Whether you’re visiting London for the first time or a regular to England’s kaleidoscopic capital, one thing you must certainly do is dedicate more time to eating and drinking around the city. Hearty English breakfasts, elegant afternoon teas, gorgeous fine-dining venues, Michelin-starred kitchens, millions of farmer’s and food markets, some of the best coffee joints in the world… London can leave you salivating for months.
Before you’re utterly bewildered with endless choices and recommendations, we get Michael De Cozar, head hall porter, Ritz London, to reveal his top food experiences in the city! Having served the prestigious hotel for 45 long years, he has London’s biggest secrets and surprises at his fingertips!
- Royalty at its best
In the mood for a fine-dining meal in a lavish setting? Save your best ensemble for an evening at the Ritz. The Michelin-starred Ritz restaurant, with its Baroque interiors, is sure to leave you in awe of its beauty. Sparkling chandeliers, towering marble columns, ceiling frescoes and ornate sculptures transport you to a completely different era! Leaving its opulence and elegance aside, this is where you’re likely to bump into the who’s who of London!
- Romance with a London view
Located on the 31st floor of The Shard, Aqua Shard is a real treat for couples. It offers modern British food and stunning 360-degree vistas over London. Also popular is Galvin at Windows. Expect French haute cuisine, handpicked wines and stunning views over Piccadilly and Buckingham Palace.
- Step back in history
Established by Thomas Rule in 1798, Rules Restaurant at Convent Garden is another must visit. One of London’s oldest restaurants, it boasts a collection of antique cartoons, drawings and paintings. The tradition continues in the menu; they serve classic game from their own estate apart from oysters, pies and puddings. The Guinea Grill Mayfair with records dating back to 1423 is a wonderful pub steeped in history. Their dry aged, grass-fed English and Scotch beef as well as steaks will leave you craving for more.
- Dance the night away
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club is the ultimate late-night jazz club perfect for jazz lovers and dance lovers alike! Featuring some of the best jazz musicians in the world, this is a must visit for anyone wanting to shake a leg.
- Haunted hot spot
Now a pub, The Grenadier in Belgravia started life as drinking den for soldiers from nearby barracks. It is tucked away in Wilton Row where time almost stands still. Also, the pub is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young soldier who was caught cheating his comrades at cards and was subsequently beaten to death. It is said he still haunts the pub and visitors hang money from the ceiling in an attempt to repay his debt. While here, enjoy English pub classics with a range of hand pull cask ales.
- Picnic for a laid-back soul
Hyde Park is the perfect place for a laid-back day. Pack a snack from a local joint and enjoy it while lounging around on the grass. Or even better, take a boat trip on the serpentine. Choose between rowing or pedallo-ing into the center of Hyde Park’s peaceful 40-acre haven of still water, stop your chosen vessel and simply drift. A must-do for art and culture lovers
- Authentic English Afternoon Tea
Indulge in London’s award-winning Afternoon Tea at the Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street. This is where Queen Victoria loved to take tea! Pick from over 17 teas and a selection of sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. Fear piling on extra calories with the rich spread? Try their healthier Tea-Tox version that comprises seasonal fruits and dips apart from gluten-free bakes.
- Chef’s table with UK’s celebrated chef
Anyone who dedicatedly follows Masterchef UK needs no introduction to Marcus Wareing! A truly immersive affair, the Chef’s Table at The Gilbert Scott – a Victorian railway hotel – provides front-row seats to Wareing’s Michelin-guide kitchen. Watch the dishes being prepared under the watchful eye of Marcus and take in the bustle. They offer five and seven course meals with wines to complement each dish.
- New-age culinary experience
A sushi lover should look no further than Laurent at Café Royal. A grill and sushi bar by world-renowned Chef Laurent Tourondel, it’s known for its finest grilled meat and freshest sushi, sashimi and fish. What you shouldn’t miss here is a steamy basket of popover breads served with butter. Often enhanced by cracked pepper and cheese; their taste will linger in your mouth for weeks to come.
- Coffee with the locals
From artisan coffee roasters to independent cafes, London has it all. Fancy some quiet time with a cup of coffee and a book? Workshop Coffee has five joints in London; pick the one that’s convenient for you. A favourite among locals, it truly gives you the London vibe. Most of all, expect great coffee specially hailed from Africa and Central America.
EAT ON THE GO:
On a short trip to London? Take in the sights of the city whilst also enjoying full Afternoon Tea on a vintage Routemaster double decker bus.