Off to Soho now. This is not going to be a long trip I am afraid.
Soho used to be my favourite district when I first arrived to London just after finishing my studies. I blame my lack of experience. It’s difficult to remember why I actually liked it so much and what made me feel it’s a part of the city where I want to spend most of my time.
Anyway, older and possibly wiser now, I would rather spend time in other regions of London but Soho should still be a must for anyone coming to visit the city.
I don’t know many places which I would recommend for a larger meal. I have tried a few but none has made a really good impression on me or convinced me to visit it more often. Plus most of the restaurants in Soho are either a part of some sort of chain (and this is not when food lovers go!) or have hygienic standards which put me off.
For lunch try Princi at 135 Wardour Street, a restaurant, bakery and coffee bar. It took me a while to accept the concept (it is dangerously close to fast food) but now I visit it each time I am somewhere in the neighbourhood.
The idea comes from Italy (Milan to be precise) and it always surprises me how all the Italian tourists in London find it immediately. There must be something in the air, or is it their intuition, but Princi is always full of Italian tourists who even on a visit to London can’t survive a day without a piece of pizza, mozzarella salad and espresso for lunch.
By the way, Princi is very high on our London top 5 espresso places.
This is not a regular restaurant. You can’t book a table, you are lucky, actually, if you can find anywhere to put your plate on. I have developed a skill of spotting a free chair there but for beginners this is not easy.
You can select from a range of Italian options and they all look so good it’s hard to decide what you want. I usually end up with a piece of pizza though. I am sure you will not miss their desserts. They place them at the entrance to attract even more people, completely unnecessary as it’s always full (I am sure that there is a queue of people waiting for the place to be open even on Monday mornings!).
Worth trying their bread, my favourite is the rye one.
Canela is a little Brasilian-Portuguese café (and when I say little I really mean it) offering also very generous portions of food. They have two locations one in Soho (1 Newburgh St), one in Covent Garden (33 Earlham Street – I prefer this one as it is a bit bigger)
I think that Portuguese coffee, especially their version of espresso called bica, is the best in the world, much better than the Italian version (sorry to all my Italian friends!) and is beautifully served with cinnamon sticks used as a spoon. Its version in Canela isn’t maybe as good as the original one but still much better that any regular British coffee (sorry to all my British friends!).
Try their banana cake. Or any other from their selection. I am sure you will be tempted by the look of them anyway!
And basically this is it as far as Soho is concerned. Check it yourself though – maybe you will find it more interesting than I do.
To finish two other places in other parts of London:
- Botanist at 7-12 Sloane Gardens (I am sure there are more restaurants to visit in this area; I should probably take some time one day to discover them). I recommend it, especially, for afternoon tea.
- Wodka (12 St Albans Grove)– the only Polish restaurant in London I actually quite like. The best Zurek you can find in this part of the world.
And if you are lucky to travel from Heathrow Terminal 5 make sure you visit Plane Food of Gordon Ramsey. It is totally affordable (no more than £20 for the whole meal). Plus you can buy yourself their 3 course picnic box to enjoy on your flight!
Check Food and the City soon for a story on Paris (my favourite city).