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  • Writer's pictureNick International

The London List: Eats, Drinks, Markets.

London is a dynamic evolving metropolis. It’s also one of the most accessible destinations from The Bahamas given the two direct flights (Virgin Atlantic and British Airways) servicing London Heathrow! I’ve been watching the trends on social media, and I’ve noticed that a lot of my fellow travellers are making their inaugural trans-Atlantic flight to a city that I had the pleasure of studying in, and calling home for just shy of 7 years.


Really should have applied for a passport, innit bruv?


Like any big city, it can be a little overwhelming figuring out the lay the of the land and navigating your way around.


I want everyone to have a great time in London, and that sounds easy, but can be an overwhelming task in a city with so much to offer. Literally, there are so many fun things to do that you can easily fall into the trap of being spoiled for choice and end up doing next to nothing – speaking from experience.


It’s important that I’m honest about something; my first trip to London was in 2005 and I got all of the touristy stuff out of the way then. In my opinion, a hop on-hop off bus tour will get you all the Big Ben selfies you want. I’m an Executive Chef (restaurant coming soon, yay!), and Food Content Creator and that’s been my focus over the years, and thus is the focus of this blog. That said, if you’re looking for sightseeing this is probably not a post for you.


I’m here to drop a curated list of my favourite epicurean experiences. I’m not saying these are the only places you should go, or that you MUST go to any of them at all really - I can’t tell you what to do - but as you matriculate into the city of Pimm’s and lemonade, Nick’s London List is more of a foundational guide to edible and drinkable experiences.


Before I drop the list though, here are some simple, general tips to make your visit easier and more enjoyable:


1. London’s iconic black cabs are always a fun experience and Ubers are abundant, but public transport is your friend. You’ll most likely land at Heathrow or Gatwick airport, and they each have an eponymous express train service that will whisk you into central London in 20 minutes and 30 minutes respectively. If you’re on a mindful budget, the Piccadilly Line runs from London Heathrow as well, though it takes longer and if you’re like me, you’ll likely fall asleep on the train and wake up somewhere other than where you’re meant to get off😂. I recommend using City Mapper to plot your journey. If you’re there for more than 3 days (why wouldn’t you be?) grab an Oyster card and buy a Zone 1 - 2 travel card. It will save you tons and will pay for itself (£35~) in no time. You can also use your contactless credit or debit card, but the fees will kick your ass if you’re using a Bahamian bank account, so I really recommend the Oyster card instead.


2. Change your currency outside of the airport. The rates are usually higher, or a commission is tacked on. You’ll find tons of places offering flat fee exchange on USD to GBP. London is also largely card friendly, so you don’t need to carry much cash at all. Even the black cabs have card readers installed, but it’s helpful to keep a few quid on you as a lot of the stalls in the markets, for example, don’t take card payments.


3. Pack something for every season because the weather can be mercurial at times. A few years ago while in London with my wife we basically started with spring weather, then it rained and got cold, then it got warm and stayed warm before the skies went grey as middle school uniform trousers and it stayed chilly the rest of the trip. You’ve been warned.


4. Bring converters for to charge your electronic devices. It’s best to buy them in the airport when you land. For the bald-headed men out there like me, a quick story: I brought my Andis T-shaver from The Bahamas to London so I could have a crisp baldy and not end up with the Sherman Hensley do. Plugged it in, turned it on and it exploded. The power rating is different, so if you travel with devices other than a laptop, cell phone, and so forth you’ll need to get an inverter as well - but that’s an unnecessary expense, there are lots of black barbershops around that could line you up.


5. London is a very walkable city, and I encourage everyone to get out and wander around. I have discovered some of the oddest and most amazing places just strolling the city and “flipping a coin” to decide whether to go left or right. I have also ended up lost, so maybe get a SIM card too so you can access City Mapper otherwise you might end up with the man-dem at Summerhouse, and you know Sully ain’t too fond of strangers! (I am kidding, London is a very safe city, you’ll be fine).


The culinary scene in London has exploded over the years and you can find just about every type of cuisine in London (except Bahamian, sadly). I’ve been visiting London on average about twice a year for the last 9 years and have watched the evolution of restaurants avidly, first hand.


