HOME > Chowhound > U.K./Ireland >
What's your latest food quest?
TELL US

Moving to London - Looking for a Foodie Neighborhood

b
burglover Nov 10, 2012 10:30 AM

I'll be moving to London in the next two months and the most important thing for me in terms of choosing a neighborhood to live is quantity of good restaurants. My tastes run the gamut from refined to simple, from African to Vietnamese, though I am perhaps partial to Asian and I love all things spicy. As an American most people want to point me to Chelsea or Kensignton, but I fear these areas may be too plain (food wise) for me. Am I mistaken? Or if not, where should I look? Please feel free to include any must-try restaurants... Also, good markets are important as I love to cook almost as much as I go out.

  1. f
    foreignmuck Nov 10, 2012 11:08 AM

    Really depends on your personality, budget, how central you want to be and where you need to be near. Also consider how ok you would be in an "edgy" neighbourhood. Brixton, for example has a rather rough reputation, although it's a great area for food, especially since the arrival of the famous Brixton village. I lived in Brixton for 10 years without any major incidents, and loved it there. Nearby Herne Hill might suit some folks better, is a lot more gentile, and had a decent weekly market. Some might however find it a bit far out of town (even though it's only 15 mins from Brixton to Oxford Circus on the Victoria Line).

    1. zuriga1 Nov 10, 2012 11:36 AM

      Choosing your neighborhood will have a lot to do with what you can afford. I'm sure you realize that London can be a very expensive place to live. Keep in mind that it is very easy to travel around London and eat wherever you like without great difficulty or time spent traveling. I've recommended the Marylebone area previously as it's central and also had a huge amount of good restaurants and shops.

      Food here is rarely 'plain.' And that comes from me, another American.

      6 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1
        b
        burglover Nov 11, 2012 07:26 PM

        Thanks. Marleybone is certainly near the top of my (very early) list...

        1. re: burglover
          howler Nov 12, 2012 06:16 AM

          were i you, i'd minimize my interaction with the tube, especially at rush hour times. folklore says the tube conditions in summer are sometimes so bad you couldn't use it to transport cattle.

          the glory of london is its parks. if you pick marylebone, you'd be by the stunning regents park and feasibly walk back home from work. the howard de walden estate - which manages marylebone high street - has been careful to keep large chains out, so marylebone high street has a much nicer feel to it than kensington high street, for example.

          there's plenty of good restaurants in marylebone, but i think you'll find yourself cooking in a lot: get ready to pleasantly surprised with the very high quality of ingredients easily available.

          btw, kensington/chelsea is perhaps one of the most beautiful urban areas on this planet; also perhaps one of the wealthiest. given the disposable income, it has a very large number of restaurants, butchers etc. it has nothing whatsoever to do with the upper east side in nyc.

          1. re: howler
            m
            ManInTransit Nov 12, 2012 07:01 AM

            K&C has the highest life expectancy in the UK so perhaps that alone is a reason to live there!

            I don't want to misrepresent it, it's a very nice place and there's a good reason why people pay £5m a go for small townhouses there. Personally I've always found it too rarified and not really an enjoyable place to spend time. There are few 'nicer' parts of London, but there are many I would prefer to live in.

            1. re: ManInTransit
              howler Nov 12, 2012 07:52 AM

              de gustibus non est disputandum.

              but by any objective measure, k&c is an extraordinary - the polar opposite of dull. for goodness sakes, its called the 21st arrondissement of paris.

              and i think you are quite correct to point out that your taste is contradicted by the prices people are willing to pay to live here.

              1. re: howler
                m
                ManInTransit Nov 12, 2012 08:07 AM

                Price ≠ quality. At least not always. I love Paris but I would not want to live in its London outpost.

                People are prepared to pay vast sums to live on the Barbican estate, on Bankside or overlooking Piccadilly. None of which I have the desire to live by.

                I absolutely understand why so many people love the area, but just as with Shoreditch/Primrose Hill/Dalston/Battersea I can understand why many wouldn't want to live there.

                There are few people as defensive as a Londoner and their postcode.

                This whole thread of conversation will disappear very soon I should think.

                1. re: ManInTransit
                  p
                  pj26 Nov 12, 2012 08:35 AM

                  Quite right re: Londoners and postcodes. There was a similar thread about a year ago which ended up hugely territorial. But it is the little 'villages' that make up London which make it so great, really there is pretty much something for everyone.

                  My idea of dull is clearly very different to your idea of dull, but it doesn't make it wrong. And as pointed out earlier in the thread, is hugely subjective.

