Soho

Soho has undoubtedly changed a lot, going from the seedy red light district to the gentrified neighbourhood it is today, filled with small plates restaurants and boutique stores, but it’s still London’s eclectic centre. There’s still enough Soho nightlife, including the bars of Old Compton Street and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to keep you going until the wee hours, even if it’s not as rowdy as it used to be (it’s definitely still busy though)

It’s still seen as marker of success to have a restaurant in Soho, with many operators eager to plant their flag in W1 and its surrounds. As well as all the newbies that flock to the area, there are plenty of longstanding institutions that have been in Soho for years, long before gentrification was a word, including Lina Stores, L’Escargot, Quo Vadis, Bar Italia, and The French House.

The latter is like no other pub in London, filled as it is with Soho OGs. Don’t expect music, TVs or mobile phones here, just half pints of beer (they refuse to serve pints) and wine by the glass (or bubbles if you’re feeling extra fabulous). It’s old school and will get you talking to the locals – and we’re usually propping up the bar with a glass of red. You’re certainly not short of places to get a drink in Soho, where bars and pubs like The Toucan, Bar Termini, Soma and Bar Crispin abound.

Soho is also one of the fashion epicentres of London, home to the iconic Carnaby Street and Liberty department store as well as streetwear hubs like Aries, Machine-A, END. and Fiorucci, so if love a bit of shopping in London, a day out in Soho will really give your credit card a workout.

MILK BEACH SOHO

It’s a fave in Queen’s Park and now Aussie restaurant Milk Beach boasts a second site in Soho at the Ilona Rose House building, a bright and airy space complete with an outdoor courtyard. A handful of faves from the original location have made the move over to Soho, including Chinese five-spice BBQ pork rib dumplings with chilli pho ga consommé, and koji marinated chicken ‘schnitty’ with fermented chilli mayonnaise, but there are plenty of newbies on the menu to get stuck into. We’re talking dishes like prawn toast with gochujang sweet & sour sauce; Belted Galloway bone-in-ribeye with tare, oyster & tarragon butter; grilled oyster mushrooms with fermented mushroom glaze & macadamia hummus; and Milk Beach ‘Golden Gaytime’ with toffee & buttermilk parfait, dark chocolate, and malt & honeycomb crumb. Drinks-wise, Milk Beach is maintaining its rep for low-intervention wines, with a selection from importers Modal, Liberty and Alliance, among others.

SPEEDBOAT BAR

30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL

They turned up the heat (literally) with Plaza Khao Gaeng in Arcade Food Hall and now Luke Farrell and JKS Restaurants have returned for round two with Speedboat Bar. The restaurant takes inspo from Bangkok’s Chinatown and the speedboats that race along the canals of Thailand, so it’s fast, furious and full of energy, including an upstairs clubhouse featuring a bar, pool table and speakers blasting Thai pop and turbo folk. Wok cookery and dishes like drunken noodles and stir fries are at the heart of Speedboat Bar, alongside the likes of tom yam mama soup; ash melon & aubergine curry; poussin with ‘chicken rice, soybean sauce’ & red roast pork; cashew nut, pork crackling & dried fish salad; and pineapple pie with purple taro ice cream. Wash it down with drinks like the Snakesblood Negroni, and the Jelly Bia made with frozen Leo Lager, and you’re guaranteed a good time.

THE FRENCH HOUSE

49 Dean St, London W1D 5BG

The French House is our favourite place in Soho, if not London, for meeting new, random, weird and wonderful people. It’s a Soho institution with an incredible history, having opened in 1891. Inside the interiors are typical of an old school pub with lots of wood and dark brown – it doesn’t look like the interiors have been touched since the 70s and don’t even think about asking for a cocktail. This place serves draft in half pints, classic spirits and mixers and some dodgy wine. If the weather allows, grab a drink at the bar, stand outside and be entertained by the Soho crowds.

PARADISE

61 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PW

Opened in 2019, with a distinctive design identity, Paradise quickly established itself as a place to get standout Sri Lankan food (and somewhere that never held back on the spice), earning a Michelin Bib Gourmand to boot. Founder Dom Fernando has recently overhauled both the interiors and the menu, evolving Paradise into a more progressive Sri Lankan restaurant. The space has been refined into something more sophisticated whilst still retaining that signature brutalist aesthetic, with the bar has making way for a central counter and workstation where guests can sit and drinks can be prepared. There’s an a la carte offering running at lunchtimes with two six-course set menus on offer in the evenings –  Land + Sea and Veg + Plant. It’s a fantastic menu, with the snacks – Kimbula Banis, crispy doughy cheesy spicy sweet cubes of green chilli custard, date & lime chutney and Corra Linn and Mas Roll, a thin pastry case filled with dry-aged steak tartare, heady with curry leaf and finished with smoked charcoal oil – being highlights, along with pollock in a rich coconut and langoustine broth, and desserts of white chocolate & mango mini Magnums and ghee and cinnamon breudeur.

