We Love London Town: Part Three

Ahead of the 2012 Olympic/Paralympic Games, actress Rhona Foulis – an actor, tutor and writer for Progressive Women and the anecdotal blog Coco Tucker – reveals why she makes for Mildred’s and what she would do if she were Mayor for a day

Where are you from?
Bonnie Dundee!

What’s the first thing you do, when you get to London?
I live in the East End and one of my favourite things to do is walk along Regent’s Canal, go for a swim at London Fields Lido (a heated, Olympic-sized, outdoor public swimming pool) and on the way home pick up carrot and pineapple cake from the Flour Power City bakery on Saturday’s Broadway Market. Or a brownie from Loafing in Victoria Park Village. Ooh, on a Sunday, head to the Sunday Upmarket in the old Truman Brewery for funky but cheap dresses.

What is your favourite hangout?
If it’s summer – the nearest available green space. If it’s winter – the Curzon Soho’s downstairs bar for sofa-lounging. Plus, there’s a Konditor and Cook upstairs. Curly whirly cake on tap – what’s not to like?

What is your favourite restaurant? 
For veggie fare (I’m a vegetarian), either Mildred’s in Soho or the pricier Gate restaurant in Hammersmith. The flipside with Mildred’s is that what you save in cash, you pay for in queuing: you can’t book in advance and it’s invariably packed. I’m also a recent convert to Imli for inventive and flavoursome Indian tapas; and you can’t beat the Keralan feast at Rasa. As for Turkish, Dalston’s where it’s at, especially Stone Cave (the overstated décor alone is worth a look!) However if you’ve overdosed on skinny jean chic, a central London branch of Tas is a safe bet.

What was the last exhibition you saw in London? 
Er – pass? No, it was probably the Travel Photographer of the Year at the Royal Geographical Society. I can highly recommend both it and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum – simply stunning. And the adjoining Science Museum Cafe sells awesome Belgian chocolate cake!

What was the last gig you saw in London?
My friend Andy’s band, Fuzzy Star and the Malfunctioning Androids (he’s the Fuzzy Star), at The Wilmington Arms.

What is your earliest London memory?
Arriving into King’s Cross at an unreasonably early hour, having travelled on the sleeper train from Dundee. Nothing was open, so we sat in the park and ate breakfast sarnies.

What have you discovered recently in London?
Dance lessons! I began swing dance classes with Swing Patrol last year and have just ventured into tango with Tanguito.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?
Oh, so much! Replace regular rubbish bins with multi-purpose recycling bins. Enable the tubes to run later. Institute more cycle lanes. Ban lap-dancing and strip clubs. Ensure access to the arts for all, by opening up every art gallery, theatrical and musical performance etc for FREE! (Admittedly my Mayoral proposal isn’t the most economically viable.)

What is your top tip for tourists?
You don’t have to stick to the West End for quality theatre. In fact, you’ll often find more interesting and imaginative work at the likes of the Young Vic, National, Bush, Arcola, Almeida, Royal Court and Donmar Warehouse theatres.

Where would you like to stay?
Shoreditch House in the summer – mostly so that I could sample the roof-top pool!

What is your favorite place for a pint?
I’m not a pint drinker myself, but the warm and cozy Dove on Broadway Market serves various Belgian beers, excellent food, and jazz on a Sunday.

What is your guilty London pleasure? 
Booking the vast, two-seater sofa at the back of the Electric cinema, ordering a large glass of red from its conveniently internal bar and gorging on a cake from nearby Gail’s or Hummingbird Bakery. The intimate Aubin Cinema, with its armchair seating, comes a close second.

Tell me something I don’t know about London? 
You can watch a play at the Royal Court Theatre for 10p! The nearby William Curley dessert bar will treat you to a 5-course dessert tasting menu, prepared before your very eyes, for a steal at £15.

Thanks Rhona! To find out what other Londoners love about the capital, don’t forget to keep logging on to CD-Traveller

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