      2. Robin Joy Nov 10, 2012 11:36 AM

        Do you need to get to a work location every day please? If so where? It will make a difference to the recs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Robin Joy
          b
          burglover Nov 11, 2012 07:25 PM

          i'll be working on Jermyn Street, so either Piccadilly Circus or Green Park tube stops. I have a pretty good budget, so really anywhere is within reason.

        2. s
          souhaite Nov 11, 2012 04:24 AM

          Second the above, but here are a few neighbourhoods to take a look at. Check out Bermondsey - very near to Maltby Street and Borough Markets and with a burgeoning restaurant scene. Exmouth Market/Clerkenwell may also have some of what you're looking for, both in itself and in proximity to other areas you may like.

          We chose Islington, which has a frustrating dearth of decent places to eat for its size but is otherwise very livable, has nice markets, and is very close to places with better selection. Ultimately, London is so easy to get around that it makes no difference to the quality of our foodie lives.

          4 Replies
          1. re: souhaite
            b
            burglover Nov 11, 2012 07:34 PM

            Thanks. No one has mentioned Bermondsey, though I've been looking (just online) at other areas of Southwark. If I'm not mistaken it looks to be a little better value, flat-wise, than across the river. I'll take a look.

            1. re: burglover
              k
              klyeoh Nov 11, 2012 07:41 PM

              Bermondsey's a pleasant neighborhood, though rental rates have gone up ever since the
              Shard came up.

              Some dining options:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/821272
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/802089
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/827255
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/827252

              1. re: klyeoh
                Robin Joy Nov 11, 2012 11:19 PM

                There might be other views about Bemondsey. I worked there from '86 to '99 and I now work half a mile away, so I know it's come up somewhat, and it's by no means a bad place, but would a majority really pick it over, say, South Ken. to actually live in? Doubt it.

                1. re: Robin Joy
                  p
                  pj26 Nov 12, 2012 05:01 AM

                  Depends on personality - I would pick Bermondsey over South Ken any day (in fact would pick most places over South Ken as I find it to be dull and pretty generic, but that's just me).

          2. m
            ManInTransit Nov 12, 2012 05:22 AM

            How nice to be starting from such a blank slate. A lot depends on what you want in terms of area (including non-food considerations like transport/green spaces/type of property etc).

            South Ken/Chelsea are basically the Upper East Side. Perfectly nice areas but really quite dull in my opinion. Notting Hill would be my choice in that part of London.

            As many have mentioned London is so well connected that there's no particular need to live in a foodie mecca. Islington was mentioned for example and I highly recommend it as you have Clerkenwell and Shoreditch within walking distance and then Marylebone, Bermondsey and the west end within a short tube ride.

            From the thread so far I strongly recommend you look at:

            Marylebone (bit starchy but very close to west end and decent food options - the posh option)
            Bermondsey: hugely vibrant with lots of new openings and access to markets, also well-connected but important note: do your homework on whereabouts in Bermondsey you are - you want to be near Bermondsey street not the far end of Jamaica Road.
            Islington/Clerkenwell: Great places to live. Islington not a food mecca in its own right but sits bang in the middle of all the various places you are going to want to visit. And plenty of decent neighbourhood places for when you don't want to travel.

            Brixton is great but if your budget is unlimited I personally wouldn't go and live this far out, a must-visit though.

            Personally I also probably wouldn't venture further east into Shoreditch/ Dalston even though there's a lot of merit as your commute would be a right pain.

            Again if I were choosing I would avoid the sanitised areas to the south/west of Green Park. Battersea is nice but badly connected for what I imagine will be regular forays to the east.

            9 Replies
            1. re: ManInTransit
              b
              burglover Nov 12, 2012 09:44 AM

              Thanks all, it sounds as Londoners are even more defensive of their neighborhoods than New Yorkers! But in an attempt to get the thread back toward the restaurant scene, what is the general corkage policy in London these days? I have a very nice wine collection and here in Los Angeles I can bring my own virtualy anywhere for $10-25 corkage. Of course, I would attempt to never bring a bottle that is on the wine list or commit any other BYO faux pas...

              1. re: burglover
                howler Nov 12, 2012 10:16 AM

                here's one list

                http://gourmettraveller.wordpress.com...

                by the way, i'm not defending k&c - there is no need to - it'd be like the tower of london 'defending' itself from bird droppings.

                1. re: howler
                  b
                  burglover Nov 12, 2012 10:45 AM

                  That's a good start, thanks. I can understand why many "big" restaurants don't have a corkage policy, but I'm wondering if, in general, smaller "neighborhood" restaurants, which most likely don't have a sommelier or serious wine program, take issue with patrons bringing in their own bottles.

