I'm Wynne from London. I've been Qyping since 15-01-2008
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Fonthill Road, London N4 3JA
Did you ever read a book or watch a movie about young artists and intellectuals living 'la vie boheme’ in a less affluent part of a city and meeting regularly in a favourite local hangout? Hmm… If so, you will recognise Ariana’s Cafe as just such a place. On a sweet and friendly corner of Fonthill Road, near Finsbury Park tube, Ariana’s Cafe is a peaceful retreat from the busy Seven Sisters and Stroud Green areas of the neighbourhood. The cappuccinos are frothy, the paninis are crispy, the salads are fresh. The breakfasts live up to their descriptions on the menu. The staff is funky yet convivial. On a sunny morning in FP, why not grab a Russian novel, Time Out or some Pablo Neruda poems and contemplate the sweetness of life in Finsbury Park.
25 Newport Court, London WC2H 7JS
I wish I knew how to say 'Viva la revolucion, siempre!’ in Chinese. Maybe it will sink in subconciously or be transmutted into my bloodstream via Dan Dan Noodles the next time I visit Baozi Inn. And there will be a next time… A revolutionary addition to Chinatown, Baozi Inn’s specialty is northern Chinese grub and offers a change from the near-ubiquitous Cantonese restaurants in London. Baozi Inn somehow manages to come across as well designed, sleek and original as well as conveying the friendly 'family affair’ feeling of older establishments in the area. The decor occupies some sort of no-man’s-land somewhere between kitsh, chic, tasteless and authentic. I’m not sure how I feel about stuffing myself with delicious northern Chinese noodles below pictures of Mao and propaganda posters of the Great Leap Forward and Glorious Revolution… But I hardly have time to contemplate the various ironies of spending five pounds on proletarian food before a steaming, huge bowl of delicious noodles bedecked with eggs, duck, pork and glorious strange vegetables is plunked unceremoniously under my nose. Delicious! I’m a convert, if not to the politics, then to the dish. So, after two trips to Baozi Inn, even if I don’t feel like brandishing a little red book, I would be happy enough to pick up the menu for another read.
After all, let’s not get ahead of ourselves… a dinner party is simply not a revolution…
30 Wardour Street, London W1D 6QW
Gerrard’s Corner is a mainstay of the Chinatown scene, and with good reason! You just can’t go wrong with delicious dim sum served quickly by the expert and obliging staff. Even the Chinese dramatic pop tunes playing along with their videos on the big screens can’t put a damper on the generally friendly atmosphere. Try the duck pancakes or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, sample the delicious pork buns. For non-Chinese speakers there are helpful illustrations of the dishes to guide the discerning eye through the plethora of steaming delicacies on offer. The place is immaculate and the bathrooms are the best in Chinatown.
8 Tysoe Street, London EC1R 4RQ
Unfortunately Old China Hand’s previous dim sum chef has left for good. Despite the bar/restaurant’s many apologies and mourning over his parting the quality of the fare does not seem to have suffered overmuch. The dim sum is delicious, the decor is simple but soothing, the location is convenient for post-theatre or pre-party food and drink. This place is sweet, but somehow fails to find its niche. Is it a bar, or a dim sum restaurant? The place is probably best enjoyed by couples or close friends. Larger gatherings pose a challenge: standing up holding a drink and managing chopsticks while making small talk is just not comfortable.
15-21 Ganton Street, Soho, London W1F 9BN
Cha cha moon is on trendy Ganton street where the young hot shots of the City and Soho mingle with models, movers and shakers. I was initially suspicious of this sleek sister of Wagamama and distant cousin of Yauatcha and Hakkasan (each one the culinary progeny of Alan Yau). The day I went was just after the London Paper review and the place was packed. The line reached out the door and the people at the desk looked extremely harried. The interior is just as busy as the street outside with steam rising and bowls crashing together in the open kitchen area and patrons chatting loudly at the long communal tables. The service was very friendly considering the extreme pressure of the canteen style eatery. The food was cheap and fairly tasty but the portions were not over-generous and the noodles came nowhere near those that can be sampled for just a few more quid in some of Chinatown and Queensway’s nicer establishments. If you’re into the Ganton street scene and don’t have the deepest pockets, this is the restaurant for you. If you really love Chinese food, look elsewhere.
Finsbury park, Islington, London N4 2DE
Despite the torrential downpours, or, perhaps, because of them, I thouroughly enjoyed my time at the RISE festival in 2007. The police were out in full force, but alcohol could be brought onto the muddy grounds of Finsbury Park, once tipped from a glass container into a more innoccuous plastic one or paper cup. Between the showers there was time enough to sit and have a picnic. We brought our own food, which turned out to be a good thing seeing as the food stalls were prohibitively expensive. There were some good acts, some bad, but you could avoid the mainstage to slosh around in the mud at the Reggae bus (a la Glastonbury) or dance away to middle eastern, latin or other eclectic sounds at the smaller stages. The main event was the Skatalites. I felt so guilty having this much entertainment and fun for free that I helped the dedicated and unflagging volunteer crew tidy up the messy grounds at the end of the day. I would recommend volunteering to anyone - it's a great way to give back to a great community (and you get one of the sexy RISE t-shirts)!
76 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4AR
Even if you're not overly excited about typography or calligraphy, if you are in the area (perhaps walking past Russell Square or coming from the British Museum) it is worth dipping into this charming little shop, which retains the feel of another age, when travel was difficult and communication painstaking. Perhaps your surroundings will inspire you to eschew e-correspondance in favour of carefully scripted letters. When did you last write to your mother, grandparent, or lover? Everyone loves getting mail and with fine paper the task is made more pleasant.
8 Neals Yard, London WC2H 9DP
Neal's Yard is a colourful and vibrant oasis in the heart of the commercial chaos that is the Covent Garden area. Though the restaurants may be expensive for most budgets, they offer a tempting array of vegetarian and whole foods. If you're on a smaller budget, this is a good place to stop by for just a coffee on a sunny day. There is usually an inspiring phrase or two written on the chalk board at one of the narrow entrances to the "yard", so even a brief walking detour will give the visitor some inspiration and calm in the midst of a hectic London day.
63 Lambs Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB
With a charming yet stylish decor, this pub is THE spot to spend time after work or class for the many business people and students in the Bloomsbury area. From about 5 o'clock onwards, the pub gradually fills with people of all ages in small groups who have come to have long conversations over a few glasses of wine and pints of beer. The decor, music, drinks and service are simple and pleasant. On warm summer days smokers and non-smokers alike can soak up the sun's rays on picnic tables placed outside. This is a gracious pub.
328 Grays Inn Road, St. Pancras, London WC1X 8BZ
The best time to go to Water Rats is, I would imagine, when your friend's band is playing or when its one of your favourite up-and-coming groups. The intimate atmosphere breeds intimacy and if you're not entirely into the music you may feel out of place. That being said, if you're digging what is going on on stage, then this is a great venue to hear great tunes. The drinks are on par with the rest of the area.
- London 27 reviews
- Bloomsbury, London 7 reviews
- Soho, London 4 reviews
- Covent Garden, London 2 reviews
- Finsbury Park, London 2 reviews
- Holborn, London 1 review
- Harringay, London 1 review
- Pimlico, London 1 review
- Millbank, London 1 review
- Southwark, London 1 review
- Westminster, London 1 review
- Kings Cross, London 1 review
- St. Pancras, London 1 review
- Clerkenwell, London 1 review
- Leicester Square, London 1 review