The SL Guide To Marylebone
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
It’s no wonder Marylebone Food Festival is such an important event: the area is full of some of the capital’s most loved and varied restaurants. One of D&D London’s original sites, Orrery has always combined high-end classic French cookery with a relaxed neighbourhood vibe. We love its smart floor-to-ceiling oval windows, its famously well-stocked cheese trolley and its proximity to The Conran Shop – more on that later – for a spot of post-lunch browsing. Our menu picks include potato ravioli with wild mushroom and butter emulsion, followed by poached salmon with butter beans, Parma ham crumble and garlic purée. Come summertime, you’ll find us on the plant-filled terrace.
Perhaps the most obvious on this list, Andre Balazs’s Chiltern Firehouse shows no signs of fading since its high-profile launch in 2014. The Marylebone hotspot – Balazs’s third site after Chateau Marmont in Hollywood and the Mercer hotel in NYC – has played host to the likes of Lindsey Lohan, Kate Moss, the Beckhams, Bill Clinton, Bradley Cooper and Alexa Chung over the years – and after Harry and Meghan’s wedding, those who wanted to carry on into the small hours were chauffeured from Windsor to Chiltern Firehouse for (what we imagine was) one hell of an afterparty. It’s especially great for breakfasts. We love to order the ‘Flaming Benedict’, which comes with crispy potato cakes and jalapeño hollandaise; black truffle scrambled eggs; or lobster and crab omelette for the ultimate weekend brunch.
One of our favourite recent openings, Kol – the fine-dining restaurant from Mexican chef Santiago Lastra – won a Michelin star this year and entered the UK’s National Restaurants Awards at number 20. We really love its downstairs mezcaleria, which serves more than 80 varieties of tequila and mezcal sourced from small-scale and independent distillers. The bar itself is an atmospheric, friendly spot that serves incredible cocktails and ‘antojitos’ as good as the Michelin-starred fare served in the restaurant upstairs. Expect to sample the likes of Orkney scallop ceviche with rhubarb; octopus tostada; and churros with chocolate mousse and pork scratching (yes, really). Pair them with a martini of Volcan blanco tequila, Dolin dry vermouth, pine distillate and cucumber. If you love Mexican food, also look to Cavita, a recent launch from chef Adriana Cavita. Another spot with a great cocktail bar and mezcaleria in the basement, the bar showcases the best of Mexican mezcal and tequila, where guests can choose from various flights to try out different agave-based spirits.
Marylebone has plenty of options if you’re in the mood for excellent South Asian food. Another award-winning eatery from the Sethi family (Bao, Gymkhana), Hoppers is one of the best Sri Lankan restaurants in London, named after one of Sri Lanka’s popular dishes – egg-topped pancakes. Unlike the original Soho restaurant, Hoppers in St Christopher’s takes bookings for dinner, and offers four semi-private dining vaults for groups of eight. Try the ‘Taste of Hoppers’ sharing menu to avoid food FOMO and sample the kitchen’s highlights. Ravinder Bhogal launched pretty-in-pink Jikoni in 2016, drawing on her Kenyan and Indian heritage to fuse dishes from her travels and her childhood, and create a delicious hybrid menu. Combinations on offer include sweet potato bhel, spicy peanut corn on the cob, baby aubergine and potato Swahili curry and saffron rice. And finally, Trishna delivers a contemporary taste of Indian coastal cuisine. The informal and pared-back aesthetic of the interiors, offset with antique mirrors, marble tabletops and original wooden panelling, offers a neighbourhood atmosphere, with terrace doors that open onto Blandford Street, creating a semi al fresco ambience throughout the restaurant.
If Japanese food is more your thing, book a spot at Roketsu, which launched its first site in London this year. The restaurant is made up of just ten seats at the counter, making this an intimate experience. Food is served in the traditional ‘Kaiseki’ style, a ten-course set menu that revolves around dashi. Each sitting lasts three hours and current menu highlights include Cornish ikejime seabass with lobster, yuzu and Japanese mustard; and Cornish crab with pear, air-dried onion, carrot, fennel, yuzu and dill. We also really rate Taka, which serves a small plate-led menu, focusing on hot and grilled dishes and sushi. Sharers include a yakitori omakase – a whole chicken broken down and grilled over hot coals to create a complete nose-to-tail eating experience. The selection of sushi focuses on quirky adaptations of long-standing favourites, such as kagoshima A5 wagyu sukiyaki with onsen eggs, and popcorn shrimp with daikon salad.
Locanda Locatelli is one of the longest-standing Michelin-starred restaurants in London. Born into a cooking dynasty on the shores of Lake Comabbio in northern Italy, founder Giorgio Locatelli is considered by many to be one of the finest Italian chefs in the UK. At this Marylebone staple, expect traditional Italian dishes presented creatively, and a beautiful dining room that places emphasis on a family style dining experience. On Wigmore Street, the more casual and cosier 2 Veneti focuses on authentic Venetian dishes – think whipped salted cod with fried capers and grilled polenta; tagliatelle with mixed wild mushrooms and Italian sausage meat; and baked floured aubergines with mozzarella.
For some old-school glamour, book a table at Fischer’s. Part of The Wolseley Group, it’s an informal neighbourhood café with a classic Viennese menu. The space is evocative of early 20th-century Vienna and is open for breakfast until late: the menu includes a huge choice of cured fish, salads, strudels, ice-cream coupes, hot chocolates and coffees with traditional tortes. From the outside, French-leaning wine bar Clarette looks like an old Tudor pub: picture black and white beams and pretty stained glass. But within, the townhouse has had a thoroughly modern makeover – the seating is pink, there’s plenty of exposed brickwork and statement lighting abounds. The Francophile wine list is one we’ve sampled time and time again, and lots of glasses are priced at £5 each – perfect for trying something new.