AULIS

16 St Anne's Ct, London W1F 0BF

Aulis, Simon Rogan’s London chef’s table restaurant, has reopened with more seats (12) as well as a lounge for pre- and post-dinner drinks. Head Chef Charlie Tayer is still looking after the stoves alongside wingman Oli Marlow, Simon’s Exec Chef for the group. The tasting menu, based around British ingredients, uses produce from Simon’s own Lake District farm and tries to be as sustainable as possible, replacing citrus for vinegars and the like. Happily it’s as good as, if not better, than before with dishes like pig and eel donut; crispy chicken skin with Cornish crab; cheese and truffle pudding; crab bone custard with rosehip vinegar and marinated trout roe; peas from Simon’s farm served with beef tendons in broth; and a delicious spin on a cheese course, frozen Tunworth cheese with truffle honey and hazelnut. For a tasting menu experience in London that’s well worth the money (£175 a head) Aulis might just be the most failsafe option there is. Brilliant cooking, interesting wines and just enough story telling to keep you interested but not send you to sleep. All you need to do now is score yourself a seat.

FIREBIRD

29 Poland St, London W1F 8QR

Madina Kazhimova and Anna Dolgushina, the St Petersburg-based restaurateurs who run Wong Kar Wine, have opened low-intervention wine bar and open-fire restaurant Firebird in Soho. The menu includes the likes of tuna tartare with ponzu & cured egg yolk; choux bun with chicken liver pâté & hazelnut; halloumi with truffle & apricot; scallops with mash, truffle, peas & parsley oil; chicken breast with bacon jam & king oyster mushrooms; and baked Alaska with earl grey ice cream. The wine list focuses on natural and biodynamic producers from across Europe and the cocktails are well worth a go, with serves like strawberry-infused mezcal negronis and seaside martinis with oyster shell-infused vermouth on offer.

THE DEVONSHIRE

17 Denman St, London W1D 7HW

The Devonshire was opened by publican Oisín Rogers, the recognisable face and name behind Mayfair’s Guinea Grill until his departure in 2022, and Flat Iron founder Charlie Carroll at the end of 2023 and became an instant hit. It’s based out of a historic inn on Denman Street that dates back to 1793, with a top-quality pub downstairs and a restaurant upstairs (headed up by Ashley Palmer-Watts of The Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston). The food’s all about the restaurant’s wood-ember grill – the menu includes beef chops and ribeyes, Iberico pork ribs, lamb hotpot, creel-caught langoustines, hand-dived scallops and prime day boat fish on offer – but there’s also a selection of bar food, like scotch eggs, bacon sarnies, sausage rolls and cheese & ham hock toasties. It’s also arguably got the best pints of Guinness in town, so it’s worth fighting for that spot at the bar.

CAFE KITTY

Annual arts festival Underbelly has opened the doors to its very own permanent theatre, Underbelly Boulevard, in Soho and it’s got itself a lovely in-house restaurant and cocktail bar in the shape of Cafe Kitty. It comes from the team behind Kitty Fisher’s and Cora Pearl and it has that same glamorous feel, with green velvet banquettes, soft pink walls and vintage glassware. It also has the same approach to food, offering a modern British-European menu filled with simple, comforting dishes. You could dip into the small plates section, which features crowdpleasers like cheese croquettes, steak tartare, Welsh rarebit and Caesar salad, if you just wanted a few bites before catching a show but there are larger dishes if you have time to linger. If it’s on, the chicken, bacon and leek pie is a winner, and the famous crispy potatoes from Cora Pearl are not to be missed.

10 GREEK STREET

10 Greek Street, London W1D 4DH

Given the rate at which restaurants open and close in this city, anywhere that survives more than a couple of years can easily become a classic. It opened in 2012 (so not brand new but certainly not old) yet that’s exactly what it feels like at 10 Greek Street. It also massively helps that there’s some fantastic cooking and an effortlessly convivial atmosphere happening inside. The staff have nailed the art of relaxed service and diners are more than happy to talk across tables – it’s a small restaurant but you don’t actually mind being sat close together. The concept here is simple in that there is no concept; just a daily changing menu, broadly European in style, built around what produce is best and chalked up on the blackboard. The wine list at 10 Greek Street is as well-curated as the food menu. It’s short but varied and there are no crazy mark-ups – you can get glasses under a fiver, which feels like a steal. Great food, great wine, zero pretension, all delivered without blowing a hole in your wallet.

