As London is our hometown, it was only natural that our very first entry to begin this global guide was our favourite city in the world, the capital which is the source of much of our design inspiration and the place where IZAAK AZANEI was born. London has an incredible and authentic charm, unlike anywhere else in the world. Rich in beauty, culture and diversity, one thing we love about London is its ability to cater to so many moods, vibes, preferences and people. From the rustic charms of Notting Hill, to the artsy hubs in the East - there quite literally is something for everyone and being born and raised in England, we have countless tips and endless recommendations for this wonderful city.
We hope you enjoy it.
K, R & D x
WHERE TO GO:
London is home to some of the best markets in the world. Whilst we'd love to properly describe each and every one, we thought we might leave that for you to discover on your own with just a few helpful tips from us. Portobello Market (in Notting Hill) has some amazing vintage stores where you can pick up all kinds of one off pieces. Arugably the best food market in London, every food stand in Maltby Street Market (by Tower Bridge) is worth trying, we struggle to pick a favourite, but our go-to stands are the waffles and gyoza. Try out Dumpling Shack at Broadway Market for the best xiao long bao (soupy dumplings) in London. Head to Columbia Road Flower Market (near Brick Lane) to add some colour to your day - this is one of the prettiest streets in London and is perfect for a feel-good Sunday. Check out Bread Ahead in Borough Market (by London Bridge) for one of the yummiest donuts you'll ever try. Remember, calories don't count on the weekend.
Lights of Soho
35 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 0RX
Described as a cultural hub for Soho’s creative community, Lights of Soho is quite truly the brightest gallery in town. LIGHTyears away from what it once was (a brothel and a porn shop), this gallery is home to some of the coolest pieces of art, with a good range of affordable pieces from emerging artists. Walls are ablaze with works by the likes of Lauren Baker, Tracey Emin and the late Chris Bracey. Soho is a particular favourite to us, and home to two of our IZAAK AZANEI campaigns. The area is filled with hidden gems, underground bars and edgy boutiques with pieces you'll rarely find elsewhere in the city. One such place is So High Soho on Berwick Street - this little store houses quite literally every single thing you can think of - from candles to art pieces, sunglasses and even Halloween costumes.
9 Maddox St, Mayfair W1S 2QE
Four floors of a Victorian townhouse have been dedicated to display the most amazing collection of contemporary and modern art. Made famous by a certain nude portrait of Donald Trump which was banned in the US, this gallery showcases some of the world’s most internationally acclaimed and emerging artists. What's inside is just as good as what's outside the gallery, with their incredible exterior displays changing from season to season. This is a must for any art lover and a perfect way to spend the afternoon. Sorry, we’re not sorry Mr President.
1 Tracey Farm Cottages, Great Tew, Chipping Newton OX7 4JS
Perfect for a weekend stay or even just a day trip, Soho Farmhouse is a must for anyone visiting London. Set in 100 acres of tame farmland in Oxford, it’s well worth the trip down for a truly enchanting experience. Whether it’s lunch in the Main Barn, a quick dip in the indoor / outdoor pool, a stroll in the never-ending green or a boat ride – the list of things to do is long and varied ensuring that there's something for anyone of any age. You’ll (reluctantly) leave feeling rejuvenated and already looking forward to your next visit back.
WHERE TO STAY:
The Connaught Hotel:
Carlos Pl, Mayfair, London W1K 2AL
Home to the only Aman Spa in London and the first Aman Spa to be built outside the infamous Aman resorts, The Connaught effortlessly combines discreet English ambiance with the contemporary 5-star touches expected by the modern traveller. Perfectly placed within the heart of Mayfair, expect to come back to one of the best Martini’s you’ll ever try in the hotel's very own Connaught Bar after a long day of shopping, one of our favourite spots for an intimate drink with a friend. The hotel is also famed for its quintessentially British afternoon tea - a must for any tea and scones lover. Located on Mount Street off of Berkley Square, amongst some of London's finest boutiques including Goyard and Louboutin, it is in the ultimate location just a stone's throw away from New Bond Street, Selfridges, a handful of the best restaurants in town and a walkable distance from Knightsbridge (if the weather's on your side).
Ham Yard Hotel
1 Ham Yard, Soho, London W1D 7DT
This oh-so-quirky hotel is perfectly placed in between Mayfair and Soho. Expect a hotel-meets-art-gallery vibe with walls adorned with neon light installations and Howard Hodgkin paintings. The hotel even features its own bowling alley, you know in case you're suffering from jet lag or something. According to Kit Kemp, the design director of the hotel, 'people are jaded by travel, they've seen everything, it's about an element of surprise'.
