Even though we are eating our way in and around the UK capital there are some places we just won’t have time to visit – no matter how much time or dishes we may have. So I wanted to provide you with a list of places that should you find yourself travelling to London, you can print and keep on hand should you need it. So lets continue looking at some of my favourite London foodie haunts…
Refectory – Recently re-branded and re-launched, Refectory is modern, contemporary and leading the way in coffee houses in Soho. Great wandering past on a chilly day and looking for a decent coffee.
I am sure there are a lot of you who know the name Marco Pierre White or at least read his books. L’Escargo with its own Michelin Star, you know it will be great so how about some history of the restaurant – yeah – really history…
“DATING FROM 1741, THE BUILDING WAS THE PRIVATE RESIDENCE OF THE DUKE OF PORTLAND, SOHO BEING ORIGINALLY A COUNTRY AREA, VERY POPULAR FOR HORSEBACK HUNTING – THE NAME DERIVING FROM A HUNTING CRY OF THE TIME – “SOOHOO”. THE AREA WAS ONLY DEVELOPED AFTER THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON IN 1666, WITH 13,000 HOUSES DESTROYED AND 100,000 CITIZENS LEFT HOMELESS. THE AREA, THEN CALLLED SOHO FIELDS WAS THE OBVIOUS CHOICE FOR THE WEALTHY TO REBUILD THEIR PROPERTY, BEING IN EASY REACH OF THE ROYAL PALACES OF WESTMINSTER, WHITEHALL AND ST JAMES’S.”
For really good affordable tapas you really can’t go past Salt Yard (Goodge St Tube). It is an award-winning bar and restaurant serving modern tapas inspired by the flavours and produce of Spain and Italy. The tapas are complemented by charcuterie and cheese boards. But if you find yourself more central, head to it’s lovely sister restaurant- Dehesa- in Ganton Street, Soho. Dehesa is the unique woodland area in Spain which is home to the black-footed Iberico pigs- said to produce the best ham in the world.
Bar Italia is a Soho Sight if ever there was one.
Lou and Caterina Polledri opened Bar Italia in 1949 and then their Son Nino took over the reins in the 1970s and he in turn handed over to his son’s Antonio and Luigi and sister Veronica. The three of them run Bar Italia, the restaurant Little Italy next door. Another important part of Bar Italia is the large screen television which shows all the Italian sports. Bar Italia is the home of Italian football – so if in town during the World or European Cup get yourself down during a match.
Barrafina - The younger, sexier sibling of Fino, Barrafina is a glossy take on the classic Spanish tapas bar. Thanks to its no-bookings policy, the queue for seats often snakes out along a side counter to the street, but there’s an excellent selection of nibbles to keep the wolf from the door as you shuffle along the line. We will be reviewing it newest outpost – Antico in Borough – in the very near future.
The original branch of Bill’s opened in Lewes, East Sussex in 2001 with a simple plan to combine an old-fashioned grocer (baskets of local fruit and veg) with a mid-market deli (displays of own-label jam, olive oil and Continental treats). It has been transformed in a hidden part of Covent Garden into an informal café serving an unpretentious British/Med menu.
So there you have it. Following soon after this post I will be running a post of the sights of London that tourists may miss – but you can wander off the tourist trail to find yourself.