Rachel Khoo

My favourite places in London

Vibrant. Hectic. Creative. Fashionable. However you like to look at it, London is absolutely teeming with exciting places to discover. To compile an extensive guide to London would be a mammoth task. Here’s a selection of my favourite places in London, plus some spots that I’m planning on visiting (work in progress):

You’ll also find lots of suggestions in Saska Graville’s carefully curated London Style Guide, and the GoGo London app is handy, too.

CENTRAL LONDON

sketch 9 Conduit Street W1S 2XG
Once you cross the threshold of this inner-city cocktail bar, you’ll step into a wonderland of colours and textures. Nice spot for high tea with girlfriends – you can indulge in macarons, cucumber sandwiches, bubbly and lots of cups of tea, surrounded by eclectic decor. Featured in my show ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London’.

Liberty London Regent Street W1B 5AH
A wonderfully British emporium. I could spend hours here on the top level choosing prints and patterns.

& Other Stories 256-258 Regent Street W1B 3AA
Love a bit of Scandi chic. If you can handle the hectic Regent Street crowds, I recommend a visit to & Other Stories. Lots of simple Scandinavian-inspired outfits, beautiful jewellery, and a good beauty section. Especially the shoe department on the top floor!

Riding House Cafe 43-51 Great Titchfield Street W1W 7PQ
I love planning breakfast meetings at this central London restaurant. Lovely breakfast and brunch options, and the decor adds an impressive touch.

Speakeasy Espresso & Brew Bar 3 Lowndes Ct W1F 7HD
A nice escape from the bustling streets of central London. Just the basics – good coffee, yummy cakes, and tasty bite-sized biscuits.

Polpetto 11 Berwick Street W1F 0PL
Florence Knight’s Soho restaurant opens up a whole new world of London dining. An extension of the Polpo restaurant group, Polpetto consistently serves up simple ingredients, fuss free dining, a spontaneous and seasonal menu, and above all, good quality fare.

Experimental Cocktail Club 13a Gerrard Street W1D 5PS
Part of the Experimental Cocktail Club group, this bar is hidden away in China Town. Best to reserve a table, and don’t worry if you can’t find the entrance first time around – keep looking, I promise it’s there!

Orla Kiely 31 Monmouth Street WC2H 9DD
I’m a big fan of Orla Kiely’s retro prints (for dresses, home furnishings and fun kitchen bits and bobs). This particular store is in the heart of Seven Dials, a little pocket of London worth exploring.

Monmouth Coffee Company 27 Monmouth Street WC2H 9EU
Don’t be discouraged by the queue (whether you’re seeking a caffeine fix at this little shop in Covent Garden, or at the larger sister cafe near the Borough Markets). Coffee is poured quickly here, and you’ll get to taste-test the ever-changing specialty coffee when purchasing ground coffee or beans in house.

Neal’s Yard Dairy 17 Shorts Gardens WC2H 9AT
After living in France, I simply can’t get by without good quality cheese within close range. And whilst it’s not French cheese…the British goods at Neal’s Yard Dairy make for a pretty delicious substitute 😉

10 Cases 16 Endell Street WC2H 9BD
Like its name suggests, this petite ‘bistrot à vin’ only orders 10 cases of wine at a time – so you’ll always be able chose from a very carefully selected wine menu. The restaurant is tiny, and reminds me of dining in Paris.

Dabbous 39 Whitfield Street, London WIT 2SF
Dabbous caused quite a stir when it opened in 2012, with many critics heralding young chef Ollie Dabbous’ (ex-Texture) cooking as ‘game changing’. I was fortunate enough to get an early lunch book last Spring as nabbing a booking here now is nearing on the impossible.

10 Greek Street 10 Greek Street, Soho W1D 4DH
Love sitting up at the bar in front of the kitchen area and watching the chefs at this busy Soho hotspot work their magic. Lots of seasonal seafood options.

