MOST RECENTLY updated on 30.04.2017
ORIGINAL POST (26.06.2017)It is, of course, a somewhat weird timing because of BREXIT for this particular post to be ready, but here's my illustrated (work-in-progress) list of cool places to visit in the capital of Great Britain (or how it sometimes is addressed to now: "Little Britain" now?)
It's not so much a blog post, but rather a bullet list of stuff I liked personally or that was recommended to me by the locals. Any further additions are very welcome! In comments, SVP!
Restaurants (by AREA):
Breakfast (around Marble Arch):
• Daisy Green of Portman Village (20 Seymour Street | London, W1H 7HX) - that's here because our offices are in that area & I wanted to keep track of the places to get breakfast around there.
Shoreditch & Hackney:• Meat Mission (15 Hoxton Market, London N1 6HG) - very sinful burgers...My vegetarian friends, look away :-P
Dark Sugars (41 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB) - a dangerously great chocolatier, if you order a hot chocolate, they'll actually shave chocolate chips off huge bricks of white, dark & milk chocolate into it - it's divine!
Temple of Seitan (10 Morning Ln, London E9 6NA) - London's entirely vegan fried chicken shop - deliciously fast-foody :-) And don't be alarmed seitan is not what it sounds like, it's a meat substitute made from wheat gluten.
The Last Tuesday Society & The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities (11 Mare St, Dalston, London E8 4RP)- if you want to have a drink surrounded by all kinds of natural history curious (unicorn skulls, snake skeletons & toads :) Beware, as it's more of a museum than a bar, it closes a bit early (22:3-23:00, depending on the day).
Covent Garden• Sticks N Sushi (11 Henrietta St, London WC2E 8PY) - Japanese restaurant based on a renowned Danish concept, offering sushi and grilled yakitori skewers; tube: Leicester Square / Covent Garden
• Dirty Martini bar (10C Hanover Square, 4:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. tube: Oxford Circus) – chain, but quirky & contemporary cocktail bar
• Abeno Too (17-18 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JE) - if you like to watch your food being prepared inn front of your eyes, try okonomi-yaki at Abeno. If you're more peckish than just a pancake (but bear in mind that there're two sizes & even the smaller one is quite enough for two people to share if you're not starving), order spectacular gyoza with avocado & tofu - worth coming back to London just for another serving!Hawksmoor (Hawksmoor, 11 Langley St, London WC2H 9JG) - great steak place, tube: Covent Garden
• Cafe Pacifico (5 Langley St, London WC2H 9JA) - Mexican restaurant, open 12:00-23:45, tube: Covent Garden
SOHO• Quirky Sketch (9 conduit street, London W1S 2XG) – pretty cool outlandish interior, toilets are a must-see :-)
• Barrafina (in SOHO - 54 Frith St, London W1D 4SL, 12:00 – 3:00 p.m., 5:00 – 11:00 p.m.) - modern, Spanish tapas bar
• Copita (27 D'Arblay St, London W1F 8EP) & Polpo (41 Beak St, London W1F 9SB) – both amazing for tapas & small plates
• Cork & Bottle (44-46 Cranbourn Alley, London WC2H 7AN) – casual, cosy & rustic wine bar by Leicester Square
• The Kensington Wine Rooms (127-129 Kensington Church St, London W8 7LP) – great food & wine, unpretentious
• The Langham Hotel - Burnt (2015) with Bradley Cooper was filmed there; upscale, great bar & restaurant
• Ottolenghi (13 Motcomb St, London SW1X 8LB) - expensive, but amazing meat – in Knightsbridge
• Tibits (12-14 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4DA) - just like its Swiss counterpart, Tibit London in Mayfair follows the same concept: it's a (99% vegetarian) self-service buffet, where you pay per amount of food on your plate. According to the restaurant's own estimate, an average plate costs 10 pounds. I can confirm that it's a pretty full plate, definitely enough to satisfy an even pretty hungry belly.
• Itsu (all over the city) – sushi (50% discount offer 30 mins before closing: from 21:30 to 22:00)
- Seviche (2 Baldwin St, EC1V 9NU) - best Peruvian restaurant in town according to Evening Standard & I would definitely echo that sentiment! Their creative interpretation o seviche (including a delicate vegetarian option). You WILL need a reservation (unless sitting at the bar is your thing) and note that kitchen at Seviche Old street is closed between 4-5pm. There's also a Seviche Soho (17 Frith St. W1D 4RG).
- Ohisama Sushi (39 Paddington St, W1U 4HH) - quite impressively delicious sushi, but hugely overpriced & staff aren't very well trained (but to be Fair: they do their best!)
- Manna (4 Erskine Rd, Primrose Hill, NW3 3AJ) - mid-range vegan/vegetarian restaurant close to Chalk Farm. Among the 6 of us we tried most of the menu sharing & there was not a single dish that was anyhow not delicious. I want to come back . Like usually in London, reservation advisable (can be done on the website).
Museums:• National Portrait Gallery – café with views over the city (tube: Westminster tube, Embankment tube, Piccadilly tube, Leicester Square, Charing Cross)
Occupying the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, this slender beauty is a skeleton of a horse by a German artist Hans Haacke with a a London Stock Exchange ticker fixed to its leg. For those of you wondering: yes, it is a "contemporary comment on history, power & money" ;-)
• Saatchi gallery (Duke Of York's HQ, King's Rd, London SW3 4RY; tube: Sloane Square)
• Tanya’s cafe (35 Ixworth Pl, London SW3 3QX) - tasty raw food restaurant, tube: Sloane Square - nicely combinable eith Saatchi Gallery or V&A
• Farmacy (74 Westbourne Grove, London W2 5SH) - that was - without any doubt - best vegan brunch of my life. Interior is exactly what you'd expect from a place that has such a name. You'll get your healthy shots in a surgical syringe (we got a "fire starter" with ginger, turmeric, cayenne You & lemon & "Melt Away" with ginko, turmeric, gotu kola, gardenia, milk thistle & cucumber juice - both were delicious!)
