Sherri Andrew’s Little Black Book

When it comes to eating out and exploring new openings, it’s fair to say SL’s Lifestyle Editor Sherri Andrew has her ear to the ground – in the capital and beyond. From small restaurants you might not have tried to music venues with cool DJs, here are some of Sherri’s favourite spots – as well as her cultural and travel recommendations.
By Sherri Andrew
Walter's, Dulwich

I’ve just moved back to east London after a few years south of the river, so I’m excited to go back to some of my favourite restaurants. Top of my list is Bottega Prelibato on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, a small, family-run Italian restaurant that serves generous plates of antipasti and pasta. I recently had delicious pumpkin ravioli followed by tiramisu and homemade gelato. Just a short walk away, Pachamama East is my delicious for Peruvian-inspired meals, mainly consisting of vegetarian starters, ceviche, seafood with plenty of lime and coriander, and sweet and spicy meat dishes – the crispy duck on rice is so moreish. Everyone raves about Café Cecilia in Hackney, but it really is worth the hype (the raspberry and almond tart was a highlight), while From The Ashes on the other side of Victoria Park is a great casual spot for barbecued meats and pulled pork stuffed into doughnuts. 

In central London, I love pizza and drinks with my friends at Soho Joe. For great dumplings and dim sum, it has to be BaoziInn on Romilly Street or Din Tai Fung in Covent Garden for a sit-down meal – I would happily eat noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That said, one of the best meals I’ve had recently was at Richoux in Piccadilly. Having reopened earlier this year under new management, it now serves Parisian-inspired dishes that are simple but delicious – think pan-fried seabass with salty mash and tarte tatin. 

South London’s restaurant scene is really exciting these days, especially in Brixton, Herne Hill and Peckham. Caribbean food is a favourite, so I often go to Brixton Village for fried bites at Fish Wings & Tings, or Eat of Eden for huge boxes stuffed with vegan dishes like chickpea curry, mac ’n’ cheese pie, rice and peas, and plantain. I’d also recommend Paradise Cove in Clapham (formerly known as Sugar Cane) for authentic curry goat and slow-cooked oxtail stew, and Rudie’s Jerk Shack which has just opened a stall at Market Place Vauxhall. Other favourites include The Pepper Tree by Clapham Common, a trusty favourite for Thai, and Walter’s in Dulwich, a slick neighbourhood restaurant with a private dining room in the cellar. 

For a special occasion, I love Japanese restaurant TOKii at the Prince Akatoki hotel by Marble Arch. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, and the sushi and sashimi are some of the best I’ve tried. Other dishes are cooked on a robata grill and presented beautifully in a minimalist, traditional dining room. Towards Mayfair, French-inspired bistro Little Social is another great spot for a romantic meal with champagne, oysters, and lobster with herby butter and fries all on the menu. For dinner and dancing, my friends and I love MNKY HSE. The food is good, but we really go for the DJs and live musicians who set a fun party vibe while you eat. South American platters are served alongside Peruvian beats while bongo players make you feel like you’re in Mykonos, not Mayfair.

Little Social, Mayfair

Sundays aren’t complete without a roast. I like to cook my own, but the pub feels like a treat at this time of year. In Brixton, Trinity Arms does a cracking roast, as does The Laundry for bottomless veg and gravy. Over in east London The Forest Tavern in Forest Gate never disappoints, and if I want to settle down for a few hours with friends, The Culpepper in Whitechapel has a great atmosphere, especially on the rooftop. I don’t really drink these days, but the pub has lots of craft beers on tap as well as an excellent virgin spicy margarita.

I try not to order too many takeaways, but that’s easier said than done when Kricket is nearby. I usually order tandoori paneer, samphire pakoras with chilli mayo, butter chicken curry and Keralan prawn curry – the menu changes regularly so there’s always something new on offer. I wish they offered naan bread, but I like to keep my freezer stocked with peshwari naans from my local Indian supermarket so I can throw one in the oven while the food is on the way. Another favourite is The Italians Upstairs for homemade pasta and Italian desserts – the small team currently delivers to addresses in east London, but they’ll also come to parts of Essex if you place a large order. Expect dishes like beef cheek and caper ragu rigatoni, ’nduja and mascarpone farfalle, and fig and frangipane tart with pistachio cream.

My dad used to take me to pie and mash shops when I was a child, so I have a lot of time for the East End tradition. My favourite one near Stratford closed a while ago, so we’ll pop to Greenwich for a quick meal at Goddard’s. I’m not a huge fan of mince meat pies so I go for the chicken and mushroom pie with double mash and – of course – liquor. Bread and butter pudding or apple crumble with custard for dessert is a must. I can also recommend Bermondsey’s M.Manze, G Kelly in Bethnal Green for a proper experience (the West Ham football team love it here), and BJ’s Pie and Mash in Canning Town.

The Culpeper

My idea of the perfect night out involves live music followed by a couple of drinks at a bar. Upstairs at the Dept Store in Brixton is a stylish, unpretentious rooftop bar and members club in Brixton, hidden behind an unassuming door on Stockwell Avenue. I like that it attracts a slightly older crowd and different DJs take to the decks every Friday and Saturday night; DJ Nile Chunky is a regular known for his R&B mixes of Luther Vandross with Destiny’s Child and everything in between. Other favourites include Ronnie Scott’s for both jazz and dancing, Troubadour in Earl’s Court for small DJ sets, and Number 90 in Hackney for house and disco nights. 