Barrafina 54 Frith Street W1D 4SL
Delectable bite-sized fare, paired with the perfect Spanish wines. You can’t go wrong with a visit to Barrafina. This Spanish tapas bar also has a sister restaurant in Covent Garden.

The Delaunay 55 Aldwych, London WC2B 4BB
One of my top brunches in London. Really nice and classic atmosphere, clever menu, and delicious seasonal produce.

Green Man & French Horn 54 St Martins Lane WC2N 4EA
Don’t you love the name? Whenever I’m missing France, I head to Green Man & French Horn. All the food is inspired by (and sourced from) the stunning Loire Valley. You really feel like you have crossed the channel in a matter of minutes.

Mark’s Bar 66-70 Brewer St W1F 9UP
One of Hix’s best establishments, Mark’s Bar is an excellent place for a classy and intimate pre or post dinner drink (they are open until 1am). Aim for a stool at the massive bar wedged between some of the house concoctions displayed in large glass urns and pick up some pointers from the highly adept mixologists. Bar snacks aren’t bad either.

Terroirs Wine Bar 5 William IV St, Strand WC2N 4DW
Complete your evening at the theatre with a visit to this wine bar, located in the heart of the West End (or call in for a quick pre-show aperitif).

Blackout II 51 Endell Street WC2H 9AJ
Take a breather from London’s hustle and bustle and duck into this tiny vintage shop for a browse. Be sure to head downstairs to check out the dress collection. Lots of pieces are available for hire only – but very fun to look at!

Daunt Books 83-84 Marylebone High Street W1U 4QW
You could quite easily spend several hours (or an entire day!) browsing the shelves at this fabulous bookshop right in the heart of the Marylebone High Street retail precinct. Daunt Books really gives you the sense that time can slow down with a good book in your hand. Make sure to check out upstairs and downstairs, too.

The Providores and Tapa Room Restaurant 109 Marylebone High Street W1U 4RX
A chilled out wine bar with a creative menu (inspired by New Zealand produce and flavours), located on the quaint Marylebone High Street.

The Ginger Pig Marylebone 8-10 Moxon Street W1U 4EW
One of the first things I do when I move to a new city (or spend an extensive amount of time in a new place) is sort out my local producers – and a good butcher is top of the list.

Monocle Café 18 Chiltern Street W1U 7QA
A designer’s heaven, this tiny cafe feels like you’ve stepped into the pages of Monocle Magazine.

Purl 50-54 Blandford Street W1U 7HX
There’s something deliciously decadent about sipping cocktails in a dimly lit and petite underground bar. (Very) creative cocktail menu – ask for the bartender’s drink of the week.

NORTH LONDON

Alexandra Palace Farmers Market Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY
Plan a trip to North London, and stroll around Alexandra Palace, enjoy the view, and head to the Sunday Ally Pally Farmers Markets (near the Muswell Hill entrance). Nice to escape the city for a bit.

Hampstead Heath Gordon House Road NW5 1QR
One of my favourite green spaces in London. The Heath boasts fabulous views of the city.

The Scolt Head 107A Culford Road N1 4HT
There is a plethora of pubs to choose from in London, and I recommend calling into The Scolt Head for a pint and a homemade Scotch Egg. Featured in my show ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London’.

Kipferl Cafe & Kitchen 20 Camden Passage N1 8ED
An Austrian café tucked away in the heart of Camden Passage. Sounds like my kind of place. Be sure to try the homemade strudel. Featured in my show ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London’.

The Chin Chin Laboratorists 49-50 Camden Lock Place NW1 8AF
A ‘nitro’ ice-cream lab in Camden, this exciting foodie spot is continuously inventing new flavour combinations. Featured in my show ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London’.

Tufnell Park Tavern 162 Tufnell Park Road N7 0EE
I don’t often find myself in London’s north-west, but if you’re looking for a breakfast spot (try to nab a table in pub’s light and airy breakfast room) on this side of town, then Tufnell Park Tavern is a safe bet. The tavern also hosts a local food market every Saturday between 11am and 3pm.

