What I was most excited about for my trip to London weren’t the iconic sites of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey or Buckingham Palace. In fact, I didn’t go out of my way to see any tourist sites ‘on purpose’ during my entire stay. I’ve been to London before and played tourist back then so was keen to experience a different side of the city this time around: the food and coffee scene. You see, Berlin isn’t known for either of these things and as an Australian, I’m accustomed to eating well and long ago transformed into a bit of a coffee snob. I had a feeling that London was going to look after me and, friends, I was right. I’ve put a little diary together that sums up my little foodie escape.
Coffee is a food group, isn’t it? In my world it is. The London coffee scene has blossomed in recent years, with the city now rivalling the coffee capitals of New York and even Melbourne. Only a handful of cafés really know their coffee in Berlin so I couldn’t wait to get caffeinated properly in London.
I made a beeline to Kaffeine as soon as I’d dropped my luggage off at the hotel. The baristas behind the machines here at this Australian speciality café know a thing or two about flat whites and Kaffeine is now a well-established and highly respected institution in central London. One of my favourite baristas I’d known in Berlin had relocated to London and was working the machine now here at Kaffeine it was so lovely to catch up with him. They sell a great selection of food for both breakfast and lunch, but I couldn’t resist the raspberry and coconut slice, especially after an early flight!
Location: 66 Great Titchfield St, London
Granger & Co., Kings Cross
I met the lovely Emma Kate Codrington, another of the World of Wanderlust contributors and a downright beautiful human being at Granger & Co. in Kings Cross at her recommendation. Owned by Australian celebrity chef, Bill Granger, the food here is simple, casual and high quality. I only had a coffee and a slice of lemon cake in the late afternoon, but I’d love to have brunch here next time I’m in town.
Location: Unit 1 Stanley Building, 7 Pancras Square, Kings Cross
Allpress Espresso, Shoreditch
Whilst out exploring colourful and vibrant Shoreditch in London’s east, I stopped in at Allpress Espresso for a mid-afternoon boost before heading to the Columbia Road Flower Market. This tiny, Kiwi-run café and roastery has become an icon this side of town and is consistently busy. The environment is buzzing, which is well-suited to the hip neighbourhood it’s located in.
Location: 58 Redchurch Street, London
Soho Grind, Soho
Sister to the original and popular Shoreditch Grind, Soho Grind is an espresso and cocktail bar that welcomes passersby with a warm, red glow emanating from its windows. Ben and I stopped in for a coffee after the matinee performance of The Book of Mormon, still all smiles and giggles from an afternoon of hilarity. The coffee was great and the vibe was fun.
Location: 19 Beak St, Soho
As a Melbournian, brunch is my favourite meal of the day. Brunch hasn’t really kicked off as a ‘thing’ in Berlin yet, so I made sure I enjoyed some quality London brunches while I was in town.
Daylesford Organic, Notting Hill
I couldn’t come to London without eating at Daylesford Organic. This beautiful café and grocer serves and sells only organic produce of the highest quality. All of the food available comes either straight from their farm in the Cotswolds or is sourced from artisan suppliers who share the same commitment to sustainability and ethical farming. Ben and I had brunch here on our first morning in London. He had the Daylesford farmhouse breakfast with sausage, streaky bacon, two fried eggs, grilled tomato and portobello mushrooms and I had the goji berry and flax seed bircher with natural yoghurt and fresh apple.
Location: 208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill
Gail’s Artisan Bakery, Notting Hill
There are a number of Gail’s Artisan Bakeries located all over London, but I spent a couple of hours in the one in Notting Hill, on a beautiful corner on Portobello Road. I had nowhere to be in a hurry and was waiting for Ben to return from the Warner Bros. Studios where he was having some meetings, so I lingered over berry pancakes and my book.
Location: 138 Portobello Road, Notting Hill
Lunch & Dinner
I didn’t have a bad meal the whole time I was in London and, given how expensive it is, I was being budget-conscious too. London might only be getting more expensive, but Londoners’ appetite for good value, high quality food is continuing to grow alongside. Here’s a look at what I ate for lunches and dinners around the city.
Dishoom, Covent Garden
Indian food is one of my absolute favourite things to eat, but you can’t get good Indian food pretty much anywhere in Berlin. Needless to say, I came straight from coffee at Kaffeine to Dishoom for lunch. Dishoom has been modelled off Bombay cafés built established by Persian immigrants that flourished during the 1960s. There are a number of Dishoom restaurants dotted over the city, but we ate at the central Covent Garden one. We ordered vegetable samosas, the sheekh kabab, the chicken ruby curry, naan, basmati rice and mango lassis. It was all delicious.
Location: 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden
Caravan, Kings Cross
After a late coffee at Granger & Co., I needed an early dinner before my Jack the Ripper Tour began. Emma suggested Caravan, a converted Victorian warehouse space looked over by students from the University of the Arts next door. I was lucky to score a table, because this place fills up early. We ordered a pizza to share since it was still so early (only around 6pm) and enjoyed the relaxed mood. I loved the design concept with the exposed brick walls, low-hanging light bulbs and open kitchen.
Location: 1 Granary Square, Kings Cross
Pitt Cue Co., Soho
I first visited Pitt Cue Co. in London two years ago and loved it so much I headed back again this time around. Located just off Carnaby Street in Soho, you’ll be competing for a table at this tiny, popular restaurant. We were able to walk in around 2:30pm with no trouble, but don’t try and head there around peak eating times. Come to this hipster joint for mouth-watering American BBQ. I had the pulled pork with bone marrow mash, served on a tin tray. Oh my goodness.
Location: 1 Newburgh St, Soho
The White Horse, Soho
I couldn’t come to London and not have a traditional British pub meal, could I? Wandering around Soho after seeing The Book of Mormon, we headed into the White Horse, an English pub off Carnaby Street. Normally I would have researched where I wanted to eat beforehand, but we hadn’t had wifi all afternoon and so had to pick a pub based on the menu and appearance. The White Horse lured us in with its cosy interior and menu full of pub classics. We ordered the fish and chips and the signature steak and pale ale pie. The food was hearty, delicious and comforting; exactly what a pub meal should be.
Location: 16 Newburgh St, Soho