                  And excellent point about K&C...I may have been too quick to write it off based on my experiences in New York and other areas of the world where expensive real estate=touristy=poor "everyday" restaurants and no real ethnic variance. I will definitely keep an open mind!

                  1. re: burglover
                    howler Nov 12, 2012 10:59 AM

                    i live in kensingtons green heart - and within a mile and a half are outstanding iranian, indian, chinese, lebanese, english, french ... two world class butchers, decent farmers markets, museums ...

                    thing is, kensington n'hoods aren't on any tourist map. visitors - even residents - of this great city have no idea how beautiful and cloistered these n'hoods are. if you have time, a great way to get to know london and actually see the neighborhoods is to go on a london walk

                    http://www.walks.com/

                    1. re: howler
                      jen kalb Nov 12, 2012 02:19 PM

                      the outstanding factor about London these days is how International a city it is - there may be a lot of money and beautiful but dull georgian and maybe nicer victorian architecture in Howlers neighborhood but the wealthy residents are from all over the world, with quality restaurants to cater to them On our last visit to London, we heard more languages on the bus, all around us, than we do in NY - its a true world city. Kensington doesnt feel particularly hip, though, its not a young neighborhood if thats what you are looking for.

                      1. re: jen kalb
                        howler Nov 13, 2012 04:27 AM

                        it is extremely international here in k&c, almost to the point where i wish we'd have a bigger english presence.

                        and as you say - its not particularly hip or young - its a bit of a grown up taste.

                        1. re: howler
                          k
                          klyeoh Nov 13, 2012 09:38 PM

                          "almost to the point where i wish we'd have a bigger english presence."
                          ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Whoa, things sure have changed in the past 2 decades!

                2. re: burglover
                  PhilD Nov 13, 2012 04:09 AM

                  I would be more concerned about the duty levied on wine imported to the UK - it can be pretty sobering.

                  1. re: PhilD
                    b
                    burglover Nov 16, 2012 06:22 PM

                    Oh no! Didn't even think about that... Better do a little research.

              2. limster Nov 12, 2012 01:57 PM

                Look for an area with good transport links. There's delicious stuff spread out all over the place. Hard to be satisfied with just the stuff in any one neighbourhood.

                1. greedygirl Nov 12, 2012 02:11 PM

                  Kensington is very monied - add me to the list of people who find it dull. And yes, I have walked round the neighbourhood. As far as really posh areas of London go, I prefer Hampstead or Marylebone. If I were you, I'd also look at Borough and Clerkenwell.

                  Brixton is apparently more desirable than Clapham these days (according to the butcher at the weekly farmer's market!).

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: greedygirl
                    b
                    brokentelephone Nov 13, 2012 01:19 AM

                    If Kensington & Chelsea is dull, I'd hate to know what you do for excitement.

                    1. re: brokentelephone
                      t
                      t_g Nov 13, 2012 01:57 AM

                      fun things?

                      1. re: t_g
                        b
                        brokentelephone Nov 13, 2012 01:58 AM

                        You mean everyone doesn't drink red wine on the weekends and fall asleep watching television?

                        1. re: brokentelephone
                          t
                          t_g Nov 13, 2012 02:04 AM

                          no comment!

                          1. re: brokentelephone
                            m
                            ManInTransit Nov 13, 2012 02:15 AM

                            As long as you are drinking natural organic wine and you are watching subtitled Nigerian drama then it still counts as trendy AND fun.

                    2. r
                      rocketbabydoll Nov 12, 2012 02:30 PM

                      I'm not American, I don't class myself as a foodie, (just someone who loves to eat) however I was born and bred in London so I'd thought to pass on some advice from a different point of view.

                      The only time its not easy to get around is during the rush hour. This is why from my long experience I would recommend you look for place in a good commutable distance from your place of work first! If you are not walking you want to be on a single tube line, trust me interchanges are a pain. For the stations you listed you want to have easy access to Jubilee, Picadilly, Victoria or Bakerloo Lines. Secondly you want to bare in mind the London Zones. For each zone you cross on a tube map the more expensive your ticket (and the longer your journey). Zone 1 accommodation tends to be very pricey as its the most central location and full of shops, businesses, offices and hotels rather than housing. At all other times its easy to get around the capital.

                      London is full of markets. The most famous are Borough (general food), Billingsgate (fish), Smithfields (meat), but here's a link to a website guide listing quite a few:
                      http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-...
                      Most farmers markets are not right in centre of town because majority of Londoners live in outer boroughs and commute.

