Central London Calling
Tucked within Central City are several spots quietly changing how the world drinks and eats.
You may think Soho and its surroundings are only home to tourist destinations. But tucked within Central City are several spots quietly changing how the world drinks and eats. Here’s your gourmet guide to its best-kept secrets.
Indulge in pure decadence at Art Deco mecca Bob Bob Ricard, where each table has a “Press for Champagne” button. Really. Push, and you’re delivered the Champagne and sparkling wine list, Petrossian caviar and traditional Russian-influenced fare, like smoky borsch with beetroot and venison tenderloin tartare. For traditional English pub grub with flair, try Dean Street Townhouse. The must-order: Twice-baked smoked haddock soufflé. Retaining its original Soho sex-shop facade, basement Mexican restaurant La Bodega Negra is the late-night stop for soft-shell crab tacos and tasty Tequila and mezcal cocktails. If you’re feeling homesick for the colonies, head to the nearby Mayfair neighborhood and drop some coin at diner-inspired Automat. It boasts the best mac & cheese (cheddar, black truffle) this side of the Atlantic and several solid U.S. producers like Cakebread Cellars and Soter. For the big night out, go to the Sommelier’s Table beneath chef Hélène Darroze’s at The Connaught. Recipient of two Michelin stars, the seasonal tasting menu and pairings (culled from the 6,000-bottle cellar) are life changing.
For classic English charm, sip on Bourne & Hollingsworth’s Gardener’s Tea Break cocktail, a cucumber-and-gin tipple served with a cucumber sandwich. Hidden behind an unmarked door in the heart of Chinatown, Experimental Cocktail Club offers herb-and-spice infused drinks like the Stockholm Syndrome, a mix of cumin-and-dill vodka and aquavit. Mark’s Bar features “Early British Libations,” with cocktails dating back to the 16th century. There are also modern takes on old standbys like the mojito-inspired Dragon, made with barrel-aged Pisco, mint, lime juice, sugar and Plymouth Navy-Strength gin. Terroirs offers a worldly selection of organic and biodynamic producers. Try the 2005 Château Musar from Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley.
Central London's Must-Trys
Bob Bob Ricard
Bourne & Hollingsworth
La Bodega Negra
Dean Street Townhouse
Experimental Cocktail Club