London’s an ever-evolving hub of restaurants and bars battling it out to be the newest and coolest kid on the block – and we love it. That’s one of the things that makes this city such an exciting place to live. That being said, you can’t beat an institution. Whether it’s one of those restaurants that have been here since the dawn of time, a cafe that’s remained unchanged since the first half of the 20th century or a relatively new spot which is already a part of London’s fabric, these are the places where you’ll be in truly safe hands.
London is an old city – nearly 2000 years old, to be (almost) exact – so it makes sense that there are a lot of historic places in town. Covent Garden’s grande dame Rules currently lays claim to the title of the ‘oldest restaurant in London’ and, since it was established all the way back in 1798, no one’s really arguing with her. Stepping inside is like stepping into a bygone era (the interior features in countless period dramas) and they’ve got a menu to match. Half the age of Rules but with just as much character, E Pellicci in Bethnal Green is the epitome of an old school caff that’s worth the trip for the art deco wood panelling alone.
But back at our end of the millennium, you’ll find undeniable institutions younger than your family dog. Roti King, for example, opened in 2014, but has since become such an intrinsic part of London’s restaurant scene that we refer to the time pre-2014 as BRK (before Roti King). Whatever age you prefer your institution to be, you’ll find an excellent one here.