Moving to London - Where to live for a die-hard foodie?
Just found out work is moving me to London for at least six months and likely longer. My office will be located on the Strand. The question is ... where should I live to maximize the foodie opportunities in London? ... Factors to consider:
1. Avid restaurant diner, but equally if not more avid home chef
2. Prefer hole-in-the-wall ethnic dives rather than "au courant" spots of the moment.
3. Access to a quality grocery store, ethnic markets, and especially produce stands is a must.
4. Prefer to keep the commute under 30-40 minutes.
5. Want to live in a nicer one bedroom -- budget roughly 400GBP a week.. .
Many thanks in advance... very excited to explore the city in more depth!
I'd say East London (but then I would as that's where I live!). There's some great markets (Broadway, Brick Lane, Ridley Road, Columbia Road), lots of ethnic supermarkets (on of the the best areas for Viet Namese restaurants, loads of Vietnamese shops which stock all kinds of ingredients), also Indian, Bengali, Pakistani supermarkets. Also fantastic butchers - Ginger Pig in Hackney and a few new fish shops have opened up recently in Broadway Market and Victoria Park Village.
Some of the most exciting restaurant openings have also been East recently - Bawn and Viajante, then there's also lots of places around Shoreditch, Old St, Spitalfields.
And you are about a 15 - 20 minute bus ride in to the Strand (or less on the tube).
Did you want to spend £400 for a room in a shared house? That should be fine but you would srtuggle to find a decent one bedroom place on your own for that in London.
I'll throw my lot in for London Bridge/Borough, since that's where I live. Here too is a vibrant (though debated) market scene with Borough Market, Bermondsey Market and Maltby Street Market making the shortlist
Bermondsey street has a small but interesting mix of places and it is growing with the additions of Jose and Zucca. There is some nicer dining as well, with Magdalen being my favorite in the hood.
There is a nice set of interesting bars, from The Rake (good mix of beers) to the Gladstone (hipster, roackability fun) to Village East (NY-like EV bar).
It is also close to the excellent East London places PJ lists as well as being central to most else (20 min to Chinatown, 20 min to Spitalfields, 25 min to Edgeware road for Lebanese, 25 min to excellent Pakistani grills, etc).
I used to work on the Strand and it was a pleasant 25-30 min walk in. Otherwise a 15 min tube ride.
Easy to get a nice 1 bed for your budget, including some interesting warehouse conversions.
171-173 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3UW, GB
If you lived round Waterloo you could easily walk to work. Over Waterloo Bridge and you are at the bottom of the Strand. Much nicer than getting on a tube. Or pick up a bus easily if it is raining. Lots of foodie goings on the Southbank in general. It is also easy to get to London Bridge, Maltby Street, Bermondsey from there. You would also be close to Elephant and Castle, Peckham and Camberwell which have good hole in the wall type places to eat as well as ethnic shops/markets. Peckham has some nice areas to live in and for your budget you would get a 2 or 3 bed house if you wanted.
Brixton has a lively food scene too. Lots of buses there (can you see a theme - I don't like the tube) but it is at the end of the Victoria line.
Or maybe the west part of Clerkenwell. Or the eastern side of Holborn/Bloomsbury. You could easily walk to work from there.
With that budget, I'd go for Waterloo or Borough and walk to work. I live in Brixton/Herne Hill and love it but it's not for everyone. Great food/market scene though, and it will only take half an hour to get to the Strand.