• V&A - Victoria & Albert Museum (Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL tube: South Kensington)
• Science museum (South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD) & Natural history museums (Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD; tube: South Kensington)
• Transport Museum (Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB), Covent Garden area.
• Wellcome Collection - (183 Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2BE) - Henry Wellcome's museum full of cool, weird & sometime even morbid curios (Euston Square), usually hosts a permanent exhibition on Medicine & a temporary one on some unusual topic (when I was there, the spotlight was on "Bedlam" (from British Royal Hospital of Bethlehem) - an infamous asylum that was founded in the 13th century & has later on passed on its name to all mental institutions.
• Sherlock Holmes Museum (221b Baker Street, London) - a must for any detective buff
Places to go / activitites:• Southbank – (tube: Westminster, Embankment or Waterloo) - get to Southbank, or St.Paul’s and walk along the Themes to Tate Modern.
A quick dialog I had with my friend in front of "Swinging" by Kandinsky in Tate Modern:
Me: "Wassily Kandinsky is known for his unique ability to convey music though his paintings..."
My friend: "Nah, I'm not hearing anything" :-)
• OXO Tower (Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, London SE1 9PH; tube: Blackfriars London) - for a drink, food is also great, but very expensive.
• “Climb the O2 arena” - tube: North Greenwich
Walk from St.Catherine's docks or Westminster to Greenwich -> Greenwich meridian. Optional extention: Canary Wharf.
• Shoreditch – graffiti, restaurants, clubs & bars
A really cool way to see it is by joining one of the countless guided tours that'll give you a bit more context & insight into the stories behind some pieces and their meaning. I did Strawberry Tours' Free Street Art & Graffiti Tour (with Jon, 29.04.2017) & absolutely loved it!
• The Shard – tallest building in EU, cocktails for ca. 17-20 pounds.
• The Roof Gardens London – alternative to Shard, by invite only (register for the guest list well in advance)
• Sky Garden (1 Sky Garden Walk, London EC3M 8AF) - if you want to dine in a tropical jungle on the rooftop in London with a breathtaking view of London's cityscape, consider making a reservation at one of the Sky Garden's restaurants. If you just want a sneak peak of the view, there's also an option of just buying a ticket (which gives you access to the garden) & having a drink at one of the "open" bars at the top or bottom decks of the garden. We chose "Darwin Brasserie" & had an amazing dining experience. Do consider mentioning, though that you'd like a window table, while making a reservation & upon arrival. You might happen to "accidentally" get it anyway if they have a table available, but if it matters to you, try prepping in advance.• Cable Road Greenwitch
Bars, Pubs / Cocktails:
• Nightjar (129 City Rd, London EC1V 1JB) - one of the most awesome (but also the most bizarre) cocktail experiences I've ever had! My drink of the night was The "Inca Cocktail": Jose Cuervo 1800 Silver, tomatillo, hazelnut oil, lime, chili wine, epazote, Fine Cherry & Agave, served with Buffallo worms on the side (yep, Buffallo worms are exactly what you think they are: huge worms!). Check out the menu online in advance in order to decide what bizzare work of alcoholic are you want to order!
• Experimental Cocktail Club Chinatown (3a Gerrard St, Chinatown, London W1D 5PS; 6pm-3am) - speakeasy-style cocktail bar, often with live music
• The Churchill Arms (119 Kensington Church St, London W8 7LN) - very nice gastro pub.
• Bradley's Spanish Bar (42-44 Hanway St, London W1T 1UT) - Snug, upbeat, late-night spot with worn banquette, picture-laden walls and vinyl jukebox soundtrack
• Walk around Dean & Wardour Street – lots of cool places.
Markets:• Portobello Road – antiquities – tube: Notting Hill Gate, walk up to Portobello Rd
• Borough market (by London Bridge tube) – famous market, end of Southbank – probably a good idea for Saturday morning (get a glimpse of the Tower Bridge). Pop into the Southwark Cathedral (The Oldest Cathedral in London).
• Camden Market – cool hip designer stuff (depending on where you are, a great way to get there is by the “Little Venice” canal.
• Btw, if you're already in Camden, check out the Cyberdog store (Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd, London NW1 8AH) for futuristic fashion & bizzare souvenirs.
• We Built This City (56 Carnaby St, London W1F 9QF) – creative approach towards British souvenirs
Tours:• Free London walking tours (street art, fleet street,white chapel, graffiti), I did mu graffiti tour with Strawberry Tours.
• Skip the tourist bus & get on “normal” city bus: # 9, 14 & 15 – they take you around central London & those are the best ways to see the city!
• Book of Mormon @ Prince of Wales Theatre (31 Coventry Street, London W1D 6AS) - an extremely entertaining musical evening guaranteed
• Phantom of the Opera @ Her Majesty’s Theatre, Haymarket
Lion King @ Lyceum Theatre (21 Wellington St, London WC2E 7RQ)
• Wicked @ Apollo Victoria Theatre (17 Wilton Rd, Pimlico, London SW1V 1LG)