EAT & DRINK
BEST FOR THE FAMISHED
21–22 Warwick Street, W1B 5NE
+44 20 7494 9584,
Mon-Thurs 8am-4pm & 5.30-10.30pm, Fri 8am-10.30pm, Sat 10am-10.30pm, Sun 10am-4pm
Famed chef Yotam Ottolenghi, with Noam Bar and Sami Tamimi, opened their first luxe deli in Notting Hill in 2002 – bowls of fresh, delicious salads, raspberry swirled meringues and decadent cakes – and turned take-away fare on its head. NOPI is a rise in the glamour stakes with glimmering, golden brass offset by a cool, white marble interior (the bathrooms, a sometimes confusing but intriguing mirrored maze), but those early Middle Eastern meets Mediterranean flavours are still here. Upstairs is more formal dining, downstairs a communal table is open all day. Feast on courgette (zucchini) and manouri fritters with cardamom yoghurt, coriander seed–crusted burrata with slices of blood orange and twice-cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chilli jam. For dessert, NOPI’s strawberry mess with sumac and rose water has fast become a classic.
BEST FOR COCKTAIL HOUR
Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NY +44 20 7491 4840,
Mon-Sat 2-11pm, Sun 4-10.30pm
I have it on good authority from my martini friends that this is THE place to have a martini in London. It’s said author Ian Fleming took inspiration from a Dukes martini for James Bond’s preference for ‘shaken not stirred’. Tucked away down a cobbled lane off St James’s Street, Dukes Bar is an intimate, old-fashioned affair but worth the crush for the art of what legendary bartender Alessandro Palazzi takes very seriously. A trolley is wheeled over to your table, where a glass is spritzed with the mere hint of vermouth from what looks like an elegant perfume atomiser; from there on, the rest is tailor-made according to your tastes.
BEST FOR THE GREEN THUMB
CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN
66 Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4HS
+44 20 7352 5646,
Garden only: Mon-Sun 10am-dusk, November-March; garden and cafe: Tues-Fri & Sun 11am-6pm, Apr-Oct
London’s green landscape is enviable for such a large, bustling city, and nothing beats escaping into Chelsea Physic Garden: a teaching and apothecary garden founded in 1673, boasting a unique living collection of over 5,000 edible, medicinal and historical plants and more than 100 different types of rare and endangered trees. During summer come for lunch over a glass of homemade lemonade or ginger beer at the garden’s Tangerine Dream Café, attached to the Curator’s House (access subject to an entry fee). It boasts vivid, seasonal British and Mediterranean flavours – goat’s cheese tarts, fresh salads of pulses and beans, duck confit, with sumptuous cakes (orange polenta, coffee and walnut) or lavender scones for dessert.
BEST FOR SWEET TREATS
15 Harrington Road, SW7 3ES
+44 20 3583 4561,
Mon-Fri 8am–8pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm
First it was cupcakes, then macarons, doughnuts and now eclairs – and Maître Choux’s are the prettiest and fanciest you dare ever imagine. Slender couture- worthy eclairs, light choux profiteroles and chouquettes (pearl sugar-crusted little buns) are baked fresh every morning by three Michelin-star, Biarritz-born pastry chef Joakim Prat – and filled with light, luscious flavoured creams, from caramelised banana and intense chocolate to raspberry mousse, then glazed and decorated (with popcorn, roasted pecans, matcha tea) to dazzle the eyes as much as the tastebuds. There are a few seats instore where you can sit and enjoy these sweet treats, teamed with a cup of hot chocolate inspired by a Basque recipe from Joakim’s grandmother, or you can take-away.