                      Restaurants: As a general rule in London if you want to eat a particular speciality eg Indian, Chinese and you want authentic, look through the window and see who is eating there. If you see Indians eating in an Indian restaurant it's usually the real deal. However lets not completely knock the British/another culture crossover which is a whole wierd foodie concept of its own (e.g. that great British institution that is the Chicken Tikka Masala). Areas where the initial immigrants settled tend to have the best ethnic restaurants eg Brixton for Afro-Caribbean, Bangladeshi in Brick Lane. Restaurants come and go so much in our capital that I would check out online recommendations to see where's hot at the moment such as TripAdvisor and Time Out. We also love our fads, we had the Thai, the Sushi, the Tapas and at the moment it seems to be Brazillian.

                      Last thing I don't know how long you are in London for but we do have a annual Taste of London Food Festival which is amazing, no other word for it.
                      Don't forget to ask around, word of mouth is the biggest way restaurants get a rep in the UK and I'm sure all your work colleagues/new friends will point you in the right direction.

                      1. m
                        ManInTransit Nov 13, 2012 02:29 AM

                        I feel as though you deserve a better reply given the thread has been hijacked - have you got any questions about the areas suggested? I do think Limster has it right that if you are going to want to sample everything London has to offer then transport is key. Notting Hill, Blackheath, Hampstead and Victoria Park are all lovely in their own way but would mean serious trips to the other side of London.

                        Corkage: the gourmet traveller list is a good one - St John particularly is the kind of restaurant where it feels absolutely normal to bring your own bottle and the charge isn't bad. Others may correct me but taking your own wine to neighbourhood restaurants really isn't a cultural thing here. You might get odd looks turning up so I would always ask in advance. Perhaps the best bet would be to go through hyper-local merchants such as The Sampler who have agreed corkage deals with a number of local restaurants http://www.thesampler.co.uk/store/content/36/Other-Services/
                        The Sampler is probably the best small wine merchant in London but wherever you live the local merchant may know people happy to help.
                        There are also a significant number of bring your own places in London. Traditionally these are Indian or Pakistani restaurants but it applies too in Vietnamese and also in many 'temporary' pop-up restaurants which don't have a licence.

                        Markets wise there are a great many. You should probably experience Borough once although you will probably get fed up quickly. Maltby Street nearby is a wonderful tranquil alternative with some excellent options. Otherwise there are farmers markets all over. This is a good resource http://www.lfm.org.uk/

                        As you've intimated for London the 'must-try' is really the diversity. You could eat Pakistani, Iranian, Vietnamese and Nyona in a weekend without even trying that hard (I'd recommend Lahore Kebab House, Gilak, Viet Grill and Sedap respectively). There are some great restaurants you will see recommended on the boards and here are some quite random suggestions:

                        Rules/Wiltons: expensive the very old and classic, quintessential British experience. I've never visited but Harters and other posters wholeheartedly recommend them.
                        Roganic: London outpost of the genius of Simon Rogan - search L'Enclume as well.
                        Ten Bells: the Jack the Ripper pub in the east end converted by Isaac McHale into a clever ingredient-driven restaurant which owes a debt to Noma. Not many restaurants like this in London.
                        John Salt: Just opened in Islington by a creative genius of a chef. Bookings and walk-ins.

                        Informal 'no bookings' places:
                        Polpo - small venetian inspired italian plates. Simple food, wonderful atmosphere.
                        10 Greek Street: British small plates, very well-reviewed.
                        Barrafina: Tapas at a bar, excellent.
                        Koya: Japanese udon restaurant, stunning place.

                        Sushi Tetsu: 7-seat sushi bar, the first world class sushi place in London (you have to book this)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ManInTransit
                          p
                          pj26 Nov 13, 2012 05:03 AM

                          Hawksmoor are also ok with bringing your own wine - think on Monday's they only charge £5 (at least they were yesterday).

                        2. a
                          ab_nyc Nov 13, 2012 03:13 AM

                          I lived in Kensington for the first 6 months after I moved to London from NYC 2 years ago...I agree with ManInTransit - it's pretty but a lot like the Upper East Side of Manhattan culturally. I was VERY happy to move. That said I lived over a Lebanese restaurant and a deli called Ottolenghi and both have some of the most delicious food I've ever eaten!