SOMA

If you’re a fan of the cocktails at Kricket, next time you’re at the Soho restaurant be sure to head next door to their cocktail bar SOMA. Named after the Hindu Moon God, SOMA is a modern take on the speakeasy, with most of the space set aside for walk-ins and a closing time of 3am. The 9-metre-long stainless steel bar takes centre stage in the indigo-walled room, where the bar team shake up drinks inspired by the Indian subcontinent. The cocktail list makes use of seasonal ingredients and spices whilst still sticking to a ‘less is more’ ethos, so you can expect drinks like Gooseberry Chaat Margarita (tequila, mezcal, gooseberry salt & chaat masala), a Coconut & Jaggery Old Fashioned (bourbon, jaggery, coconut & mace bitters) and Pickled Mooli Martini (vodka, curry leaf vermouth & lightly pickled mooli).

THE PALOMAR

34 Rupert Street, London W1D 6DN

Getting a table at The Palomar might not be easy, but it’s so worth the effort. The menu brings together the cuisines of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant and their Stone Bass Machluta and Jeresulam Mix of chicken liver, heart & veal sweetbread al-ha-plancha are must orders.

KILN

58 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TL

It was named the UK’s best restaurant at the 2018 National Restaurant Awards and we can confirm that Kiln defo lives up to the hype. The food is inspired by the Thai borderlands, including Burmese and Yunanese spices and flavours, and there’s lots of cooking over an open fire. The jungle curry of brill is a winner (and spicy too) and the clay pot-baked glass noodles are an absolute must-order too.

LINA STORES

18 Brewer Street Soho W1F 0SH

Lina Stores is a bit of a Soho veteran. The Italian deli has been making fresh pasta on the site for over 70 years and is still going strong. They import and sell authentic Italian produce, and continue to make pasta, cakes, hot dishes and sandwiches on site. It’s some of the best pasta around, oh and they do some mighty fine coffee too!

BAOZIINN

BaoziInn - Romilly Street 人民公社, Romilly Street, London

To cut right to the chase, BaoziInn has some of the best dim sum in London. The all-day menu features a range of Cantonese-style dim sum but mixed with a few touches from Sichuan and Hunan. Across the board, the dumplings are well made, fresh, and delicious so you can’t really go wrong… but we do have some top tips. From the ‘steamed’ section get the Fragrant Chilli Pork Baozi in Beetroot Juice Dough, and the Ruby Prawn Dumplings in Beetroot Pastry. From the Cheng Fen rice rolls section there are only two options, but the Dan Dan ‘Chang Fen’ with Minced Pork and Sichuan Preserved Sprout was a winner, and you should definitely get a plate of the classic pork wontons. There’s also a whole other massive menu of noodles and street food dishes too.

BERENJAK

Berenjak, Romilly Street, London

Berenjak is a tiny, pretty uncomfortable, Iranian-inspired kebab restaurant smack bang in the middle of Soho. Here you can have kebabs that would happily form the basis of a death row meal, or at the very least eat without much guilt. Best of all is Berenjak’s tribute to the late-night kebab shop: thin slices of shawarma on chips covered in garlic and chilli sauce. If your local kebab shop made them like this, you wouldn’t only eat them at 2am after nine pints. Other highlights include the Chenjeh Kabab, tender chunks of lamb rump marinated in chilli, yoghurt, and tarragon, and the starter of coal-cooked aubergine.

JUGEMU

3 Winnett Street, Soho, London W1D 6JY

Jugemu is one of those places that you’d walk right by without noticing if you weren’t looking for it. Inside it’s very authentic: tiny, with just a few stools around the counter and a couple of tables and the day’s sushi menu is scrawled on oblong bits of paper and hung up over one wall. The food is fantastic. Ordering is done via tick box menus and it’s a good idea to order quite a bit as dishes are all on the small side. Our faves are the prawn dumplings, the takoyaki – chunks of octopus fried in balls of batter – the duck teriyaki, and the eel omelette. You’re gonna want to save room for plenty of sushi too.

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BAR ITALIA

22 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4RF

Bar Italia is a Soho institution and not much has changed since it opened in 1949. Serving up a damn fine cuppa joe, this Italian cafe is an old favourite and open until 4am every day it will keep you going all night long.