WHERE TO EAT:
La Petite Maison:
54 Brook's Mews, Mayfair, London W1K 4EG | 020 7495 4774
With some restaurants, it’s necessary to know what to order and what not to order. It is safe to say that at LPM, nothing’s off the table – quite literally. Famed for using only the freshest ingredients in town, LPM is a must for any foodie and is one of our top picks for a long Saturday brunch. Discreetly housed in a small alley in the heart of Mayfair, you can be easily fooled into underestimating the lively, up-beat atmosphere inside. Must-try dishes include the snails in garlic butter, the melanzane with prawns, truffle pasta (when it's in season) and the burrata. Last but most definitely not least, possibly the most delicious dessert in London and perhaps the best French toast you’ll ever try: the Pain Perdu. This truly is a culinary treat - bon appétit!
74 Welbeck St, Marylebone, London W1G 0BA | no reservations
We present to you the best burger joint in London. It may be the darkest and dingiest restaurant in town (where you can expect to queue for over an hour at peak times), but this is hands down one of the best (& most sinful) meals in London. All we want you to do is go there and order the Buffalo chicken burger, the hippie fries, the onion rings and that oh so gooey mud pie. Done. Enjoy. You can thank us later. Disclaimer: go wearing sweatpants and preferably old clothes (you will leave smelling slightly like fries, but it's definitely worth it).
The Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA | 020 7629 9988
Available to anyone at any time either within the restaurant itself or by the bar (we prefer to eat at the bar when we're heading out after dinner), each visit at China Tang offers superb food in an exquisite setting with impeccable service. This restaurant holds particular significance for us, as it's the one place in London we usually celebrate all major family milestones - big birthdays, engagements, anniversaries. Unlike most hotel restaurants, China Tang has a warm and inviting atmosphere and is a go-to for many locals in the area. Our top recommendations are the Peking duck, BBQ pork pastries and the Shanghai dumplings to start and both the lobster noodles and the steamed fish with ginger and spring onion for mains. Not forgetting the Toffee Temptation for dessert (if you know, YOU KNOW).
Mount Street Deli
100 Mount St, Mayfair, London W1K 2TG
Under the umbrella of Caprice Holdings, along with Scotts and The Ivy, The Mount Street Deli is a cosy and quaint little eatery housed on our favourite street in Mayfair. Saturday mornings sat on a table outside with a coffee and cake are almost a ritual, and if you're around over the Christmas period, there is no better deli in London with more beautiful decorations. From their delicious salads to their incredible selection of cakes and pastries, MSD is quintessentially British with their produce principally sourced from within Britain itself. Sit back, relax and unwind with a coffee (and a cake or 3) as you carelessly people watch your day away.
Harry’s Dolce Vita
27-31, Basil St, Knightsbridge, London SW3 1BB | 020 3940 1020
The latest venture from Caprice Holdings, which brought you Harry’s Bar, The Ivy and Sexy Fish. It’s…cosy. Putting it nicely. The menus can easily blanket a small table, but the food is good and the vibe is great. We’ve never experienced bad service, which unfortunately in London is becoming a rarity. The truffle arancini balls are to die for as is Harry’s Spaghetti Seafood (extra chilli & garlic, of course) with the Tiramisu and the Parmiagiano Reggiano for dessert.
36 – 40 Rupert Street, London, London W1D 6DW | 020 3019 3460
Located on Rupert Street (home to another of our favourites, XU) is Horvada – an Aegean inspired restaurant / bar / club. Personally, we’re huge fans of the food and every visit requires an order of the tuna tartare, beetroot salad, octopus and tzatziki as well as the lamb for mains. However, this restaurant has a reputation of having a pricey menu. As a compromise, we suggest going for light bites and drinks as this place gets super vibey post 10pm. Yes, we’re talking a full on DJ situation which, from experience, doesn’t make the best place for group conversation. It doesn’t disappoint and is always a pleasure to venture into Soho.
165 Sloane St, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 9QB | 020 3096 0222
Having just reopened their doors on London’s Sloane Street after what felt like years, Sumosan Twiga is a must for any sushi lover. The restaurant combines classic Italian dishes with Sumosan’s signature cuisine. The T&T roll (tuna & truffle), Albermarle roll, lobster salad and chocolate fondant all washed down with the Sumosan punch are just a few of our favourites!
