© David John - Flickr: DavenJohn


Rachael Gibson of @FurCoat chooses her five secret London spots

Posted at 5:30 pm, November 23, 2012 in Secret London
Charlton lido

Rachael Gibson’s blog may be called Fur Coat, No Knickers, but the secret London spots she’s chosen for us are more suited to a flat cap, traditionally. Apart from the pool. Read on to find out which of her favourite places will serve you a ten-piece breakfast, allow you to enter a pickle competition, make you feel like you’re at Hogwarts and work your way through eight different ales. And if anyone knows of somewhere that can do all four, please let us know as a matter of priority. Ashleigh Arnott

The Royal Albert
‘My home ‘hood of New Cross has no shortage of decent boozers thanks to its student population, but the Albert is my favourite. Eight ales on tap, a brilliant seasonal/local food menu and really good music – especially on a Sunday when some cool bro spins records as you get slowly drunk in that pleasant Sunday afternoon way. The only downer is that all the staff are really attractive and go to my gym, lending me a constant sense of guilt for all the steak and red wine I’m consuming.’

United Grand Lodge of England
‘I’m no freemason, but this is my favourite building in London anyway. I’m a big art deco fan and this is pretty much the most spectacular example of a deco interior that I’ve seen in the city. Plus it has added creepy Masonic bits like all-seeing-eyes in the roof and enormous cast-iron gated corridors – and the toilets remind me of Hogwarts. Can totally envisage ghosts coming out of the toilets and all that business. Luckily I get to hang out there pretty regularly during London Fashion Week, but it’s open for tours pretty regularly as well as during London Open House weekend.’

Charlton Lido
‘London has no shortage of lidos – and fancy art deco ones at that – but Charlton has become my favourite this summer. It’s a bit grubby around the edges as it’s in the middle of a makeover, but once you’re in the pool none of that matters – it’s heated, it’s a million times quieter than any of the other lidos and… well, that’s it really. But for its quietness alone, it wins. I can’t wait to revisit it next summer when the refurbishment has made more progress, although I do actually quite enjoy its shabby-round-the-edges deco look.’

‘As well being obsessed with art deco, I’m also pretty into Jeeves & Wooster and anything vaguely related to London in the 20s and 30s. So, Simpson’s. A total throwback to a bygone era where pudding, cheese boards and lashings of port were all vital components of a meal, its wood-panelled walls have been well documented in works by the likes of Wodehouse. Here’s an homage to Simpson’s from Something New;

“Simpson’s, in the Strand, is unique. Here, if he wishes, the Briton may for the small sum of half a dollar stupefy himself with food. The god of fatted plenty has the place under his protection. Its keynote is solid comfort. It is a pleasant, soothing, hearty place—a restful temple of food. No strident orchestra forces the diner to bolt beef in ragtime. No long central aisle distracts his attention with its stream of new arrivals. There he sits, alone with his food, while white-robed priests, wheeling their smoking trucks, move to and fro, ever ready with fresh supplies.”

Not exactly the same now, but the Ten Deadly Sins breakfast (Cumberland sausage, streaky and back bacon, Stornoway black pudding, fried mushrooms, baked tomato, egg, liver, fried bread, bubble & squeak and baked beans) and deco Knight’s Bar ensure it’s still a pretty awesome place to visit.’

Dog and Bell Pickle Fest
‘Another of our locals in Deptford, this is always a good pub for a drink – as a former winner of CAMRA’s SE London pub of the Year, it’s especially good for ales. The real reason I love it though is because of their annual pickle fest, which pits local pickle-makers against each other while greedy pickle-lovers get to scoff them all and vote. This year it takes place tomorrow (November 24) – definite diary date for anyone in SE London who likes beer, cheese and chutney.’

For more from Rachael, visit Fur Coat, No Knickers, or follow @furcoat on Twitter

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,