London Guides: Where To Eat & Drink When You’re Shopping

As much as I really love to shop, I’ll admit there are times when the experience can be a bit discombobulating. From the frenzied festive rush to summertime crowds – hitting the high streets (or even Harrods for that matter) is not exactly a walk in Hyde Park!

Thank goodness then for the respite care offered by the cafés, bars and restaurants cosily tucked away nearby. Here are my top picks of the best of these retreats to recharge at, before braving the rest of the day…


Oxford Street

Selfridges

The Corner Restaurant. Occupying a quiet corner of the Women’s Designer Galleries, this is a fine spot for a lunch-time salad or tea-time scones (sharpened by a glass of Skinny Prosecco of course).

Fount. If you’re in dire need of hydration, there’s also Fount – a water-inspired bar that forms the centrepiece of the sparkling Accessories Hall. Sip on immaculately-light cocktails crafted by renowned mixologist Mr. Lyan (each featuring H20 as the base) as you also drink in the crazily-covetable clutches and handbags around you!

Festive highlights. Mr Lyan has also launched London’s first hot-tail bar in the rooftop restaurant, Il Tetto; and in the spirit of the season, Au Baine is running a make-your-own s’mores bar in Selfridges Kitchen on Level Four.

Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, Marylebone, London W1A 1AB

St Christopher’s Place

Once a tourist-trap, this pedestrianised pocket behind Oxford Street is now home to several buzzworthy restaurants, including:

Hoppers. The larger outpost of the Soho original specialises in searingly spicy Sri Lankan karis, mopped up by crisp-edged dosas and fluffy, crater-shaped hoppers.

Social Wine & Tapas. British-style tapas and wine are in perfect harmony at this shiny establishment which is part of Jason Atherton’s Social family of restaurants. Full review, here.

Patty & Bun. Is there anything more galvanising than a devilishly deep-fried burger sandwiched between golden-topped brioche buns?

St Christopher’s Place, 23 Barrett St, Marylebone, London W1U 1BF | 

Or you could wander a little further into Marylebone and take your pick from any of the the inviting coffee houses lining the area’s elegant streets. Complete Guide, here.

North Audley Street

Located just a hop, skip and a jump across from M&S’ flagship store on Oxford Street, this unassuming Mayfair neighbourhood boasts its own branch of Roka; a luxe fish and chip shop (Mayfair Chippy) not to mention some of the best cookies which London has to offer (at the French bistro, NAC).

Festive highlights: Bread Ahead Bakery have popped up here this Christmas, bringing their inimitable brand of filled doughnuts, cinnamon swirls and all manners of other sweet treats!


Regent Street

With trendy newcomers such as Weekday and Arket joining the ranks of old favourites from Burberry to Hamley’s – Regent Street has evolved into an eclectic retail haven catering to all styles of shoppers. The dining destinations  are just as versatile.

Bombay Bustle. Located on Maddox Street (towards the Oxford Circus end of Regent Street), the new restaurant from the team behind Jamavar is a homage to the spirited pace of life in Bombay with a menu brimming with iconic dishes. Full review, here.

Parlour at Sketch. The pretty-in-pink Gallery at this iconic townhouse on Conduit Street may have the attention of London’s Instagram lot; but it’s Sketch’ whimsical Parlour which has captured our imagination. The quirky tea room is ideal for a mid-afternoon boost in the form of impeccable scones; and there’s ample room to spread out all those shopping bags too!

Thomas’ at Burberry. Speaking of style and scones, I’d be remiss for leaving out this charming café within Burberry’s flagship store. Full review, here.

Carnaby. You could also slip across the road into colourful Carnaby, where some of London’s hottest new eateries sit alongside edgy boutiques. Top picks include Pastaio for felicitous plates of pasta (including that Cacio e Pepe) and the soon-to-open Good Egg.


Bond Street 

The beauty of Bond Street is that the restaurants around here match the modish nature of the surrounding boutiques.