16 Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9DP | no reservations
sitting on backless stools around an open “kitchen bar” in the middle of Neal’s Yard, you may be wondering why we included this on our travel guide. Wait. Wait until your food arrives. The menu is small in size but HUGE in flavour. This is one of the very best restaurants in London in terms of quality of the food. It truly does not disappoint.
6-7A Stoney St, London SE1 9AA | no reservations
Known as the Kings of the Soho food scene, the Hart brothers have brought a Mexican revolution to London. Sister restaurant of the equally incredible Barrafina (a tiny and casual joint in Soho which recently received a Michelin star), El Pastor is a tasty taqueria located near London Bridge. Everything on this menu is worth trying, especially their EP Bounty bar dessert.
14A Old Compton St, Soho, London W1D 4TJ | 020 7734 7492
Dubbed as the pop-up that everyone wanted to stay, this truly is food for the soul. With sister restaurants Bone Daddies and Flesh & Buns, Ross Shonhan seamlessly strikes third time lucky. Whilst the food is asian/fusion, the serving style is tapas, allowing you to order many dishes for the table. Each dish has been thoughtfully prepared to perfection and you’ll definitely be back for more Korean fried wings (our favourite wings in London), we guarantee it.
42 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JH | 020 3011 5900
A meal at Gymkhana is an education. With the unique interior of dark oak wood panelling and wall lamps made of cut glass from Jaipur – diners are transported to what seems like an Indian speakeasy, right in the heart of Mayfair. Nestled on one of our favourite streets, Albermale Street, there is also great shopping in the area, including the talked-about Victoria Beckham store on Dover Street (one of our favourite interiors of a store in London), as well as the new Elie Saab boutique. Back to the food! Must have dishes include the truffle biryani, goat curry, black daal and duck dosa. The food is heavy though, so expect an afternoon of nothingness post your indulgence.
14-16 Queensway, Paddington, London W2 3RX | 020 7727 9012
Even at less than obvious times, this restaurant is always overflowing and never fails to disappoint. On every table, expect to see the most delicious lobster noodles, a dish that they are renowned for (we recommend them in spring onion and ginger). This is a must try in London with the friendliest staff and a very relaxed Sunday vibe - if you know, you know. Our top tips: make a booking and go hungry.
30 Rupert St, London W1D 6DL | 020 3319 8147
Not quite Soho, not quite Chinatown, XU is a place of its own entirely. Everything is worth trying here on both the food and drinks menu. We’ve never tried a bad dish nor had a bad meal at this restaurant. Our go-to dishes each time include the Taro Dumplings, Char Siu Iberico Pork and the Black Mountain Goose. If you are reading this, you are most likely after somewhere good to go. Look no further than XU.
31 Peter Street, Soho, London, W1F 0AR | no reservations
Ramen is the ultimate comfort food, and this restaurant houses the best bowl of ramen we've had so far in London. A trip to Bone Daddies is a must for any out-of-towner, especially in the colder months, when a hearty bowl of soup can cure just about anything. What started as a small menu with a nice selection of ramens and a few appetisers has now expanded three-fold - offering asian comfort food favourites like korean wings, sticky ribs (one of the best appetitisers on the menu), crispy soft shell crab and yellow tail sashimi - all alongside a much wider selection of ramen. Again, this is a restaurant that tends to get crowded at peak hours so expect to queue, although there are plently of bars in the area (around Old Compton Street) to keep you occupied whilst you wait. Top tip: the Tantanmen (spicy ramen)!
123 Clarendon Rd, London W11 4JG | 020 3321 5400
Known for its beautiful interiors, on Notting Hill's famed Clarendon road, Casa Cruz has quite quickly become the go-to spot. Opened in 2016 by restauranteur Juan Santa Cruz, the vibe is distinctly intimate, where "people can meet friends, fall in love, and do business". Known more for it's ambiance, smoking patio and beautifully dressed clientele as opposed to the food, it nevertheless is the ultimate London hangout on a Thursday or Friday night. Top tip: book in advance.
299 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W10 5TD | 020 8968 4590
Brought to us from the pueblos of Mexico to London's Notting Hill, get ready to down a jug or 2 of icy cold margaritas and soak it all up with the yummiest tacos around (extra guac please). With a live DJ and their little in house club, this is the perfect place for a fun night with friends that you definitely won't remember. The food is quick, simple and delicious, the drinks are strong, and the music is banging.
