The Shed (Notting Hill): Amazing farm-to-table restaurant with small sharing plates. They often change up their menu, depending on what local ingredients are in season. The space is especially rustic, with barrels as tables and colourful fabrics lining the seats.
Trullo (Highbury East): Nestled in Highbury and a favourite amongst locals, Trullo is a simple & unfussy Italian spot serving seasonally focused, sustainable dishes that change daily. Opened by Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda in June of 2010, Trullo has been serving up a simple yet satisfying British take on delicious Italian cooking since its inception. Indulge in fresh, hand-made pasta dishes and meats and fish cooked to perfection over the charcoal grill. Trullo graces us with a rustic cuisine that keeps people coming back and makes you feel like you are on holiday. But if you can’t make it up to Highbury, visit Trullo’s younger, more affordable sister, Padella, at Borough Market, featuring hand-rolled pasta inspired by Tim and Jordan’s trips to Italy.
Lupita (Covent Garden): Amazing upbeat and lively Mexican spot. Best mojito I've ever had. Definitely order the tacos à la carte and some freshly made guac prepared right at your table.
Ducksoup (Soho): Set in a narrow and minimalist space, Ducksoup is a great wine bar with delicious food meant for sharing. They change up their menu almost every day and cook with the season. They also have their own record player and a great collection of vinyls which customers are welcome to browse through and play.
The Princess of Shoreditch (Shoreditch): Beautiful and modern two-floor British gastropub and the perfect spot for a Sunday roast.
Viet Food (Soho): Great spot for modern Vietnamese street food.
The Good Egg (Stoke Newington): If you only have 24 hours in London you must come to The Good Egg for brunch. A lovely neighbourhood spot serving Jewish-style food with a Middle Eastern influence. All the dishes are incredible and the ambiance relaxing and minimal. And don't leave until you have a slice of babka.
Market Cafe (Hackney): Laid-back old-meets-modern pub at the bottom of Broadway Market. Enjoy rustic Italian/pub fare/brunch or an afternoon pint or cocktail in a quirky space with mismatched furniture.
Farm Girl Cafe (Notting Hill): Bright and casual Australian-inspired cafe on Portobello Road. Menu is health-conscious and delicious, with an emphasis on fresh and nutritional ingredients. The perfect spot for all day brunch, salads, sandwiches, creative drinks and superfoods.
Delamina EAST (Shoreditch): Formerly known as Strut & Cluck, Delamina EAST has shaken off the humble roots of its pop-up days at London’s Shoreditch House, and is flourishing as the beautiful Mediterranean miracle it is today. A cozy, bright, and airy space, Delamina EAST conjures up the irresistible feeling of dining al fresco with its ceiling adorned with plants and Edison bulbs and a warm, inviting vibe. Opened by husband-and-wife duo Amir and Limor Chen, Delamina EAST’s menu is inspired by Eastern Mediterranean home cooking and uses seasonal, locally sourced and ethically raised ingredients. The emphasis is on grilling and roasting to perfection, and the dishes are perfect for sharing if you are dining with a group. Notable dishes include the aubergine, feta and sweet potato bake, the charred cauliflower with lemon zest-infused crème fraîche, charcoaled turkey lettuce cups with spicy tahini and date molasses and hand-pulled turkey shawarma on grilled pita.
The MaE Deli (Mayfair): Brought to you by Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella) and her husband Matt, the MaE deli is a natural food counter serving up delicious salads, baked goods, smoothies, breakfast bowls, toasts and homemade energy balls in an airy space decorated with florals and whitewashed exposed brick.
Chin Chin Labs (Camden): Chin Chin uses liquid nitrogen to quick-freeze the ice cream and it's the most delicious thing you'll ever taste.
