Establishment neighborhood
11 Harrington Rd., Kensington
Lunch on the go can be a conundrum. One the one hand, you know you should eat something healthy and green. But you also want to feel full and not have to go miles out of your way to pick it up. For those based in West London, there’s Squirrel. The menu of build-your-own bowls is full of proteins, vegetables, and tasty add-ins like feta, avocado, and pickled onions, which make these salads feel like full-on meals. They are filling enough to stave off the dreaded 3 p.m. hunger pangs, but light enough to stop any midafternoon snoozing at your desk. Our standing order when in town is chicken or salmon mixed with nutty quinoa, kale, pickled onions, and a boiled egg—all tossed in a citrusy sumac dressing. You can order for delivery or pickup, and it never takes more than thirty minutes for your biodegradable bowl to arrive or be ready. Best of all, it’s consistent, and lunch is exactly as you order it every time.
Over Under
181a Earl’s Court Road , Kensington
More community hub than just a café, this new addition to Kensington’s coffee scene offers monthly live music sessions and rotating art installations. The food is exactly what we want when we’re in a hurry—Parma ham and white bean hummus on the best sourdough, a couple of fried eggs, and granola with thick-as-ice-cream Greek yogurt. The coffee is always perfectly made, but we tend to go for the iced matcha, which has a hint of lemon. At night, Over Under turns into a bar that serves a very good Negroni.
Dr. Dray
20 Canning Pl., Kensington
Dr. Dray is a serious name around town when it comes to cosmetic dermatology. He invented mesolift, an aesthetic treatment that involves injecting a custom hyaluronic-acid-based vitamin-and-mineral cocktail into the skin for an intense dose of hydration from the inside out. Don't let the idea of needles scare you; you'll start with a consultation, the injections aren't deep, and Dr. Dray has been at this for close to three decades. The procedure takes fewer than twenty minutes, and the results—supple, more youthful skin—are essentially immediate. There's a host of other skin-care services, plus treatments for your hair and hands, and it's all done in a beautiful new clinic in Kensington.
3 Launceston Pl., Kensington
The name Seeds has several meanings. For starters, it's a nod to the store's physical space, which occupies what used to be a flower shop in Kensington. It's also a reference to what the owners describe as the store's duality as a place to see (they host exhibitions and special projects with artists and designers) as well as a design store (hence the DS). The entire space is completely shoppable, so you can find everything here from hand-thrown clay pots, to art-inspired jewelry, to works of contemporary art.
11 Harrington Rd., Kensington
Basically, Squirrel is everything you'd want in a salad bar and so much more. In fact, it's a health emporium where grain bowls, kale salad, gluten-free avocado toast, cold-pressed juices, nut milks, and kombucha are all available under the same roof. Have any of the above delivered or eat out of an acorn-shaped bowl at the "treehouse," the wood-lined mezzanine overlooking the custom-made fallen-oak counter downstairs. With a concept this well executed, it's only a matter of time before more Squirrel "treehouses" pop up around town.
London Design Museum Shop
224-238 Kensington High St., Kensington
While the new Design Museum isn't open quite yet, the shop is already up and running and provides a tiny sneak preview into architect John Pawson's vision for the museum. Colorful design objects, gadgets, toys, and gizmos are carefully arranged on a Vitsoe shelving system on dark grey walls, creating a beautiful and contrasting display. It's a great selection of small, affordable gifts and more high-concept pieces for the real design lover like John Pawson designed ceramic bowls, a Barber & Osgerby teapot, Artek's Alvar Aalto stools and the like. It all bodes well for the grand opening in late November.
Serpentine Galleries
Kensington Gardens, Kensington
The Serpentine Galleries are a must-see for contemporary art lovers. Located in a former teahouse, the original Serpentine Gallery continues to champion cutting-edge modern art, and if you walk across Serpentine Lake, the collection extends to the new Sackler Gallery, which was designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Zaha Hadid. Take the time to explore the grounds, including the Gallery’s Pavilion, which provides a site for architectural experimentation with temporary structures that is always worth checking out.