Echo moved here right after college, for what was meant to be for a nine month graduate degree. After she finished she just couldn't leave. One thing led to another (in this case from Art History to working in a bakery) and she stayed for three years.
FOOD + DRINK
This is usually my first stop off of the plane, bags and all. They have a minimal menu, but what they do is perfect - fried eggs (ham or sage) and a big basket of toast. Don't miss the shop next door.
Just across the way from Leila's, Margot Henderson's gem of a cafe sits in an repurposed bike shed hidden behind an old school gate.
Another hidden restaurant - you might pass it the first time you walk by. Walk up the stairs, and you emerge into a perfectly sparse dining room. Get a negroni, many bottles of wine, and everything on the menu. Great for dinner.
Kingsland Road has a stretch of Vietnamese restaurants. Everyone will argue with you about which one is their favorite. This one is mine. I went once (or twice) a week while I lived there.
They have a few locations all around the city now. Dishoom is fancy Indian, but it's good. The Shoreditch location is huge, but it will always have a long wait. Order the greens!
Shoreditch + Covent Garden
This was really one of the first, and only, place to get good coffee in London for a while. Worth going to and then strolling along the water to Tate Modern.
A beautiful bakery, I'm biased when it comes to Violet... I worked there for two years. Come here for breakfast or lunch, and you will not be disappointed. Save room for all kinds of cake.
Little sister to Fergus Henderson's St John mainstay - now there's lots of offshoots. You'll get to eat bits of meat you never heard up, and vegetables prepared simply.
An old haunt of Lucien Freud, this restaurant has a hugely impressive dining room. For special occasions, but also when you just want to have a glass of wine and a salad in a fancy place.
Cozy Italian in the middle of London. The tiny space makes you feel like you're in your grandma's kitchen. Go for the chiccetti.
Spin your own records while you eat dinner. Simple foods and an amazing natural wine selection.
When I first moved to London this was a proper, dingy, pub. While there it morphed into a gastropub, where I've spent a whole lot of time. A big backyard, and plenty of tables.
Tucked away behind Brick Lane, this pub is one of my favorites. Go for the beer, eat the chips. I've lost many hours here.
A proper east end caf. It's like you've stepped back in time to eat your full English Breakfast. If you've never had one, this is the place to do it.
Mediterranean food, but focusing on serving you every possible bit of pig. A great wine selection to go along with your meal, and a perfect excuse to duck out of the market chaos on a Sunday.
Disclaimer: don't go here wearing any clothing you don't want to smell like a tandoor oven. You will eat so much Pakistani food you'll feel like you're going to explode.
Opened by an alum from St John Bread and Wine, Lyle's focuses on seasonal British fare. They have fun pop ups too from chefs around the world.
A beautiful restaurant in a Somerset House drawing room. Their menu changes daily, which keeps things fresh and very much based on the changing seasons.
Another pub that's undergone a little bit of a facelift. Right in the middle of Columbia Road, this one is great any time of day.
Italian food served in a beautiful space. Eat all the pasta, drink all the wine.