CITY GUIDE LONDON
I have lived three years in the British capital, which has been an inspiring and eye-opening time. London is an incredibly creative, forward thinking and fast paced city, attracting people from all angles of the world. One could write hundreds of pages worth of tips and tricks on where to go and how to live in London. Below you will find some of my favorite places to enjoy and explore.
There are a number of opportunities to reside in London. Personally, I prefer booking an Airbnb, as it offers a more “local” experience. If I was to suggest a cool hotel to stay, I would say the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. It is a hip boutique hotel with a good vibe, an open workspace, a nice restaurant (Hoi Polloi) and great rooms. Also located in Shoreditch is the brand new Nobu Hotel and Boundary. The latter is also home to a great rooftop bar and Albion, which is nice spot for brunch.
The neighbourhood with the colourful houses and doors hosts a number of super cool cafés and brunch spots. Farmacy is a brilliant vegan brunch spot (which does also serve eggs for the non-vegan community). 201 is possibly equally good, but more friendly to the carnivores amongst us.
Located in Soho, Princi is a cool Italian bar/ cafe from Milano on Wardour St serving a selection of Italian delights and great espresso. Similar Italian offerings you will find at Lina Stores. Flatplanet prepares flatbreads topped up with a choice of meats or veggie stuff.
In Mayfair, you will find two of my favourite cafés in London, namely the Mount Street Deli and the Mae Deli. The first one being located on a wonderful street and serving fantastic coffee. The second belonging to Ella Mills, the woman behind Deliciously Ella, where you will be able to taste a selection of all her amazing recipes.
Scattered around London, Allpress is certainly amongst the best places that serves espresso in town. Not far away from the Silicon Roundabout you will find Ozone Coffee Roasters. It’s a great space to hang out, grab a bite to eat and of course enjoy a good coffee.
You will find a number of cool coffee shops along Bermondsey High Street with The Garrison being one of them. Monmouth sits right outside the Borough Market and does not only serve superb coffee, but is also a great place to take in the hustle and bustle of the market.
Bluebird is an institution in Chelsea. It is great for a coffee, a bite to eat, as well as to take a drink at night. Equally as famous is The Ivy, which is a British restaurant with a pretty little garden at the back. Down the road, The Phene is a nice pub and ideal for a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner. Granger & Co., which you can also find in Notting Hill, Clerkenwell and King’s Cross is the British version of Bill Granger’s Bills from Sydney. It is a wonderful place to come for dinner. Ideally, you reserve a table on the terrace and hopefully get to enjoy a warm summer’s night there.
Zuma is probably on London’s most famous Japanese restaurants and bigger brother of Roka, which you will find in Soho and Canary Wharf. Mr Chow is classic chic Chinese establishment.
There are a number of hip and trendy restaurants in Soho. Often they do not take reseervations, so make sure that you bring some time to wait. I recommend Koya (Udon) and Bao (Bao bun based burgers). A little bit more price, but certainly an all-time favorite is Yauatcha, where you will find contemporary Chinese cuisine in a cool setting. La Bodga Negra, a former sexshop, is now home to a great Mexican restaurant. The Palomar is the sister restaurant of the famous Jerusalem-based Machneyuda bringing Israeli cuisine to the heart of London.
Though it has been around for some time now, French-inspired Sketch is one of my favourite destinations in London. It is not only known for the famous egg-shaped toilets, but also for its atmosphere. The Gallery is the restaurant, where you will find all sorts of French food. The Parlour is the bar on the right when you come and always worth a visit for a drink or two (try the litchi martini) or teatime during the day. Not far away from Sketch, you will find Momo’s, which is another brainchild of Mourad Mazouz. Walk into the restaurant and you feel like you have just stepped into a restaurant in Casablanca or Marrakech. It is a fantastic Moroccan restaurant. A few meters away from Bond Street, sits Cecconis. Find a table outside, pick one of the Italian dishes and watch people stroll by. Down Bond Street, you will stumble upon The Wolseley, which is a great British brassiere. Sake No Hana, Nobu and Hakkasan all represent great Asian cuisine with a few meters of air-line distance. Sake No Hana, which belongs to the Hakkasan Group, serves modern Japanese food, which you will get to enjoy within an incredible wooden interior. If you are not so much into Asian cuisine, Le Petit Maison is fantastic French alternative and Coya for the ones that like Peruvian food.
Located within The Lanesborough, one of London’s most luxurious hotels, The Library Bar is most certainly of the most special places to enjoy a drink in London. Listening to piano music, surrounded by old wooden furniture and sipping fantastic cocktails making it a special experience.
Hidden within China Town the Experimental Cocktail Club is a great place to enjoy cold cocktail. Owned by the French Experimental Group, this speakeasy has been around for a while, but does not get old.
London is home to numerous fantastic parties and nightclubs. Some are secret, some are known. Some are for techno-lovers, some are for hip-hop fans. I suggest to have a look on Resident Advisor to see what’s up.
In and around Bond Street, you will mostly find high-end boutiques. In addition, Dover Street Market is a few minutes walk away from Mayfair stocking Comme Des Garcon, a variety of Japanese streetwear brand and other selected labels.
You should not miss out on visiting Foot Patrol, one of the finest sneaker stores in the world and certainly the best in London and obviously much hyped streetwear brand Supreme. Aside from those two hypebeast destinations, there are few other boutiques that are worth visit.
Talking about streetwear, your best area to find good clothes and sneakers is Shoreditch. Goodhood offers a varity of handpicked pieces from fashion to homewear, mainly with a minimalistic touch. NikeLab 1948 is your go-to-place if you are into the swoosh, seeking the latest limited quickstrick or Tier-0 releases. Similar to Goodhood, Present sells a selection of mainly high quality British, French and Italian clothing labels. Head to Artwords to find a new book for the table or the road to read.
I highly recommend starting off your day with a run along the Thames or through one of the wonderful parks; Hyde, Regents or Battersea Park.
If the weather is nice, grab some drinks from a corner shop near Chalk Farm or Camden Town and walk up to Primrose Hill for the sunset. You can get a really nice view of the skyline from there. Alternatively, a pick-nick in Hyde Park or Regents Park is always nice. When you opt for Hyde Park, go to the big Wholefoods Market to select your foods.
There are plenty of markets around London. My favourite is Partridges Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday at the Duke of York Square. Make sure you to try Rainforest Creations, which serves tropical, raw and organic foods. Super delicious. Borough Market is always great, but gets very crowded on the weekend. Not far away and equally as diverse in terms of food and drinks is Maltby Street Market. Not about food, but certainly worth a visit is the infamous Columbia Road Flower Market.
Aside from wonderful food displays at all those market, you can find some stunning art at Tate Modern, which is amongst the world's best museums for modern art and only a stone’s throw away from Borough Market. After having witnessed the art, make sure to have a coffee with a view on St. Pauls. Saatchi Gallery is another fantastic opportunity to view great art. I recommend grabbing delights from Partridge’s Farmers Market and then walk on to stroll through the gallery.