London Update

    A couple of new favorite finds and the best spots to pick up your dinner ingredients in this beautiful city.


    Places to Stay

    The Connaught Hotel
    Carlos Place
    London W1K 2AL
    +44 (0)20 7499 7070

    For a week in September, The Connaught was a home away from home while my house was under construction. The hotel was revamped in 2008, so the interiors conserve the hotel’s old-world charm but are full of subtle and modern surprises. Perched on the top of the hotel in Mayfair, my friend David Collins took me on a tour of the elegantly decorated apartment he designed, which is an art and design lover’s dream. I loved the rooms in all their shades of blue and grey and I was stunned by the dressing room, which was massive and covered in leather-lined shelves. I ordered the David Collins designed white lacquered dressing table for my own home. It had been years since I’d spent an extended time in a hotel in London and I have to say, I was impressed by the rooms and the service. The Connaught Bar and the Hélène Darroze alone are both worth a visit.

    The Connaught Bar

    The hotel bar was also designed by the David Collins studio. The art deco interior with its black marble floor, long mirrors, and custom-made leather chairs is incredible. When I ordered a Martini, they rolled an old-fashioned cart – the “flavor bar” – over to my seat where I chose my custom flavor, which was cardamom. Needless to say, it was a memorable experience.

    Hélène Darroze

    At the Hélène Darroze, delicious and traditional French cuisine is served in an airy and elegant setting. I’ve heard the Saturday brunch is not to be missed and that the food is reminiscent of lazy meals on weekend mornings in southwestern France, where the chef grew up.

    Dean Street Townhouse
    69 - 71 Dean Street
    London W1D 3SE
    +44 (0)20 7434 1775

    I was recently treated to a night at the newly opened Dean Street Townhouse as a guest of Nick Jones; I’d wanted to check it out for my goop readers. It’s a steal to stay at this hotel, especially in the charming and cleverly named “Broom Cupboard,” which starts at £95 per night. Located in Soho, it can be a bit noisy, but the amenities basket is kitted out with earplugs and loads of their famous Cowshed products. The restaurant and bar have a bustling and inviting feel and I recommend it for a pre-dinner drink.

    Places to Eat

    Pizza East
    56 Shoreditch High Street
    London E1 6JJ
    +44 (0)20 7729 1888

    This new restaurant, located in Shoreditch, serves up delicious pizzas and a great selection of antipasti. All the pizza is made in a wood-burning oven so it has that chewy and crispy crust which is so hard to find in London. You can dine here, stop by for a quick snack at their bar, or order for takeaway. The place has this sleek industrial look which the dim lighting and wooden floors really manage to warm up.

    66 Brewer Street
    London W1F 9TR
    +44 (0)20 7292 3518

    Hix Oyster Bar and Chophouse
    35-37 Greenhill’s Rents
    London, EC1M 6BN
    +44 (0)20 7017 1930

    At his restaurants, Mark Hix serves up a festive and dynamic feast and has all the London art world credentials you can conjure. He had a pop-up restaurant at the Frieze art fair this year. He is quickly developing a restaurant empire with Hix Oyster Bar & Chophouse and Hix, in Soho – both are as much about the food as they are about the atmosphere. At the Soho location, which is oriented toward a trendier crowd, you’ll dine surrounded by the work of London’s big time art-stars like Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Tim Noble and Sue Webster. The Oyster Bar & Chop House has a more intimate feel, but the food is still served with full Hix panache. When I ordered the Whole Roasted Chicken to share, it came with a huge country-style pitcher of gravy while, at a nearby table I spied a full roasted pig, the whole thing on the table from head to hoof!

    Bocca di Lupo
    12 Archer Street
    London W1D 7BB
    +44 (0)20 7734 2223

    My friends Cleo & Julia recommended this place to me and I was psyched to find an affordable and delicious restaurant - basically the Holy Grail in London. Chef Jacob Kennedy recreates classic Italian dishes from Italy - from Sicily to Piedmont and back - with true authenticity. All the dishes on the menu, including appetizers, come in small and large portions so you can piece a meal together with a scattering of smalls, or heck, have the appetizer as a main. It’s a popular place, so book ahead.

    139 Westbourne Grove
    London W11 2RS
    +44 (0)20 7229 4734

    Taqueria is the best Mexican restaurant in London and my Mexican friend who lives here can attest to this. The vast taco and antojito menu is the answer to all my Mexican cravings. This bustling Notting Hill establishment offers excellent comida corrida, which is nearly impossible to find when you are across the sea. The ingredients here are authentic and you can buy their salsas, spices and tortillas for your own Mexican home cooking. Drop in anytime; although it’s always full, the tables move quickly.

    Susie Theodorou

    A friend and fellow foodie, food stylist Susie Theodorou, gave me a list of her favorite London spots.

    The Anchor & Hope
    36 The Cut
    London SE1 8LP
    +44 (0)20 7928 9898

    “This is a standout from the London gastropub invasion of the last few years, and no, I don’t mean fish and chips. The menu, which changes daily, bursts with rustic and delicious traditional Brit food. Lentils with pheasant, roast leg of lamb for the table – everything is delicious! There is a no booking policy and this place gets a lot of buzz, so expect a wait. Arrive early and have a drink at the cozy bar before being seated.”

    Great Queen Street
    32 Great Queen Street
    London WC2B 5AA
    +44 (0)20 7242 0622

    “Anchor and Hope’s sister gastropub is just as bustling, warm and inviting. As opposed to the Anchor’s communal dining setup, however, here you can sit at your own table and, forget the long wait, you can reserve here. Just down the stairs, there’s the new Dive bar, which offers great bar snacks.”

