Need Help With Good Lunch/Interesting Neighbourhood

A friend of mine is visiting London soon and requested that I take her out for a lunch and a walk in an interesting neighbourhood. Well, I’ve lived here quite a few years now, but can’t seem to decide what to do. Maybe one of you would have a suggestion. Lots of places come to mind… Exmoor Market, Shoreditch etc. She’s been to all the touristy areas in other trips.

So much of what she will find interesting depends on where she’s coming from and what she would find exotic or different from what she knows…

If she’s already been to all the tourist traps, maybe you can venture a bit more from the center and try:

Harrigay area for Turkish food/stores/shops
Brixton for their markets, and pop up restaurants
Bermondsey for their Sat market and cool buildings around Fashion and Textile Museum
Peckham Rye/East Dulwich areas for food, various market and artist open house weekend in May
North of Shoreditch to Stoke Newington for Turkish, Vietnamese, other ethnic cuisines

Closer to the tourist traps like Camden Passage in Angel, Clerkenwell, Warren Street (Honey &Co) , Shoreditch (lunch at Lyle’s and then walk around Red Church area, Bethnal Green up to the flower market…) might also be fun…

There’s so much to do in London, I imagine the hardest part will be to choose just one lunch.

June

Knowing your own heritage, what about Golders Green? My partner took herself off there some years back and enjoyed the walk round.

John

My friend is from near Toronto, and I’m not sure anything here would be that exotic, but who knows. I do like the idea of Shoreditch, as I almost never get there. It just popped into my head that the new Design Museum should be seen and is new. But Kensington High Street? :slight_smile:

Not a bad thought, John. I haven’t been there since I moved here. My only problem is that the Jewish food here is not the same as it is in the States, and I have trouble enjoying it other than a good bagel. Maybe I’m too picky, but I like my salt beef cut in thin slices!

Me too. Until recently, there was a kosher food shop a few minutes walk from home. It’s been closed for a while but is opening this week as a cafe. Included in their offerings are to be hot salt beef sandwiches. I’m presuming that the Jewish ownership has continued and that they have learnt the sandwich making art from the like of Katz’s and The Stage in NYC.

I hope the new cafe will be to your liking, John. I might just have to do a roadtrip!!

Yes, I heard the Design Museum is wonderful, but I didn’t have a chance to visit before we relocated from London. Kensington High Street wasn’t part of my hood so I rarely ventured there unless I was meeting a visitor who was staying close to the V&A museum or Earl’s Court. I found those areas to be too over run with groups of tourists for my liking.

Naughty piglets, which was close to our home and which we enjoyed immensely, was supposed to open another restaurant near Victoria St, in the St. James Theatre. I imagine it should be opened by now and might be interesting to try, but I think walking from there to the Design Museum would require suffering groups of tourists and other travelers from Victoria Station. I always disliked having to travel through Victoria.

We had lunch once at the old Design Museum when Jeremy Lee was still the chef. I think I remember that I enjoyed the view more than the food.

I only go to Kensington High St. to visit Whole Foods, and that’s not very often these days.

I live in a town that has train service to both Waterloo and Victoria. I rarely go to Victoria, but I know what you mean about the hubbub there. I’d brave it to go to a wonderful restaurant that was in the nearby St. Ermin’s hotel, but the chef has left so no more visits there.

If you do go to Golders Green make sure you check out Hampstead Garden Suburb. Very interesting to walk round.

There really isn’t that much in Victoria yet in my opinion - I think all the building work they are doing there will transform the area but, right now, just makes it a bit difficult and confusing to walk around. Not to mention hordes of tourists. You’ll also get those in Kensington.

If you want to stay close to home I’d suggest doing the design museum walk, or going to Waterloo and checking out Lower Marsh Road and the surrounds, checking out Leake Street tunnel / The Vaults - maybe meandering onto Southbank where there is always stuff going on

OR taking the Victoria Line a few stops to Brixton where you will be spoilt for choice lunchwise.

You could also check out Notting Hill and Portobello Rd on a Friday / Saturday - very busy but a huge antique market and plenty of lovely restaurants make for quite a fun atmosphere.

Obvious choice is of course Spitalfields and Shoreditch but for another example of recent gentrification you could also do a lot worse than Granary Square in Kings X, where you could get cocktails at their very impressive Dishoom (the interior is amazing) and then walk around and see what sticking an art university in the area did for it. You could start the whole thing around Exmouth Market as suggested above.

Has it been a food destination in the past? Those were before my serious food days, but when I was twice temporarily housed in/ worked around the Victoria station and along Victoria St towards the Abbey more than 10 years ago, I didn’t find much satisfying. Lots of refrigerated sandwich type places and average fast casual type places catered to office workers. Some Anglicized Thai/ Chinese places. Didn’t have the per diem to explore high end though.

Nope - it hasn’t but Land Securities are putting up loads of office buildings around there now and have opened some interesting places but they mainly cater for a working lunch crowd. You’d be better served going elsewhere - at least until 2018 when all the construction has finished!

Thanks. I’ll save that for another time. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten to North London. Today is the day, and I’m meeting my friend, first, at Camden Market. I think she’ll enjoy that.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold