Gastronomy is described as the practice or art of choosing, cooking and eating good food, and there’s no better city in which to eat well than London. Today’s home movers are looking for delis, street food markets and secret supper clubs alongside traditional restaurants to fulfil their food desires.
“It’s something we’re noticing while we’re completing orientation research and consultations,” comments Alex Hancock at Klippa Relocation. “While chain restaurants and big brands provide a great backbone to the London food scene, we’re finding our clients are more excited by fresh ideas, artisan producers and boundary-pushing new openings.”
Increasingly neighbourhoods are being defined by the types of restaurants, grocers and markets that line the streets, with gentrification being defined by the presence of a cold-brew coffee shop, Korean food cart or rare-breed butcher. If you’re relocating professionals it’s therefore essential to keep on top of London’s dining scene, especially if clients will be expected to entertain.
Prime Central London remains the heart for haute cuisine, brimming with Michelin-starred restaurants and top chefs. New openings this summer include Eneko at One Aldwych, where Eneko Atxa (the chef from Azurmendi, voted one of the world’s top 50 restaurants) will cook Basque cuisine, and Aquavit – a new name purveying high-end Nordic food in St James’ Market. Excitement is also building around an autumn opening for Clare Smyth – Gordon Ramsay’s protégé who is going it alone, as well as the return of super chef Nuno Medes and his Viajante restaurant, re-opening at Metropolitan Wharf.
Recently regenerated areas are also proving attractive to culinary masters: “Just look at King’s Cross and Paddington,’ adds Alex. Redevelopment has enabled these areas to create ‘foodie’ quarters that become a central focus for residents and visitors. We’ve seen ambitious plans to create a similar set-up over in Wapping at London Dock, which is a brilliant place for relocation as it lies so close to City Airport.”
As well as chefs, big brands continue to use London as its testbed. Upscale coffee pod company Nespresso is launching its first UK shop in the City’s Cheapside district, where 11 Grand Cru coffees will be served alongside coffee mocktails and a premium food menu designed especially to complement the different beverages.
Fringe areas, such as Shepherd’s Bush, Hoxton, Peckham and Borough, continue to fly the flag for innovation, with independent restaurants, fusion food, pop up ventures and markets where new combinations and cooking techniques are pioneered. New on the scene this summer is Texas Joe’s Slow Smoked Meats (a ranch-inspired restaurant in Bermondsey), Caribbean flavours from The Rum Kitchen in Brixton, Rok Islington (a Nordic smokehouse) and O Ver – an Italian restaurant in Borough championing the use of fresh seawater in cuisine.
Seasonal street markets are also on point, with Hawker House in Canada Water, Model Market in Lewisham, Little Feast in Shepherd’s Bush and Dinerama at Old Street. These culinary events are place-makers in themselves, evolving into local community hubs where independent brands, quirky takes on dining and communal social spaces thrive.
Of course, London never takes itself too seriously. After all, we have two Cereal Killer Cafes -where the menu is just breakfast cereal – and now Europe’s first pop-up Hello Kitty café, based in a Soho bakery. Alex concludes by saying: “Business and dining have long been intertwined and that’s why London remains a powerhouse on the corporate stage. The capital’s culinary landscape should always be highlighted when speaking with clients as it’s probably the best in the world.”