                          For variety and adventure (esp if you're into ethnic food and more spicy) I'd recommend my current neighborhood, Shoreditch (like the East Village/Lower East Side in spirit without the rats and lots of great street art). I *love* it here. There are a ton of great Vietnamese restaurants near Curtain Road and Old Street, Brick Lane the mega curry street is here as well (although I'm sure many will argue rightfully there's more authentic curry to be had in London) - it has great markets with everything from Venezuelan arepas to Ethiopian food (Sunday UpMarket). Lots of great more upscale options too: St John's (a nose to tail joint), Hawksmoor (delicious steak place). There are tons of fun bars and pop up restaurants as well.

                          Agree Borough Market is a must do - I have friends that live in Bermondsey near there and love it food/neighborhood-wise.

                          Food/atmostphere wise I'd also recommend looking at Islington, Clerkenwell & Primrose Hill (fancier and more ££ but beautiful with nice food and a great little park).

                          Sign up for 'The Nudge' newsletter!

                          1. f
                            FurryWritingDesk Nov 15, 2012 02:04 PM

                            I've lived in London for most of my life. I spent 15 years in Brixton, watching it turn from war zone to yummy mummy territory. I'm guessing you work for a big strat house based at 1 Jermyn street. Don't conform, please? Enough of you guys hand out in the south ken enclave. So safe, so easy. Come south... Come play in Bermondsey. We don't bite. The food is great. And we are, allegedly, the centre of the future. (I can't do footnotes here)

                            13 Replies
                            1. re: FurryWritingDesk
                              b
                              brokentelephone Nov 16, 2012 12:24 AM

                              You lived in Brixton for 15 years, and am assuming now in Bermondsey. You haven't strayed far from your comfort zone, so why should anyone else?

                              People aren't more interesting nor do they 'conform' (whatever that means) less in Brixton than Mayfair; the only difference is that Brixton is dirtier, more dangerous, and far less expensive.

                              1. re: brokentelephone
                                n
                                Nii Nov 16, 2012 12:10 PM

                                Brixton's also MUCH more fun!

                                1. re: Nii
                                  howler Nov 16, 2012 12:56 PM

                                  .. than what? lobotomy?

                                2. re: brokentelephone
                                  zuriga1 Nov 16, 2012 02:19 PM

                                  I daresay that most people (maybe not all),,,, if they could afford it... would choose to live in one of the more upscale neighbourhoods of London - or any large city. The grass sometimes really IS greener. One nice thing about London now as opposed to years ago is that there are some good eats in almost every neighbourhood, regardless of the rent prices.

                                  1. re: brokentelephone
                                    greedygirl Nov 16, 2012 03:02 PM

                                    Apart from it's not more dangerous. Statistically, Westminster is by far the most dangerous borough.

                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                      howler Nov 16, 2012 03:30 PM

                                      really?! that claim astonishes me. where do you get the statistics from?

                                      here is what you get if you google brixton

                                      "It isn't a leafy, beautiful suburb, but Brixton dwellers grow to love its gritty industrial feel, the cacophony of accents and traffic on its busy streets, and the nightlife which kicks on well after 11 at the Jamaican and Latin clubs in the area. It is difficult to ignore Brixton's notoriety as one of the highest crime areas in London, but if you can get used to the squeal of sirens, the raised eyebrows of the anticipatory drug dealer on the corner, and the police tape sectioning off the site of yet another gangland stabbing, you know you're a tried and true Brixtoner."

                                      this from

                                      http://www.stuckinlondon.com/londonar...

                                      1. re: howler
                                        greedygirl Nov 16, 2012 03:53 PM

                                        http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/datablog...

                                        1. re: greedygirl
                                          Robin Joy Nov 16, 2012 07:02 PM

                                          Westminster contains the Houses of Parliament and the BBC. Skews the data!

                                          1. re: Robin Joy
                                            greedygirl Nov 17, 2012 12:17 AM

                                            Not sure what the BBC has to do with it but the article explains the data. The fact remains that you're statistically more likely to be a victim of crime in Westminster.

                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                              Robin Joy Nov 17, 2012 01:24 PM

                                              Er....Read the papers recently?

                                              Just a little joke.

                                              1. re: Robin Joy
                                                greedygirl Nov 17, 2012 01:27 PM

                                                I work there so am possibly a bit sensitive.

                                                You could equally say that K&C is a den of thieves. ;-)

                                            2. re: Robin Joy
                                              o
                                              ooglewoogle Nov 17, 2012 07:23 AM

                                              Lol

                                              :)

                                    2. re: FurryWritingDesk
                                      b
                                      burglover Nov 16, 2012 07:43 PM

                                      LOL! Appreciate it. I really think k&c might be out of the running. Bermondsey, clerkenwell and shoreditch are at the top of my list. I really really thank everyone for their input on this thread!

