We could list all the festive pop-ups but we’ve been-there-done-that so here is an outside of the box guide to places that will really hit the spot when your fingers are numb from carrying shopping bags, you’re sweaty from trying things on, freezing as soon as you go back outside and all you really need is a drink and a bite to eat. Here’s a great little round up of places that will hit the spot whether that drink you need is alcoholic, caffeinated or you just want to stop your tummy rumbling at the checkout…
What: Sharing plates in Soho
Why: Just off Regent Street and a few metres from Carnaby Street, NOPI brings Soho a taste of the Mediterranean, Middle East and Asia. Of course it does – it is from the team behind Ottolenghi. A little more glam than the Ottolenghi delis, NOPI is a nutritious yet informal way to get the blood rushing back to your feet after hours of pounding pavements. We recommend a few sharing plates of tumeric roasted cauliflower, pork belly with crushed pumpkin and spiced buttermilk cod and then a pudding to boost your sugar levels.
Where: 21-22 Warwick Street, Soho, W1B 5NE
What: Department store Japanese Izakaya
Why: Scott Hallsworth’s Japanese bar and grill is now nicely settled in to the fifth floor of Harvey Nichols. Tapas style small plates mean you won’t leave too stuffed because let’s face it, after an hour of ‘time out’ you have to get back into the game and lethargic food comas aren’t the answer. Soft shell crab tempura, garlic chicken katsu and wagyu sliders provide the perfect boost.
Where: Harvey Nichols 5th Floor, 109-125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ
Bond Street (0.3 miles)
What: Luxurious and festive champagne afternoon tea
Why: In a word? Tree. Claridge’s is one of the most iconic London hotels at Christmas and this year their famous Christmas tree is designed by Christopher Bailey of Burberry. Settle in to the Foyer surrounded by your shopping bags for a festive afternoon tea complete with turkey finger sandwiches, Christmas pudding and White Christmas speciality tea or take the meaning of recharging a bit further and spend the night (your credit card may need a rest even if you don’t). Waking up to freshly baked pastries and a welcome bottle of champagne sounds pretty dreamy to us and the shopping can continue for a second day.
Where: Brook Street, Mayfair, London, W1K 4HR
What: Relaxed French dining
Why: Conveniently located all over London (Brompton Cross just by Harrods, Kensington High Street near the shops, in Selfridges). Nip in for a pastry pre-shop, slice of cake mid-afternoon a sharing platter or the full menu catering to any level of hunger – you won’t feel out of place if you just want something small. The interiors resemble a rustic French farmhouse with a glamorous edge.
Where: 260-262 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, SW3 2AS
Mews of Mayfair
Bond Street (0.3 miles)
What: Courtyard dining just off New Bond Street
Why: Down a passageway a few steps from the gorgeous lights on South Molten Street and New Bond Street, Mews of Mayfair is no secret but when you discover it for the first time you’ll feel like you’re the only person who knows of it’s existence. Not only does it’s location make it a great Christmas shopping stop-off, sitting in the courtyard under a blanket with a glass of red feels particularly festive. Food-wise the menu is varied and a Christmas themed afternoon tea; turkey cranberry sandwiches, mince pies and sherry trifle add to the festivity.
Where: 10 Lancashire Court New Bond Street W1S 1EY
Riding House Cafe
What: Pre-shop brunch
Why: If you can’t even begin to think of the ‘S’ word (shopping) before food has passed your lips then you can’t go wrong with brunch at Riding House Cafe. Plonk yourself on a blue leather bar stool and load up with brioche french toast or Earl Grey poached fruit – careful though, you won’t want to leave. If you’re more of an all day brunch type of person, food is served till 4pm on weekends so you can stop off there a bit later on.
Where: 43-51 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia, W1W 7PQ
Dean Street Townhouse
Tottenham Court Road (0.4 miles)
What: End-of-day reward
Why: The crowds you were battling minutes before seem like a distant memory the minute you walk through the elegant dark grey door of Dean Street Townhouse. Whilst tables outside are in high demand in the warmer months, come winter the cosiness of the panelled walls and velvet armchairs can’t be denied so head here for a Dean Street Club Bombay Sapphire cocktail or a warming Winter Bison Zubrowka, lemon and egg white cocktail once the sun has set and the lights are glistening.
Where: 69-71 Dean Street, London, W1D 3SE
Imperial Wharf (0.8 miles)
What: Chelsea establishment
Why: It’s rare that ‘Kings Road’ and ‘Bluebird’ aren’t mentioned in the same sentence so if you are heading to SW3 for your shopping, it’s only right that you kill two birds with one stone (sorry) and check out the shop as well as the restaurant. Their Christmas Courtyard is serving baked camembert, honey roasted figs and mince pies, cocktails in the bar and a longer A la Carte menu if you want a break from the festivities.
Where: 350 Kings Road, Chelsea, London, SW3 5UU