Burro e Salvia (Shoreditch): In the heart of Shoreditch lies Burro e Salvia, the closest possible fresh, authentic Italian pasta eating experience you will have without actually travelling to Italy. Part Italian-inspired pastificio and part dine-in café, Burro e Salvia (Italian for ‘butter and sage’) offers visitors a cultural experience in fresh pasta making. Opened in the spring of 2013, Gaia Enria, a highly skilled sfoglina (pasta maker), wanted to bring a little piece of her Northern Italian roots to Redchurch Street. Upon entry into the former gallery- turned-pasta deli, you will find a large display of different types of fresh pasta and Gaia’s young sfogline happily creating this Italian staple we all know and love. The shop is casual and informal with an at home feel, and the perfectly al dente dishes are simple, made with passion and a hint of nostalgia. Their restaurant menu and pasta fillings change with the season, using only high-quality ingredients from local British suppliers and Italian products. Pick up a takeaway box of fresh tortellini, tagliatelle or cappelletti, take a pasta making class, or dine in the cosiest ‘tasting corner’ with a bowl of their signature pasta: Agnolotti Cavour (beef, pork and spinach filled ravioli, butter and sage sauce) and a glass of red from Montepulciano (for £ 1.00 extra, add a mountain of grated 24-month Parmigiano Reggiano).
Brouge (Twickenham): Cozy and modern Belgian and British gastropub with a large variety of beers.
Blixen (Spitalfields): A whimsical European grand café, Blixen is located on the south edge of Old Spitalfields Market in a converted bank. Dine here for brunch, lunch or dinner in the beautiful garden conservatory overlooking the market.
Roebuck (Richmond): Typical British pub at the top of Richmond Hill with a view of the Thames, perfect for fish & chips and a pint. Known as one of the oldest pubs in Richmond still on its original site and frequented by famous patrons, like David Attenborough.
The Towpath Café (De Beauvoir Town): Opened by a food photographer and his food-writer wife, and situated alongside the Regent's Canal, The Towpath Café is a series of four café-type open units that attract bikers and pedestrians with its original setting, food and drink. If you are able to snag a table, you could possibly end up sitting there for hours on end (especially on a nice sunny day).
Half Cup (Saint Pancras): A great independent cafe to have a light breakfast or lunch, work on your laptop (free Wi-Fi), grab a baked good, or hang with friends.
East London Juice Co. (Shoreditch): Walk up to the little counter protruding from the Ace Hotel and you've found East London Juice Co. Starting out as a temporary pop-up and growing into a permanent not-your-average-juice-company dispensary for all that is nourishing, East London Juice, in their words, "crafts botanic and medicinal combinations with organic, fairly-traded, or wild-harvested ingredients." They pride themselves on being free from agave, peanuts, gluten, refined sugars, fake natural flavourings and high-pressure pasteurized ingredients. Enjoy smoothies, mylks, elixirs, juices, shots, hot drinks, snacks and breakfast items.
Pavilion Bakery (Hackney): Cafe and bakery.
Ginger & White (Belsize Park): Tiny and hip coffee shop with two floors, a communal table at the front and a classic British breakfast menu with options like sourdough toast, England preserves, marmite, eggs & soldiers, porridge, etc. Also hard to resist is the huge variety of cakes, muffins and loafs that greet you right as you enter.
Paper & Cup (Shoreditch): Little intimate coffee shop/not-for-profit social enterprise created by the Spitalfields Crypt Trust with limited seating, overlooking the quaint neighbourhood that is Arnold Circus. Come here for cakes, delicious sandwiches, snacks, second hand books and local artists' work. No Wi-Fi here, encouraging you to sit and read or catch up with friends. Cash only!
Monocle Café (Marylebone): Hip cafe serving light fare and global snacks.
Modern Society (Shoreditch): Minimalist cafe and concept store bringing together international luxury goods and a quality coffee/tea break.
Lantana Cafe (Fitzrovia): Aussie coffee shop with a nice atmosphere and eclectic brunch menu. Three locations in London (the others in Shoreditch and Camden). A nice spot to read or work on your laptop.
