soho | postcode food walk
city| london (W1)
Pure razzle-dazzle, a place to see and be seen: in the heartland of tourist London you'll find a labyrinthine of streets that earns London its reputation as a global food city.
Begin your walk at St James's (near Green Park tube station) home to the London Ritz and all things royal. Experience the airs and graces of St James's, the dapper attire of Jermyn Street as well as 200 years’ worth of traditions at cheesemonger Paxton &Whitfield (no. 93). Pop into Fortnum and Mason (181 Piccadilly) supermarket to the Queen, as you’re sure to find something quintessentially English in which replenish your larder.
With your royal seal of approval, the irreverence of Soho awaits beginning with Dover Street Market (7-18 Dover Street). This fashion incubator has been playing with the edges of fashion since opening in 2004. Upstairs on the 5th floor is Rose Bakery and Labour and Wait, showing that good design extends to the simplest of home-wares and ingredients. (If you want to merger your fashion with your royalty, then continue to the Royal Arcade to Charbonnel et Walker (One The Royal Arcade), the favourite chocolatier of the late Queen Mother, whom was said to be partial to a violet cream. To get there, pass by (Sir) Paul Smith (9 Albemarle Street), an icon of British fashion for his contemporary interpretation of English tailoring.)
From here head straight to Beaker Street, tucked just behind Piccadilly Circus. In this urban kaleidoscope, identities collide and cross. The old blends with the new, designs converge, separate and then remix. So abandon all direction and follow this course of streets, walking down a laneway here, taking a shortcut there. If you end up at Regent Street, Shaftesbury, Oxford Street or Charing Cross Road, simply turn around and head back in. On your travels look out for the Nordic Café (14a Golden Square) and its celebrated cinnamon rolls (best when they come straight from the oven), the tapas bar of Fernandez & Wells (73 Beak Street), the famously quaint Maison Bertraux (28 Greek Street), and Gelupo for ice cream (7 Archer Street).
Visit the Algerian Coffee Stores (52 Old Compton Street) for its very own breakfast blend and while there, I Camisa & Son (61 Old Compton Street) for the best Italian sausages. Nearby Bar Italia (22 Frith Street) offers a La Dolce Vita experience in London, whereas back at 18 Brewer Street be tempted by the fresh pasta at Lina Stores. If you’re lucky, you might catch the Soho Flea Market as I did in June, when Dean Street goes market.
In this metropolis of activity, treasures are to be found like the psychedelic sweet frothy delights of Meringue Girls (@ meringue_girls) and the quirky upcycled china of Melody Rose (@MelodyRose_UK). Otherwise, if you need a break, try Flat White at number 17 Berwick Street or alternatively at no.45 Yumchaa tea house. Visit Cloth House (no. 98) for inspired table wares while in the heart of the garment district.
Exaggerated and vertiginous, Soho offers a heady food and design experience. So grab a map, throw caution to the wind, and explore.
for your address book
Bar Italia, 22 Frith Street London W1D 4RP Tel. 020 7437 4520
Nordic cafe, 14A Golden Square W1F 9JG Tel.020 3230 1077
Rapha Cycle Club, 81 Brewer St W1F 0RH Tel. 020 74949 831
Gelupo, 7 Archer Street W1D 7AU Tel. 020 7287 5555
Fernandez & Wells, 43 Lexington Street, W1F 9AL
Fernandez & Wells, 73 Beak Street W1F 95R Tel. 020 7287 8124
Yumchaa, 45 Berwick Street, W1F 8SF Tel 020 7209 9641
Gerry's Wines & Spirits, 74 Old Compton Street W1D 4UW Tel. 020 7734 2053
Flat White, 17 Berwick Street, W1F 0PT Tel. 020 7734 0370
Paxon & Whitfield, 93 Jermyn Street SW1Y 6JE, Tel. 020 7930 0259
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly London W1A 1ER Tel. 0845 300 1707
I Camisa & Son, 61 Old Compton Street W1D 6HS Tel. 020 7437 7610
Algerian Coffee store, 52 Old Compton Street W1D 4PB Tel. 020 7437 2480
Lina Stores, 18 Brewer Street W1F 0SH Tel. 020 7437 6482
The Cloth House, 98 Berwick Street, W1F 0QJ Tel 020 7287 1555