ROBATA

56 Old Compton Street, London W1D 4UE

Robata bills itself as an izakaya, serving a Japanese menu of raw fish, snacks, grilled skewers and bigger dishes cooked on the robata. It’s a small joint but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in flavour. Each dish is an assault on the senses – salty, spicy, sour, creamy, zesty – flavours that will knock out your taste buds, and all that alongside a decent sake selection. It’s naughty, saucy food but if like us you’re a fan of ponzu, yuzu, spicy mayo and chilli then you won’t be disappointed.

ALEX EAGLE STUDIO

6-10 Lexington St, Soho, London W1F 0LB

Alex Eagle Studio contains a little bit of everything and is an Instagrammer’s paradise. Inside you can expect to find clothes from Eagle’s own label, alongside designers KÉJI Denim, Le Kilt, Vita Kin and Courrèges. There’s also some cool jewellery, art and furniture – it’s pretty much a one-stop shop.

BAO SOHO

53 Great Marlborough St, Soho, London W1F 7JT

BAO has been one of the biggest success stories of recent years, going from street food to permanent sites with ease and commanding regular huge queues around the block. The original Soho site is still one of the area’s highlights and a great place to pop in for a quick snack of steamed buns, or make up a full lunch or dinner by adding some larger plates too. The pillow-soft bao buns stuffed with the likes of pork belly and fried chicken are just as good as ever, and the signature pig blood cake with the bright yellow egg yolk is another must-order. BAO already feels like a Soho classic.

PHONICA RECORDS

51 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 7LZ

Soho is filled with loads of amazing record shops, but Phonica is our fave because they do it all – you’ll be able to find everything from rare soul 7″s to library soundtracks to big room house and techno 12″s. And if you don’t believe us Four Tet, Floating Points and Caribou are all regular customers.

EVELYN'S TABLE

28 Rupert St, London W1D 6DJ

Evelyn’s Table is a 15-seat affair in the basement of Soho pub The Blue Posts. Out of the 15 seats, 11 are at a counter around the kitchen and this is where you ideally want to be, so you can see the chefs in action and chat with them throughout the meal. It’s hard to get a booking here but it’s well worth the effort because the food (like smoked eel, served with super soft potato blinis and beetroot; brill with celeriac puree and mushrooms; and tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream) is incredible.

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AXEL ARIGATO

19-23 Broadwick Street, London W1F 0DF

It might look like an art gallery, but Axel Arigato is actually a shop. Their minimalist sneakers are displayed on marbled pedestals, stone podiums, and mirrored surfaces, and the store also stocks unusual Japanese magazines, books and objects. Yes, this one is more than a little bit special.

HUMBLE CHICKEN

54 Frith St, London W1D 4SJ

Angelo Sato first opened Humble Chicken in Soho in 2021 with a focus on yakitori and ‘comb-to-tail’ chicken cookery, and he won us over with tasty skewers, inventive small plates and quick poured pints of Asahi Super Dry. Instead of resting on his laurels, Angelo overhauled the concept (the look of the restaurant hasn’t changed, so it’s still counter dining) and has turned the yakitori-centric offering into a broader Japanese eight-course tasting menu that takes inspo from his heritage, as well as his time spent in top kitchens like Eleven Madison Park and Restaurant Story. He’s showcasing some serious cooking without taking himself too seriously, with playful nods like chicken chopstick holders and piggy face bao buns and top-tier dishes like oysters with citrus kosho beurre blanc and burnt chicken fat; shokupan with chicken liver pate, fermented red cabbage and miso sesame butter; Wagyu Angus short rib served with pickled daikon, yakiniku sauce, barley miso and lettuce leaves; and chicken achilles yakitori with charcoal fat, daikon and kosho.

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PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA

The Prince Charles Cinema might technically be in Leicester Square, but that’s basically Soho and it’s one of the best places in town. Classy it’s not – let’s face it, the place started out life as a porn cinema – but the cinema screens an excellent mix of blockbusters, arthouse films and cult classics with lots of all-nighters and double bills. Get their £15 yearly membership to catch regular £1 screenings and at least £2.50 off every ticket.

STREET FOOD UNION

Rupert St, Soho, London W1D 7PF

Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, rain or shine, street food traders take over Rupert Street and there is no better place to grab lunch. When we’re feeling healthy we get a huge box of salad from Radical Roots and when we’re feeling a bit naughtier Duck ‘n’ Roll or Slingin’Po’Boys tick all the boxes. Come hungry.

GOSH! COMICS

1 Berwick Street, London W1F 0DR
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Gosh! Comics is a must-visit for any comic-book enthusiast. With a huge range of graphic novels and prints, you could easily spend hours browsing here and we bet you don’t go home empty-handed – we never do.