    63-64 Frith Street
    London W1D 3JW
    +44 (0)20 7734 4545

    “Anthony Demetre, the chef at this Michelin star establishment, is serious about seasonality. The menu changes constantly while the food remains impeccable. This is a great place for a classy pre-theatre meal in Soho. I have only ever had really delicious food here. Not so easy to get in, but if there are just two of you, it’s easy to get a seat at the small bar. It is French-style cuisine in the best sense. The duck egg with asparagus served on cast iron skillets is really delicious. The rabbit loin is also a good pick.”

    St. John Bread and Wine
    94 Commercial Street
    London E1 6LZ
    +44 (0)20 7247 8724

    “The food served here is often quite exotic sounding, but never fails to impress. The smoked mackerel left a big impact; it was served looking all gold and very special. The pork belly with crackling just melts in your mouth.”

    Hereford Road
    3 Hereford Road
    W2 4AB London

    “Hereford Road, whose chef, Tom Pemberton is a St. John graduate, offers a daily changing menu of hardcore dishes. The food here is for adventurous eaters, but it pays off to take the plunge. The Salted Pollock is the absolute best way I’ve ever seen this fish prepared.”

    34-36 Exmouth Market London
    EC1R 4QE London
    +44 (0)20 7833 8336

    “This is my favorite restaurant in London. I have loved it for 10 years - and I never fail to have the most delicious meals here. They serve an array of different grains, which are always prepared to perfection to accompany the main courses. These could be slow-cooked pork in milk, roasted quail, roasted sea bass, mackerel, lamb shoulder, etc. For a starter the most memorable has to be the egg cooked in yoghurt and leeks - amazing.

    In terms of desserts, the pistachio and yoghurt cake is wonderful, but my favorite is the chocolate tart with apricot paste.”

    4 Princes Street
    London W1B 2LE
    +44 (0)20 7629 5255

    “I love the way everything is so simple here. I actually never have the sushi, but I often choose the eggplant, the light noodle soups and salads. It makes me realize how heavy-handed other Asian places can be!”

    Ba Shan
    24 Romilly Street W1
    +44 (0)20 7434 2234

    “The best Chinese restaurant in London as far as I’m concerned. It is small and split into several levels, easily accommodating large parties in their private rooms. The food is spicy hot, and full of flavor. The home-style tofu is my favorite. The pork buns are amazing... served as if they are little burger buns - just like the ones in NY. With two new Hunanese chefs, the menu has recently taken on a particularly south-central Chinese flair.”


    C. Lidgate
    110 Holland Park Avenue
    London W11 4UA
    +44 (0)20 7727 8243

    This is my one-stop shop for all my poultry needs. This family-run business has been around for 150 years and sources from the best farms in England. For those of you meat eaters, C.Lidgate is also an excellent Butcher and Charcutier, though I won’t say it from my own experience.

    179 Haverstock Hill
    London NW3 4QS
    +44 (0)20 7916 2676

    This is our go-to neighborhood grocery store. The shopkeepers know us by name and we buy most our groceries and fresh organic fruits and vegetables here. I can never believe how such a tiny shop can contain almost everything we could possibly need on a daily basis.

    Holland Park, 2 Holland Park Terrace, Portland Rd.,
    London W11
    +44 (0)20 7229 7005

    This small Notting Hill shop stocks all things Italian, including home-cooked soups, salads and pastas. The selection of Italian wines is trustworthy and I particularly love their piadina, an Italian flatbread, which you can stuff with all kinds of veggies or meat and roll up as a great alternative to a sandwich.

    Gail’s Bread
    64 Hampstead High Street
    London NW3 1QH
    +44 (0)20 7794 5700

    I buy all my bread here. They have a constantly changing list of available breads, pastries, light salads and prepared foods. The ingredients are all completely organic and chemical-free. On Fridays I make sure to buy their Challah, which is only available on Fridays and Saturdays.

    287 Upper Street
    London N1 2TZ
    +44 (0)20 7288 1454

    Morning, day and night, there is always a line at all four Ottolenghi locations. The Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and delicatessen draws droves for its near perfect pastries, quiches and salads. Their cheese and vegetable laden pizza rocks. When I don’t have time to cook and I have friends coming over, it’s my standby for a great meal that I can pick up and bring home.

    James Knight of Mayfair
    67 Notting Hill Gate
    London W11 3JS
    +44 (0)20 7221 6177

    For fresh fish, I trust James Knight of Mayfair. They have a shop in Notting Hill and another in Selfridges. The added plus is that they deliver when I’m in a bind.

    La Fromagerie
    2-6 Moxon Street
    London W1U 4EW
    +44 (0)20 7935 0341

    La Fromagerie has a walk-in cheese closet that makes me swoon. The guys who work here are cute and know their stuff so you can find excellent varieties from all over Europe. The cozy shop also has well-sourced gourmet foods and a small restaurant where you can take a break from shopping and have a glass of wine and a snack.

    Harrods Food Hall
    87-135 Brompton Road
    London SW1X 7XL
    +44 (0)20 7730 1234

    Harrods’ food halls are a foodie’s dream. Unbelievable fresh produce, the best fish monger in London, almost any obscure ingredient can be found in this maze of delights (price tag to match). Alongside all of the gorgeous meats, nuts, breads, prepared foods, and anything else you could imagine, are all of the food stalls where you can stop for anything from a Krispy Kreme doughnut, to a NY deli style sandwich. Heaven.

    Borough Market
    8 Southwark Street
    London SE1 1TL

    Borough Market is London’s oldest food market and is a huge expanse of food stalls, many fresh from the farm and organic. It’s so much fun to wander through and find incredible seasonal and artisanal delicacies.

    Farmers Markets

    England, an early champion of the slow food movement, stocks its capital’s farmers markets with amazing produce, poultry, breads and the like. Check out the website for locations and information.

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