Kate’s London ~ The National Portrait Gallery

Continuing on our tour of Kate’s London, we will now stop at The National Portrait Gallery (Click on the link on the left hand side for more Kate’s London posts). This is always on our list of places to go when we are in London. We start out with a leisurely tour of the portraits, and then enjoy some tea and a bickie in the museum cafe. Delightful.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, The Duchess of Cambridge has announced that the National Portrait Gallery is among her first four patronages. Lucky lady! Catherine studied history of art at the University of St. Andrews, so this patronage is in keeping with her interests.

Here’s Catherine at Inner-City Arts, a not-for-profit organisation in Los Angeles  that she and William visited while they were in LA in July 2011. Cheerful painting! (What does one paint when you know the pictures will be blasted all over the world?!)

The National Portrait Gallery is in the same building as The National Gallery, which sits at Trafalgar Square, and is a relatively short walk down the Mall from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and St James Palace. The nearest tube stations are Charing Cross and Embankment. The entrance to the Portrait Gallery is off to the side, across from St Martin in the Fields church (which goes back to 1222).

The Gallery was founded in 1856 to collect portraits of famous British men and women. The collection includes over 175,000 portraits from the 16th Century to today. The collection of portraits include one of Jane Austen (drawn by her sister, Cassandra in pencil and watercolour) which is a must see!

Starting on February 9th, an exhibit will commence on Lucian Freud’s portraits. We’ve already got our tickets! Here is his portrait of HM The Queen:

And here is his portrait of Her Grace The Dowager Duchess of Devonshire. That is, Deborah Cavendish, nee Mitford. For more on the infamous Mitfords (some of our favourites!) click here.

We’re guessing we’ll be seeing Kate publicly at the National Portrait Gallery soon – perhaps on Feb 9th for the opening of the exhibition? We hope so!

Kate’s London ~ Mahiki

Today we’re talking about Mahiki, the Polynesian themed bar in Piccadilly, London that used to be a regular haunt of William, Kate, and Harry (Mahiki’s promotions manager, Guy Pelly, is a close friend of Prince William). As you may recall, pictures of Kate were rife in 2006 and 2007 as she entered and exited Mahiki on a regular basis. Since she and William got back together in 2007, however, she was seen out on the town less and less. We certainly haven’t seen a pic of Kate there since the engagement, and don’t expect to see her there again, unless of course it’s a for charity event.

Here’s a picture we took in the last couple of weeks of Mahiki all dressed up for the holidays. You can see the tiki theme underneath the Christmas decorations:

Mahiki is located kitty corner to The Ritz Hotel in Picadilly and is about a 7 minute walk from St James’ Palace, Buckingham Palace, and Clarence House. So, as you can see it’s a prime royal location. The nearest tube stop is Green Park Station.

We’ve been to Mahiki once – we went last December on one of the evenings between Christmas and New Year and it was a fun experience on the ‘London To Do List’. We haven’t been back since (once was enough), but it was  a good time. The space was very crowded with wall to wall people, so we can understand why William and Harry get private tables when they go!

Inside Mahiki

Here’s a picture of William and Kate after leaving Mahiki in 2006:

The weekend that it was announced that William and Kate had broken up in 2007, Kate famously got dressed up, smiled for the cameras, and headed to Mahiki with two friends…here she is leaving her flat that night:

April 2007

A few nights earlier, right before news of the break up got out, William visited Mahiki with friends. It was reported that the royal party stayed for five hours and spend hundreds of pounds on champagne and the famous “Treasure Chest” of Mahiki cocktails.

Mahiki Treasure chest

Later that summer, Kate went to a girlfriend’s stagette at Mahiki. When Kate was asked if it was for her wedding, she cheekily said, ‘Not yet.’ In the picture below, you can see the arches of the The Ritz  Hotel across the street. One night Kate tried to escape the paparazzi by slipping into the Ritz foyer but unfortunately the doors were locked. What with protection officers and all she won’t have that problem anymore!