MACHINE-A

13 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 0RH

Machine-A blurs into the background on Brewer Street, but it’s a shop worth visiting. The concept store stocks all the coolest threads including Raf Simons, Gosha Rubchinskiy, Aly, Maison Margiela and A-Cold-Wall – oh, and they have Ken on the curtains of their dressing rooms, what more do you want?

DEAN STREET TOWNHOUSE

69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE

Whether you’re looking for a slap-up meal, a relaxing brunch, cocktails or a room to rest your head Dean Street Townhouse does it all. The 4-storey Georgian townhouse is every bit British and a little bit swish, but perfect for those special occasions.

THIRD SPACE

67 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9ZN

Third Space really does have it all from a hypoxic chamber to a swimming pool, 75 square metres of climbing wall to a suspended glass floor training area. It’s a swishy gym and a place to burn some serious calories, but memberships don’t come cheap so be prepared to dig deep.

ANTIDOTE

Antidote Wine Bar and Restaurant, Newburgh Street, London

Downstairs at Antidote, which is just off Carnaby Street, is more familiar wine bar territory, a casual space where you can enjoy wines by the glass and snacks from a short menu while perched on stools. Upstairs is a more formal, though still relaxed dining room, where an a la carte menu is on offer. You can expect dishes like red mullet and cauliflower in a sweet tomato broth, perfectly-pink Hereford beef, turbot with lovage and sea aster, and caramelised black figs, whipped fresh cheese and damsons. Wine pairings with each course are all perfect, naturally. A four-course tasting menu is £40 here, which, for the quality of food, is an absolute bargain

MURDOCK LONDON

83 Brewer Street, Soho, London W1F 9ZN

Murdock keeps us in ship-shape condition pretty much all the time. The barber shop has an old-school vibe and won’t only sort your beard and barnet out, but also do full-on facial treatments with a good old scrub, hot towels, beard oil, moisturiser and cucumber eye cream – and it’s so worth treating yourself to one.

SALON64

14 Bateman Street, London W1D 3AG

Salon64 is the salon and ‘social hub’ of the future. Set over two floors, it has a bar serving up Vagabond coffees and cocktails, a style bar which features jewellery box mirrors for anyone to swing by and refresh their face whilst in Soho, and fire pits which is where hair is cut, coloured and styled. The fire pits come with charging stations – hell yeah – so you can make sure you’re phone is charged up for all those selfies and social updates.

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BOCCA DI LUPO

12 Archer St, London W1D 7BB

Bocca di Lupo has quickly become a Soho classic since opening in 2008, with its buzzy vibe, ever-changing and ever-crowd-pleasing menu and impressive wine list. The beautifully designed dining rooms and the comfortable, convivial vibes consistently draw mixed crowds of Londoners night after night to dine on some choice Italian food. The menu changes every day, but you can be sure to get plates of delicious fresh pasta, grilled meats and fish, as well as handmade gelati from Gelupo. We definitely recommend getting a seat at the counter, if you can, for a chef’s table experience right at the heart of the action.

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THE TOUCAN

19 Carlisle St, London W1D 3BY

Famous for its exceptionally well-poured and tasty Guinness, The Toucan is definitely the place to come for the black stuff. Some say that there is a tunnel under The Toucan that transports Guinness underground right from Dublin itself. Others say there’s no way. An Irish bar through and through, the place is small, often rammed and bloody good fun.

JOHN SNOW

39 Broadwick St, Soho, London W1F 9QJ

The man who showed the world that cholera was carried and spread via water, Dr John Snow wasn’t just a fan of pubs, but science. Outside the John Snow is a replica of the water pump that was actually the source of a huge cholera epidemic in Soho way back when. The pub itself is a beaut, a traditional beast with dark wood panelling and a big focus on ales. The saloon bar also has a partition in the middle under which you must duck, unless you’re vertically challenged, to pass from one side to the other. The upstairs is huge and more lounge than bar. Downstairs is where it’s at though.

THE OLD COFFEE HOUSE

49 Beak St, Carnaby, London W1F 9SF

On the slightly grimier end of the ‘classic Soho pub’ scale, the rough around the edges vibe of the place is, of course, all part of the charm. Full of old knick-knacks hanging from the ceiling and vintage war posters on the walls, this pub is firmly and resolutely stuck in the past – it doesn’t even have a website, a refreshing two fingers to modernity. In amongst all this though is a bit of a surprise: as well as your Fosters and your Guinness they have a huge range of craft beers from Leyton’s own Bodie’s Brewery (who actually own the place now), so you can enjoy the old school atmosphere with decidedly new-school beer.

