You’ll find two types of shoppers in Covent Garden. People who are buzzed to hit up each and every boutique, and livid people dragging broken MacBooks to the Apple store. Whether you fit in the former category, the latter, or just happen to find yourself window-shopping in the area on a Sunday afternoon, you’re going to need somewhere to eat. From an entirely casual ramen bar that’ll revive you, to a sophisticated Italian spot that’s perfect for impressing that out-of-towner who wants to visit Chanel, these are our go-to places in WC2 for a meal alongside some retail action.
If we told you to eat some silk handkerchiefs, you might think we’d potentially spent a little too long in the Burberry without a decent snack. But in the case of Bancone’s silk handkerchiefs, we can confirm that this is very much a delicious pasta dish complete with walnut butter and confit egg yolk. You can’t go wrong with the short menu of handmade pastas at this corridor of a restaurant on William IV Street. It’s also worth noting that they make a mean negroni and a meal here is surprisingly affordable for the area.
Arome Bakery is your classic love story. Great Malaysian restaurant teams up with top French pâtissier and the rest is history. Okay, so it’s not quite your classic love story but this union has resulted in a seriously lovely bakery in St Martin’s Courtyard. You’ll inevitably spend five minutes perusing the display counter before saying ‘please just give me one of everything’ and trust us, you won’t regret that decision. Everything from the pistachio and chocolate escargots to the pineapple and mango danish is excellent, but it’s the fluffy sweet honey butter toast that is an absolute must-order. There’s also plenty of coffee available and some tables so it’ll work just as well for a quick retail rest as for a grab-and-go sugar high.
A two-minute walk from the high-tech Apple store is the high-tech dim sum spot, Redfarm. This kitsch little restaurant serves creative, and somewhat silly, dishes like a pastrami egg roll, cheeseburger spring rolls, and their popular Pac Man shrimp dumplings. Although prices here tend to stack up quickly, you can’t go wrong with a round of their pork and crab soup dumplings. They’re the best thing here.
Not all post-shopping meals are the same. Sometimes you just want to be fed and watered like a little doggo who can’t believe they didn’t get to spend the day at the park, and then sometimes you want to sit in a glorious setting and rehash every single item in your shopping bags in excruciating detail. When it comes to the latter, La Goccia has got you covered. A high-end Italian small plates spot from the people behind Petersham Nurseries, their hidden courtyard is the perfect place to hide from the crowds, eat some burrata, and discuss all the reasons you absolutely had to buy that silk blouse.
Ramen is our favourite thing to eat when we’re cold, our favourite thing to eat when we’re sick, and for full disclosure, our favourite thing to sob into when the world has been incredibly cruel (read as: our train was four minutes delayed). It also happens to be one of the best things you can eat when you’re out shopping and need a quick and delicious power lunch. The place to do that in Covent Garden is Kanada-Ya. This Japanese mini-chain tends to always have a queue of students outside patiently waiting for a round of pork gyoza and tonkotsu, but you can queue virtually using this app. Plus, seeing as their big comforting bowls of noodles start around the tenner mark, any wait is worth it.
We have a serious crush on this little wine bar and if our 10-year plan works out then our fourth husbands should be proposing to us here circa 2030. A female-led spot aptly on Maiden Lane, this place screams romance and has that whole South of France thing going on. Whether you’re after a casual glass of malbec or an excellent bottle of sparkling rosé from the Loire Valley, this place’s long organic wine list is here for you. And sure, after all that shopping cardio, an order of charcuterie, cheese fondue, and salted caramel tartelettes won’t hurt either.
Covent Garden can be an exhausting place. Chances are you’ll end up in the background of some poor tourist’s video, effing and blinding, as your paper shopping bag rips apart with the last of your patience. That’s why it’s so important to know about fried chicken specialists - yes, that’s a thing - Chick ‘N’ Sours. This cool and casual basement has all of the K-pop chicken sandwiches, beef dripping fries, and sour cocktails you could need after a day of stressful shopping. If you’re after a quick pint and something light to keep you going, you’re definitely going to want to get involved in the disco wings.