She dressed down one night that summer in a tank top and jeans for a visit to Mahiki. We love this look! You can see a bit of the entrance here.

Summer 2007

If you’re in London, definitely add a vist at Mahiki to your list, even if it’s just to check out the entrance on your way to Piccadilly Circus or Buckingham Palace!

Kate’s London Restaurants ~ Part Two

Last week we posted Part One of Kate’s London Restaurants (click here for a refresher) and are delighted that so many of you enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed putting it together (and testing out some of the restaurants).  In the spirit of all this good fun, let’s take a look at a few more!
Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant
Riccardo’s is on 126 Fulham Road in Chelsea. It’s a small, upscale/casual family type place, and the food is fresh and yummy. Kate was spotted there with a friend having dinner on March 3, 2011.
I went last month and had the goat’s cheese ravioli with butter and sage sauce and it was delicious. The plates are VERY small, so my only mistake was not ordering a starter as well, though I sure made up for it with the almond chocolate cake on the desert menu! In terms of atmosphere, it’s cozy and not fussy. We’ll definitely go back.
Back to Kate. At the time, it was reported that she was having dinner with Pippa. We think this was just a tactic to sell more stories because clearly that blonde head next to Kate in the picture above isn’t Pippa. It was reported that Kate had a plate of spaghetti.
We think it’s interesting that she chose a chair facing the outside, giving the paparazzi a good line of sight. Most likely she didn’t know the paps were there, and if she did she didn’t care. Good for her. We hope she can keep eating out like a ‘normal’ person for at least awhile longer!
Here they are heading back to the car:
The Ebury
The Ebury
The Ebury is located on 11 Pimlico Road, which is about a ten minute walk from Sloane Square. Kate was seen having lunch there several weeks before the wedding. It was reported that she was alone, flipping through wedding magazines while having a salad. This makes us go ‘Hmmmmmm’…There were no photos taken, so we don’t have proof that this actually took place, but Kate would at least have had police protection with her since she was a royal fiance at the time.
The Ebury does fit the profile of a Kate restaurant, though. It’s in Chelsea (or Belgravia if you want to be exact) and it has an upscale, but relaxed atmosphere. We had dinner there last spring, and the food was good but we made the mistake of making a reservation for 7:30pm, so we were the only patrons there until well after 8pm!
Since we don’t have any pictures of Kate, here’s what the interior of the restaurant looks like:
Koffman’s
Koffman’s is at the lovely Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge (if you’re in London they have a great afternoon tea called Pret-a-Portea – it’s one of our favourite afternoon tea places in London. And yes, designers like Burberry and Dior design the cakes) and is named for three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Koffman.
Kate had lunch there with Camilla back in February 2011. They were pictured leaving the restauarant, above. It was reported that Pippa Middleton (Kate’s sister) and Laura Lopes (Camilla’s daughter) joined them as well, but they were not pictured.  Kate wore a Whistles jacket, which has also been seen on Pippa (click here for more) and a DVF dress which she reportedly purchased at Bicester Village where Kate has been spotted on several occasions (we haven’t been to Bicester Village – pronounced ‘bis-ter’ yet, but are headed there in November. Can’t wait!).  She carried a Mulberry clutch and a Smythson notebook (for wedding notes, perhaps?).

So, what did they eat? The Daily Mail wrote that Kate had terrine of foie gras with a baguette, followed by roasted sea bass with fennel and black olive sauce, and a pistachio souffle with ice cream for dessert.

Hello magazine reported bits of their conversation that was overheard, including “…we can’t have trumpets, the ceiling is too high”. Love that detail! Also, as we mentioned in our post of our favourite royal wedding dresses, Kate was overheard mentioning that she loved Grace Kelly’s wedding dress. Well that sure turned out to be a big hint!

Do let us know if you’ve stopped in at any of these restaurants or have anything else to add. We’d love to hear your stories!