Morito 32 Exmouth Market, Islington EC1R 4QE
One of London’s best tapas bars, Morito is as consistent as they come. Always busy, always excellent, small plates are prepared behind the bar and dished out as they are ready. Don’t miss the beetroot borani, the sumac-seasoned squid and the huevos rotos. But that said, it’s hard to go wrong here.

The CoffeeWorks Project 96-98 Islington High Street Islington N1 8EG
As soon as you arrive in in the Angel area, you’ll want to wander and explore for hours. Call into this coffee hub for a lunch break, mid-meandering.

Testi 38 Stoke Newington High Street N16 7PL
Looking for affordable fare in North London? Call into this Middle Eastern inspired restaurant in Stoke Newington, and prepare to feast on traditional fare, with a twist.

Newington Green Fruit and Vegetables 109 Newington green road, Islington N1 4QY
Having a good-quality fruit and vege supplier is a real city-living essential for me! Love calling into this Islington local spot to check out the fresh produce – always inspires me to whip up something new.

Caravan King’s Cross Granary Building, Granary Square 1, N1C 4AA
One of London’s breakfast highlights (and therefore draws a big crowd). Best to get here as early as you can. It’s worth the early rise!

Drink, Shop & Do 9 Caledonian Road Kings Cross N1 9DX
Crafts, fun events, cocktails, and good vibes to be found at this Kings Cross creative hub. Lovely stationery in the front shop area, too. Keep an eye out for the Musical Bingo evenings!

EAST LONDON

St. John Bread & Wine 94-96 Commercial Street E1 6LZ
The St. John’s group consistently produces innovative culinary projects in London. This Spitafields site is one of my favourite spots in the city. You really can’t go past food that has been sourced from local producers, and bread that just came out of the oven minutes ago.

Brawn 49 Columbia Road, Bethnal Green, E2 7RG
From the ever reliable Terroirs team comes this wine bar-cum-restaurant in a beautiful light filled space on Columbia Road. Pop in on a Sunday lunch with a group and take advantage of the £25 set lunch menu, featuring big help yourself plates for refueling after the weekend flower market.

Disappearing Dining Club 224 Brick Lane E1 6SA
Sometimes an air of mystery is the perfect ingredient when dining out. Head to this Brick Lane supper club (tucked behind a tiny clothes shop!) for a creative dining experience. Part of the Disappearing Dining Club concept. Featured in my show ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London’.

Pizza East 56 Shoreditch High Street E1 6JJ
London can be an overwhelming place to find somewhere to dine on a whim, especially when dining with a big group. Pizza East in the heart of Shoreditch is fun for groups, and the bar has a fun vibe whilst you’re waiting for your table. Try the macaroni cheese!

Broadway Market E8 4PH
Chances are you’ll find me here on the weekends. I’m a big fan of the Broadway Market in Hackney. We featured some of the local foodie producers in my new show, ‘Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook’.

Borough Wines 67 Wilton Way E8 1BG
There are several Borough Wines boutiques dotted over London, and I’d recommend paying this one a visit. Really knowledgeable staff who tend to give spot-on advice when you’re looking for something delicious to pair with meals at home. They also have a good online store, too.

E5 Bakehouse Arch 395, Mentmore Terrace E8 3PH
Definitely one of my favourite bakeries in London. Whilst I do miss the bread in Paris, this London Fields sourdough bakery is an excellent alternative. And I love finding organic bread options, too.

SOUTH LONDON

M1LK 20 Bedford Hill, Balham SW12 9RG
Homemade goodies, loads of options for breakfast fare, and quality coffee served up with a smile. This little gem in Balham draws a crowd (including lots of mums and bubs) at lunchtime and weekend brunch. Head to the Hildreth Street Market in Balham and look for the line out the door.

The Ginger Pig 55 Abbeville Road SW4 9JW
Another addition to The Ginger Pig family. Head to South London to sample good quality meats, game, and sausages.

Chadwick’s Family Butchers 109 Balham High Road SW12 9AP
Another excellent butcher in South London. The queues nearing Christmas time are a good indication of how popular the Chadwick’s turkey is!