                                    3. f
                                      FurryWritingDesk Nov 16, 2012 01:52 PM

                                      I apologise wholeheartedly if my post about Bermondsey offended people, as it appears it did. People live all over London and we are blessed with an amazing transport network that means I can eat Sri Lankan food in tooting, Vietnamese in dalston, and god knows what wherever else, within an hour's journey from home. I apologise, sincerely, to brokentelephone. I loved Brixton whilst I was there. You may say dirty and dangerous; I will fight the corner of adventurous, opportunistic and fun. I don't live there now for personal reasons. If it helps - lived in battersea sw11 for a few years - was mugged, threatened and sexually assaulted. None of that in Brixton. Go figure. Bermondsey is where I live. It is brilliant, cosmopolitan and a foodie den of iniquity. In a good way.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: FurryWritingDesk
                                        b
                                        burglover Nov 16, 2012 07:48 PM

                                        Sorry to hear about the muggings, etc. But as a 6'5" man I really hope I don't have to deal with that stuff! Also, enjoy Philadelphia. I think it's the most underrated food city in the US. And the best sandwiches anywhere! Seems like you got some good advice from the chow community...

                                        1. re: burglover
                                          muushupork Nov 16, 2012 10:44 PM

                                          Philly should've easily prepared you for any rough neighborhood in London.

                                          Of course I am basing my judgement entirely on observations of your football fans.

                                          1. re: muushupork
                                            zuriga1 Nov 17, 2012 12:06 PM

                                            I grew up in Philly and things were very different back then. Even so, there are still some beautiful areas in and around that city. Don't believe all the hype. :-) It's a fantastic restaurant town now. Getting homesick......

                                        2. re: FurryWritingDesk
                                          s
                                          ShekhaV Nov 21, 2012 06:10 AM

                                          Yeah, sorry to everyone slagging off Brixton, but to be fair - the side streets of Brixton are very nice indeed, my building is a beautiful Georgian conversion and there are about 3 parks and a lido within a ten minute walk, so plenty of greenery too. Leaf-lined streets, historical buildings, mishmash architecture and some of the most interesting events/people/food/culture around

                                          Food wise - pretty much anything you want in groceries and restaurants - the village and its surroundings are a treasure chest of places to eat (not to mention market, tesco, sainsburys and lidl within a 10 min walking radius) AND Clapham for a different scene that's reminiscent of West London

                                          Budget wise - if money is no object you can go all out here and get an amazing property for about a third of the price compared to Chelsea.

                                          Safety wise - as a young 5ft-nothing girl who regularly comes home/goes out between 3-4am due to work commitments and a pretty healthy social life, I have nothing but positive things to say about the community that work hard to look out for one another. Any crime is pretty much gang-related and doesn't really occur in central Brixton. I think it's actually really arrogant when people assume that criminals are interested in them, but maybe that is just me.

                                          Transport wise - doesn't get much better, green park is literally 15 mins on the tube, I do it every day. Victoria Line is great and there are 24 hr buses going to every corner of the city.

                                          I wouldn't discard it as an option by any means.

                                        3. scottca075 Nov 17, 2012 07:47 AM

                                          Well if Vietnamese food was what was important to me and I wanted to walk to a variety of Vietnamese restaurants I might look at Shoreditch.... but for me, I'd rather live in Knightsbridge/South Kensington, walk home from Herrod's with my food hall meal to consume at home at the end of a long work day and then pop over to Shoreditch when I needed a pho fix.

                                          London is a lot like NYC or SF, LA even, you can find amazing little joints that no one ever talks about just around the corner. Its been a very long time since I lived in London, but still travel there a good bit and I try to find a new "joint" every time. Sometimes I am disappointed, but as often as not, I am not.

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: scottca075
                                            greedygirl Nov 17, 2012 10:13 AM

                                            Do real Londoners actually shop in Harrod's Food Hall? I've always assumed it's mainly for tourists.

                                            1. re: greedygirl
                                              zuriga1 Nov 17, 2012 12:02 PM

                                              They must. I don't think the Food Hall would make any money from just tourists, most of whom probably never go into Harrod's.

                                              1. re: zuriga1
                                                Robin Joy Nov 17, 2012 01:21 PM

                                                Tourists are vital to London, but oh do they flood the place! They're not spending on grocery shopping, because tourists don't, but it would be nicer for locals who actually want to buy food items if there was a £5 entrance charge redeemable against purchases! The throng might be reduced. Waitrose in Motcombe St. is where the locals shop.