There are Michelin starred restaurants and small diners offering dishes from the unforgettable to the run-of-the-mill. I’ve tried to collate something for every budget and every palette, so I hope you find something you like. All of the items are hyperlinked because I really wanted to help take at least some of the work out of planning and research.


Pip, pip flickin’ Cheerio and enjoy my favourite city, the gateway to Europe, a multicultural hub of wonders, London.



The PicNick Basket: London


Restaurants

5-Star/Michelin Starred/kind of fancy


1. Hutong (The Shard) ** - Asian/Chinese

2. The Ledbury (Ledbury Road) - Modern European

3. Carousel (Fitzrovia) - European

4. Circus (Covent Garden) – Eclectic menu

5. Coya (Mayfair) - Peruvian

6. Duck and Waffle (Bishopsgate) ** - Non-traditional, open 24hrs

7. Fenchurch (Fenchurch Street) ** - European fine dining

8. Amazonico (Berkeley Square – Brazilian steak house w/ Sashimi option)

9. Sexy Fish (Berkeley Square) - Asian/Japanese

10. Tattu (Tottenham Court Road) - Contemporary Chinese


** = excellent views from the dining room


More restaurants

Smart casual/chilled/comfort food (doesn’t meant that some of them aren’t pricey)


1. Barrafina (Soho) - Spanish

2. Burger and Lobster (China Town) - Non traditional

3. Kudu (Peckham) - South African

4. Bao (Soho) - Chinese

5. Dirty Bones (Carnaby Street) - Mixed menu

6. Bone Daddies (Covent Garden) - Japanese/Ramen

7. Hare and Tortoise (Bloomsbury) - Sushi

8. Dishoom (Covent Garden) - Indian

9. Hawksmoor (Air Street) - Steakhouse

10. Shoryu Ramen (SoHo)

11. Sushi Samba (Bishopsgate)


Food Markets


1. Borough Market (London Bridge)

2. Leadenhall Market (Monument/Bank)

3. Greenwich Market (Greenwich)

4. Spitafields Market (Liverpool Street/Shoreditch)

5. Brick Lane (Shoreditch) (less of a market, more of a street with a food hall. You’ll find some fantastic curry around here. No real website, but Timeout London sums it up)

6. Box Park (Shoreditch) ^^


All the food markets follow a similar format with fresh produce, tapas sized plates at most stalls and small restaurants and pubs. Best to go quite hungry as there are so many options you could literally eat small plates for hours.


^^ = Box Park has food and retail and is a great spot to go for day drinking and brunch vibes on a no -brunch day


Best for Brunch (or Brekkie)


1. 34 Mayfair (Mayfair) ($$$)

3. Cafe Biltmore (Mayfair)

4. Dishoom (Covent Garden) (No reservations, walk-in kind of thing but the wait is usually very long. Worth it though.)

5. The Rum Kitchen (Kingly Court, Carnaby Street)

6. Eggslut (Nottinghill)


Favourite Bars


1. The Amicable Society of Lazy Ballerinas (Fleet Street/Holborn)

2. Purl (Marylebone)

3. Artesian (Portland Street)

4. The Discount Suit Co. (near the Gherkin) (speakeasy)

5. The Apothecary (Shoreditch)

6. The Connaught Bar (Mayfair)

7. Lyan-ess (Sea Containers Hotel, South Bank)



High Tea

How posh!?


1. Fortnum and Mason (Green Park)

2. Tea at The Ritz (Green Park)

3. Tea at the Dorchester (Hyde Park Corner)


Dim Sum

Essentially, Chinese soul food


1. Dim Sum Duck (Kings Cross)

2. Yautacha (Soho)

3. Ping Pong (Soho)

4. Jia (South Kensington)

5. Hutong (The Shard)


Other Stuff


1. Whitley Neill Gin Distillery (Bride Lane, off Fleet Street)

2. Hayman’s Gin Distillery (Balham Tube Station)

3. The Barrell Project Brewery (Bermondsey***)


***= Bermondsey has a high street which leads to a few industrial complexes so if you are beer lover you will find several breweries within walking distance of each other. Some serve light bites and others have proper food.


^^ = Lots of other restaurants, bars and a wonderful boardwalk to stroll the bank of the River Thames.


Thanks for reading. Follow me on my socials @imnickintl on "X" formerly known as Twitter, and @imnickintl on instagram.




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