NoMad in London’s West End features a lush restaurant lounge designed to feel like a greenhouse. Photo: Simon Upton
Amira Hashish writes that some truly delicious places have recently opened their doors in the British capital, from boutiques to signature dining rooms.
London is back in business well and truly with a sparkling array of new hotels and restaurants to visit. Although it has been a difficult two years for the British hospitality scene, it is once again thriving and there is a sense of celebration in the air. If endless history and culture aren’t enough to lure you there, these bustling hotspots should seal the deal.
where to stay
If you are looking for sophistication with an edge, this is it. Housed in a Grade II listed building in Covent Garden, opposite the Royal Opera House, NoMad London is a luxury retreat in the heart of theatres. Transformed from The Bow Street Magistrates’ Court and Police Station into one of the West End’s most coveted hotels, the rooms are inspired by 1920s New York.
NoMad Restaurant is located in a lush, light-filled atrium that evokes an Edwardian greenhouse. It’s great for breakfast but for dinner book a table at Side Hustle; A twist on the traditional British pub serving a menu of communal dishes paired with a menu of agave-based spirits. Don’t leave without trying the fish dish, Pescado a la Parilla. It’s exciting. Night Cup at The Library is another way to enjoy this luxury hotel,
Overlooking Trafalgar Square and adjacent to the National Gallery, Page8 is a central London option in a more minimalist urban style. The café serves locally roasted gathering coffee with fresh pastries and brunch dishes. With plenty of live events in the common area, it’s a place where socializing is encouraged.
The lost poet
Eager for that Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant moment? If so, make a beeline for this Notting Hill guest house. There are only four bedrooms in this passionately designed townhouse on Portobello Road in pastel colours. A poetic love letter to this vibrant part of West London, it’s distinctly Bulthol and romantic.
This elegant and luxurious hotel is a playful addition to the creative scene in East London. Spanish chef Dani Garcia has opened BiBo, his first location in London, on the ground floor. Perhaps the biggest draw is the rooftop pool which is home to celebrity favorite The Curtain Club. There are sprawling views of the city skyline, flowing cocktails, and delicious meals. Can’t you love him?
Where do you eat and drink?
Sessions Arts Club
In the old judges’ dining room in the designer neighborhood of Clerkenwell lies London’s most beautiful new restaurant. It’s the vision of artist Johnny Gent, who counts Tilda Swinton as a collector, while celebrity chef Florence Knight is behind the list. When candlelight flashes under the chandeliers as you soak up the enchanting surroundings of the decaying walls, you’ll feel the gorgeous decadence. Tables are hard to come by, so book in advance.
Chef Chet Sharma serves chaat and grill which is perfect for sharing at this much sought after Indian restaurant. In an old Georgian building in Mayfair, the elegant interior is inspired by Rajasthan architecture, with colorful tiled floors, polished mango wood furniture and a hewn ceiling. In addition to the dining space, there is a nice cocktail bar with a twist on the classics. Monson Martini anyone? bibirestaurants.com.
The barbarian next door
The team behind much-loved restaurants The Palomar and The Barbary (which should also be on your list) have turned what started as a closed-door delivery service into a true Covent Garden eatery. Championing the smoky flavors of Moroccans in Spain and North African cooking, the dishes are never short of delicious. The wine list focuses on Spanish, French and Moroccan bottles.
Restaurateur Russell Norman is a London establishment and his latest venture in Farringdon is a homage to the old school Italian where there is more. The menu leans towards Tuscany with the generous helpings of pasta and tiramisu that you could wish for. Red cotton-covered tables, soft napkin lampshade lighting, and a $10 Negronis bar make this casual affair absolutely irresistible.
Bao noodle shop
In the bustling center of Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, BAO pays tribute to Taiwan’s beef noodle shops. There is an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs doing their things. There is a bar and karaoke room hidden underground if you want to up your entertainment.
This eccentric Izakaya is located below the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, next to Hyde Park. Home to London’s first omakase cocktail bar, its menu draws on the classic styles of sushi Idoma, tempura, and robata. Introduced to the soundtrack of Japanese dirt music, the space is designed to capture the energy of a night out in Ginza.
Three floors of an 18th-century townhouse in Mayfair have been converted into a modern-style restaurant and bar that could have been straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. Head to the underground brasserie for an unabashedly luxurious décor filled with crystals, marbles, and red velvets. The food is as sumptuous as the surroundings and the live music will transport you back to the 1920s. It’s the place to put on your favorite clothes and enjoy a big night out.
Charmingly designed, cozy nooks and crannies reflect the characteristics of four cities in this upscale restaurant; The spirit of New Orleans, the sophistication of Paris, the daring of New Yorkers – all on the London stage. Have it all for drinks, brunch or dinner.
Insider tip: Where to explore
There are moments of obvious check mark every time he inhabits London; The Tower of London, the National Gallery, and Buckingham Palace. You know the exercises. But getting away from the traditional attractions allows you to enjoy the more authentic side of the city. A well-spent Friday or Saturday begins at Golborne Road Market, off Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Here you’ll find local antiques dealers and flea market connoisseurs displaying their beauty in an outdoor setting, come in the rain or shine.
Swing by the Golborne Deli for brunch, sip coffee at the Flying Horse, have a cocktail at Franklin’s Wine Bar in Westbourne Grove and book a romantic dinner at 7 Saints on All Saints Rd or Gold in Portobello. Fans in the area include Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Nicole Kidman, and Harry Styles, so you’ll be in good company.
For more ideas, see visitlondon.com
There are no Covid-19 tests or vaccination requirements for travelers to the UK.