Fashion Salade City Guides:
Selling everything from hand-made gift cards and stationery to unique pieces of pottery and jewellery, the ‘Shop’ is only one reason to visit Drink Shop & Do in King’s Cross. This truly unique space combines a cute gift and craft shop with a quirky café and cocktail bar, as well as offering evening workshops in activities as diverse as knitting to Elvis and bike-tyre bag making. From the plates food is served on to the chair you’re sitting in and the Tracey Emin-esque patchwork quilts on the walls, everything is for sale; pick something unique as a memento of London while you wait here for your Eurostar – St Pancras is just five minutes’ walk away.
Drink, Shop & Do, 9 Caledonian Road, London N1 9DX Tel: +44 (0)20 3343 9138 http://www.drinkshopdo.com
at Hoxton Hotel, the high-fashion/low-price ‘urban lodge’ on City Road. Right on the doorstep of super-stylish Shoreditch and so-hip-it-hurts Hoxton, as well as being next to the travel hub of Old Street, ‘The Hox’ as it’s known to regulars is an ideal base for any stay in the capital. Room rates start at just £99 – even less if you’re lucky enough to bag one during the famous £1 Sales – and all rooms are luxuriously appointed with thoughtful touches such as fresh milk, complimentary mineral water and full-size bars of Pear’s soap for use in the rainfall shower. Free wi-fi is available throughout the hotel at all times so you need never miss your Fashion Salade fix, and if you need to call home there’s an hour of free calls to just about anywhere for every guest. Round-the-clock dining is on offer in the superb Hoxton Grill – we love the corned beef hash at breakfast, the hanger steak at night – and the bar’s open until 2AM. It’s possible you’ll never want to leave.
Hoxton Hotel, 81 Great Eastern Street, London EC2A 3HU Tel: 020 7550 1000 http://www.hoxtonhotels.com
If you can bear to drag yourself away from The Hox, you won’t have far to go to enjoy one of London’s coolest restaurants, Rivington Grill – it’s just across the road. The best of seasonal British produce is served up in innovative and traditional recipes to an exceptional standard, and the fashion and art crowd which make up the clientele ensure that the atmosphere is always lively. Plain white walls provide a stark backdrop for an impressive modern art collection which includes a striking Tracey Emin neon. Typical dishes include Barnsley chop with bubble and squeak, devilled kidneys on toast and Trinity burnt cream – England’s answer to crème brulée. Service is informal, prices reasonable and booking advisable.
Rivington Grill & Bar, 28-30 Rivington Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 3DZ Tel: 020 7729 7053 http://www.rivingtongrill.co.uk
Even after a remarkable thirty years in business, Le Caprice is one of London’s most perennially fashionable restaurants. Hot New York designer Zac Posen threw a party there for his supermodel friends to launch the Belvedere Bloody Mary Brunch, available at weekends throughout May and June and for which Posen has designed a striking menu. Brunch at Le Caprice is a true culinary institution, featuring classics like Eggs Benedict alongside signature dishes including the famous Caprice burger. A selection of cocktails has been exclusively created to complement the food, all based on Belvedere Bloody Mary, the first vodka to reproduce the taste of a complete cocktail. As well as the classic Bloody Mary you could try a Very Mary – a traditional Bloody Mary with a shot of red wine – or Pineapple Mary, a refreshing cocktail combining the vodka with pineapple, orange, lime and paprika. Booking is highly advisable: call 020 7629 2239 or visit www.le-caprice.co.uk
Le Caprice, Arlington House, Arlington Street, London SW1A 1RJ Tel: 020 7629 2239 http://www.le-caprice.co.uk/
Riding House Cafe is one of the most exciting new restaurants to open in London in recent years. This all-day venture in fashionable Fitzrovia comprises three different spaces; a bright, buzzy bar, a casual, clubby Dining Hall and the smarter, stylish Dining Room. Bookings are only taken for the latter, allowing the cool, on-trend clientele the flexibility to drop in whenever they choose. Each area has its own distinctive decor and colour scheme, but the menu’s the same wherever you sit. Divided into small plates (all priced very accessibly at £3-£5) and main courses including classics such as fish and chips alongside modish modern brasserie fare, there’s something to please every palate – don’t miss the seared sea trout with crab and leek salad. Fashion Salade tip: the cocktails are fantastic.
The Riding House Café, 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PQ Tel: 020 7927 0840 http://www.ridinghousecafe.co.uk
The Cocktail Lounge at The Zetter Townhouse is one of London’s most individual and eccentric bars. A collaboration between the teams behind award-winning Islington cocktail bar 69 Colebrooke Row and chic hotel The Zetter, the room has been designed to resemble a luxurious and welcoming private residence. Alongside a lengthy list of classic and contemporary cocktails including many created exclusively for this bar by world-famous mixologist Tony Conigliaro, there’s a food menu from The Zetter’s wildly popular Bistro Bruno Loubet.
The Zetter Townhouse, 49-50 St John’s Square, London EC1V 4JJ Tel: 020 7324 4567 http://www.thezettertownhouse.com
While Amazon and e-readers may dominate the bookselling trade, independent bookshops do still exist and few are more characterful than Camden Lock Books. Actually located at Old Street underground station – the name is an homage to where the business began in 1984 – Camden Lock Books has an impressive selection of current best-sellers and classics alongside strong photography, history and music sections. Occasional author readings and signings take place, and the team specialise in obtaining and selling out-of-print titles. The selection of quirky greetings cards and philosophical postcards are worth a look too.
Camden Lock Books, Old Street Station, London EC1Y1BE Tel: 020 7253 0666 http://www.camdenlockbooks.com
Before hitting the hay at The Hox, drop into discreet underground speakeasy The Nightjar for a superlative cocktail and a midnight snack. Boasting an eclectic drinks list and concise menu of moreish bar bites as well as a very late license (up to 3.30AM Thursday-Saturday) this is the place to come for live jazz and cabaret and secret rendezvous. Cover charges apply and to be sure of a table – there’s no standing allowed – it’s advisable to call ahead and book, although be warned, the phone’s not answered during service so you’ll need to get in there early or be prepared to take your chances. It’s worth the wait; once inside, guests are cosseted and cared for as if at a louche private members’ club.
The Nightjar, 129-131 City Road, London EC1V 1JB. Tel: 020 7837 6779. http://www.barnightjar.com
By Hugh Wright