SNL2016 - A Visitor's Guide!
At last night's welcome reception I found myself enthusiastically telling some German colleagues about all the things they should do in London while here for SNL2016. I got a little too keen and made a little written guide...
So here it is! My very biased recommendations for a nice time in London. NB If you don't like coffee or beer, you may be disappointed...
Near the conference:
Caravan - great coffee, brunch, small plates dining. Not super cheap but v delicious. Nice environment by the canal at Granary Square.
You can get a decent burrito in lots of locations: Benitos Hat (kings X station) and other chains should be reliable
Chilli Cool - amazing Szechuan cuisine near Kings X.
Kings X street food market - during the day on Fridays ( I think). All sorts of cuisines. Check online.
Exmouth Market - great weekday food stalls and a good selection of restaurants in a charming pedestrian street. Easy walking distance from Kings X.
Burger & Shake - on Marchmont St, good for American style burgers. If you are wandering around and looking for quick food, then the Byron chain is also pretty reliable.
Franco Manca - amazing sourdough pizza on Tottenham Court Road, and other locations around town.
For good southern Indian cuisine, try Drummond St (just behind Euston).
Espresso Room - Gt Ormond Street
Monmouth Coffee - Monmouth Street near Covent Garden
Any of the shops with the bicycle logo outside (Tottenham court road, Charlotte street and other places)
Timber yard - near Covent Garden, good for coffee, working and nice cake (including the amazing Crodough! - croissant/doughnut hybrid)
Costa and Sacred are also nice chains for reliable espresso drinks.
There are so many good beers to enjoy in London. Try any of the local Brewers: Kernel, Beavertown, Brew By Numbers, Hackney, Partizan, Siren. Also Brewdog from Scotland is selling reliable beers on a larger scale. You can visit local tap rooms in Bermondsey ("Bermondsey Beer Mile") on a Saturday and walk between them: busy but extremely good fun!
In terms of pubs, look out for nice craft beers on tap (see above) and you'll be ok. But again, if you need names:
Craft Beer Co. - numerous branches across town, with a great changing selection of draft and bottled options.
Near the conference:
The Euston Tap (expect to stand outside!)
The Lamb (traditional British cask ales but some nice bottled options in the fridge)
The Queens Head (Acton St)
Holborn Whippet - beer and pizzas!
The Princess Louise (High Holborn) - not craft beer, but VERY CHEAP and decent.
The Duke (of York) - near Guildford Street. Nice food and Art Deco interior.
Fancy an expedition? Some recommendations:
Turkish North London:
Take the tube to Manor House and walk north along Green Lanes. This is my neighbourhood! It's not hugely pretty but I think it is the very best cheap food in London and a unique atmosphere.
Eat at: Hala, for the best Turkish grill meals in town. This is my absolute favourite but the other big restaurants are really good too.
Taksim for lighter cafe-style meals. Highly recommended to get a gozleme savoury pancake (you'll see women making them in the window).
Lots of little grocery stores along the road but check out Yasar Halim for its bakery!
If you want to stay in the neighbourhood but fancy curry instead, the very very best place to try is Jashan on Turnpike Lane (a bit further north). Not a glamorous location but the food is incredible. Book in advance.
Drink at: The Salisbury for nice Victorian interior, jukebox and craft beers. Also Jam in a Jar has a lot of live music and outdoor seating.
About 1km south of Manor House (and much posher!), have a nice walk around Clissold Park - there are deer, birds and goats! Nearby Stoke Newington Church Street in N16 is lovely for browsing shops, nice food (Rasa for great South Indian curry!) and snacking. Jolly Butchers (excellent beer selection) and Rose & Crown both do a good Sunday roast lunch.
South Bank (near Waterloo station)
It's touristy and busy, but don't rule out the South Bank for a pleasant stroll, with plenty of nice galleries and cafes to explore. The Queen Elizabeth hall has a roof garden that might be worth a look. Start near Waterloo station and head east. Also along there is the Tate modern gallery, which has just opened a new wing I think.
It's getting a bit too touristy now, but if you'd like a wander around this area then I recommend the Columbia Rd flower market on a Sunday (gets v crowded but is great fun!), with coffee at Brick Lane Coffee House and a salt beef bagel from the place immediately next door (beware the fiery English mustard!). Brick Lane is also home to the breakfast cereal restaurant which has been all over the news in the last year or so. The curry places will try to coax you in with special deals on lunch/dinner: I'm not sure they're worth it.
Also near Brick Lane is Rinkoffs Bakery for Crodoughs and other amazing creations like rainbow-coloured bagels. Check opening times as might be closed Sundays.
from Kings X you can get on the Regents canal and head west through Regent's Park and the zoo to Little Venice - charming! Instead, going east you can wander through Islington toward Victoria park - stop off at Broadway market for nice cafes and food stalls on selected days.
for a quiet stroll, take the tube to Tottenham Hale (boring transport hub) and find the path along the River Lea. Walk south for just under an hour and you'll eventually go past some parts of the Olympic Park and end up in Hackney Wick. Or start at Hackney wick itself! This area has lots of artists' workshops in old warehouses and they might have some events on but check in advance. Recommended: riverside brewery Crate (v near Hackney wick station) which has lots of outdoor seating and does good pizza.
And if you want to visit the Olympic park, you can now slide down the Anish Kapoor sculpture! Book online in advance!