Non-Restaurant Foodie London
My good wife and I are in London for a short break in December...almost entirely designed to be an adventure epicurean in nature. I would love to hear about your favourite non-restaurant delis/markets/destinations/stores/food-curios etc.
Places we have been and enjoyed before are: Borough Market/Monmouth/Brindisa/NealsYd, Lina Stores, Luigis Deli, R. Garcia's, Paul A Young, L'artisan du Chocolat, The Sampler, Ottolenghi, I Camisa, Selfridges/Harrods/HarveyNics, Rococo, The Spice Shop, Books for Cooks.
This visit we are hoping to visit Baker and Spice Bakery and perhaps to track down the much discussed Meatwagon for a burger. Other than that we have nowhere new on the radar. So...where do you get your supplies....where can't you pass...what calls you in the middle of the night? Inspire us! :)
Many thanks in advance!
Fairly new at the Borough Market is a chocolate shop called Rabat Estate. I am addicted to their small bags of caramel chocolate drops. They have some very interesting products on sale.
You should probably also check out the John Lewis food hall on Oxford St. and if you haven't been to Whole Foods at Kensington High St., that's another large emporium of goodies - and not quite like their U.S. stores.
The St. Johns Hotel should be open in December and I hear they plan a new bakery with breakfast and afternoon buns as well as serving Elevenses.
I am a fan of Princi in Soho for their fresh pastries.
Don't know when you were here last but the coffee scene is taking off in a big way. Tapped & Packed in Fitzrovia for brewed coffees, siphon, aeropress, etc. and Espresso Room in Bloomsbury for espresso are my two favorites.
On some weekends we like to go to the bar at Bull & Last and get a Scotch egg before taking a walk in Hampstead Heath. They are usually hot and fresh at about noon. Not sure if that counts as a restaurant. Its a quick bar stop.
There's a new London Fields Market adjacent to the Broadway Market. The two combined make for a great Sunday destination for snacking and drinking.
Gelupo is a new place, run by the Bocca di Lupo people, that serves gelato but is also a small Italian market. Also unique Italian espresso drinks like the Bicerin.
Lol...it is actually pretty low tech! :) It is a little plastic gizmo made by the aerobie flying disc guy. It's basically a plastic cylinder with a rubber gasketed plunger for pushing hot water through the grounds at pressure applied by the user. It has little disposable filters that are fitted to the bottom.
The guy who invented it tried very hard to assert that the resulting black liquid should be deemed 'espresso' - which obviously met with a bit of ridicule from the joe-heads. However, the gadget has really found favour with coffee lovers as another tool in their arsenal....and is capable of producing 'very' nice coffee for a modest investment of about £20. We love ours!
Also worth mentioning is Nordic Bakery in Soho. They are baking cinnamon buns and karelian pies out of their downstairs oven all day. I've been going for a couple years to have some of the above and also their extremely strong coffee. The cinnamon bun recipe has been tweaked slightly. It is actually tastier - softer and more caramelly - than it used to be.
Also on the pastry front is Lisboa Patisserie. They are in Notting hill but also have a low-key second store on Plender street. The warm custard tarts (Pasteis de Nata) are as good as any in Portugal (with the exception of the special ones in Belem) Weekday mornings we sometimes go up there and have one, topped with cinnamon which you have to ask for.
The Tapped & Packed guys are happy to talk about coffee. It appears to be their passion. When it is quiet (Saturday mornings are the best time), they will take the time to let you smell the different single-origin coffees as they discuss their qualities. I believe they conduct Aeropress classes as well!!
There's a second branch of Nordic Bakery in Marylebone now, a couple of blocks from Marylebone High Street. The cinnamon buns are baked early in the morning, with additional batches as needed later in the day. Often good to call in the afternoon to check when they're baking next.
An alternative to the excellent Neal's yard is Paxton and Whitfield, a 100+ year old cheese shop where the staff are very friendly. Its off Piccadilly Circus.
5 mins walk from here is the Japan centre on Regents street, for a taste of what they stock see here
Oddono's for their Pistachio Di Bronte Ice Cream (3 stars Gold taste awards) and the Nocciola Piemonte Ice Cream (1 star) in particular. Its in south Kensington close to the museums and Harrods/Chelsea. Or they have a branch in Selfridges which can be busy.
http://www.oddonos.com/ I also love the blood orange granita at Gelupo.
Brindisia in Borough market for the acorn fed pigs/ham and other Spanish goodies. i would say r.Garcia is more for a long term resident and lacks the wow factor of Brindisia.
Hope and Greenwood British sweet shop in Covent Garden
Nonna's deli worth a look if you go to Camden market or London zoo
Not sure if you are venturing out to the suburbs but this looks good in Clapham, not been myself yet.
Best time for Borough market is Fridays. There are several farmers markets at the weekend, Marylebone farmers market on Sunday mornings is the biggest of these and has a huge variety of British only produce. Close to this is La Fromagerie cheese shop and the Ginger Pig butchers.
If you're interested in the Honey Shop (it's in Battersea rather than Clapham, though for transport purposes you go to Clapham Junction or Clapham South - confusing!), the same street, Northcote Road, also has other delights. Hennesseys butcher currently sells both mutton and Jacobs lamb, Hamish Johnston is one of the best cheese shops in London and the weekend street market includes a dessert deli. The olive stall does hot dishes in large paella pans; I haven't tried them yet but they look and smell good. Lola Rojo is a restaurant but at the weekend they sell fried foods and particularly excellent olives.In December the street market will probably have some extra seasonal stalls.
The farmers market in Pimlico on Saturday mornings is good. And if you have time you shouldn't miss the market at Duke of York's Square, near Sloane Square: mostly cooked and prepared food made by people from Brazil, the middle east, England etc, plus cheeses, salamis, sausages, oysters.
Good general resources for food shoping in London
and this book is on my xmas list...some of the shop listings may become out dated but what I'm interested in is the detailed descriptions of unusual/unknown ingredients to me found in London's ethnic shops
La Tua Pasta (wild boar pasta), Kappacaesin (grilled cheese sandwich), Rabot Estate (chocolates, toasted brioche with caramel chocolate, cocoa nibs and banana) at Borough Market
eatmypies stall at Whitecross, Broadway and Brick Lane Markets
Dragon beard candy stall on Gerrard Street in Chinatown
Baker and Spice is pointless now -- owned by a private equity group and pretty much blows compared to when owned by the lovely Gail (and by lovely I mean terrible)!
There is a great food/cheese shop in Marylebone called Le Fromagerie, and there is a new foodhall in Fulham Broadway whicih I haven't been to and heard is pretty nice (though there isn't much nice around there to do otherwise).
If you're interested in ethnic supermarkets there is a large Jewish population in North London and a few big kosher supermarkets on Golders Green high street. I love going up there and having a falafel at the tiny shop on GG Hight street. They are the best I've had in London for sure (not open on Saturdays anywhere up there though)!
A big thanks to all respondants. You have really helped to pad out our intinerary....and no doubt our tummies! :)
Will report back after our trip.