The Designer's Guide to London

Restaurants

There's somewhere to satisfy everyone's culinary tastes in London. But with so many restaurants to choose from, where do you start? Here are some suggestions from London-based designers who believe the following venues are well worth a visit...

Bibendum

  • Location: 81 Fulham Road, London, SW3 6RD (map)
  • URL: www.bibendum.co.uk
  • Opening times: Mon-Sat: 08:30 - 23:00; Sun: 12:00 - 22:30
  • Price: Main courses £19 - £47

Fancy indulging in some fine dining? Bibendum is stylish and elegant French bistro in South Kensington. The flagship of the famed Conran gastronomic empire, Bibendum has been in business for over 20 years. Housed in a former Michelin tyre factory and listed building, the restaurant is not only known for its fine dining but for the stained-glass window featuring the Michelin Man (who the restaurant is named after), which overlooks the dining room.

Designer view

John Oxton

"A great building in a swanky part of London. Go for champagne and seafood in the Oyster Bar, or go upstairs and blow a large amount of cash. It also has the Conran Shop in the same building. Favourite restaurant anywhere, bar none - definitely worth a trip!" - John Oxton, user experience and web designer

Brasserie Zédel

Image © David Loftus
  • Location: 20 Sherwood Street, London, W1F 7ED (map)
  • URL: www.brasseriezedel.com
  • Opening times: Mon-Sun: 12:00 - 00:00
  • Price: Main courses £8 - £30

Don't be fooled by its grandeur, Brasserie Zédel serves traditional French food in a historic Art Deco interior at surprisingly affordable prices. Once part of the The Regent Palace Hotel, a huge restoration project returned the huge marbled columned ballroom, which now houses the restaurant, back to its former glory. There is also a new cabaret spot and a stand-alone bar for those opting just for the cocktail menu.

Designer view

Tom Muller

"A current favourite of mine. A 2min walk from Piccadilly Circus, this is a massive Paris-style brasserie serving staple French food at very reasonable prices. It's the perfect place to go if you're in the mood for some good French flair and cooking." - Tom Muller, freelance graphic designer and art director

Crate

  • Location: Queen's Yard, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, E9 5EN (map)
  • URL: www.cratebrewery.com
  • Opening times: Mon-Sun: 09:00 - 23:00
  • Price: Main courses £8 - £12

If you're after a casual and cool hangout, head over to Crate, Hackney Wick's first craft brewery and pizzeria. Situated in a former print factory, this bar was built and is owned and operated by locals. The converted industrial interior is unique, crafted with reclaimed materials from around the area. Yes, the guys behind this place are very hands-on - they even lovingly brew their own beer on-site.

Designer view

Mike Lythgoe

"Another of my favourites is a total diamond in the rough, especially in summer. It's a lovely pizza place right on the canal in Hackney Wick called Crate. Hackney Wick has more artists per square mile than anywhere else in the world, so it's a prime place to meet like-minded folk. The building itself is an awesome converted warehouse, with a lovely outdoor patio right on the canal. The pizzas are some of the tastiest I've had in London and to top it all off they brew their own beer!" - Mike Lythgoe, designer at Studio Output

Fishcotheque

  • Location: 79a Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8UD (map)
  • URL: www.fishcotheque.co.uk
  • Opening times: Mon-Sun: 11:00 - 23:00
  • Price: Main courses £6 - £9

For first time Londoners, a visit to the humble fish and chip shop - affectionately known in the UK as 'the chippy ' - is a must. Fishcotheque is one of London's oldest and best-known fish and chip restaurants. Established back in the '60s, this chippy has maintained its traditional look and feel for an authentic dining experience.

Designer view:

Neil McFarland

"If you’re from outside the UK and you’re looking for not only an authentic British dining experience but also some fascinating interior design - then look no further than Fishcotheque. The fish and chips are the best available and the tiled interior features some great old adverts for British railways and seaside trips, alongside one mildly macabre feature - a fish tank. You can't eat the goldfish but they must witness the daily preparation and consumption of their kinfolk." - Neil McFarland, lead visual designer at ustwo

Flat Iron Steak

  • Location: 17 Beak Street, Soho, W1F 9RW (map)
  • URL: flatironsteak.co.uk
  • Opening times: Mon-Sun: 12:00-23:00
  • Price: Main courses £10

If you're the type of person who hates menus with too much choice (and you're not a vegetarian), then the Flat Iron Steak restaurant may be right up your street. The venue offers just one main dish, a little cut of meat called the Flat Iron. A carefully selected range of sides are also available as well as cocktails by Soulshakers.

Designer view

Ash Joseph

"A recent pop-up that only has steak on the menu. Worth it for the popcorn soaked in beef juices, or the mini meat cleaver you have for a knife. Very cool." - Ash Joseph, marketing creative at The Foundry

Gingerline

  • Location: TBA
  • URL: www.gingerline.co.uk
  • Opening times: TBA
  • Price: Current concept - £50pp (plus booking fee)

Have you ever arranged a dinner date without knowing where you're going or what you'll be eating? Well, that's exactly what happens with Gingerline - an immersive dining experience, set up by a group of friends who love to combine secrecy, theatre, art and food. The unique experience first came about back in 2010 and has become so popular that Gingerline's founders have now developed narratives, slipped into costume and introduced live performers.

Designer view

Ali Vermillo

"It's a concept-led secret dining experience that combines theatre, art and food! It's really fun! But a secret… so I can't say much more." - Ali Vermillo, junior creative at Uniform

Grind coffee bar

  • Location: 5C The Great Eastern Market, Westfield Shopping Centre, London, E20 1EH (map)
  • URL: www.grindcoffeebar.co.uk
  • Opening times: Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 21:00; Sat: 09:00 - 21:00; Sun: 11:00 - 18:00

As creatives, we all know the importance of a decent cup of coffee. Grind coffee bar has multiple locations in London for your daily caffeine fix. They serve every kind of coffee you could possibly want, all in stylish venues. The website says the company's baristas are "genuine coffee geeks, and love everything there is to love about coffee".

Designer view

Alex Brooke

"I recently discovered this little gem on a shopping spree. Situated in a little cosy corner of Westfield, this lovely little bar sells the most amazing coffee that I have ever seen or tasted. Its decor is also very vintage-esque and so is a lovely place for any creative to go!" - Alex Brooke, web designer and developer at Gamaroff Digital

Pizarro

Image © Paul Winch Furness

Bermondsey Street is full of restaurants and eateries that fascinate foodies all around the world. One of the newest additions to the street is Pizarro, owned and run by Spanish chef Jose Pizarro. It serves Spanish cusine in a warm and relaxed interior, featuring black leather banquettes, subdued lighting, and a hardwood ceiling.

Designer view

Phil Birchall

"Pizarrro on Bermondsey Street (cool destination in itself). Amazing Spanish fayre and one of the few places that cooks with Iberico port. It plays the fashionable 'no bookings' card but has a small bar to kill the (often hour-long) wait. Intimate but with a great buzz, frantic but well serviced open kitchen. For a simpler offer try Pizarro's sister tapas bar, Jose on the same street. It's mostly standing, which is all the more authentic. Serves amazing small plates washed down with sherry - yes, sherry." - Phil Birchall, designer and owner of GRIN

Tom's Kitchen

  • Location: 27 Cale Street, Chelsea, London, SW3 3QP (map)
  • URL: www.tomskitchen.co.uk
  • Opening times: Mon-Fri: 08:00 - 11:30, 12:00 - 14:30, 18:00 - 22:30; Sat: 10:00 - 12:00, 12:30 - 15:30, 18:00 - 22:30;Sun: 10:00 - 12:00, 12:30 - 15:30, 18:00 - 21:30
  • Price: Main courses £13 - £30

Tom’s Kitchen is a modern British restaurant, owned by English Michelin star winning head chef Tom Aikens. It has a lengthy menu, featuring everything from pan-fried foie gras with duck egg and Ventreche bacon to macaroni cheese and fish pie. Located in a modern townhouse, the restaurant's modern, chic interior features chunky wood furniture, marble counters and white brick tiles.

Designer view

Olli Breuer

"Tom's Kitchen in Chelsea is a beautiful place to eat, both for the quality of the food and the great decor. It's rather pricy so for treats only, but the steak sandwich is to die for." - Olli Breuer, interaction designer at Huge

Yalla Yalla

  • Location: 1 Green's Court, London W1F 0HA (map)
  • URL: www.yalla-yalla.co.uk
  • Opening times: Mon-Sat: 10:00 - 23:00; Sun: 10:00 - 22:00
  • Price: Main courses £9 - £14

Yalla Yalla is a West End restaurant serving Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine. Painted white, with touches of canary yellow, its walls are decorated with images of old Beirut. Yellow lamps, rustic wooden tables and stools complete the relaxed café-style interior. Offering an extensive menu, at Yalla Yalla customers can choose to either eat in or takeaway their Middle Eastern treats.

Designer view

Adrian Williams

"I love the food - Lebanese lamb schwarma, salads with pomegranate and the beautiful, chilled teas infused with mint and ginger. The restaurant in Fitzrovia is always busy and has a great lunchtime atmosphere. The style within is very cool - black and white shemagh stencilled patterns on the walls , simple lighting and exposed floor boards painted with watery white paint. I suppose it just feels a little bit exotic, which is a good thing." - Adrian Williams, senior designer at MRM Meteorite

We'll be updating this post regularly, so let us know if we've missed anywhere out - and tell us about your London experiences in the comments below!

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