Our curated roster of places to sleep, eat and play in the British capital right now. Indagare’s Emma Pierce reports.
One of the world's most dynamic capitals, London is always buzzing with news, and hotels and restaurants open at an astonishing rate. This season, the diverse highlights include everything from a highly anticipated hotel and a stylish Indian barbecue spot to an architecturally stunning shopping complex. Plus, we round up the shows and exhibits to see now.Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to London. Our dedicated trip designers can match you with the best restaurants and hotels for you.
Never short on luxury hotels, London is welcoming properties that aim to challenge the city’s classics. Situated between Knightsbridge and Chelsea, the Belmond brand’s Cadogan Hotel opens later this year with 54 rooms and suites in an 1887 residence that was once home to Oscar Wilde and socialite/actress Lillie Langtry, Edward VII’s mistress before he became king. Offering a charming escape for couples and families, it will include a fine-dining restaurant, a bar, a tea lounge and a spa and fitness center and also provide access to the private Cadogan Place Gardens and tennis courts.
Located in the Holborn neighborhood, the just-opened L’oscar is a sexy boutique property housed in a former Baroque church and designed by the acclaimed Jacques Garcia, who has also worked on Paris’s Hôtel Costes, Marrakech’s La Mamounia and New York City’s NoMad Hotel. Its 39 guest rooms are individually appointed and feature such elements as oversized headboards in black, gold and crimson, fringed velvet settees and vintage moldings.
Late last year, the glitzy Bloomsbury hotel relaunched following a transformative renovation. Housed in a 1928 brick building, it has 164 elegant, classically designed rooms, but the pièce de résistance is the Coral Room bar. Designed by Martin Brudnizki (who also did the interiors of London’s legendary private club Annabel’s), the space is decidedly bold, with high ceilings, jewel-toned velvet couches, sparkling chandeliers, a crackling fireplace and bright red walls. Offering an extensive menu of playful, pretty cocktails, it’s a perfect pre-dinner option for hotel guests and locals alike.Related: Best Afternoon Teas in London
Brigadiers, the latest from the team behind Gymkhana and Hoppers, has several dining spaces, all serving dishes inspired by the bars and taverns of India. Patrons can feast on tandoori chicken club sandwiches, chili cheese naan, Afghani lamb kebab skewers and more while playing pool or billiards, lounging on the terrace, watching live sports on the telly in the bar or catching up with friends in the dining room. In Fitzrovia, lauded Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s Rovi offers a café atmosphere and lighter, veggie-focused fare, including slow-roasted cauliflower with crispy chickpeas, tahini and fermented chili salsa. The two-story Covent Garden restaurant Cora Pearl, the second restaurant from the team behind Kitty Fisher’s, offers snacks such as Montgomery cheese toasties and larger dishes like fish stew.
A big-name Mayfair newcomer is Hide by Ollie Dabbous, comprising a bar, a bakery and a restaurant, each occupying a different floor in the three-story building and named appropriately, Below, Ground and Above, respectively.
This August also welcomed the return of Alphabet, a former Soho favorite that closed five years ago and is now open in Islington. The bar and restaurant serves Mediterranean sharing plates and a curated menu of exquisite cocktails from one of London’s top mixologists.
For the past 75 years, the Lina Stores delicatessen has been a Soho staple for gourmet Italian groceries. Now, just a few doors down is a restaurant of the same name where visitors can indulge in a proper meal. The menu focuses on handmade pasta, but don’t miss the antipasti, which includes delicious plates like baby octopus with crispy lemon and garlic.
For a dose of London history, enjoy a meal at the esteemed Brown’s Hotel, once frequented by Winston Churchill, Rudyard Kipling, Agatha Christie and the like. The property recently launched Beck at Brown’s, helmed by Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck, which serves such Italian fare as cacio e pepe with lime-marinated shrimp and grilled Ibérico pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes. Before or after dining, pop next door to the hotel’s speakeasy-style Donovan Bar, which was just renovated and has the largest privately owned collection of photographs by Sir Terence Donovan.Related: Top Tables London
The show everyone is discussing this fall is the National Portrait Gallery’s “Michael Jackson: On the Wall,” on view through October 21. The exhibition, which opened this summer in conjunction with what would have been Michael Jackson’s 60th birthday, showcases art inspired by the music icon. On through January 2019 at the Victoria and Albert Museum, “Fashioned from Nature” examines the relationship between fashion and the environment and how they have influenced each other, from the 1600s to the present day.
Photography is having a moment in the British capital. The V&A Photography Centre launches on October 12 and will showcase the museum’s collection of more than 300,000 works, including some of the most famous images in the world, such as Cecil Beaton’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Lewis Morley’s of Christine Keeler. Later in the year, Stockholm’s Fotografiska museum is opening a 89,000-square-foot outpost, the largest institution dedicated to photography in the British capital. It will display works by the same big names that have been exhibited in the original location, including Helmut Newton, David LaChappelle and Annie Leibovitz.
In the West End, Tina: The Musical, which chronicles Tina Turner’s life and musical career, debuted last spring to great acclaim and continues to draw crowds. Opened in July and directed by Sam Mendes, the three-actor play The Lehman Trilogy recalls the lives of bankers Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman, and their firm’s collapse into bankruptcy. With brilliant turns from actors Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles, the play runs through October 20. One of the fall’s most anticipated shows is Company, a gender-reversed production of Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical that will star Patti LuPone and open on October 10. And now through November 3, Ian McKellen revives the lead in Shakespeare’s epic tragedy King Lear.
The fall’s most talked-about style debut may be Coal Drops Yard, designed by Heatherwick Studio, the firm behind Cape Town’s Zeitz MOCAA. In the 1850s, the yard received trains of coal from northern England, and remnants from its former use—cobbled streets, ironwork, viaducts—have been incorporated into the complex, which will comprise 65 shops, including a Tom Dixon flagship boutique, restaurants and an elevated walkway similar to New York City’s High Line. The just-opened restaurant, Coal Office Restaurant, has been earning rave reviews.Contact Indagare for assistance planning a trip to London. Our dedicated trip designers can match you with the best restaurants and hotels for you.
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