupied by the gorgeous Richmond Park along the Thames as well. We also stopped in at her favorite Italian deli, Food on the Hill, where I spied some beautiful pasta called paccheri lisci.

And then it was lunch time. Kay chose A Cena, an obvious choice to me because she has written about this restaurant many times. It’s an exceptional Italian restaurant in the heart of Twickenham, or Richmond. Kay and I shared the fried cauliflower offering as an appetizer, served with a lemon-caper mayonnaise. It was perfect. We both chose the sea bream, topped with an anchovy drizzle, for our main course. The featured photo is of Kay and me in A Cena.

The chef and owners of A Cena take their Italian menu quite seriously, and change it up often. They even offer regional Italian meals occasionally, which Kay attends. The most recent of them was the food of Piedmont, which Kay wrote about here.

After lunch we walked more, and talked even more. Then there was sorbet at Gelateria Danieli. We finished the day at Butter Beans, a coffeehouse at Richmond Station, where I was picked up for the drive back to my hotel. There, I reflected on my time with the lovely Kay, who was so generous to spend her time with the fellow American food blogger.

I’ve had so much fun meeting food bloggers; I’d previously met three of them – all men. Kay is the first woman blogger I’ve spent time with, and our connection was easy and comfortable. We’re both mums in love with our children, good food and travelling. But I especially enjoyed Kay because she is a lover of life, and is very proud of the area she calls home. I’m honored that Kay was willing to spend time with me. It was so nice to meet her in person.

39 thoughts on “Tour in Twickenham

  1. Great post, as usual! Fantastic experience with Kay, a perfect day that I’m glad you shared with your readers

    I haven’t been in London for a decade, I think – loved the three times I visited, although they were pretty brief. The only problem is I found everything very expensive, compared to Paris (I was living in Paris the last time I did the trip, and was shocked by the difference in cost of pretty much everything from a taxi to restaurant meals). Still, it is an amazing place

    • I never went to London before my daughter moved there. Maybe it’s because she’s an amazing tour guide that we’ve really fallen in love with it, because normally I’m not one to embrace cities. Too many people bumping in to me! I’m so glad she can actually afford to live there, because she absolutely loves it. 4 years now. And it is terribly expensive.

  2. Mimi, what a lovely write-up of our day together! Thank you so much for all your kind words and I had such a wonderful time meeting you and spending time together. It’s one of the bonuses of blogging that you get to make some lovely friends :)

  3. Sounds like a great day of touring, photography and food – all highlighted by sharing it with and insider and fellow blogger. Your entire European trip seems to have been a great adventure. What a charming way to conclude it. Ken

    • Thanks Suzanne. I never would have gone before my daughter moved there, but it’s a magical country. And the British people are really wonderful.

  4. My Dad was a Londoner so it has a special place in my heart. You’d be made very welcome in Melbourne too, the most liveable (and expensive) city in the world.

      • Ha! Sadly it’s true, maybe not for rents and domestic services but the general cost of living, for sure. We had always been led to believe London was expensive then we spent 5 months there 2011 and discovered that cost is really relative to wages.

  5. I love Twickenham and Richmond. I used to work as an occupational therapist in special needs schools in this borough. Beautiful area. My husband and I do a lot of kayaking so we love anywhere near the river. Looks like you had lots of fun. Emma xx

  6. Your time looked and sounded perfect! Glad you enjoyed and happy belated birthday! Does your daughter have a blog too? I’d love to follow along on all the adventures.

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