Not only is London one of the world’s foremost destinations for good food, it competes with the likes of Paris and Milan for its shopping credentials too. Where to go when the day calls for both activities? Try some of these for size.
Due to its proximity to Soho, i.e. the very core of London’s flourishing restaurant scene, shopping around Oxford Street, Regent Street, and Carnaby Street is ultimately the most rewarding. Not least because of the veg-forward dishes at ROVI, fragrant Thai curries at Patara, upmarket British fare at Pollen Street Social, and lauded Italian at Bocca di Lupo.
Slightly west of Oxford Street is Mayfair, a fertile ground for top of the market boutiques. On the food front, there’s Gymkhana for upscale Indian food; Fernandez & Wells for wine, cheese and charcuterie; and the intimate ode to British decadence that is Kitty Fisher’s.
Europe’s largest shopping centre, in White City, is blessed not only with hundreds of shops and grab-and-go eateries, but also with nearby Kricket, a modern Indian that’s been hitting all the right notes since first emerging from a shipping container in Brixton. Also in the area is Bocconi, a very traditional Italian with its fair share of regulars, while Wild Thyme – a popular Shepherd’s Bush brunch spot – is a short walk down the road.
London’s second Westfield is an east Londoner’s go-to, and contains about 280 shops, but a good bite to eat can be more difficult to find. Not so at Tonkotsu, with their A-grade ramen, or Allegra, the new Insta-hit with skyline views. A bit further afield (but fully worth the walk through Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park), is the critically-acclaimed Cornerstone, CRATE for leftfield pizza and good beer, and Gotto Trattoria for rustic Italian fare.
West London’s King’s Road is about a mile’s worth of (mostly) fashion-oriented shopping, courtesy of Vivienne Westwood and friends. When the time comes for lunch or dinner, check-in to Chelsea’s little corner of the English countryside at Rabbit, dine on French haute cuisine at Medlar, settle in for elegant Indian from an ex-Gymkhana chef at Kutir, or park up at Chicama for the vibrant coastal flavours of Peru.
If there’s another street in Chelsea that fashion hunters around the world are willing to hop on a plane for, it’s this one. Brompton Road is, after all, home to Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Burberry. The immediate area has celebrated British titles of the food variety too – there’s top London steak joint Hawksmoor, Gordon Ramsay’s Petrus, Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner, as well as Marcus Wareing’s eponymous contemporary British restaurant.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.