Maître Choux eclairs
BEST FOR TIMELESS TREASURES
51 Piccadilly, W1J 0QJ
+44 20 7493 1764,
There is a wonderful old-world charm to the 19th century Burlington Arcade, originally built to house jewellers and watchmakers. With its curling wrought-iron gates and wood-panelled shopfronts, it will take you from Piccadilly up through to the back of the Royal Academy and on to Bond Street, passing by beautiful cashmere knits at NPeal, dainty macarons at Laduree, and heavenly heels by Manolo Blahnik. There are Maison Michel hats, witty bags, purses and clutches from Lulu Guinness, marvellous marquetry in picture frames, jewellery boxes and candles by Linley (the late Princess Margaret’s son), monogrammed loafers at Crockett & Jones, and antique jewellery dealers Richard Ogden and Michael Foster. It’s also home to fragrance specialists True Grace, Frederick Malle and Roja Dove. Just around the corner in Burlington Gardens is the recently relocated Pickett, with a cornucopia of rainbow-hued leather goods, jewellery, pashminas, gloves and keepsake boxes.
BEST FOR LUXE LEATHER GOODS
ANYA HINDMARCH BESPOKE
15–17 Pont Street, SW1X 9EH
+44 20 7838 9177,
Anya Hindmarch started in the handbag business at just age 19, with the idea of a rucksack she’d spotted on her gap year in Italy. Today, she’s transformed how we think about our handbags, teaming brilliant organisation (labelled internal pockets or individual carry cases for everything you can think of), with irreverent fun – recent designs have imitated cornflake packets and men at work signs. At this store, customisation is king – a handwritten message or a child’s doodle can be embossed onto everything from the inside of a bag to luggage tags and jewellery cases by artisans instore. A favourite motto can grace the cover of your diary, a keepsake box can be inlaid with a photograph; there’s a made-to-measure wallet service too. These are heirlooms in the making.
BEST FOR THE SARTORIAL SHOPPER
8 Golborne Road, W10 5NW
+44 20 8962 0089,
Fiona Stuart, Claire Stansfield and Steven Phillip are the trio behind Rellik, one of the fashion world’s key destinations for inspiration. Famed names like uber stylist Katie Grand, designer John Galliano, Bella Freud, Kate Moss, Chloe Sevigny and Kylie Minogue have rifled the rails in this jewel of a shop resting in the shadow of the Trellick Tower. Come here for clothing, accessories and shoes by Comme des Garçons, Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake; vintage Yves Saint Laurent, Alaïa, and Courrèges are highly soughtafter; if you’re lucky to spot a Thea Porter or Ossie Clark, just grab it (these sell in seconds); and there’s always timeless Brit pieces from the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.
BEST FOR SUMPTUOUS SCENTS
106A Crawford Street, W1H 2HZ
+44 20 7258 7859,
It’s very homely in perfumer Lyn Harris’s atelier (Britain’s only female ‘nose’), a ten-minute walk west of Marylebone High Street. It’s all gorgeous reclaimed wood, velvet and moody hues. Previously behind Miller Harris, Perfumer H is the next stage in Lyn’s olfactory journey. Turning to the UK’s flora, foliage and changing seasons for inspiration, new fragrance ideas might incorporate ivy or marmalade, heliotrope or carrot seed. Seasonal fragrances and scented candles reflect the five scent families (citrus, floral, wood, fern and oriental) and Laboratory Editions allows you to buy a fragrance formula outright (your name registered with it in Provence’s famed perfume town, Grasse). Everything comes in beautiful bottles and vessels hand-blown by British glassmaker Michael Ruh (personalisation is also available).
STAY & SEE
BEST FOR ART
NEWPORT STREET GALLERY
Newport Street Gallery, Newport Street, London SE11 6AJ,
+44 20 3141 9320, newportstreetgallery.com
Having just celebrated its first birthday, Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery has been an unexpected, unequivocal hit. The gallery’s popularity can be attributed to a number of factors. Firstly, its impressive 37,000 square feet of six exhibition spaces created from three listed buildings – originally built as scenery painting studios at the turn of the 20th century – and two modern extensions. Secondly, its fantastic exhibitions featuring selections from Hirst’s own extensive art collection (recently Jeff Koons, upcoming Gavin Turk). Thirdly, and perhaps most surprisingly, its quirky location, right alongside a noisy train track out of Victoria Station in the rather rundown area of Vauxhall, south London. It’s also host to Pharmacy 2, a noughties progression on the early nineties’ original Pharmacy in Notting Hill. This reinvention is in partnership with celebrated British chef Mark Hix. Like the original, it features Hirst’s own Medicine Cabinets, as well as his butterfly kaleidoscope paintings. Hirst’s collection has evolved since the late 1980s and now comprises more than 3,000 works including pieces by fellow Young British Artists – or YBAs – like Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas and iconic artists such as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso. Work by young and emerging artists as well natural history specimens, taxidermy, anatomical models and historical artefacts are also part of Hirst’s extensive collection. On the gallery’s opening, Hirst said “I’ve always loved art and art deserves to be shown in great spaces, so I’ve always dreamed of having my own gallery where I can exhibit work by the artists I love.” Admission to the gallery is free.