Shepherds Market, 46 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7UH |020 7491 3777
We were in two minds about adding this one to the list, because it quite literally is one of Mayfair's best kept secrets. This tiny little restaurant is tucked away in Shepherd's Market on a small alley and is not the most appealing looking restaurant by any means. We'd been tempted to try this place for years before finally giving in, and we can safely say that Yazu has some of the best sushi rolls in London. The restaurant seats around 12 people, with everyone seated around one conveyor belt which brings the sushi rolls to you. Unlike your typical Yo Sushi conveyor belt style restaurant, the rolls are actually made in front of you and are incredibly fresh, you can also ask the chef (who is right infront of you making everything on the spot) to make any roll fresh for you. For all the truffle lovers out there, some of their best rolls are infused with truffle mayo and are excellent. The place is very casual, reasonably affordable (given its postcode) and very quick. You will be in and out within 40 minutes tops. Must-try dishes: the spicy tuna roll and the seared salmon with truffle nigiri.
WHERE TO PLAY:
2-5 Hertford St, Mayfair, London W1J 7RB
Featuring a bar made of shells and a huge stuffed giraffe, there really is something for everyone in this exclusive haven of luxury. With the 80’s music, get ready to be taken back to yesteryear and carelessly dance the night away. The beautiful décor designed by Rifat Ozbek is one to be remembered, no matter how many lychee martinis you drink.
1 Ebor St, London E1 6AW
Located in a converted warehouse in East London, Shoreditch House offers its members the perfect place to let loose. Nick Jones’ other houses all share the same cool, minimalist wood and glass interiors. So whether it’s a drink at the bar, a bite at the restaurant or a dip in the heated rooftop pool - you’re guaranteed to have a good night surrounded by the coolest and quirkiest locals. It's also one of our favourite meeting places in the City. Filled with creatives from all avenues and industries, you feel completely inspired almost instantly.
46 Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 5AT
Society restaurateur Richard Caring has transformed this club to what is once was. Forget the cosy, vaulted original Annabels, and welcome a four-floor haven with possibly the most overly instagrammed bathroom in the world (a kind note to please NOT be one of those people). Martin Brudnizki, designer of Sexy Fish, was awarded the task of designing the space and to say he did good would be a huge understatement. It really is something to see when in London, so grab a member and check it out.
26 Albermarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4HY | 020 3096 9292
Following the wild success of his first joint, Casa Cruz, Juan Santo Cruz recently opened restaurant-bar-club Isabel, which has almost instantly become the place to be on a Friday night. With stunning interiors almost reminiscent of the inside of a super-yacht, and an ambiance of equal calibre to match, you can see quite easily why Isabel has become the new hot-spot. The restaurant features two floors, with the top floor housing a large central bar, with tables dotted around the bar spilling over into a hidden private section; and an underground floor with dark woody interiors, an impressive wine collection and more of a loungey/club atmosphere. If booking for dinner, we highly recommend opting to sit downstairs - the atmosphere is far cooler, although when booking they will tell you that it's invitation only (which is not the case). Whilst the food is definitely not on par with London's finest culinary offerings, the menu is heavy on fish and salads, and makes for a nice place to eat a light meal before heading on for more drinks. And the underground lounge makes for the perfect place to pass a Saturday night with friends. Book in advance.
The Arts Club:
40 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4NP
Inside a Georgian building on Mayfair’s Dover Street you will find, relatively unassumingly, The Arts Club. What we love most at this place is not so hidden in the basement: the supper club. Here, you will encounter one of the best live bands we’ve ever heard who effortlessly combine old school classics with all the latest jams. The thing that makes the Arts Club so unique in London is that any any point of the day there is a vibe. Whether it's for a breakfast meeting, a coffee date, drinks on their beautiful terrace, brunch or dinner - the place is always buzzy, and the food is one of the most consistent in London. Our must-try recommendations include the octopus in tomato relish, the tuna tartare, the burrata and the lentil salad. It seems that this place has it all – great music, great drinks, great food, and of course, great art too. Recommendation: go for a lazy Sunday brunch, and order at least three deserts.
The Box London:
Walker's Ct, Soho, London W1F 0SD
Beyond the medieval looking door on a dark alley in Soho lies "London’s seediest club". Welcome to The Box. Notoriously known for their 'theatre of varieties', in truth The Box offers the cheapest of thrills for the most expensive of tastes, all to be enjoyed with possibly the best Hip Hop playlist from every era. You really need to see it to believe it. WARNING: Viewer Discretion Strongly Advised!