Since trying to work more remotely in London over the last few weeks, I’ve been gradually ticking off a few places on my seemingly endlessly unticked ‘to visit’ list. Whether it’s suggesting somewhere for a meeting, indulging in something more than a cuppa during some overdue laptop time (not every lunchtime involved burrata, I promise) or just grabbing a coveted sandwich to go- here are a handful of my favourite places to have lunch in London (and I promise you don’t need a two week ahead booking for all of them)…
Okay, I’ll start with the one you *will* need a booking for. And not just any kind of booking- a set your alarms Glastonbury style one, but I promise it’ll be worth it. As far as I know, tables are released every Wednesday at 9:30am for the next 14 days, so if you have a date in mind- this is the best way to do it (typing this, it sounds like a literally mad thing to do for pasta and the state of getting a table but I don’t make the rules and getting one for lunch is a lot easier too). Anyway- once you’ve exhausted your fastest finger first booking and finally make it- it’s bloody delicious. It’s no frills, buzzy and does the most beautiful Tuscan inspired food.
At night it feels like walking into a proper New York eatery, with it’s white table cloths- tables for two overlooking the restaurant, a busy bar with solo diners tucking into steaming bowls of pasta and couples cosied up against the checked bistro curtains. It’s a slice of heaven tucked into the beds of Clerkenwell’s busy streets, and if you’re after mouth watering ragu, dough cuddles and ‘ugly but good’ (their words, not mine) chocolate and hazelnut cookies, look no further.
Café Deco in Bloomsbury is the kind of place that makes you feel like you can pull out a book and read solo. Here you are that sophisticated person when you eat lunch. Not only is the food delicious, light and fresh (the menu changes weekly and yet every week I seem to want everything which would be the only problem when dining solo); everyone is lovely and unpretentious too so you can fully embrace that main character energy (plus they have window bar seating so it’s ideal for people watching).
If you’re after an exceptional sandwich (and not close to Marylebone’s Paul Rothe & Son); it has to be Sons & Daughters in Coal Drops Yard. I never thought I’d become someone reporting on a god tier egg mayonnaise sandwich, but if you want to taste it; it’s here (put it this way, it has truffle crisps in it). Great for a sandwich that’ll truly fill you up on the go (these are doorstop sandwiches if ever there was such a thing); and my mouth is watering just thinking of it.
I’m often around Kings Cross wondering where to park up with my laptop and eat, and every time The Standard comes up trumps. Not only can you get on with emails when eating burrata and small plates (which will absolutely have you wondering ‘who on earth do I think I am??’) but the interiors are beautiful, and there’s outdoor seating too for those gorgeous summer afternoons (the perfect way to wrap up a hard day of working and eating cheese, right?)
Is it cool to say somewhere is cool? Gah! Who knows, but Café Cecilia is cool. It’s the kind of place you see on the Instagram feeds of all of the trendy people you follow and then immediately have to book to absorb some of that even if you’re not quite sure if you like natural wine or artichoke. Fortunately even if you don’t like those things, the menu is pretty unfussy, does seasonal simplicity exceedingly well and does the most special bread ever in their Guinness offering. The breakfast menu also looks pretty sensational, and it’s absolutely not style over substance.
Southwark is one of those areas that I never really know what to do with myself in. There’s a few brilliant M&S’s to go which do great sandwiches, but in terms of parking up somewhere and enjoying something delicious I’ve always been a bit unsure. But! Lo and behold, my favourite hotel chain, The Hoxton, save the day again. With The Hoxton being one of *the* places to work with your laptop, they offer table service to their lobby and working spaces, meaning you can grab something light (or bigger) from your portable desk and not have to lift a finger. Their burrata, salmon and small plates are bloody delicious; and they also do a failsafe brekkie too- top marks.