The Olympics have been a physical strain on us all in many different ways. Standing up on the tube all the way to Stratford, trekking around the colossal Olympic Park branch of McDonalds, staying up all hours trying to buy any – ANY – tickets to a sporting event, leaping off the sofa everytime we won a gold medal. With all that exertion, we deserve a good solid meal, and London blog The Faerietale Foodie has plenty of suggestions as to where to get it. Here are Chloe’s five secret London spots, all of which are perfect for a recovery treat. Ashleigh Arnott
Dunnefrankowski at Protein
Technically a pop-up, but Rob and Vic aren’t going anywhere just yet. They combine coffee and design in contemporary harmony within the Protein Gallery in hipsterville Shoreditch. Coffee is served as espresso-based drinks, aeropress brew, and a more unique cupping style. An interesting selection of beans is always on offer along with coffee ‘flights’, don’t come hungry though, as this is ALL about the coffee. The stripped-back space lends itself superbly to their busy schedule of classes and tutorials. Pop in for thought-provoking conversation and learn to challenge your senses.
Behind an old-fashioned cinema sign with frequently changing message and down some narrow steps is Ruby’s. This quirky little bar is dark, intimate, and at once transports you to another place and era. You could easily lose many an hour in one of the shadowy corners, surrounded by the beautiful, decaying-elegance style decor. A concise cocktail menu changes regularly, with many twists on classics. I have had a rather good Sazerac and a fruity twist on a Negroni, both of which were served in exquisite glassware. The small room is actually the basement of what is the Gilbert Scott complex, a film set that magically expands beyond these four walls. Keep an eye out for upcoming events hosted by the bar, that promise to fully utilise this gorgeous sprawling location.
Arguably London’s best burgers, and my current favourite, Ben started trading out of a trailer in London Fields’ eclectic Netil Market last year, which in reality was little more than a small car park. Lucky Chip still operate out of the market at weekends, but their evening residency has moved to nearby boozer The Sebright Arms. Burgers, with names borrowed from American film stars, are brilliantly, unbeatably messy; juicy, well seasoned patties come sandwiched between soft yet sturdy buns, with a barrage of pickles, sauces, cheese and other additions. Although you can stick to the classics, there’s much fun to be had in trying to do battle with one of the weekly specials; the Bill Murray combines soft shell crab with a patty as a crazy surf and turf, or try the Danny Trejo, which is a bacon chilli cheeseburger with all the trimmings. Sides are not to be missed either; onion rings, chilli cheese fries and truffle cheese fries are unrivaled. Burger fans are currently holding their collected breath for an imminent Soho opening at The Player.
Paul A Young
Although this is certainly no secret amongst chocolate lovers, Paul’s chocolate box of a shop in the heart of Soho holds what feels like a whole range of exquisite little secrets within its gloriously purple walls. Each visit seemingly uncovers something new and exciting; amongst more regular flavours there are some to challenge your perceptions of chocolate – garden pea and mint anyone? Wasabi and apple? Or, how about a rich Marmite ganache? Among the head-spinning array of constantly changing chocolates and truffles are bars, novelties and his famous, oh-so-delicious brownies. Not so well known to many is that Paul also stocks an exceptional range of unusual and hard to get hold of artisan chocolate bars which his business partner James brings back from the States. These really are too good to miss.
The bar at Mishkin’s
The Polpo empire may well be London’s worst kept secret, but rather than dining at mundane tables, sitting at the bar offers quite a different experience. There’s a little spot on the bar at Mishkin’s, a kind of Jewish deli with vast selection of gin. It faces out onto the rest of the restaurant and always feel like my own little secret. I’ve had some of the very best evenings there, many times on my own, though I sometimes invite a friend to share in my discovery. There’s something to be said for somewhere that greets you with a Negroni, and serves alcohol-mopping snacks right up until when most other kitchens are closed. With super-friendly staff and specials that re-interpret current food trends, I’m sure I probably shouldn’t be sharing.