Mews of Mayfair. Spread out over a narrow cobbled courtyard in Lancashire Court (leading off Brook Street), Mews is a hidden gem for tasteful daytime drinking, with a deep wine list that’s as good as the cocktail menu. This & more al-fresco wine spots, here.

Hakkasan Mayfair. Because. There’s nothing quite like a round of dim-sum and a Hakka cocktail, to prop you up ahead of your foray into the old-world shops of Old Bond Street! Full review, here.

Jinjuu, Albermarle Street. For a playfully modern twist on Korean classics, head to Jinjuu’s recently-revamped Mayfair outpost where Soho classics (like the tofu sliders and bibimbap bowls) feature alongside lighter dishes suited to the fashionable diners. Full review, here.

Oh, or there’s aways the quintessentially English Tea Room at Brown’s Hotel on Albermarle Street, if you fancied an exemplary spot of cream tea!


Knightsbridge

Harrods  

Aside from pandering to our penchant for pretty handbags and glad rags, the hallowed halls of Harrods do remarkably well by us foodies too:

Chai Wu. It’s worth taking time out for a sumptuous lunch at this Pan-Asian restaurant tucked away at the top of Harrods (on the same level as  Shoe Heaven), before you trot off in search of that next pair of party heels. The dedicated vegetarian menu is as expansive as it is excellent, while the melting chocolate sphere and green tea & white chocolate fondant make for a truly memorable finish. Full review, here.

Bake Hall & Roastery. The first Chapter of Harrod’s Taste Revolution is a full-on-fabulous affair, involving a mammoth coffee roasting operation, a Tea Tailor and live bakery where you can have your next loaf of sourdough personalised with your initials! The coffee bar is a sleek spot to refuel at, complete with picture-perfect pastries and scrummier new-age treats like cronuts too.

Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

Harry’s Dolce Vita, Knightsbridge

This new Italian bolthole from Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings (the group behind Sexy Fish, Annabel’s, 34 and more) is a glamorous throwback o the ’50s and ’60s ‘La Dolce Vita’ period in Italy. Expect heaps of truffles and Dolci galore… Full review, here.

Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental

Housed within the grandiose Mandarin Oriental – this all-day French-style bistro & wine bar from globe-trotting chef Daniel Boulud maintains a cosy character of its own, matched by flawless service and a decadently comforting menu (expect burgers, fries and the like). Full review, here.

Motcomb Street

Wandering off the beaten path, mosey on over to this quietly-elegant street in Belgravia. Ottolenghi is always a cheerful choice for its vibrant smattering of Israeli-inspired salads (inevitably followed by a chocolate and tahini cupcake). Although there’s bound to be bit of a toss-up with the Fine Cheese Company next door, which is well worth a visit for their soufflés alone (each easily the size of your head)!

Pavilion Road

The recent redevelopment of Pavilion Road (leading off from Sloane Square) has seen it welcome a host of new names such as Granger & Co (a must-visit for those ricotta hotcakes) and the all-vegan Wulf & Lamb, which specialises in a plant-based menu. More on their website, here.


Near Covent Garden

St Martin’s Courtyard

Secluded from the busy bustle of Covent Garden, the open-air enclosure packs in a jaunty jumble of places to eat and relax in – from a Bombay-style brekky at Dishoom (lengthened by endless refills of chai) to the sheltered Italian terrace of Dalla Terra. Complete Guide to St Martin’s Courtyard, here.

Seven Dials

Sandwiched between Covent Garden and Soho, the quirky network of inter-crossing streets known as Seven Dials is as well-known for its unique fashion and lifestyle boutiques (from Tatty Devine to Fresh Beauty), as its notable mix of cafés and restaurants.

The colourful folds of Neal’s Yard are particularly enticing, offering a plethora of restful stops including Jacob The Angel for coffee and tahini madeleines; Native for a wildly beautiful lunch showcasing foraged British produce; and/ or Casanova & Daughters for a glass of wine paired with Sicilian-style antipasti. Complete Guide to Seven Dials, here.


 

Author: The Foodie Diaries

A food travel & lifestyle journal, chronicling my culinary and other adventures around town.

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