THE LYRIC

37 Great Windmill St, London W1D 7LT

The Lyric is a lovely little Victorian pub at the Piccadilly end of Soho. Not far from the theatres of Shaftesbury Avenue, it draws a good crowd of Londoners and in the summer you can even squeeze yourself into the tiny outside area at the top of Ham Yard to watch the world of Soho go by. Inside it’s all classic wood panels, open fires, Victorian prints on the walls and a menu of ales, beers and pub grub.

COACH AND HORSES

The Coach & Horses, Greek Street, London

The Coach and Horses is the second best pub in Soho (after the French House obvs) and sometimes we even prefer it, when we fancy an actual pint for example. The interiors clearly haven’t been touched for a good 40 years and it’s all the better for it with creaky old furniture, frayed carpets and a solid wooden bar. It’s a classic boozer the likes of which you don’t find in central London too much any more – it even has piano singalongs on Wednesdays and Saturdays which are a lot of fun. They also have very comprehensive vegetarian and vegan menus. Here’s hoping The Coach and Horses never changes, as it’s pretty perfect just the way it is.

GELUPO

7 Archer Street, Soho, London

With its blue-and-white tiled decor, you could easily be in Italy and not the middle of Soho. Here, it’s all about authentic Italian gelato made with fresh and natural ingredients. But strictly traditional this ain’t; as well as your classics, Gelupo scoops up the likes of avocado sorbets and mango sticky rice gelati.

COQFIGHTER

75 Beak Street, London W1F 9SS

A fried chicken restaurant on Beak Street… it doesn’t get better than that. At Coqfighter, the chicken comes in the form of tenders, sesame battered wings with soy glaze, fried chicken bao, a new dish of drumsticks with XO chicken gravy, and the famous Coqfighter burgers. On the burger front, it’s hard to beat the Original, with fried thigh, iceberg, pickled red onion, sambal mayo and Korean hot sauce. There’s a crisp coating on the chicken with tender, juicy meat inside, and it’s all punched up nicely by the spicy condiments. If you can’t handle so much heat, the Honey Ginger Buffalo burger swaps the spice for a sweeter sauce. You’ll still have room for some sides, so don’t sleep on the cheesy corn.

FATT PUNDIT

77 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8TH

While there are Indo-Chinese restaurants on the outskirts of London, this style of food is still not very well represented in Central – something Fatt Pundit changed. The Soho spot specialises in fusion food from Tangra in Kolkata, a result of Hakka Chinese immigration into the city from Canton. The fact that you start with momos, steamed dumplings that are commonplace in Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal and Northern India, lets you know you’re in for something a bit different at Fatt Pundit. The Chinese influence on the menu is clear. Chilli and Szechuan pepper both feature heavily and many of the dishes have sticky glazes rather than curry sauces, like the crispy Bombay chilli prawns and the excellent venison in a sweet chilli reduction, served with mantou bread (a Northern Chinese steamed bun). Instead of salt & pepper squid, there’s salt & pepper okra, and the moreish crackling spinach is similar to crispy seaweed, given an Indian twist with sweet yoghurt, date & plum sauce and pomegranates. Don’t miss the lamb chops either – covered in a black bean and masala dust, charred on the outside and buttery soft on the inside. Cocktails continue down the same road; inspired by the traders in India who sell fresh-cut fruit with spices and salts with some Chinese flavours thrown in. This is fusion done right.

ARCADE FOOD HALL

What once was Arcade Food Theatre in the Centre Point building is now Arcade Food Hall, a major food destination run by JKS Restaurants. It’s home to a standalone restaurant, Thai spot Plaza Khao Gaeng run by Luke Farrell, and nine new kitchen concepts – Bebek! Bebek! doing Indonesian night-market food, sushi and omakase at Sushi Kamon, Nepalese street food at Tipan Tipan, the Provisions bakery and deli, fried chicken and smash burgers at Manna, North Indian street food brand Hero, shawarma at Shatta & Toum, and the Jelladrome by Bompas & Parr. Oh, and there’s a central bar serving up beers, wines and cocktails like yuzu sake bombs, tom yam mojitos and nitro martinis. To say there’s a lot of choice here would be an understatement but you can order dishes from all the different kitchens straight to your table so you can mix and match from the menus to your heart’s content (it also makes it a great spot for group dining). Our top tips: don’t miss the Nashville hot tenders from Manna, the beef sate from Bebek! Bebek!, the masala tots from Hero, and the hatay tepsi kebab from Shatta & Toum.

