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In a city already bursting at the seems with thousands of cafes and coffee shops, opening a new one might not seem like the best business decision. Unless you're Monocle. With a cafe already in Tokyo, the always-busy team at Monocle is about to open the doors to the newest member of their growing empire: Monocle Cafe London.
Set to officially open April 15th, we were lucky enough to see the cafe during its "soft open" phase.
The cafe sits on a sleepy road with other small businesses and is a short, six-minute walk to Marylebone High Street where you'll find Daunt Books and other distinctly London shops (and a Starbucks, of course). The cafe is hard to miss with its prominent black and white canopy providing shade over the few outdoor stools and one round communal table.
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Secret Restaurant: No, mystery meat is not on the menu
Like its sister project, available details about what will transpire during your time at the pop-up are skint, at best. Tickets are available for attendees of upcoming Secret Cinema performances, of which there are several in January.
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The London Restaurant Festival's Gourmet Odyssey bus won't be stopping at any soggy fish 'n' chip joints
We vacillate between taking obvious, stereotype-driven jabs at London's cuisine—for good reason, oftentimes—and bringing you pleasantly surprised reports from the city's gastronomic field. The rise of chefs such as Heston Blumenthal and Marcus Wareing and the opening of respectable restaurants in recent years notwithstanding, London still suffers from a middling culinary reputation. Yet, the city's gastronomes soldier on, endeavoring to ensure that soggy fish 'n' chips don't define its fare.
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Mmm, mmm. Delicious eats from last year's Taste of London festival.
Once ridiculed for its food, London and the UK-at-large have experienced something of a culinary renaissance in recent years. Chefs such as Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall, Nigel Slater and Heston Blumenthal, not to mention their pop culture counterparts (e.g. Jamie Oliver, et. al.) have championed their national cuisine and proven that there's more to British cooking than soggy fish and chips and boiled vegetables.
Taste of London is a four-day celebration of London's finest food, bringing together some of the city's most respected restaurants, chefs and artisanal food purveyors. The event offers attendees the chance to sample dishes from several top chefs, attend masterclasses, demonstrations and, depending on what tier ticket you purchase, access to special tastings, roped-off access to VIP areas and other exclusives.
Taste of London will take place from June 16-19 in Regent's Park. The (Michelin) stars, they will be a-shinin'...
The nondescript bar by day.
No obvious signage, no name, no West London postcode: it's seemingly a miracle that a tiny cocktail bar tucked off of an Angel sidestreet manages to consistently attract a wall-to-wall crowd of spirit-savvy customers. But, sample but one concoction on the Bar With No Name's (which otherwise goes by its address, 69 Colebrooke Row) tightly edited menu and you'll see why locals return for boozy tipple after boozy tipple.
We had high hopes for this snail starter.
The popularity of pop-ups is merely on the rise in the U.S., but in London they have long enjoyed trendy prominence. From record shops to restaurants, these short-term gigs can be independently run or affiliated with established businesses as a mode of generating hype and attracting new customers.
The fleeting presence of pop-ups lends them cool cache, making reservations difficult to come by in the case of culinary endeavors. Foodies in the know clamour for the chance to dine at the latest see-and-be-seen setup, walking away knowing that they were one of the lucky few to get a taste of a chef's one-off, often experimental fare.
When we heard that The Modern Pantry would grace Soho's Meza with its fusion-done-right cuisine, reservations were made without a second thought. You may remember us giving the Jaunted stamp of approval to the Clerkenwell restaurant, whose stellar brunch currently leads London's weekend midday meal pack.
Brunch would, without a doubt, lose to the Sunday pub roast in a London-polled popularity contest. We often lament that our favorite two-in-one meal hasn't gained more of a following in the U.K., but such is a world where pints rule over pancakes.
Having made this observation, we've tasked ourselves with traversing the city in search of stellar brunches: restaurants where mimosas are poured with reckless abandon, where flapjacks (done the Yank way) come served with bacon rashers and maple syrup, and where locals linger over the midday meal with a copy of the Observer by their side.
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For all London's highfalutin, offensively overpriced afternoon tea sessions (see: Harrods, The Berkeley, et. al.), there are several locales that will serve you a solid cuppa minus the prohibitive price tag or touristy kitsch. Drink, Shop & Do is one such place, though not by any means a traditional tea room. The endearingly twee café bar/design shop is located just a short walk from the Kings Cross tube station, its nondescript storefront belying a bright, cozy interior that we love to duck into on chilly London afternoons.
Oh yes, and you could end up drinking from a porcelain mug pre-painted with a mustache, for an extra dose of quirk (and maybe in honor of Movember).
We’ll pretty much go to the ends of the earth for a great scoop of ice cream. Lucky for us, on our last ice cream hunt, we just had to hit the streets of Camden in north London for our latest find: Chin Chin Laboratorists.
Billing itself as “Europe’s first nitro ice cream parlour,” Chin Chin is half confectionery, half mad science lab. It’s that half we like the best. The staff—husband-wife owners Ahrash Akbari-Kalhur and Nyisha Weber—actually don lab coats, protective gloves and goggles reminiscent of high school chemistry class as they dramatically shoot vaporous nitrogen gas from metal tanks into the mixing bowls they fill with their ice cream solution. And, a quick chemical reaction later: you have a scoop of ice cream. If only all science had such delicious applications!
While the Queen is away, her servants will play...
A new cafe for touriststhe only one, actuallywill open tomorrow at London's Buckingham Palace. At the Garden Cafe, people without a royal title can enjoy a £2.65 cappuccino on the Queen's grounds or even fresh apple juice from the Queen's Sandringham estate.
Although the palace sees millions of visitors a year, many of whom are content to watch the Changing of Guard from the gates outside, the cafe will have seats for only 210. In order to restrict access, guests who want to dine these must also have purchased the £17 palace admission ticket in addition to any food bill. So that £2.65 cappuccino is really £19.65.
Although the cafe opens tomorrow, it was completed while the Queen was away on summer holiday. According to the Herald Sun, "all proceeds from the summer opening, a tradition that began in 1993, will be used to maintain the Royal Collectionone of the world's top art collections."
The L'Anima Italian restaurant in London has gone one step further than just letting you choose your wine from a touch screen; last month they ran an online contest so that blog readers (some of whom, we presume, were also restaurant goers) could choose three new wines for L'Anima to add to their impressive wine list.
And it wasn't just a case of voting for your favorite wine off a list. L'Anima went to the trouble of getting three pairs of wine experts to explain their favorites off the shortlist of nine, made these explanations into YouTube vids, and got voters to decide which video was the best.
With this week's news that Britain is on the cusp of economic recovery, it's inevitable that luxury dining will again emerge as part of the London dining landscape. Indeed two British entrepreneurs have opened up Flash Sushi, a dining experience where for 250 GBP per person ($410), tables of 12-24 diners enjoy the highest of high-end sushi.
The additional catch: Flash Sushi serves meals in the style of a traditional Japanese Nyotaimori restaurant, where the sushi is presented on and eaten off a naked woman.
Consider this another in our ongoing series of naked sushi columns, wherein we try to suppress the incessant pull of hygiene long enough to understand why people would drop incredible amounts of cash to eat raw fish off a human being.