I go to a few gigs every month, but you’ve got to be quick to secure the best tickets. Songkick is my go-to app for discovering new artists and finding last-minute events in London. The app connects to your Spotify account, so you’re notified when someone has an upcoming event. Dice is also good for this, but I’d recommend signing up to newsletters from venues to get first-release tickets, like O2 Academy Brixton, Eventim Apollo and Koko in Camden. House of Vans in Waterloo always has free gigs to look forward to, while Boiler Room London is an unforgettable night out; the DJ booth is in the middle of the room and each set gets uploaded to YouTube so you can listen to mixes on repeat. 

For a culture hit, I’ll visit a gallery or see a play. The Photographers’ Gallery in the West End always has cool exhibitions, as does Flowers Gallery near the RA, Michael Werner Gallery and Cecilia Brunson Projects where you can just drop in to see the current collections. I also love BFI Southbank which has an incredible archive of old films and TV shows you won’t find elsewhere, in addition to huge cinema screens showing reruns of classics and newer releases. The National is probably my favourite theatre in London, mainly because it champions under-represented voices. One of the best things I’ve seen recently was Larry Kramer's play The Normal Heart, an autobiographical play about the Aids crisis in 1980s New York. It was so powerful and has really stayed with me.

The one shop I pop into all the time is A Day’s March on Berwick Street. My boyfriend loves the menswear, and I like the small women’s collection and their oversized shirts. It’s a Swedish brand and the quality is excellent, especially if you’re after a cashmere sweater or striped knit. I also love a small bookshop – to browse rather than buy, though, as I mostly read on my Kindle. The staff at Clapham Books are lovely, while Herne Hill Books has a lovely selection of non-fiction and cookbooks on the shelves. My favourite has to be Round Table Books in Brixton village, an independent children’s bookshop which champions stories with diverse characters – they make lovely gifts for friends and family.

Au Pied Du Cochon
The Malt Bar & Lounge at The Prince Akatoki

Even though I live in London, going to a hotel in the capital is such a treat. My favourites include The Henrietta in Covent Garden, Page8 near Charing Cross, and the newly opened One Hundred Shoreditch – a worthy replacement for the Ace Hotel which I loved before it closed. One Hundred is clever because each space feels like a destination in itself, from the Seed Library bar to the coffee shop and rooftop terrace. I also love Pan Pacific for an extra special treat like an anniversary or birthday – the attention to detail is excellent and the Singaporean restaurant Straits Kitchen is great.

It’s hard to pick a favourite hotel in the UK, but The Alice Hawthorn Inn in Yorkshire is very special. It’s actually a pub with rooms in the small village of Nun Monkton, but you’d easily find the same interiors at any boutique hotel. I came here last year for a solo trip and the staff made me feel so at home. The food downstairs was also excellent – I remember having tempura shrimp, followed by duck three ways, and sticky toffee pudding with homemade ice-cream. Other favourites include The Tawny in Stoke-on-Trent (expensive but worth it for a night), and Hampton Manor just outside Birmingham, which recently opened Grace & Savour, an immersive dining experience headed up by husband-and-wife duo David and Annette. Their kitchen is an impressive example of what you can achieve with sustainable and minimal-waste cooking. 

For a staycation, I love Norfolk. I’d happily move to one of its small villages like Langham or Holt. You need a car to get around, but I love spending a weekend here with friends, visiting the beach and saltmarshes, and looking around the shops and cafés. The Harper is a beautiful hotel, but I love staying at Parva House, a quaint Airbnb for four. I also like to visit Devon when I can. I spent lots of time here during university, but I’ve been back a few times to explore more of the region, including Dartmoor National Park and the beaches along the Jurassic Coast.

Santa Eulària
Hotel Riomar, Ibiza

I try to book a few city breaks each year and I’m making an effort to go to places I’ve never been to before. However, the two places I always want to return to are Berlin for its world-class culture and amazing techno scene (I don’t make it past 2am these days) and Rome – for the food. Later in the year, I’m hoping to go to Paris for a few days to visit one of my favourite restaurants in the world – Au Pied de Cochon on Rue Coquillière. It’s a legendary Parisian brasserie with all the traditional dishes you’d expect, from escargot and cuisses de grenouilles to French onion soup. Portions are generous and feature lashings of butter. We usually stay at Hôtel Rendez-Vous Batignolles in Batignolles, which is simple but chic. 

If I could only go on one holiday a year, I’d choose Ibiza every time. It brings back so many great memories and I love that it feels just as exciting each summer. When I was younger, I wanted to be in the hub of San Antonio, but I now appreciate the quieter side of Santa Eulària. Hotel Riomar, with its chic décor and relaxed vibe is a top choice, but you can find very reasonable properties near the beach on Airbnb, including this one-bed apartment. After an afternoon swimming in the sea, it’s back to the hotel to change before hitting the big spots like Pikes for retro glamour, Hï Ibiza for immersive shows, W Hotel for fun DJ sets, and Ushuaïa for big-name DJs.

My favourite country to visit in Europe is probably Greece. You’re guaranteed a good time wherever you go. However, as one of my Greek friends recently told me: “Real Greece doesn’t have an international airport, so go to the islands.” That’s not to say places like Mykonos and Santorini aren’t worth it – I’ve had some of my best holidays there, trying the local food, hitting the beach clubs and heading on boat trips to explore the local coves. But, for a real taste of island life, I’d recommend Naxos, which is beautiful and romantic, and Sifnos for breath-taking sunsets. Next year, I’m hoping to visit some of my family in Dominica in the Caribbean. It’s a small volcanic island with natural hot springs, tropical rainforests, mountains and black sand beaches – a little slice of paradise.

For more food & culture recommendations, follow @SherriAndrew on Instagram.

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily