Shopping’s a tiring business. Be it browsing through the many London markets for a special hand-crafted gift for a loved one, traipsing the streets for the essential accessory for a party outfit, or dedicating a day to hauling in all the Christmas presents on your family’s list, one thing is guaranteed – you’ll need refuelling at some point. And while a plethora of fast-food outlets adorn the city’s streets, what you really want is to sit back, relax, and be waited on by good staff, served good food, and enjoy an hour away from the crazy chaos of pre-Christmas consumer mayhem. We’ve totted up the best go-to venues for a recharge of the batteries and fill of the stomach so you can head back out fully energised and ready for battle!
La Tagliata – Spitalfields
Our favourite! Just a stone’s throw from historic Spitalfields Market, in Sandy’s Row, this newly opened Italian eatery is a breath of fresh air for diners fed up of wading through menus as long as the Jubilee line just to pick a perfect dish. Named after, and specialising in, the steak dish of the same name, La Tagliata offers just a handful of dishes, based on what fresh produce manager Carlo Palumbo and executive chef Antonio Tonelli source that week. There’s a carefully chosen Italian wine list to accompany the dishes, and service is second to none.
Having sampled both the steak and the vegetarian option – a delicious baked scamorza stuffed with porcini mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes and truffle paste – we can assure you that these dishes really are top draw. Starter is a choice of three or four freshly cooked tagliatelle dishes, and there’s a sumptuous dessert menu guaranteed to tempt you into three courses, without leaving you too stuffed to head back to Spitalfields for round two of shopping! La Tagliata is open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. To book see www.la-tagliata.com or call 020 7247 2818
Lazeez Tapas – Oxford Street
Meaning tasty in Lebanese, Lazeez is all about enjoying food with family and friends. For the Lebanese, there’s nothing better than sharing food and drink with friends while surrounded by music and great ambience and that’s what you’ll find in this Duke Street eatery, set in the shadow of shoppers’ heaven Selfridges. Serving up a variety of tapas dishes from falafel to humous, and hearty wraps with a variety of fillings, all dishes use the freshest ingredients, and it shows. Key spices and particular produce is imported from Lebanon and other ingredients such as olive oil and meat are sourced more locally. The meat is cooked over a charcoal grill and sprinkled with herbs, to give it a mouth-wateringly intense flavour. When it comes to cocktails, there are some fantastic Lebanese-inspired concoctions using fresh mint, lime, lemon and arak, which sit alongside an impressive choice of classic and modern mixes. Situated less than a minute’s walk from Oxford Street, this is a perfect pit-stop venue for hungry shoppers in search of tantalisingly tasty food.
Cucina Asellina – Covent Garden
Be it breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, this sister restaurant of the successful New York eatery is way above your traditional pizza pasta stop off. Located just off Covent Garden, There’s a £10 a dish menu for those looking for food in a hurry before heading back to the Garden’s stalls and shops. Or take your time and rest your weary feet before heading up to the High Street stores on The Strand, and enjoy the bright and breezy atmosphere while devouring the melt-in-the-mouth arancini balls, followed by freshly-made-that-morning pasta, cooked-to-perfection pizzas or crushingly good calzone. Cucina Asellina has a wealthy menu of tempting Italian dishes followed by delectable desserts, just perfect for filling up before an afternoon’s Christmas shopping.
Bob Bob Ricard – Soho
A high class establishment serving champagne and caviar lunches for ladies looking to escape the chaos of Soho’s markets and specialist stores, and relax in salubrious surroundings for an hour or two. Bob Bob Ricard serves a luxury English and Russian menu to its eclectic clientele in London’s most glamorous all-booth dining room. With an exotic menu offering oysters, truffle and caviar dishes, all accompanied – if you so wish – by a Belvedere or two, BBR will recharge and refuel you, but the problem is you may not want to leave! It’s worth noting that the dress code for BBR is ‘elegant’. No trainers or tracksuits at this stop off!
Just around the corner from Harrods and the twinkling Christmas lights of Knightsbridge, Salmontini le Resto is nestled at 1 Pont Street, offering diners a sumptuous menu of sushi, maki, fresh fish and meat dishes, alongside an extensive wine list. Not stopping for food? Sit back and enjoy a carefully crafted cocktail in the laid back surroundings of Salmontini le Resto’s sophisticated lounge bar.
Novikov – Mayfair
A two-in-one eating affair in Berkeley Street in the heart of Mayfair, Novikov offers a sophisticated space to unwind after a morning’s work wandering the boutiques of Mayfair. The Italian restaurant offers regional Italian fare with a contemporary twist. The menu comprises a superb assortment of antipasti, Tartare di Salmone o Tonno and Carpaccio di Manzo, followed by a selection of homemade pasta.
The Asian Restaurant specialises in Chinese and Pan Asian cuisine, with a menu designed by highly skilled and experienced Japanese-trained Head Chef Jeff Tyler. Tyler is known for his love of experimenting with different textures, flavours and ingredients, a talent that is much in evidence in dishes such as King Crab with Penang Sauce and Pork Belly with Spicy Glaze. Also on the menu is an extensive range of sushi, dim sum and barbecued and charcoaled dishes, Spicy Lamb Cutlets and Miso Black Cod.
Where’s your favourite stop-off for refuelling when shopping in town? Let us know and we can share it with all our Belles. Unless you’d rather keep it our little secret, of course. Sssshhhh!