FINLAY & CO

61 Broadwick Street, London, W1F 9QT

Finlay & Co glasses are all handmade in the Italian Alps using Mazzucchelli acetate and Carl Zeiss lenses, and with spectacles starting at £100 (prescription lenses from £50) and sunnies starting at £120, you get a lot of craftsmanship for your money. They have a curated selection of frames from 14 independent brands, including Grey Ant, Cutler & Gross, Prism and Kaleos, as well as their own collection of specs and sunnies. And if you need help picking the perfect pair, the in-store specialists are a dab hand at helping you find the right ones for your face shape, and most styles are unisex so it’s even easier to choose. They also offer in-store eye tests using the latest equipment, which is absolutely amazing – compared to Boots, it’s like a stag do in Amsterdam.

BANCONE

Bancone, William IV Street, London

Bancone is one of the best places to get fresh pasta in London, and the prices aren’t too bad either (considering it’s in central London). Padella may have kicked off the trend, but Bancone is right up there in terms of quality and also takes reservations, meaning no waiting in line like at Padella. Bancone’s Exec chef Ben Waugh guides the team in creating seasonal dishes such as silk handkerchiefs covered in walnut butter and an egg yolk; cacio e pepe; and ravioli filled with beef shin ‘ossobuco’ and covered in saffron butter. They’re all knock-out good.

NIGHTJAR CARNABY

Kingly Court, 49-51 Carnaby St, Carnaby, London W1F 9PY
OPENING HOURS
  • Monday: 6:00 PM – 12:30 AM
  • Tuesday: 6:00 PM – 12:30 AM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 PM – 12:30 AM
  • Thursday: 6:00 PM – 1:00 AM
  • Friday: 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Saturday: 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM
  • Sunday: 4:00 – 9:30 PM

East London speakeasy Nightjar has gone central and opened a second site in Kingly Court. The site of Nightjar Carnaby was the city’s first Black-owned club in the 30s & 40s, before Ronnie Scott took it over in the 50s, and now it plays host to late-night live jazz, blues and swing. Like the original, it’s a low-lit basement space (although with fewer nooks and crannies) with Art Deco interiors adding to the 1920s vibe. The cocktail menu is also split into Pre-Prohibition, Prohibition and Post-War sections, and makes use of vintage spirits and liqueurs as well as some eye-catching glassware.

HOPPERS

49 Frith St, London W1D 4SG

We’re big fans of Hoppers and now that there are three branches we don’t have to queue so much, which makes us like it even more. Obvs the namesake hoppers are a must-order – we love both the string hoppers and the egg hoppers with pol sambol on the side – and the mutton rolls, lamb shank kari and super tender kalupol whole chicken are also winners in our book. Basically, it’s all bloody good and they even have tasting menus for when you really can’t decide on what to order.

BLACKLOCK

30 Rivington St, London EC2A 3DZ

Blacklock brings quality chops to the people of Soho, the City, Covent Garden and Shoreditch. It’s all about the meat here, with a range of steaks, big chops, skinny chops, burgers at lunchtime and specials up on the chalkboard. For us, the best way to go is still the All In, which gets you three varieties of pre-chop bites and you get a pile of perfectly cooked beef, lamb and pork chops sat on top of thick fingers of flatbread, so all those meaty juices run down and soak in, plus sauces and sides. And not forgetting a big spoonful of white chocolate cheesecake scooped right from the bowl. Blacklock also does one of the best Sunday roasts in town and classic cocktails for a fiver. Bring on the meat sweats.

RANDALL & AUBIN

As restaurants and shops come and go in London, it’s nice to know there are some places that have stuck it out and stood the test of time. Randall & Aubin on Brewer Street is one of those places: a Soho institution that was originally founded as a butcher’s shop in 1908 and, since being converted in 1996, it has been one of the area’s most popular restaurants. It’s a classic and cosy space, with many of the original shop fittings on display, with just a touch of ‘Soho’ with a giant mirror ball that hangs from the ceiling. The menu is as classic as the space with a range of beautiful seafood and meats from the grill, it doesn’t get much better than the huge fruits de mer, laden with oysters, crab, shrimp and much more.

YAUATCHA

Broadwick Street, London W1F 0DL

When it comes to the finest dim sum in town, Yauatcha is pretty hard to beat in our book. It now has two locations, the original in Soho and the newer one in Broadgate Circle, and we never tire of going in for some prawn and bean curd cheung fun, xiao long bao, or char sui buns. Admittedly it’s not the cheapest but you can have the Taste of Yauatcha menu, surely one of the most insanely good value eating experiences you can have in London. Aside from dim sum, Yauatcha makes some pretty mean cakes and macaroons too.