                                                I know Harrods was there way before any current residents were born, so if you don't like it don't moan, and that they're experts at retailing which I'm not, but it can still be rather frustrating trying to actually shop there.

                                                1. re: Robin Joy
                                                  scottca075 Nov 19, 2012 06:54 AM

                                                  Never shopped at Waitrose, I might give it a shot my next London trip. At the end of my business day, unless I have a business dinner, I just want to stop some place, grab a prepared meal, even if that just means some sliced meat, cheeses, bread and a nice claret. Harrod's has been great for that, Harvey Nicks as well and Partridges. I like to try new places so assuming Waitrose has a deli/prepared foods selection, it sounds fun to try.

                                                  1. re: scottca075
                                                    zuriga1 Nov 19, 2012 08:12 AM

                                                    It's just my opinion, but Marks & Spencer has better ready meals than does Waitrose.

                                                    1. re: zuriga1
                                                      Kavey Nov 20, 2012 09:45 AM

                                                      Dissenting voice:

                                                      Think M&S read meals vastly vastly overrated, and have been resting on their laurels for the last decade, whilst other supermarkets continuously up their game year on year.

                                                      Waitrose far better than M&S with sole exception of ready-to-go packed salads.

                                                      1. re: Kavey
                                                        b
                                                        brokentelephone Nov 20, 2012 10:16 AM

                                                        How does a ready made meal actually taste when compared with a curry house or homemade? I've never tried any bar microwavable burritos in Canada (which are awesome according to my 13 year old self -- Reisers red hot beef).

                                                        I've been meaning to try a Heston's pie, but when I'm at the supermarket I usually chicken out at the last minute.

                                                        1. re: brokentelephone
                                                          Kavey Nov 21, 2012 01:10 AM

                                                          I don't buy ready made curries, mostly because I tend to have mum's homemade ones in the freezer, and I also have a number of local curry houses that deliver.

                                                          Ready made for me is more commonly things like decent lasagnes, chicken kiev, shepherds pie... and sometimes fresh pasta and a fresh ready made sauce...

                                                        2. re: Kavey
                                                          zuriga1 Nov 21, 2012 08:13 AM

                                                          Maybe it depends which ready meal one eats. I like quite a few that Waitrose does - especially the pastichio. I'm sure Heston's offerings are very good, but I rarely want to spend what they cost when I can cook something similar for less. A separate category, but I recently had Waitrose's low-calorie lasagna, and it was awful. When it comes to that sort of ready meal, I think M&S does a better job.

                                                          1. re: zuriga1
                                                            Kavey Nov 21, 2012 09:04 AM

                                                            For me there's times I want to cook and times I really don't...
                                                            On the latter occasions, it's worth it to me to pay a little more than I would if I cooked from scratch, for the convenience...

                                                            I find all the low-cal ready meals I've ever tried have been universally poor so I just don't bother with them at all, from any of the supermarkets... so you may be right that M&S are better on the low-cal stuff. I can't comment.

                                                            :-)

                                                2. re: greedygirl
                                                  howler Nov 17, 2012 02:41 PM

                                                  as i'm not a real londoner 'cos i live in k&c, take this with a pinch of salt. but yes, i shop there for groceries/wine not infrequently.

                                                  1. re: howler
                                                    greedygirl Nov 17, 2012 03:04 PM

                                                    Noone disputes that k&c is a real part of London, merely that they find it dull. Which for some reason is controversial! But it's fine to describe my part of London as dirty and dangerous.

                                                    1. re: greedygirl
                                                      Robin Joy Nov 17, 2012 08:09 PM

                                                      I see from Wiki. that Harrods started in 1884 at 228 Borough High St., so us in SW have indeed followed SE's lead!

                                                      1. re: greedygirl
                                                        howler Nov 18, 2012 09:05 AM

                                                        some pictures of dull kensington for you

                                                         
                                                         
                                                        1. re: howler
                                                          b
                                                          brokentelephone Nov 18, 2012 12:26 PM

                                                          What lurks beneath that placid water? In K&C there is always more than meets the eye!

