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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. 

 

MAP

 

FOOD + DRINK

Leila's Café

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. 

Shoreditch

Rochelle Canteen

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. 

Shoreditch

Bistrotheque

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. 

Hackney

Viet Hoa

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. 

Shoreditch

Dishoom

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

Monmouth

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. 

Borough Market

 

Violet

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. 

Hackney

St John Bread and Wine

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. 

Spitalfields

The Wolseley

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. 

Mayfair

Polpo

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. 

Soho

Duck Soup

Spin your own records while you eat dinner. Simple foods and an amazing natural wine selection. 

Soho

Owl and the Pussycat

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. 

Shoreditch

The Carpenter's Arms

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. 

Shoreditch

 

E Pellicci

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. 

Bethnal Green

Brawn

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.

Shoreditch

Tayyabs

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. 

Bethnal Green

Lyle's

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. 

Shoreditch

Spring

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. 

Central London

The Birdcage

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. 

Hackney

Luca

Italian food served in a beautiful space. Eat all the pasta, drink all the wine. 

Clerkenwell

 

HOTELS

Dean Street Townhouse

A great option if you want to be in Central London. This is from the Soho House group, and has all of the amenities. Super cozy rooms. 

Boundary

A small boutique hotel nestled on Redchurch Street, and above Albion café. The rooms are each inspired by a designer or a design movement. 

 

The Ned

A little bit hotel, a little bit private club - this is another option that's a bit more central than the others. They have a range of room sizes, but is definitely on the pricier side. 

Ace Hotel

A bit scene-y at night, but a great location and reasonably priced rooms in East London. 

The Curtain

The Curtain is another Shoreditch option if you want to stay out east. It has beautifully designed rooms, and a restaurant by Marcus Samuelsson as well. 

The Goring

Of all the hotels listed here, this one is the fanciest and most "grown up". Right around the corner from the Palace, you definitely feel like you're in the height of Britishness. 

 

CULTURE

Maltby Street Market

Delicious food stalls, coffee, and drinks. Don't miss the St John stall to stock up on doughnuts and Eccles cakes. 

Broadway Market

This market saw me through plenty of slightly hungover mornings. I'd recommend walking through it and eating multiples courses, then stop off in one of the pubs. 

Columbia Road Flower Market

This market is flowers only, but one of the prettiest London streets. It's a totally crammed experience, but worth it for the flowers you can buy. 

Borough Market

This is the big market... stock up on food here, grab a coffee at Monmouth, and then walk down the river to the Tate Modern. 

Tate Modern

One of the best things about the free access to museums in London is that you can go for five minutes, or five hours. Tate Modern has an amazing collection of modern and contemporary art. 

Wallace Collection

A tiny gem of a museum left off most lists. Every room is covered in damask and chandeliers and an array of paintings from Fragonard to Hals. 

Courtauld Gallery

I have an obvious soft spot for the Courtauld considering I went to school there. You'll be shocked by how many Impressionist works you are familiar with, and live here. 

National Portrait Gallery

Its name makes it pretty self explanatory - there's portraits, from every era, of every one. 

Victoria + Albert Museum

A beautiful building, that houses design and decorative arts pieces. You can get lost easily in this place. 

Geffrey Museum

Another one that's on few lists. This museum explores home life from 1600 onwards. 

Labour and Wait

When I walk into this store I want to buy every single object. A beautiful assortment of home goods - enamelware, aprons, books, and lots of other fun stuff. 

Aida

A café/clothing store on Shoreditch High Street. This place has a collection of brands you can't find elsewhere. 

House of Hackney

This is where I go to buy gifts when I'm in London. They make beautiful patterned fabrics that cover everything from notebooks, to pillows, to dresses. 

Tate Britain

Take a boat down the river from Tate Modern to its older brother. This takes you to the other side of the city, and the view from the river on your way is a bonus. 

Sketch

A ridiculous place to have high tea. You will feel like you've stepped into the world of Alice in Wonderland.