KRICKET

Kricket Soho, Denman Street, London

Created by Will Bowlby, who previously worked at The Cinnamon Club, the dishes are inspired by Southern India but use British ingredients and modern flair to bring them up to date – think goat leg raan, Keralan fried chicken, wood pigeon with garlic pickle, Cornish crab meen moilee, duck leg kathi roll, lotus root yakni with morels & lotus root crisps, and rock oyster pakora with rhubarb chutney.

BAR TERMINI

7 Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 5JE

Bar Termini in Soho is the perfect spot for date night cocktails. It’s Italian vibes all round at the small cocktail bar with table service and some of the best Negronis in town – and they come in take-home bottles too. If Negronis ain’t your thing they’ll pretty much shake up anything your heart desires.

MOUNTAIN

Tomos Parry has been successfully marrying up the food of Spain and Wales for five years with Brat, at both the main restaurant in Shoreditch and the site at Climpson’s Arch in London Fields. And he continued that idea with his latest venture, Mountain, which opened on the former Byron site on Beak Street in 2023. Though the ethos here is very similar, Mountain is no carbon copy of Brat, so don’t go expecting those famous whole turbots. Instead the menu reflects a mix of his Welsh heritage and fave Spanish influences using produce from trusted suppliers in Wales and Cornwall, with dishes like raw sobrassada with honey, spider crab omelette, fresh cheese & anchovies, lobster caldereta, mutton chops, Jersey beef rib, wood-fired rice and ensaimada with hazelnut ice cream.

LIBERTY

Liberty is a London icon. It’s a department store steeped in history, featuring six floors of luxury female fashion, emerging menswear designers, homeware, interior accessories and a haberdashery stocked with the much-loved Liberty fabric. As well as all that, Maria Tash (piercer to everyone who’s anyone) has her own parlour inside and there’s a small but very well-stocked food and drink hall too. So if you’re making a trip south of Oxford Street, you have to pay Liberty a visit and wander through the jumble of wood-panelled rooms – yes, even if you’ve been a hundred times before.

INO

INO is all about live-fire cooking, celebrating the Greek tradition of cooking over charcoal, so there’s a large grill in the open kitchen running down the length of the front of the restaurant, complete with counter stools to watch the action from. It’s a small plates menu, and they are small so you can get through a fair bit of them – highlights included the tarama with a handmade pitta for dipping action; the octopus taco, tender meat on a super-thin disc of pitta bread; and the souvlaki, another traditional kebab given an upgrade with Iberico presa. The wine list is all Greek, changing regularly to feature new and exciting producers, so definitely ask for a reccy. INO is a buzzy little spot, which may not have the Greek sunshine but the holiday vibes are definitely there.

DUNNO. CURATED

Founded by a group of mates, Dunno. Curated is an independent, unisex clothing shop in Soho. The team handpick their selection of vintage from global wholesalers and independent curators, as well as their range of handcrafted or upcycled workwear and streetwear and rare trainers. Plus, you’ll find a curated range of desirable designers and brands in-store, including Levi’s 501s, Carhartt, Dickies, Patagonia, Balenciaga, Prada, YSL, Burberry and Stone Island.

GANNI

Danish womenswear brand Ganni, is known for its vibrant pops of colour and playful patterns. Self-described as ‘Scandi 2.0’, Ganni clothes are effortless, cool and contemporary with responsible and sustainable production playing a critical role within the brand. Their Soho location is just as bright and playful as their clothes, transporting you off a grey street to a sunny day in Copenhagen.

BAR CRISPIN

A Central London spin-off bar from Spitalfields fave Crispin, Bar Crispin is all about small-scale producers, seasonal sharing plates and sustainability. The natural wine list leans heavily towards Europe, with bottles coming from across the continent, from Beaujolais to Tenerife. The team is always evolving it too, so once some of the wines are gone, they’re gone for good. Once you’ve got the wine sorted, don’t let the food pass you by – the kitchen is cooking up dishes like native oysters with shallots, anchovy & potato focaccia with salsa verde, beef tartare with smoked egg yolk & puffed wheat berries, flatfish of the day with broad beans & citrus butter, and black garlic ice cream with choc tuile.

BEASY

58 Greek St, London W1D 3DY

After turning a Soho barbershop into a speakeasy-style cocktail bar Beasy in 2019, founder Gabriel Iliopoulos gave the space a revamp in 2022, adding outdoor seating on Greek Street, a hidden bar (essentially your own private living room) available for events, and a new food menu. That means as well as signature cocktails – we’re talking spicy margs, mezcal negronis and pornstar martinis – you can tuck into corn ribs, smacked cucumber with goma dressing, fried chicken with furikake and sweet mustard, tater tots loaded with gherkins and crispy onions, and a range of gourmet hot dogs.

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