Goodbye New York, hello London! The fashion caravan goes on and on and as easy as summer comes after spring, New York is followed by London. And since I’ve already covered a few of my favorite spots in New York, I thought I’d follow up with London. So here’s ten of the best places before and after the shows, according to me. Not enough? Head over to Barts Boekje; as there’s more where this came from.
The Lockhart. Owned by the Mississippi born and raised chef Brad McDonald, The Lockhart is a down to earth, very cosy restaurant with classic dishes from the southern part of the United States (for when you’re still a bit USA homesick once you arrive in London), lots of great wines and – of course – lots of booze. While you are at it, please go for the real Lockhart classic: fried chicken and waffles, cornbread on the side. The Lockhart is found at a very convenient walking distance from Mayfair and Soho, but hidden.
The Lockhart, 22-24 Seymour Place, London.
Brewer’s Bar. It’s no surprise that Shoreditch is still one of my favorite areas in the city, although I might like it a bit further up East London even more. Here in the Hackney/Dalston area, things are cool and underground and there’s the Brewer’s Bar, located in the J.R. Brewer Café and Shop. It’s a former butcher shop turned into a store where you can buy your much needed wooden bar stool, amongst other handmade stuff. At night, after 6PM, they serve craft beers and bar food in the very back of the place. No fuzz, you will love it here.
Brewer’s Bar, 77 Shacklewell Lane, London.
Bob Bob Ricard. Always wondered where the ‘press for Champagne’ button (that you see all over Instagram) is to be found? Right at Bob Bob Ricard. It’s a never-gets-old-favorite-restaurant and they serve the real deal. Also, that button actually works.
Bob Bob Ricard, 1 Upper James Street, London.
Rök Smokehouse. This restaurant opened its doors in Shoreditch at the end of 2015: a 40 year old bar with some Scandinavian restyling, plus a Swedish menu based on British ingredients, most of them coming from the barbecue (Rök means smoke in Swedish). The Rök Smokehouse has the perfect charcuterie plate as well.
Rök, 26 Curtain Road, London.
Dishoom. You might not believe this but the most preferred dish of the British is chicken tikka masala – if we can trust research. In my opinion, this Indian dish is best eaten at restaurant Dishoom. Though the place looks cool and hip(ster), their Indian chef stayed true to his roots and serves authentic and delicious food in an American diner kind of restaurant filled with copper tables. Sounds like a crazy mash up but in a magical way it works.
Dishoom, multiple locations, London.
The Hoxton Holborn. It all started with the Hoxton in Shoreditch, a new classic when it comes down to a fancy funky hotel for the young, stylish traveller, such as yourself probably. Affordable rooms (they have a famous 1 pound sale!), a cool bar and restaurant where you actually want to be and an even cooler crowd (the Hoxton loves their ‘friends’ and treats them accordingly – do try!). An Amsterdam location followed, as well as a second opening in London: The Hoxton Holborn. If even possible, this new location is a better one than it’s big brother in Shoreditch. This is mostly due to a perfect location (near the city centre) and a big and cozy lobby plus restaurant (perfect for meetings). It’s perfect to get warm (hello fire place) and it’s perfect to catch up with your laptop – free and speedy wifi, thank you very much. So yes, you could say that I love, love, love the Hoxton, just a little bit.
The Hoxton, 199-206 High Holborn, London.
Chiltern Firehouse. This place is so pretty, it’s a must to go see it for yourself. Classy chic without becoming dull or old-fashioned, all done by the men responsible for the New York Mercer (a very, very good reference). In the Marylebone area, in a former fire department, you have to pay a small fortune to get a room, but head over to the restaurant for dinner or lunch (always the best option to enjoy the goodness for less). Or drinks at the bar – it’s known to be THE hangout for London’s rich and famous. There are bars in London that are easier to get in (expect a queue) but who doesn’t get excited by a bar stool headed up by Lily Allen, Kate Moss, Simon Cowell, Lindsay Lohan, David Beckham, Bill Clinton, Bradley Cooper, Tony Blair or Orlando Bloom – to name just a few?
Chiltern Firehouse, 1 Chiltern Street, London.
Jak’s & Zefi’s. Each city has its streets and in London, Walton Street is one in a thousand little streets that got me at hello. Because of the beautiful old English houses and because of two of my favorite hangouts, owned by the same owner: Jak’s on one hand, Zefi’s on the other. Both are open for breakfast, lunch, brunch, snacks, dinner and cocktails, and you should go there especially on a Monday (really!). Ok, or on a Friday night! At Zefi’s you can arrange a meal at any hour by composing a selection of salads, fish and meat, and a hot Italian dessert. And why I love Jak’s? Because of the carrot cake and the tacky top 40 hits they’re playing non stop.
Bumpkin. When in England…go for some typical English food as well. Fish and chips, yes (in that case, Kerbisher & Malt) or a Sunday Roast at Bumpkin. Think huge portions, think pies, think meat, think roasts, think pudding.
Bumpkin, multiple locations, London.
Granger & Co. This restaurant is the brainchild of Australian chef Bill Granger (born and raised in a nation known for its great breakfast culture), and is based in the prettiest area of London’s Notting Hill (already one of London’s prettiest area’s). It’s a fairy tale restaurant and everything is just so tasty, from breakfast all the way to supper. There are more Granger & Co locations but the one in Notting Hill was the first one and – to me – still the best one.
Granger & Co, 175 Westbourne Grove, London.
Bonus: Sketch. For an all over pink Instagram picture, head over to Sketch. A classic for lunch, dinner and – mostly – afternoon tea (the Sketch Aternoon Tea Extravaganza, with Champagne) that has the perfect pink Alice in Wonderland interior. Be sure to make a reservation.
Sketch, 9 Conduit Street, London.
Special thanks to Barts Boekje’s London based Emily.