Where To Eat In London When You Just Can’t

Where to eat when you’re just over it.
Where To Eat In London When You Just Can’t image

photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch

On any given day, we Londoners are as tough as nails. We survive ‘the wrong type of sunshine’ disrupting our commutes, slow-moving tourists, and our mates’ latest trendy food intolerances. But sometimes, life’s little microaggressions can tip you over the edge, and you just need a minute to yourself to work out whether it’s worth sending a really passive aggressive email to someone about it.

Here are some of our favourite suggestions on where to go when you need to unsubscribe from the day and eat your feelings.

The Spots

photo credit: Jérôme Galland



$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsBirthdaysBrunchDrinking Good CocktailsLunchSee And Be Seen


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You went on a borderline fine date last week. Did you like them? Not really. Have you heard from them? Nope. Do you care? Of course you care. Now you have to go ahead and question your entire personality for at least four days to establish why that loser didn’t like you. No. Fuck that. Head to Circolo Popolare and let this stupidly fun Fitzrovia trattoria remind you of why you’re an absolute keeper. The cocktails are strong. The mafaldine is full of truffle. The walls are lined in thousands - yes, thousands - of bottles of booze. And the mood is distinctly sexy fun. Just like you.

Nope. You don’t even want to talk about it. You’re so done. Only ten of J Sheekey’s Old Cubans and an entire lobster can help you now. This is an old-fashioned oyster bar where absolutely no one will judge you for seething. They’ll just presume that you’ve been written out of the inheritance of your family’s teddy bear factory. Get a seat at the very swish bar and plan your new life, Mr. Ripley style.

You smiled at a baby on the bus and it projectile vomited on you. Time to get off the bus and make your way to St. John Bread and Wine in Spitalfields for a bit of high-end comfort food. Grab a seat at the counter, eat some bone marrow on toast, grab a pudding, and mull over the thought ‘are babies born arseholes or are they just nurtured into them?’

Your ‘friend’ in that monster of a WhatsApp group, UNI-PALS!, has become a ‘travel blogger’, and if you see one more photo of an infinity pool or a jet ski you might implode. Now, is the time for some beef shin ragu pappardelle so good that you feel staycation level satisfied. Now, is the time for Trullo. This spot is sort of like camomile for the soul. You’ll be nice and relaxed in no time. The classic Italian dishes are so good, they might even distract you from replying, ‘I hear Milan is awful this time of year, actually’.

Sure, that holiday to Australia felt like a good idea when you booked it, but now you’re on your second day of jet lag and everyone around you sounds like Ned Flanders ten uppers in. Stupid time zones. Stupid selfish, round planet. Stupid three hour sleep. It’s time to head to Hackney’s airy and entirely homely bakery Pophams. By day this place is all about excellent pastries, lunchtime toasties and flat whites - by night, there’s handmade pasta, nap-worthy candlelight, and enough wine for you to casually dose yourself with enough pinot to fall asleep. Hot tip: put a picture of the bacon and maple croissant next to your alarm so you get back to Pophams early, and back on GMT with minimal effort. Sorted.

So, you decided to take up budgeting and that £12 phone insurance was the first to go. Now, you’ve just smashed your phone screen whilst attempting to save a wayward poodle from a cyclist on the Kingsland Road. First of all, step away from oncoming traffic. Secondly, steadily make your way to Song Que. Their crispy fried beef noodles are comforting, satisfying, incredibly tasty, and they’re only £9.80.

Your flatmate, Judas, has decided they’ve found ‘the one’. Whatever that means. And, worse, despite the 2014 pact of Flat 42B, they’re moving out. Traitor. Pick up your grief, head to Barrafina Covent Garden and pack the wound with their classic tapas dishes and the jamon tortilla. Take a seat at the bar, order a sherry, and discover that eating alone won’t be that bad afterall.

The spiralizer you ordered just arrived in the post and you can’t wait to get your healthy on, but when you get to the supermarket, you’re informed that there’s a worldwide shortage of courgettes. Again. Just calmly drop that basket and head to the fresh handmade pasta mecca that is Burro e Salvia in Shoreditch. Because when life denies you courgetti, you’re entitled to eat a heap of delicious pasta as compensation.

Someone at work stole your probiotic yogurt out of the fridge for the third time this week. E. Pellicci, our favourite proper Cockney cafe on the Bethnal Green Road, is where you should come to plot revenge on your key suspect, Godfather style. They know how to serve you, the guv’nor, a proper Full English (including a piece of fried bread) and a proper cup of tea that will sort you out at 2.35 in the afternoon. And speaking of sorting people out, they might know someone, who might know someone who can have a little chat with that Hampton Wick who’s been causing you all that Barney Rubble.

You and your three pals have risked life and limb on the Central line to finally have that catch up. But, surprise surprise, your other friend, who cancels more than Kanye, is yet to show. It’s time for you and the dependables to go to Brigadiers to have the most fun you can possibly have in a restaurant. This is where grown-ups come to play. Everything from the pool tables, to the goat tikki bun kebabs, to the mango soft serve, set the tone for some serious good times. You can even order a bergamot sangria fountain. That’s right. A fountain of booze. And the best part? Once your permanently tardy friend hears all about the fun you’ve had, you’ll never have to receive a text saying ‘I’ll be there in twenty minutes, half an hour tops’, again. Lovely.

That friend who you’ve been counseling through a horrible on-again/off-again relationship for the last nine months just announced on the internet that their pet frog Hugo just died. It’s time to set the ‘do not disturb’ on your phone and seek refuge at Saporitalia. The pizzas make for the perfect carbloading meal before the cry-a-thon you’re no doubt in for when you leave this place. Maybe never leave this place?

You got zero matches on all five dating apps you’ve been using for like the past 20 minutes, and you’re rapidly losing confidence in humanity. It’s definitely time for pie, and the Marksman, the gastropub with a little restaurant upstairs on Hackney Road, is where to get it. Yes it’s made ‘for two’, but it’s not your fault that you don’t have anyone to share it with. You’re a bloody catch.

You just got back from your third wedding in as many weeks to find yet another save the date in your email, which roughly translates to ‘save your pennies’ and ‘save your joy’ for the next six months. Only a big plate of Cantonese-style roast meat and rice from Cafe TPT in Chinatown is going to make feel you better. As you wolf down your final meal out for the next six months, you realise that your friend may have found ‘the One’, but you’re also slowly finding that you give zero f*cks.

Your colleague called in sick today. As a result, you have to do some actual work and someone called Carl keeps asking for ‘the numbers’. At some point (11.23am, to be exact) you just can’t think thoughts anymore. But you are thinking about lunch. At Le Relais de Venise de l’Entrecôte, they do the thinking for you. And the thought is always steak and chips smothered with their famous sauce, because that’s the only thing they serve. Oh, and dessert too, which is always a necessary bonus to yourself for trying to work so hard.

Recently, you’ve discovered that your university nemesis who used to plagiarise your coursework just sold their digital marketing business/scam for 20 squillion quid. Time for a burger. An epic burger. The Bleecker double cheeseburger is our favourite burger in London, and you don’t need to have sold any corporations to afford it. Live a little and go for a side of Angry Fries as well. Your old acquaintance may have loads of money and a boat now, but at least you have the moral high ground. And this burger.

A mean troll replied to your polite statement in the Guardian comments section, and you can feel your heart freeze up like a block of ice. Thaw it out with a few gyoza and a lovely bowl of ramen from Tonkotsu. As you slurp away and feel the warmth return, you can formulate a devastating comeback. “How are YOU even a thing?“ Yeah. That’ll learn them.

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