WHERE TO SHOP & VISIT
The eastern half of Church Street is filled with antique shops – many of them run by dealers who started at Alfies Antique Market – and it’s now one of the best enclaves for antiques in London. For more than 40 years, Alfies has attracted serious collectors, interior designers and celebrities to its vast and varied collection of art, antiques, jewellery and fashion. Across four floors of one-offs and genuine treasures, Alfies is one of the largest and longest-running arcades of its kind in the country – and is well worth a post-lunch peruse. Down the road, The Conran Shop needs no introduction. The home of considered design set up by the late Jasper Conran in the 1960s, its Marylebone store offers a well-curated blend of design classics and future collectables. If you’re on the hunt for an unusual but sure-fire hit present, its ground-floor gift shop is the place to head to.
There’s a reason Daunt Books tote bags are spotted all over the capital. With five shops in London and one in Oxford, it’s the place to head to for a traditional book buying experience – and we’re a particular fan of its beautiful Marylebone site, which is always full of people taking Insta snaps of its interiors. If you’re not sure what to buy, check out its subscription service, which sends subscribers a new title every month, according to their tastes. If your idea of a great Saturday is browsing delis and food markets, pay Green Valley a visit. Established in 1986, it’s London’s largest and best-stocked Lebanese and Middle Eastern food hall (ideal if you’ve got an Ottolenghi book to be broken in). Starting out as a small shop on the same premises, it’s now grown to become a real treasure trove of ingredients and cookware.
There are countless fashion stores along Marylebone High Street: Maje, Theory, Sandro, Rixo, Paul Smith, Ba&sh and one of MATCHESFASHION’s well-stocked bricks-and-mortar stores are just some of them. One of the area’s best independent boutiques is Kj’s Laundry, which focuses on niche, under-the-radar brands and is known for introducing new and exciting labels to the UK: think Ulla Johnson, Hope-Sthlm, Humanoid and Filippa K alongside cult favourites such as Samantha Sung, Sessun, Xirena and Masscob. We also really rate Mouki Mou on Chiltern Street, which stocks lesser-known brands mainly from Japan and the US. For menswear, look no further than Trunk Clothiers, the Chiltern Street boutique which carefully curates the very best fashion from Japan, the US and further afield – imagine Sunspel meets Octobre Editions. There are also some big names in the mix, from Anderson’s belts to Birkenstocks, as well as under-the-radar labels from around the world.
When you’ve exhausted the shops, make sure to leave time for a quick visit to the Wallace Collection. Tucked behind Oxford Street, this 18th-century townhouse contains an impressive selection of paintings, sculpture, furniture and porcelain – all shown against a backdrop of beautiful original interiors. Filled with natural light and dotted with trees and sculptures, the Wallace restaurant offers al fresco-style dining protected from both the elements and the crowds of the West End, and is a great spot for afternoon tea or a light lunch.
WHERE TO SLEEP
As well as its newer hotel hotspots – of which Chiltern Firehouse is one – Marylebone is home to some impressive mainstays. One of the oldest railway hotels in London, The Landmark London is a magnificent five-star hotel and has remained an icon for over 120 years. With 300 bedrooms and 51 suites, the hotel has some impressive restaurants: a stunning eight-storey glass atrium is home to the Winter Garden, which serves a modern European menu and a popular afternoon tea. The Mirror Bar is a great spot for late-night drinks and the hotel spa features a huge health club, treatment rooms and 15m chlorine-free indoor swimming pool. Opened in 1865 as Europe’s first ‘grand hotel’, The Langham underwent an extensive transformation a few years back, and now offers a selection of luxurious guestrooms and suites. Best of all, its bars and restaurants include the award-winning Palm Court, Artesian Bar, Landau restaurant and the Wigmore, all overseen by Michel Roux Jr. Elsewhere, Chuan Spa Body + Soul is London’s first luxury hotel spa to incorporate the ancient principles of traditional Chinese medicine into its signature treatments.
Like the original in Clerkenwell, Zetter Townhouse in Marylebone is an independent boutique hotel full of personality. On Seymour Street, the 24-bedroom Georgian townhouse and cocktail lounge offers non-guests a great selection of cocktails and small plates in atmospheric, antiques-laden Seymour’s Parlour, so this is well worth bookmarking even if you don’t need a bed for the night. Thought you had to leave London to find an idyllic treehouse getaway? Not so. All rooms at Treehouse Hotel are perched high in the city skyline and feature big bay windows that look out to some of London’s most iconic landmarks. The Backyard coffee/wine bar feels just like a real treehouse thanks to the exposed wood décor, while the rooftop Nest bar offers 360° views of the city. Think cocktails, swing seats and DJs working the decks – all from a luxe treehouse fort.
If you want to stay right in the centre of Marylebone Village, book a room at The Marylebone, which is a short walk from Oxford Street, Bond Street and Mayfair. Like the group’s other properties – The Bloomsbury and The Kensington – the hotel’s stylishly designed guest rooms and suites offer modern, art-filled spaces. Our pick would be one of its impressive rooftop terrace suites. Launched in late 2020, the 249-bedroom Nobu Hotel London Portman Square sits on a prominent corner of Marylebone. Like other Nobu properties, the hotel showcases traditional Japanese architectural details and offers a high-end but relaxed stay. Naturally, there’s also a Nobu restaurant – which serves all Nobu Matsuhisa’s culinary classics – plus a pretty bar and impressive outdoor terrace.
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