26 Grains (Covent Garden): Nestled in a tiny courtyard in Neal’s Yard, 26 Grains is a heavenly little slice of Scandinavia in the heart of London’s Seven Dials neighbourhood. Simple and delicious offerings include all-day breakfast dishes like porridge and smoothies, sweet snacks and health-conscious lattes (think turmeric and matcha), and a small selection of wine and beer served from morning until evening. 26 Grains’ purpose is to serve wholesome and comforting grain-based dishes with a Hygge influence. Owner and self-proclaimed grain enthusiast Alex Hely-Hutchinson explores innovative combinations of flavors in her dishes, each offering a fresh riff on classic comfort food. Her menu is a hybrid of Danish cuisine and English nostalgia, an outcome of the year she spent studying in Copenhagen. 26 Grains fully captures the spirit of the simple pleasures of coming together and sharing food amongst good friends. Snag a stool, a spot on a rustic wooden bench or on the patio that spills out into the courtyard, and enjoy the respite from festive Covent Garden in this charmingly informal, relaxed and homey space.
Curator's Coffee Gallery (Marylebone): A specialty coffeehouse serving great tasting coffee, tea, lattes, matcha, hot chocolate, baked goods and sandwiches. The space is minimalist, with geometric wall hangings and plants. Head downstairs for more seating, natural light and an exit with a staircase leading you back up to street level. Curator's Coffee also hosts art exhibitions, hence the name, and features local artists.
Leila's Shop (Shoreditch): Rustic cafe/market selling baked goods, fresh breads, seasonal produce, oils, cheeses, nuts, etc. And head next door for brunch!
Albion (Shoreditch): Trendy café serving British comfort food in a design-led space. At the front is a little market selling cupboard staples, everyday grocery items and fresh produce.
Fabrique Bakery (Covent Garden): Delicious bakery, famous for their cardamom buns and sourdough.
Boundary Rooftop (Shoreditch): Panoramic views of East London, the Boundary rooftop is where you need to be on a warm summer night, or any night for that matter as they also have a heated orangery section. Located, evidently, on the roof of the Boundary Hotel, venture over with your gang and enjoy cocktails and snacks on this lovely rooftop garden.
Sager + Wilde (Hackney): Eat here, drink here, date here. The exposed brick walls, wooden floors and high windows of Sager + Wilde are the perfect backdrop for the aforementioned activities, and that’s all before delving into the carefully crafted, by-the-glass wine list. Opened in 2013 after a successful stint as a pop-up in Shoreditch, husband and wife Michael and Charlotte Sager-Wilde launched their eponymous wine bar in Hackney, just steps away from the Geffrye Museum and Columbia Road Flower Market. The space is intimate, unpretentious, and definitely one of the more sought-after date spots in London. The knowledgeable staff are enthusiastic about helping you choose the perfect glass you are looking for. Sager’s no-nonsense attitude has allowed him to curate a lovely and rather affordable rotating wine selection that is personal, simple and strikes a perfect balance between natural and fine wines. The snack menu is uncomplicated, comprised of small plates like sourdough, olives, various cheeses and charcuterie, as well as delicious cheese toasties. Stop by their second location on Paradise Row, nestled inside a beautiful historic railway arch. Have a seat on the terrace and enjoy a modern British brunch or dinner and free corkage on Sundays and Mondays.
Abney Park (Hackney): Go for a walk through this lovely park and wander through the magnificent garden cemetery.
Wallace Collection (Marylebone): Favourite museum in London. Known for its French 18th century painting, furniture, porcelain, and armoury. There's also a collection of Old Master paintings.
Goodhood (Shoreditch): Cool and minimalist, split-level shop selling men’s & women's streetwear clothing and accessories, home goods, shoes and more.
Portobello Road Market (Notting Hill): World's largest antique market! Ran by expert dealers who have been in the antique business for decades.
Columbia Road Flower Market (East London): Sunday flower market.