                                                          1. re: brokentelephone
                                                            howler Nov 18, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                            grin

                                                3. s
                                                  senorkeen Nov 23, 2012 04:36 AM

                                                  There is only one place for you to live...CLERKENWELL. The 38 bus runs every 2 minutes to your work, should take about 20 minutes, or you could even walk through Soho and Covent Garden. From Clerkenwell you can get everywhere. Foodie-wise on your doorstep:

                                                  Exmouth market: Moro restaurant, Caravan plus daily food stalls
                                                  Islington: 10 mins walk, Sunday Farmers markets, many restaurants
                                                  Borough Market: you can walk ito it over the bridge in half an hour
                                                  Russell Square: 10 mins walk, great Waitrose supermarket for daily shopping, indy cinema, cafes
                                                  Easy access to East London, St John Bread and Wine, etc etc.. and literally you can take the bus to any part of London. You can walk to Covent Garden in 15 mins, and taxis are easy to get, no need to ever be on the underground.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: senorkeen
                                                    p
                                                    pj26 Nov 23, 2012 05:22 AM

                                                    Clerkenwell is lovely but most of those places you have suggested involve LEAVING Clerkenwell :)

                                                    1. re: senorkeen
                                                      c
                                                      Clerkenwellian Dec 5, 2012 08:47 AM

                                                      Yes - I'm biased, but Clerkenwell has an unbeatable combination of central location, transport links to all around town, and a buzzing local dining scene - St John, Vinoteca, Moro and Morito, Bruno Loubet, Sedap, Modern Pantry, The Eagle, Sushi Tetsu...

                                                      I've lived there for years - happy to answer any practical questions you may have about the area, local property market etc...

                                                    2. s
                                                      Snufflehound Dec 3, 2012 03:42 PM

                                                      Why hasn't anyone mentioned Chiswick? I don't believe it!
                                                      Firstly - PIccadilly line, no probs. District to Hammersmith change trains across the platform. There that's dealt with.
                                                      Edgy? Hmn maybe not. But very safe to potter around in after dark as there are SO many places to eat out.
                                                      If you want somewhere for a special meal we have Bruce Poole's La Trompette, or the divine Hedone.
                                                      Last count we had 5 gastropubs; one microbrewery; 2 sushi restuarants; a branch of Franca Manca pizza; Charlotte's Bistro........
                                                      AND Lea & Sandeman wine merchants, Good Wine Co; Mackens Bros butchers, Covent Garden fishmongers; Mortimer & Bennett delicatessen; Andeas Veg.... maybe I should quit now.
                                                      That's just the selection of the highlights. Even if you decide against Chiswick, come and eat here sometime...

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Snufflehound
                                                        n
                                                        Nii Dec 4, 2012 10:44 AM

                                                        ...and you have Outsider Tart, which would be the defining reason if I were to plan on moving to Chiswick.

                                                      2. f
                                                        Fydeaux Dec 5, 2012 08:53 AM

                                                        It seems like plenty of people are pointing you south of the river, and that's likely a good thing. It's been quite a while, more than 10 years since I've been there, but I found everything you mention and more in Camberwell.

                                                        1. alifedelicious Dec 10, 2012 05:56 AM

                                                          Since no one has championed Bayswater, I'm going to. Because it's super underrated and I think it's an AWESOME neighbourhood: rich in foodie options, cultural melting pot, very well-connected transport-wise, proximity to Hyde Park, reasonably central (you can walk to town or to Knightsbridge Kensington etc. if you're up for a 30-60 minute walk on weekends), relatively good-value.

                                                          Baywater is a great area for Chinese food, with a plethora of choice on Queensway alone - Royal China (dim sum is a highlight), Mandarin Kitchen (seafood restaurant, lobster noodle is noteworthy), Four Seasons and Gold Mine have been arch rivals for 'Best Roast Duck in London' title for many years, Magic Wok (someone has just told me it has an excellent roast pork. i need to try soon), Pearl Liang for innovative dim sum (per Limster)

                                                          It's also great for Malaysian food: Malaysian Hall, Lagenda, Bonda Cafe etc.

                                                          The Heron, an amazingly wonderful and authentic Thai restaurant is just around the corner.

                                                          It's a great melting pot of cultures with Chinese, Greek, Russian, and Brazilian food stores, and shisha shops --> great for shopping since you like cooking

                                                          For posher weekend brunches, you can walk down Westbourne Grove with options such as: 202, Raouls, Granger, Daylesford.

                                                          It's a mere 15-20 minute walk to Edgeware Road and all the Middle Eastern options there.

                                                          I used to work near Green Park, and I would take a lovely 30 minute walk across the park and get some exercise, save on transport costs, and enjoy the scenery - killing 3 birds with one stone.

                                                          Depending on what part of Bayswater you live in, you can be super well-connected if you're in between Paddington (Circle, District, H&C, Bakerloo) and Lancaster Gate (Central) tube stations, or Bayswater (Circle, District) and Queensway (Central).

                                                          Show Hidden Posts