Dear New Yorkers… an epic foodies guide to London, from a local!
On Tuesday evening myself and the lovely boyf headed to the Grains Store in Kings Cross for a wonderful evening filled with delicious food, amazing blogger company and wait for it… a chance to win a trip to NYC! Yup, you heard that right! Now I don't know if you know (or whether I've rammed it down your throats enough before but NYC is my favourite place. In the world. EVER. So, naturally this competition got me superrrrrrrr excited (managed not to embarrass Ben at dinner, don't you worry!). Our meal was hosted by the lovely team at Open Table, at the same time (or GMT - 5 hours in New York time) Open Table were hosting a meal to our pals across the ocean, where they will be writing open letters to us Londoners on where we need to dine if we ever visit NYC. The winners from each city will then swap and experience each others recommendations.. cool, huh?! So, without further ado, *ahem rambling, here is my open letter to NYC...
Dear blogger pal across the pond,
So, you're a morning person? I hear you New Yorkers are a massive fan of coffee. Unfortunately, I'm not a morning person. Nor do I drink coffee, however, I *may have ventured out a couple of mornings, bright eyed and bushy tailed (or something like that anyway) to discover some of London's finest coffee joints. If you're a grab'n'go kinda gal/guy then I'd say head to Attendant in central London, it's a small but quirky joint, it actually used to be a public toilet (DW it's not anymore!). Kaffeine is also a pretty cool get up, they have amazing floor to ceiling windows at the front of the shop so if you have time take 5 and watch the world go by. Or read your morning paper, whatever. If you're in East (where the cool kids live, AKA hipster vill then be sure to check out Shoreditch Grind (for Sex, Coffee and Rock n Roll, well, that's what they say anyway!) if you're around the Old Street area!
Now, you've had your caffeine fix, it's time for breakfast! If you're after good food in a beautiful surroundings then I'd definitely opt for Bourne and Hollingsworth, you can dine in their conservatory where bringing the 'outside inside' interiors springs to mind! If you're in central London, why not try new-kid-on-the-block; Nopi! They change their menus according to the seasons and you're bound to find something super healthy here (if that kinda thing floats your boat!). If you're looking for a good, hearty ol' English breakfast then you have to try out Elk In The Woods; based in Angel for the best fry up you'll ever eat… promise! (If you're heading on a weekend be sure to book as it gets busy!). Another one to try out - albeit slightly cliche but The Breakfast Club serve some of the best pancakes in London (just in case you're missing home!) - they have 9 locations in London so you're bound to seek one out!
Jet lag got the better of you and you didn't make breakfast? No worries, I got your back! We're huge brunch fans here in London (I believe we get this from you guys!), so for the best brunchin' hot spots I'd recommend you try the following; first up I'm shouting out to Berners Tavern in the Edition Hotel, time and time again they serve a mean brunch! If you're hungry, why not go bottomless? Drink Shop Do in Kings Cross offer bottomless bagels and Bloody Marys for two hours every Sunday morning for just £15! Time to eat/drink that hangover off! Like the idea of a bargain? Why not try out The Black Penny where you can get Prosecco for a penny with your brunch! *Only on weekends and bank holidays - no-one needs 1p Prosecco on a Monday morning (well, they do actually but it's probably not advisable!).
Still hungry? Okay, I got this! We're not massive sit-down lunch fans here in London, brunch/afternoon tea or cocktails seem to be whats up but I've got you covered whether you're looking for a sit down meal or lunch on the go. If you're looking to grab something quick, but healthy then Ottolenghi is a great shout! You can build your own salads to takeaway, it's slightly on the pricey side but the food is so good! Vapiano is a must for quick, cheap, good food - you'll find pizza, pasta and salads in the restaurant and everything will be cooked freshly before you! Fancy some Dim Sum? Ping Pong is a must (as are their new summer cocktails… cheeky!). If you'd rather walk off this mornings eateries then why not opt for a wander around Borough market to try out the best local dishes for a fraction of the price too!
Afternoon tea. Oh, afternoon tea, in true British style, this is a must if you visit! I'm a huge afternoon tea fan (I have the biggest sweet tooth - give me dessert over dinner, any day!), so I've trialled some of London's finest and am more than equipped to recommend a couple of gems! First up is Sketch; you have to visit just to witness the uber cool egg shaped toilets if nothing else! IMO the Palm Court at the Langham London offer the best afternoon tea; they tend to offer a themed tea also (darn it you just missed the Royal Afternoon Tea in celebration of Queenie's birthday!), but keep your eyes peeled for the next one! If you're looking for something a little kooky then head to Mr.Foggs for Tipsy Tea where your champagne/gin cocktails will be served in teapots! Don't want afternoon tea on the ground? Then why not try out the Illusionary Afternoon Tea served from a magicians top hat on the Good Ship Benefit (cosmetics giants Benefit have taken over the R.S.Hispaniola until August and it's well worth a visit!).
Didn't quite fancy a sit down afternoon tea but you fancy something sweet post lunch? Walk this way as London hosts some incredible bakeries, patisseries and cake shops! You'll find one near enough on every street but a couple of my favourites have to include; Violet Bakery in East London and ran by food write and stylist Claire Ptak. If you're looking for a quick pit stop then why not try out Aubaine for some delicious coffee and cake! Looking to add a French twist to your afternoon then stop by Laduree to pick up some Macaroons (oh, and grab a Pistachio milkshake too, they're divine!). Lets upscaled and send you to Maitre Choux in South Kensington where you can expect to pay around £5 for a chocolate eclair, but I promise it will be the best you've ever eaten!
We made it to dinner time… hurrah! Props to you if you're still hungry, but let's dive into London's best for tea time… first up, I'm going to recommend some burger joints (in case you're home sick and all that jazz), Patty and Bun, MEATliquor and Byrons are all awesome joints that you'll easily find scattered across London! After some good Pizza but don't want to splash out? Then Franco Manca is your jam - grab a sourdough pizza and a beer for less than a tenner, what's not to love?! Oh, and the pizza's are really darn good too! After something a little different? Then why not loose your senses and dine in the complete dark at Dans le Noir? - it's time to let your taste buds do the talking!
Looking for an after hour tipple? *I know, I know, this isn't classed as food, technically but I know you guys enjoy a liquid dinner as much as we do (some days just call for cocktails > food… no judgement being passed here!). If you're looking for something cheap and cheerful then head to Be At One where you'll find two for one cocktails most evenings! If you're looking for a full English served with your cocktail (yup, that's a thing!), then head to the Churchill Bar at the Hyatt Regency hotel to try out their gourmet cocktails - expect to pay around £16 each, but worth every penny! Hix is also a must as they make a mean cocktail!
Phew, we got there in the end kiddo - I imagine you'll be in some kind of food coma by the end of your trip, but DW babes I'll help roll you back onto the plane (or book you an extra seat if needed!).
Do you have any foodie recommendations for London? I can't wait to read the NYC foodie guides - whether I get to go on this trip or not, I'll be heading back to the city soon and can't wait to make note of some tips from a true New Yorker!