Six months ago the Chief Taster and I left Edinburgh to embark on a new adventure in London, a melting pot of culture, excitement and a food and drink scene guaranteed to blow away your taste buds!
Although we’ve not even scratched the surface, with the new year fast approaching I thought it only apt to reflect back on some of the great eating and drinking gems we’ve managed to unearth to date. London’s patchwork quilt of eclectic villages offer so much for those who love good food and drink, there will be lots more to explore further in 2015. In fact my list keep growing daily. For now these are just a few of our top picks so far. Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year!
I have to begin with my priorities, coffee and the good news is London has a plethora of fantastic independently run coffee shops. Right on our doorstep in St Margarets a gold star has to be awarded to Grounded serving up what is now my favourite artistan coffee, Monmouth Coffee. As well as a great flat white Grounded also boasts a great selection of homemade tray bakes, florentines and pastries to match. Richmond Hill Bakery and Butter Beans are also both worthy local coffee pit stops in Richmond. And for coffee with attitude Brick Lane Coffee is a must.
London knows how to pull out all the stops when it comes to a top notch food market. Each local area hosts a weekly farmer’s market but one market which has evolved into a destination in itself is the renowned Borough Market. This is a one stop shop for anyone who loves and cares about good quality food, showcasing the best Britsh and internationally acclaimed food and drink. One of my favourite havens, my top tip is avoid the tourists and go during the middle of the week. Kick off your trip with a coffee at Monthmouth Coffee and round up your day by indulging in the Rabo Estate restaurant, a chocolate lovers paradise.
Best…for a special occasion
You could easily be paralysed by choice when choosing the perfect restaurant to mark a special occasion if you’re looking to be wined and dined. For our first wedding anniversary in November we stayed local and plucked for a Sunday lunch at the beautiful boutique hotel and restaurant, The Bingham, overlooking the Thames. This restaurant with rooms located in a Georgian Townhouse is the ideal venue for a romantic celebration, serving delicious food in a relaxed setting. I’ll be back for afternoon tea!
It’s no secret London can be an expensive playground. However as well as boasting a long list of Michelin rated restaurants there is also a spectacular number of places to get great food that won’t pull too hard on your purse strings. Brixton Food Market is a great place to meet friends for cheap tasty food but one of our favourite destinations on a Sunday is Brick Lane. Take a trip down this colourful food market in the city’s east end on a Sunday and you’re sences will explode. You’ll enjoy any number of different foods from across the globe and the Rib Man is also worth stopping off at too. However our favourite is The Brick Lane Beigel Shop. Open 24 hours a day, serving cheap fresh bagels, enjoy a salt beef bagel or a slab of cheesecake. This is an institution worth visiting. Don’t be put off by the queues as you’ll speed up the line at a pace of knots. The service is slick!
Ecape the hustle and bustle of London and visit Petersham Nurseries, a tranquil haven a short stroll along the river from Richmond. This is a little slice of paradise, which allows you to relax and unwind in beautiful surroudnings. Those with green fingers will love this haven but equally if you love local seasonal good food then you will fall in love with the Tea House.
You’ll have to be quick, but The Pudding Bar, which will move from it’s current location in Soho in less than 5 days, has been a great pop-up success story. If you would rather skip straight to dessert then this is the place for you. Serving only puddings this is a must for those with a sweet tooth.
Best…breakfast & brunch
Londoners love a long leisurely breakfast, something I’ve caught on to very quickly and again we’re spoiled for choice. Close to home is Greedies. Now one should never judge a book by it’s cover. What may look like a greasy spoon is in fact a top class eatery serving a world class breakfast, a favourite with the locals as the queues at the weekend will testify. Its menue for breakfast alone is mind blowing. On the other side of the spectrum if you’re looking for something a little more stylish yet relaxed then head to the heart of Notting Hill and visit Daylesford Farm restaurant and shop. Once you’ve indulged in a great tasting organic brunch browse the seasonal fruit and vegetables as well as the artisan cheese and organic meat, which comes straight from their farm in Gloucestershire.