White Cube Bermondsey,
144 – 152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ
+44 20 7930 5373,
Jay Jopling, in his signature sharp-cut suits and thick black-framed glasses, has cut a fine swathe across London’s contemporary art landscape, representing the likes of Hirst, Emin, Lucas and the Chapman brothers, Jake and Dinos, since he opened the first White Cube gallery in St James’s in 1993. After opening a second in Hoxton Square (now closed) in 2000, Jopling took over a massive 1970s 58,000-square-foot building on Bermondsey Street in 2011 and transformed it into one of Europe’s largest galleries with three major exhibition spaces, private viewing rooms, a warehouse, an auditorium and a bookshop. It’s a perfect space for interactive exhibitions that tantalise all the senses from Christian Marclay’s multi-discipline exhibition of music, comic-inspired art, sculpture and video in 2015 through to regular exhibitions by key British artists such as Antony Gormley, Gilbert & George, Harland Miller, Sam Taylor-Johnson (also Jopling’s former wife) and Marc Quinn, who is famous for Self – his self-modelled head sculpture filled with nine pints of his own frozen blood, and snapped up by businessman and art mogul Charles Saatchi. Other big-hitting artists on the White Cube roster include Chuck Close and Anselm Kiefer.
Also don’t miss: Gagosian’s three London outposts (Britannia St, WC1; Davies St, W1; and Grosvenor Hill, W1; gagosian.com) – currently enjoying great success with Richard Serra – and Hauser & Wirth (23 Savile Row, W1, hauserandwirth.com).
BEST PLACE TO STAY
The Beaumont, Brown Hart Gardens,
London W1 +44 20 7499 1001;
Renowned London restaurateurs Jeremy King and Chris Corbin, first famous for A-list favourites The Ivy and Le Caprice in the nineties, now the likes of The Wolseley, The Delauney and Colbert, have brought their unique combination of great service, old-world gentleman’s club style and British warmth to The Beaumont Hotel. Opened in 2014, and located just a stone’s throw from Selfridges but in an oasis of Mayfair quiet, the hotel oozes art deco-elegance and a sense it’s been there forever. In fact, it was created from scratch in what was the old Selfridges carpark and devised entirely according King’s concoction of a character called Jimmy Beaumont, an American hotelier at the helm of a 1920s London hotel. Art, furniture and objet d’art was hand-picked by King and his interior designer wife, Lauren Gurvich, to emphasise the early 20th-century. The 73-room hotel also boasts a glamorous, glossy hammam spa, the Colony Grill (the omelette Arnold Bennett and chicken pot pie are signature musts), The American Bar (aka Jimmy’s, a perfect pit-stop for martinis and bourbon or whiskey sours) and Antony Gormley’s specially designed ROOM, part sculpture, part cocooning luxury suite. As King told me recently, hotels are the place of dreams – “we want to sweep up our guests off their feet and (help them) lose themselves until the moment they leave.”
Also worth a visit: As featured in London Precincts, The Connaught, Claridge’s, Rosewood London, Edition and the Ham Yard Hotel are well worth a look. Beyond London Precincts’ pages, The Lanesborough, Covent Garden Hotel, Soho Hotel, Haymarket Hotel, Bulgari Hotel, The Langham, and Brown’s Hotel also represent luxurious stays.