LONDON GUIDE • Kelly Vittengl
Kelly Vittengl is everyone's go-to favorite rug-slinger on Instagram. She has one of the best design eyes I've seen and she splits her time between NYC and London. So it was only fitting that I had her send over her shortlist of must-dos while you're in London.
In the past, food in London has not had the best reputation. It’s known for its Indian food and Fish and Chips but that’s about it. Even now, people are frequently asking me what the food scene is like. I am happy to report that everyone is 100% wrong and London has some of the best eating that I have seen! Now let me tell you about some of my favorites…
Granger & Co. – A delicious, Aussie inspired menu. This place is a must! You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but for breakfast, I die for the Ricotta Hotcakes. For lunch or dinner I mix it up with the Fried Chicken Sandwich, the Yellow Fish Curry, and the Courgette Fritter Bowl (zucchinis are called courgettes around here) - all are equally delicious. I live near the Notting Hill location, which has a line around the block anytime after 9 am. Luckily, they have less busy locations in Clerkenwell and King’s Cross.
Dishoom – My favorite restaurant in London! I never imagined an Indian restaurant would be my favorite, but Dishoom transformed my average enjoyment for Indian food to absolute, head-over-heels, soulmate love for it. This place is heaven on earth for so many reasons. Not only is the food out of this world but the interiors are stunning. Another restaurant with several locations – my personal favorite is in Shoreditch. My go-to items: Garlic Naan, Chicken Tikka, Black Daal, and the Bowl of Greens. The most flavorful meal you’ll have in ages, I promise!
Electric Diner – An American Inspired diner on Portobello Rd. in Notting Hill. It’s owned by Soho House so the interiors are a guarantee, but the food? Also a hit. When I’m craving a burger, eggs benedict, or waffles (you get the vibe) this place is the very best.
Petersham Nurseries – They’ve just opened a location right in London, which I have yet to try, but the original is located outside of London in Richmond. For me, the location is half the fun of this place. It’s out in the country, on a farm, and you feel like you’re eating lunch in a fairytale. They also have a gorgeous interiors shop that will have you swooning for a cottage in the countryside. Best to go during the day to see the sites, and make a reservation. It’s worth the journey!
Lastly, I would like to mention a few quick lunch jaunts for on-the-go eating. Deliciously Ella, The Detox Kitchen and Juice Baby all have delicious, order-at-the-counter, organic, healthy eating. Each place has several locations, so if you find yourself needing something quick and healthy, any of these places will suffice!
I may be a bit biased to Notting Hill because I live there, but we have truly great shopping in the area. Westbourne Grove is a great street with lots of shops and restaurants. You can find Sandro, Maje, Club Monaco and lots more local shops for a mix of everything. Just down the road, you’ll find Portobello Market - one of London’s biggest tourist attractions for good reason. It’s located on Portobello Rd., one of those quintessential London streets lined with multi-colored buildings (also the location of the famous “Travel Book Shop” from the movie Notting Hill.) Here you’ll find tons of street food vendors, antique dealers, and vintage clothing shops. It is such a wonderful experience. On a Friday or Saturday, you can meander your way a bit further up Portobello Rd. to Golborne Rd. where there are even more furniture dealers and beautiful antique stores filled everything you could possibly imagine.
Another one of my favorite markets is Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch. On Thursdays, you can find the antique dealers here and score anything from rugs, to ceramics, to vintage luggage. From here you can wander over to Brick Lane and it’s surrounding streets where you’ll find tons of vintage clothing shops, as well as more modern shops like Le Labo and Labour & Wait. It’s all such a feast for the eyes! You’ll also find the Shoreditch location of Dishoom over here! I usually like to make a day of it and start at the market, followed by lunch, followed by some street wandering.
Another spot that deserves a very honorable mention is Borough Market – this is the place if you’re looking for some amazingly fresh and local ingredients. You’ll find the best cheese from France, fresh seafood, local produce, imported Italian pasta – it has it all. Even if you’re not buying groceries, it’s a fun place to see and has some great food stalls serving hot lunch.
Soho House originated in London, and they have several locations all over the city - all of which are stunning. You really can’t go wrong staying here. If you’re looking to stay on the West End near Notting Hill, The Laslett is a great option in a perfect location. Another one of my favorite and less expensive hotels, and more centrally located, is Artist Residence. The interiors are really beautiful and the food and drink are delicious and healthy. On the East End, you’ll find The Ace as well as The Hoxton Holborn. both of which are very cool, convenient, and (of course) beautiful.
My personal choice of slumber is usually an Airbnb. I don’t have any specific rentals to recommend but the neighborhoods I would recommend to search in are Notting Hill, Shoreditch, Clerkenwell, and Islington.
If you want to spoil yourself, book a facial with Su-Man at the W Hotel. She has the most luxurious self-named product line, which she uses during the 75-minute slice of heaven (it includes a foot massage!). It’s pricey but worth it. In Notting Hill, I often get massages and manicures at Koia – a peaceful and pretty little spa just down the street from the Notting Hill Gate tube station.
If you need a good stretch, my favorite yoga studio is Tri Yoga where you will find the most amazing teacher I have ever come across, Leila Sadeghee. If you can manage to get yourself to one of her classes, consider yourself BLESSED. Seriously, she is magic. She also does one-on-one mentoring which I would highly recommend if you’re looking to take your spiritual practice to the next level.
And lastly, for a good old-fashioned dose of fresh air, take yourself to either Hampstead Heath or Hyde Park (or any London park for that matter – they are some of the best city parks in the world). I find nothing more relaxing than wandering aimlessly through London parks.