Blue LagoonPosted: 08/29/2013
Sightseeing in London can be a battle. A battle against the oppressive July heat, against the huddled masses of tourists on the Tube, against the sticky humidity that leaves you feeling like you just spent days in the jungle when you’d only showered an hour before. Sometimes when I stood in line for hours at a particularly popular tourist attraction, I became lost in thoughts about how I was just another cow in a herd of tourists, and sometimes I started devising an escape plan in case the swarms of tourists around me succumbed to Black Friday syndrome and proceeded to simply stampede their way into whatever monument/museum/palace I happened to be at, much like the wildebeests in The Lion King. Still, these morbid thoughts didn’t stop me from visiting every tourist attraction in London that I could manage, including, of course, the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
Dolph, Pickles and I arrived at Buckingham Palace by walking from Green Park station through Hyde Park. We were an hour early, but of course there were already swarms of tourists lining the gates. We managed to get decent spots near the gate to observe the changing of the guard, and the Guards band played the title song from Skyfall, which was fun. To be honest, it was a lot of waiting, but it’s not everyday that you get to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. In any case, we spent the rest of the day doing some more touristy things, including purchasing tea at Fortnum & Mason and visiting the National Gallery, which houses, among other pieces, Van Gogh’s Armchair. I’m not much of an art critic, but I have a special love of Van Gogh, so I was a happy camper. One of the best things about London is that many of the museums and galleries, including the National Gallery and the British Museum, are free, which is always a bonus when you’re on a tight budget.
We ended up wandering into Blue Lagoon, a small Thai restaurant nearby. It was a relatively small restaurant, and we were the only patrons when we walked in, which was relatively early, possibly around 5 PM. The three of us spent a short amount of time perusing the regular menu before deciding to order the 2 course set dinner, which was on special for £10 and included a set of three appetizers and a main dish of your choice. We then waited for our food to come, and in addition to the usual awkwardness of being the only table of patrons at a restaurant, I found the waiting process particularly awkward here. For one thing, there was a server who was leaning against a wall opposite our table for the longest time, without doing any work. We had the uncomfortable feeling that he was watching us, and while it’s generally considered a good thing for a waiter to be keeping his eye on you, it was excessive here to the point that we found it uncomfortable. In any case, onwards to the food…
First to arrive, of course, was our plate of Appetizers: some chicken skewers, spring rolls, and toast with prawn paste. Considering that this was essentially a plate of grilled and fried foods, it was oily and satisfying. It also came out piping hot, which is great except that I hadn’t expected it and ended up burning my tongue. In any case, I found the toast with prawn paste especially interesting, since I’d never had it before–the toast was crunchy and was also topped with sesame seeds, which added a nice texture. The chicken was moist, while the spring rolls were fried up nicely, and the peanut sauce was a good balance between creamy and chunky. Greasy food is so comforting after a long day of walking.
Our main courses arrived soon after. Pickles had chosen the Yellow Curry, which was accompanied by a bowl of rice. We were disappointed to see that the rice was short-grain, as opposed to the long-grain rice that is usually served at Thai restaurants. Pickles also found that the yellow curry wasn’t aromatic enough, and that there wasn’t enough of a signature curry flavour to it, either. I generally enjoy the strong flavour of coconut milk in yellow curries, but it wasn’t too apparent here.
Dolph went for a classic in the Pad Thai. Out of the three of us, I think she was the most satisfied with her meal. The noodles had a very pleasing, chewy and bouncy texture. Although the prawns were more on the mushy side than having a natural snap, she thought that the plentiful amount of prawns included more than made up for it.
I, meanwhile, opted for my usual favourite, the Green Curry, which included aubergine, chicken, and red and green peppers. I liked that it tasted strongly of coconut milk while still retaining a nice spicy aftertaste. However, soon after finishing this meal, I felt light-headed and a bit queasy. You could blame this on the heat and the fact that I’d been walking all day, but I do have strong suspicions that our meal had copious amounts of MSG, which I suppose is to be expected. Too much MSG makes me feel light-headed and thirsty, though, which is pretty much what happened here.
Would I recommend a meal at Blue Lagoon? Probably not. Although the food was passable, it wasn’t authentic Thai food. Plus, the service was awkward to the point that it was a bit intimidating. I actually had a much more pleasant experience at another Thai restaurant nearby the next week, so I would recommend you pass on Blue Lagoon.
London SW1Y 4DG