The Dairy 15 The Pavement SW4 0HY
Definitely worth adding to your must do (or ‘must eat’) list in South London. Chef Robin Gill’s seasonal menu features all kinds of British fare, with a strong emphasis placed on urban gardening, which I really relate to. Best to call and book a table, as this little restaurant tends to get booked out.

Brixton Village Electric Ave and Coldharbour Lane SW9 8PS
One of my favourite London markets. Brixton Village is a series of covered passageways surrounded by tiny restaurants, fabulous vintage shops, and top-quality produces. Fill your market bag with cheese, seafood and delicious sourdough bread.

Ritzy Cinema Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane SW2 1JG
A charismatic cinema with a fun bar area. Nice to combine dinner at Brixton Village with a trip to the movies.

Gremio de Brixton The Crypt, St Matthews Church, Effra Road SW2 1JF
Make sure you have a good look at this address on a map – it’s a tad tricky to find this underground tapas bar in Brixton (note: this spot is not in the Brixton Village). Fun for an evening of cocktails and tapas.

40 Maltby Street 40 Maltby Street SE1 3PA
I love dining in Bermondsey – close to the river, with the cool red bricks of Southwark bridges and train lines all around you. This gem serves up delicious fare, coupled with solid wine options.

Maltby Street Market Ropewalk SE1 2HQ
With the (very) busy Borough Market close by, I love Maltby Street Markets for its quieter pace, smaller stalls, and amazing food. Browse antiques, sample cheeses, and pop into the gin bar. And don’t forgot to buy some extra goodies from Bad Brownie to takeaway.

Terry’s Café, 158 Great Suffolk Street, SE1 1PEA local institution and once you’ve been, sampled the food and met Austin, it’s easy to see why. You might have seen Terry’s featured in my latest show Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: London (episode 7).

Village East 171-173 Bermondsey Street SE1 3UW
This Southwark restaurant reminds me of dining in New York City. Benches and tables full of patrons ordering Bloody Marys, delicious brunch fare, and fresh juices made to order.

WEST LONDON

Anthropologie on the King’s Road 131-141 King’s Road SW3 4PW
Anthroplogie is a one-stop shop full of tempting items to fill your home, office, wardrobe and kitchen. And bathroom. And garden. You’ll never want to leave! The brand’s three-level flagship store on Regent Street is also very tempting.

Kurobuta 251 King’s Road SW3 5EL
A modern and fun take on Japanese fare. Cool London vibes, an Australian head chef, and awesome Japanese flavours all make for a satisfying mix. There’s a second restaurant located at Marble Arch.

Kensington Wine Rooms 127-129 Kensington Church Street W8 7LP
While I don’t tend to frequent Kensington all that regularly, it really is a beautiful part of town. This is an elegant spot for dinner – and as the name suggests – some excellent wines.

The Shed 122 Palace Gardens Terrace W8 4RT
I really appreciate it when a restaurant goes the extra mile to educate and engage diners. Visit The Shed (and yes, parts the decor are farmyard shed-inspired), and learn all about the kitchen’s local British produce. Everything here is locally sourced – meats, cheeses, vegetables and beers.

Polpo 126-128 Notting Hill Gate W11 3QG
This new addition to the Polpo family opened in Notting Hill in June 2014. I think it’s a much-needed addition to the high street.

Shot Espresso 11 Jerdan Place SW6 1BE
This tiny local West London haunt draws a busy weekend crowd, all searching for a quality espresso. Also open of an evening, so a good West London option for an early evening apéritif.

Petersham Nurseries (outside of central London) Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey TW10 7AG
A world away from the busy city centre. Play a day trip to Richmond and call into Petersham Nurseries, and explore the divine gardens (and lovely onsite cafe, too).

Kew Gardens (outside of central London) Brentford Gate TW9 3AB
Get out of the city and go for a leisurely wander at the beautiful Kew Gardens. Urban gardeners will also find lots of bits and bobs at the gardening shop.