Know what the best remedy for jet lag is? Me neither, obviously, because I just flew to London six days after returning to Cambodia from the US. The only thing that I do know, is that this is NOT the way to do it. Unless you like watching two romantic comedies before 7am on a Tuesday, then this is exactly how to do it.
I’m in town this week for a friend’s wedding and I will be stopping by some of my favorite places that I got to know last summer when I was studying at Central St Martins. There are so many amazing spots in London, and I am sure I don’t know anything about the coolest anything anymore, but I do have a few places I am sure to hit this round.
(You may notice that this little list has nothing in it from West London, and that’s because I went there two times total last summer and I know nothing about it.)
My Old Haunts
Yeah, it’s the cool kid neighborhood of London, and no, I’m not a cool kid, but I DO have a leather jacket and I am pretty sure that’s all you really need. I found Attendant last summer because I had some time to kill in the neighborhood before a class at Frame. It has all the makings of a pretentious hipster coffee spot, but it’s sort of decided not to be. The people are lovely, the coffee is damn delicious, and they have a guest chef who makes phenomenal breakfast treats. Things like Vanilla & Passion french toast, with rhubarb mascarpone, berries, honeycomb and maple syrup…and FLOWERS on top. I just ate this and it would be tough to share with my favorite person.
I go to Caravan for the Aussie-approved coffee, the art student people-watching, and they craziest, most delicious savory muffin in the whole damn world. They have a different one every day, and it’s a mix of cheese+veg+something else awesome, maybe even surprise chorizo. Everyone loves surprise chorizo. Because it’s housed in the school, Caravan tends to a slightly younger crowd with as many different hair colors as there are stars in the sky. They always play good music, because they would explode from all the eye-rolling if they didn’t. It’s a busy spot and can be loud, and the server from last summer remembered me yesterday. I don’t know if that matters, I was just happy about it.
The Water Poet-Liverpool/Shoreditch
I can’t put a list together without at least one proper pub on it. The Water Poet sounds fancy, but it’s a nice local spot with great beers and giant helpings of french fries. Yeah yeah, “chips.” Whatever, I’m American. #OGBrexit. They have a gorgeous and comfortable back patio that fills up around 4pm if it’s sunny, no matter the day of the week.
Boulangerie Bon Matin– Finsbury Park
This placed saved me on my very first day in London last year. I was exhausted, nervous about starting this whole new thing, and more than anything else, hungry. Bon Matin has a spread of gorgeous salads that should make Ottolenghi nervous, full of simple, delicious produce and things that make produce taste even better. The pastry that fills the front windows are a one-way ticket to the danger zone. Maybe even the highway there. It’s inexpensive, friendly, and sunny. They also don’t mind if you set up shop for the day to work on your Cambodia-based design blog and use their free internet.
Monmouth Coffee-Covent Garden
This place was introduced to me by a friend from Cambodia actually, and it really is the snobbiest. There are like 7 seats in the whole place, the tables come with artisanal sugar and side eye, and no internet. But the coffee is really, really good, and the brownie is reason enough to stand in line with a bunch of disaffected 23 year olds talking about cold brew like they found it first.
Oh Dinerama. Cool London friends showed me this place last year, and it’s the perfect summer hang out spot. It’s a pop-up-food-truck spot, and they have everything from lobster rolls to BBQ and papadum nachos. That’s right, papadum nachos. The best thing there is for the carnivores, and it’s a beef rib from the grill spot in the back. The thing is probably cooked for 8 days, and it falls off the bone like a prom dress. Best when eaten with hands and dragged through the leftover guacamole from the Mexican spot next door.
Off to as many of these places as possible before I face-plant at 2pm.