London

20 Feb

I’ve had a soft spot for London ever since I lived there for a semester in college. At the time, I was more interested in shopping on Oxford street and checking out the night life than I was in searching out great restaurants. Recently, I had the opportunity to go back and really dove in to the culinary scene. The city has come a long way on the food front. I didn’t have a single bad meal and my restaurant search led me to check out some hip parts of London I had never experienced before.

Eat:

Gail’s Bread

A great spot for breakfast or lunch, Gail’s has delicious pastries, ready-made salads, jams and great coffee. I liked it so much, I went twice for breakfast the last time I was in London! The décor reminded me of the café’s I love on the west coast, but still offers British staples like English muffins and toast and jam. There are locations conveniently located throughout the city. The Notting Hill location has plenty of tables and is a great place to take a break while shopping on Portobello Road.

138 Portobello Road
London W11 2DZ
0207 460 0766
www.breadltd.co.uk

Ottolenghi

One look at the window of this shop will leave you salivating. Ottolenghi has picture perfect pastries, great coffee and take away items. The Kensington location is tiny and is only able to do take out. I’ve heard the other two locations are larger.

1 Holland Street
London W8 4NA
020 7937 0003
www.ottolenghi.co.uk

River Café

This restaurant is famous for its rustic Italian food, much of it cooked in a wood fired oven. It’s a little ways out of central London, but it’s worth the trek and will give you a chance to check out a part of the city you probably wouldn’t see otherwise.  The one mile walk from the Hammersmith Tube Stop to the restaurant is lovely on a nice day. The River Cafe has a wonderful ambience and sits right on the Thames. It’s very popular, so reservations are recommended.

Thames Wharf Rainville Road
London W6 9HA
020 7386 4200
www.rivercafe.co.uk

Hummingbird Bakery

The cup cake craze is alive and well in London. Touted as the home of quality American baking in the UK, Hummingbird bakery is basically the Brits version of Magnolia. I thought the red velvet cupcake, which some say is their most popular, was a little dry but the black bottom cupcake was delicious and different from flavors I typically see in the US!

47 Old Brompton Road
London SW7 3JP
020 7851 1795
www.hummingbirdbakery.com

St. John Bread and Wine

This is the type of place where you might need help deciphering the menu, but don’t let this dissuade you. A true foodie haven, St. John serves delicious and inventive, locally sourced British cuisine. They also have a great wine list. I had the dover sole with brown butter. It was delicious! The restaurant is in the hip Shoreditch neighborhood right across from the revamped old Spitalfields market.

94 Commercial St.
London E1 6LZ
020 3301 8069
www.stjohnrestaurant.com

Inside Spitalfields Market

Ben’s Cookies

This company started in Bath, England but now has locations in London. The cookies are unique, and more cake like, than your average cookie but still delicious. They’re served fresh from the oven and are extremely moist. You’ll know when you’re getting close. The smell will be impossible to resist!

9 Pelham Street
London SW7 2ND
0207 589 9155
www.benscookies.com

Stay:

Base to Stay

This place is a great find-affordable, great location and clean modern rooms. To keep costs down, the hotel has forgone some of the typical amenities like a restaurant and bar, so no room service, but you should be out exploring anyways. The rooms have nice new appliances, flat screen TV’s and free wifi. Best of all, singles start at just 92 pounds a night for singles, pretty much unheard of in the city!

25 Courtfield Gardens
London SW5 0PG
020 7244 2255
www.base2stay.com

Dean Street Townhouse

This new establishment is from the creators of ultra hip SoHo House. The Georgian style building in London’s SoHo neighborhood has been beautifully restored in keeping with the time period but also feels very new. It smells better than any hotel I’ve ever been to because of the CowShed products they use. Rooms are affordable for London. The tiny broom cupboard room is just 99 pounds a night! I also recommend the hotel’s bar and restaurant. The bartenders are true mixologists and the British brasserie style food, think fish and chips with mashed peas, is very good.

69-71 Dean Street
London W1D 3SE
0207 434 1775
www.deanstreettownhouse.com

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