I moved house last month to an area of London known for being slightly over priced, and full of students and furntiture shops. On the surface, it doesn’t sound too wonderful, but my new house is wonderful, and it is in the best location I could have wished for in my current situation. I am a ten minute walk from my University on Regent Street, and a twelve minute walk from my work in between Covent Garden & Leicester Square. It’s perfect. I never have to get the tube unless I’m heading south of the river or into the city, which is great, cause I hate the tube.
I now live in between Gower Street and Tottenham Court Road, just off of Store Street (which is a street that reminds me of a beautiful European avenue… maybe Paris!) which is just a three minute walk to the gorgeous Charlotte Street which is buzzing with restaurants, cafes and bars, and similar distance to Goodge Street, also full of the same wonderful amenities. There are so many great places to eat and drink around this area, I feel i have to share them with you. Some may be old news to you, some may be new… either way, you need to check them out.
ICCO, Goodge Street
i tried this independent Pizza place about two and a half years ago when my current flatmate first lived in this area. With pizzas starting from £3.95 (they put their prices up this weekend – cheeky!) they are the best value Pizzas in London, packed full of flavour with a light thin base which is so easy to eat, it seems almost effortless eating. Our favourite is the Capricciosa, which is topped with Turkey Ham, mushroom, black olives, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce with basil & herbs. Top this off with the complementary chilli oil, garlic oil and dried chilli shavings and you have something really quite wonderful, and starting at only £6 you can’t really go wrong (add 50p to eat in and enjoy the luxuries of a plate and cutlery) I’m surprised this wonderful restaurant isn’t a chain, but to be honest, I don’t want it to be one. This place is always busy, and it is the individuality and novelty of it being one of a kind which makes it so great! I recommend it massively. You should definitely try it.
Bubbledogs, Charlotte Street
This is a new restaurant which is continuing the current trend of gourmet fast food mixed with high-end drinks! I visited this new restaurant last week with my flatmate and a mutual friend and arrived at just gone 1pm – this is the wrong time to go, especially if you’re starving hungry. There was at least a 45 minute wait for a table (a sign of how popular this place is) but we decided to wait it out in a nearby pub until some seats were available. Luckily for us, the bar was the place that was first available when we returned at our allotted time, giving us a great show of what goes on behind their bar, where cocktails and little known champagnes are served (this is the ‘bubble’ part of the restaurant) The bar manager is a friend of ours who used to work in my favourite cocktail bar in Covent Garden, so we knew we were in good hands when it came to drink orders. The bar is stocked with all of the contemporary liquors, as well as bottles of lesser known champagne brands (this is the GMs vision, to promote the unknown) The service was great (and not just because we knew the barman, he knows his customer service!) and the bar itself was aesthetically pleasing – all cobbled copper, with lovely mirrors placed behind the bar and around the restaurant. Unfortunately when it came to the food, it didn’t quite live up to the standard of what the bar promised. While the £7 (average price) hotdogs were tasty, they weren’t nearly filling enough, and I did leave feeling quite hungry still. The flavours were good though (I had the mexican flavoured dog – the José – topped with salsa, avocado, sour cream and pickled jalepenos) but it could have done with being a little bigger (i’m comparing this gourmet fast food with that found in Meat Liquor, where a burger will leave me with a food baby for hours!) This is a fantastic place for drinks, and a light lunch, but maybe not for dinner. Unless you’re not feeling too peckish and would rather fill up on bubbly!
London Cocktail Club, Goodge Street
This basement bar is extraordinary! Myself and my friend’s are (overly) regular customers of the sister bar, Covent Garden Cocktail Club on Great Newport Street, and the quality of cocktails is much the same in this Goodge street based bar as in that one, but this one also serves it’s cocktails with a bit of a gourmet twist. Watchers of the BBC2 programme The Restaurant may recognise owner JJ Goodman as the winner of series 3 back in 2009 who surprised viewers as he has no restaurant experience, but instead an incredible pallet due to his fantastic talent as a mixologist! This cocktail club, as a result, specialised in gourmet cocktails, and is famous for its bizarre flavours, such as the Bacon and Egg Martini and the Bramley Apple Smash! These are two must try cocktails, but there are plenty more of this extensive menu. The barmen are brilliant, very friendly and happy to make you something different. The music playlist is also fantastic, as well as the bar snacks (Pork crackling! No need to wait for Sunday roasts anymore!) Their happy hour isn’t as great as at CGCC, but you can still get a handful of cocktails at half price between 4-6pm every night which is great for an afterwork pick-me-up. Definitely worth trying out.
The Draft House, Goodge Street
I’m not a Beer or Ale fan in the slightest, but if you want to try something that might open your mind to this world, then head to The Draft House on Goodge Street and try their Cherry Beer which is available bottled or on tap (Book Lambic Kriek, £4.95) It’s fruity, but doesn’t have the same overly sweet tones that you might find in a fruity cider. The draft is definitely tastier than the bottled (and probably cheaper) but both are worth a taste. This place is packed on a weekend night, but is a nice place to head for lunch on a week day. Their foot-long pork scratchings are worth a try too, but they are quite pricey at £3.95 a cup.
Bourne & Hollingsworth, Rathbone Place
I first visited this quaint basement cocktail bar which can be found on the corner of Rathbone Place, Charlotte Street and Percy Street on a first date. Set up a tab in here and you’ll be given a card from a standard pack of cards, which is so much nicer than some horrible laminated number that you’d get in most other bars (it’s quirky – I like that!) Order a glass of wine, expect it to be served to you in a cute little tumbler rather than a wine glass, and the cocktails are mostly served in cute jam jars, and are delicious, and deceptivly strong. The bar’s decor is like an old ladies front room – decorated with vintage wall paper and cute pottery and art. Even the menu is cute and quaint. It’s a lovely place to go if you’re with your girlfriends, and I also thought this was a great first date venue. The menu is broad and there are plenty of things to try, all reasonably priced between £7 and £9. There aren’t many seats, so it does genuinly feel like you’re sitting in a living room, and the bar itself is very small, which is cute. It doesn’t feel over imposing, and the danger that this bar could be perceived as pretentious isn’t a reality. it’s adorable instead.
All in all I love what my new home area has to offer. These places make this a wonderful place to live. I can’t wait to discover more great places around the corner from my home over the next year.