Planet Organic (Bloomsbury): Several locations around London, Planet Organic is a massive health food store with a cafe/takeaway counter serving delicious prepared foods.
Another Country (Marylebone): Furniture/home goods shop with designs inspired by British country kitchen style, Shaker, traditional Scandinavian and Japanese woodwork styles.
& Other Stories (Regent Street/Oxford Street): Own-label clothing, makeup, accessories and skin care.
Abbey Road (Westminster): Venture over to the Abbey Road Zebra Crossing to recreate the infamous album cover.
Broadway Market (Hackney): A true London gem and hotspot for taste and culture. On Saturdays you'll find over 100 independent shops, street food vendors, fresh produce, arts and crafts stands. Some favourites are Fin and Flounder, Floris Foods, eat'N'mess and Dark Sugars.
Daylesford (Notting Hill): Chic cafe/deli, seasonal farm shop and home goods store.
BOXPARK (Shoreditch): Unique destination for shopping and dining: tons of cool brands and modern street food vendors set up temporary stores in the world’s first pop-up mall.
Brick Lane Market (East London): Art, design, antiques, vintage shops, music, street performers, and tons of food. Best to go on a Sunday morning.
Search & Rescue (Stoke Newington): Thoughtfully curated home goods store selling lifestyle products and other gifts.
Nook Shop (Stoke Newington): Just down the street from Search & Rescue, another lovely shop to find home goods and bits & bobs.
Chiswick Park: Amazing spot to have a picnic. Also go visit the Chiswick House & Gardens created in the 18th century by Lord Burlington and William Kent. If you walk through the paths, there's an orange tree garden with an Ionic temple behind an obelisk situated in a pond.
Content Beauty (Marylebone): Beauty & wellness apothecary selling organic skincare products, and offering naturopathic therapies, organic Dr Alkaitis, Tata Harper & Pai facials, salon and "Detox Your Make-Up Bag" services. They carry great products like RMS Beauty, Ilia, Juice Beauty, Sister & Co and Schmidt's.
Absolute Vintage (Shoreditch): Just like the name says, everything vintage here from clothes to shoes to accessories (both men's and women's fashions). Also check out Blondie around the corner (same owners).
St. Luke's Mews (Notting Hill): A quaint road in Notting Hill with the sweetest little homes. For all you Love Actually fans, number 27 was the home of Peter and Juliet, and is seen in the scene where Mark silently declares his love to Juliet via cue cards.
Daunt Books (Marylebone): Lovely Edwardian bookshop with several locations around London.
Leman Locke (Whitechapel): An affordable design-led aparthotel, so the rooms are set up like studio or one bedroom apartments. Each room is a beautiful, fresh space, with the iconic L-shaped couch, super comfortable double bed, kitchenette with dish washer, Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook, kitchen supplies, complementary coffee, Pluck teas and Doisy & Dam superfood chocolate, free Wi-Fi, smart TV, big floor to ceiling windows with great views of London and a washer & dryer. Located just south of Shoreditch, and close to Spitalfields and Brick Lane, Leman Locke is in the perfect location, just across the street from Aldgate East tube station, and a short walk to tons of bars, restaurants, and cafes.
Day Trips: Brighton, Eastbourne & Herstmonceux Castle
Once you are in London, you have the rest of the UK at your fingertips. It's so easy to just hop on a train and go exploring in the countryside or to other cities. If you happen upon the south end of the UK, the Herstmonceux Castle is a beautiful place to visit. Indulge in cream tea at Chestnuts Tea Room and go for a walk in the many gardens or visit The Folly which is a beautiful façade with a garden and trail behind it. There is also a beautiful nature walk you can take that leads you into the heart of Lewes (go to The Brewers Arms for a delicious home cooked meal). Brighton and Eastbourne are also two really cool cities, I recommend going to That Little Teashop in the Lanes in Brighton for afternoon cream tea.