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From Scotch eggs to Matilda

Kathy Werner
Posted 6/2/23

We had wandered through the highs (Crown Jewels) and lows (Bloody Tower) of the Tower of London and were looking for some sustenance on our second day in London.   My daughter Liz had read about …

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From Scotch eggs to Matilda


We had wandered through the highs (Crown Jewels) and lows (Bloody Tower) of the Tower of London and were looking for some sustenance on our second day in London.  My daughter Liz had read about a unique restaurant and led her husband Peter, daughter Adeline and dear mother to this treasure.

Fortnum and Mason at the Royal Exchange was a 15-minute walk from the Tower, and we had worked up quite an appetite by the time we arrived. The Royal Exchange was originally built in the 1560’s and was opened officially on January 23, 1572, by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, which is why it is called the “Royal” Exchange.  It was used only to trade commodities initially. Stockbrokers were forbidden because of their rough manners.

The building was destroyed by fire several times, but the building now standing was opened by Queen Victoria in October 1844. From its steps, royal proclamations are made.  It once housed Lloyd’s of London, the famous insurance firm, and was the first home for the Reuters news service.

Now it’s been repurposed to house lovely shops and the aforementioned Fortnum and Mason restaurant in its atrium.  We were lucky to secure a table since it is very busy on weekdays and enjoyed a lovely repast. The most notable item I had was my very first Scotch Egg, a dish that Fortnum and Mason invented in 1738, according to their menu. It was served with piccalilli. A Scotch Egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, for the uninitiated. Piccalilli is a mustardy relish with pickled vegetables.  It was quite delicious. 

After our lunch, we hopped on the Tube to get back to our hotel and prepare for the evening. I had secured tickets for a performance of Matilda in the West End, and we didn’t want to be late.

Matilda is much beloved by Miss Adeline and is based on the 1988 Roald Dahl book of the same name.  As with most of Dahl’s tales, a plucky child is surrounded by some horrible adults and manages to find her way using her wits and the help of the decent adults she befriends. The book was turned into a movie in 1996 with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman as the detestable Wormwood parents and Mara Wilson as Matilda.  Then in 2010 Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly created Matilda the Musical, which has been playing to rave reviews in the West End since 2011.

We all greatly enjoyed the show. Luckily the musical was also made into a fantastic movie that premiered in December 2022 with the hideous Miss Trunchbull played by Emma Thompson. Highly recommend.

Another very full day of enjoying London was in the books.


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