Hot on the heels of London Fashion Week, this week’s secret London spots come from the fashion blogger Stella Kattermann, who shares her ever-so-stylish fashion thoughts and London jaunts on Stella’s Wardrobe. Read on to find out which five things in London she loves right now and why. Ashleigh Arnott
This must be my favourite dinner spot in London. Everything just works here. The cool, super friendly guys behind the bar (who I am on a first name basis with now) that make you feel instantly welcome, the quirky interior and limited number of seats around the bar, the unassuming location outside between slightly dodgy massage parlours and of course the ultimate comfort food with a twist that gets served here make this a unique place that, for me, provides the whole package when it comes to eating out. Although probably not the healthiest option, the truffled egg toast and infamous PBJ sandwich, which in my opinion is the best dessert in London, are seriously addictive and real flavour surprises. It is always a joy to observe someone trying them for the first time. I have now taken most of my friends and though they’re always slightly confused when walking in, every single one has been won over by this gem of a place that has become close to a second home to me.
Brunch is definitely my favourite mealtime and after having sampled many brunches in London I can safely conclude that St Ali does it best. We aren’t talking run of the mill English Breakfast, no, at St Ali they create unusual and incredibly tasty brunch options with that certain laid-back Australian feel that makes you forget you’re actually in cold and rainy London. From the banana bread with seriously addictive coffee mascarpone to the corn fritters served with halloumi, even reading the menu at St Ali is a real joy and sitting down in this beautifully converted fomer club makes having brunch here something I look forward to every week. And did I forget to mention the coffee? Because they take their flat whites very seriously here, with each one carefully made by a barista that knows their stuff, a real bonus for someone with a serious caffeine addiction like me.
Tell no one. That is the motto of the most authentic, entertaining and thrilling cinema experience you are ever likely to have, an alternative night out that will see you not only watch but also become part of a film. You buy your tickets, which at £25-35 aren’t much more expensive than a night out, completely oblivious to what film you are going to watch, in the run up to the date receiving hints and dress-codes via email that build up anticipation and leave you guessing right until the last minute. Once you arrive at the secret location you will instantly be transported into the setting of the film with intricate sets, themed food stalls and incredibly convincing actors that will actively engage with you and make you feel part of the storyline. Once you have experienced cinema like this you will want to go again and having been to the last two secret cinemas, a trip to an Algerian Kasbah and post World War II Vienna, I honestly cannot wait to go back.
Hip Hop Karaoke at the Social
In London it’s not easy to find a fun, unpretentious and – most importantly – free night out but I might just have found one! I have to admit when my friend first suggested going to a hip hop karaoke night I wasn’t expecting amazing things, mainly drunk people taking to the mic in a rather bad attempt at discovering their inner Missy Elliot. But entering the basement of The Social on a Thursday night is more 8 Mile than karaoke bar. Squeezed into a small space with people that know their hip hop, those that take to the stage are regulars. They know the lyrics by heart and are here to perform. It’s serious stuff and everyone gets totally involved, if someone is doing well the metal walls get a good bashing to show the crowd’s approval. Even if you aren’t a hip hop expert it’s a great place to dance the night away, watch great performances and just have fun!
This place has been one of my favourite London spots for a few years now, not only because I am a quarter Finnish and thus feel like it’s a little piece of home away from home but because here you can get your hands on the best cinnamon buns. Ever. You seriously cannot compare these rather large, crispy on the outside, gooey in the middle buns to anything you have had before and at only £2.20 a pop they are amazing value considering that they come fresh out of the oven every few hours. The interior is no less impressive, showing off classic Scandinavian design (dark blue walls, plenty of wood) and with the waitresses wearing denim aprons, it is cool without trying too hard. For me it’s one of those places that’s perfect for sitting down and doing some uni reading, a venue for peace and quiet in the middle of Soho that will always put a smile on my face.