These days the weather can’t just be the weather. It’s got to be an epic production like an arctic blast or a weather bomb. Or it has to have a name that makes it sound dramatic, memorable and exhilirating, like, er, Storm Brian.
You know what stays the same though? Rain. You don’t get a downpour of named rain, excited rain, you just get rain. And the worst thing about living in the plain old rain is that we often get stuck in it.
That means we have to be strategic when we choose our restaurant destinations. Any more than two minutes’ walk from a tube exit and we end up looking like drowned rats, so when we hear it’s going to rain again, we pick from one of these spots.
Old Street // Northern Line
Certain mountains make their own weather. Some buildings do too, especially if they’ve got scaffolding. Come out of Old Street on a rainy day and after a few steps you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in tropical rain without the tropical clime. That’s why, when you’re at Old Street tube, you have to leave from the south east exit and head directly to Ozone, a bustling coffee roasters and all-day eating spot where you’re always guaranteed a warm and friendly welcome. Take a seat at the counter or settle down in one of their booths for an all day breakfast, or a satisfying and inexpensive main like their wagyu burger with beetroot relish.
Piccadilly Circus // Bakerloo and Piccadilly Lines
The last thing you need when you’ve been caught in a downpour is to be packed into a cramped little spot with a bunch of other people who got caught in it too, everyone’s wet-dog coats stinking up the place. That’s why Aquavit is perfect. It’ll restore a sense of Scandanavian order to your messy London life, and the fact that it serves the best meatballs outside of Ikea is an added bonus.
Holborn // Central Line
You haven’t looked this grim since your older sibling forced you to go on Splash Mountain. It’s taken precisely eight seconds of standing outside Holborn station for that ‘I just got in a fight with a hose’ look to set in. First of all, get moving. Secondly, head towards The Holborn Dining Room. This grand all-day restaurant inside The Rosewood Hotel serves everything from a dressed up fish finger sandwich to some of the very best pies in London. Seriously, even if by some miracle the rain stops, you’ll want to stay here just to get more acquainted with the different fillings.
King’s Cross // Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines
If you’ve been planning on eating near King’s Cross, chances are you’re thinking of hitting Dishoom or one of the other spots over on Granary Square. If it’s raining, don’t bother. It’s too far. Instead hit The German Gymnasium. Your friends and colleagues will probably try to insist that it’s the basic bitch of King’s Cross dining options, but they’re wrong. It’s got massive vaulted ceilings, it’s got a swelegant bar, there’s always space, and it’s a perfectly civilised place to settle in for currywurst or schnitzel.
Green Park // Jubilee Line
To be honest, The Wolseley is our go-to near Green Park even when the weather isn’t sh*tty. Breakfast meetings, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner - it doesn’t matter, and we don’t need an excuse. And if you use the colonnades at the front of The Ritz you’ll barely get wet at all.
Brixton // Victoria Line
The area around Brixton Underground can be a bit of a head-f*ck even if it isn’t pouring. When it is, you’re definitely going to want to get indoors. Quick. Sanctuary from the elements is found a mere two minute walk from the station, at Salon. Upstairs it’s casual fine dining with an inventive and ever-changing seven course menu, but downstairs there’s a bar where you can go à la carte with a glass of wine. Don’t skip the ’nduja croquettes - they’re guaranteed to warm you up.
Dalston Junction // Overground
You’re seriously contemplating putting on that disposable pac-a-mac that’s lived in your rucksack since Reading Festival 2012. Don’t do it. As your friend the stylist says, ‘fashion forgives, but it never forgets’. Instead, turn right out of Dalston Junction, and seek shelter at Little Duck The Picklery. This small all day spot serves everything from shiitake miso oats for breakfast to seasonal small plates in the evening.
London Bridge // Jubilee and Northern Lines
If you need to eat near London Bridge in the middle of a deluge, forget everything anyone has ever told you about hitting up the pasta bar at Padella. Yes, it’s good. It’s damn good. But the last thing you need in your life right now is that oh-so-British feeling of resilience mixed with despair that comes from queuing for hours in the rain. So carry on past those soggy saps on Borough High Street and get yourself a spot at Brindisa. It’s warm, it’s dry, the tapas is excellent, and their chorizo roll is still one of London’s best sandwiches.
Victoria // Victoria and Circle & District Lines
There’s no shortage of quality fast food spots near Victoria, but Timmy Green is the kind of place we’d probably hang out at all day. Australian inspired options like the Bondi (sausage, bacon, egg, mushroom, chilli pesto, and avocado) aren’t quite enough to make you forget that you’re in rainy SW1 and nowhere near a f*cking beach, but their bottomless brunch is available until 3pm everyday of the week, so knock back enough mimosas and you could be anywhere.
Goodge Street // Northern Line
For the best part of a decade now we’ve been avoiding Tottenham Court Road tube. A combination of Centre Point chaos, Crossrail chaos, and lost tourist chaos makes it a no go zone. And we double-down on that rule in foul weather. So our advice for eating near Tottenham Court Road when it’s raining is: don’t. Get off at Goodge Street instead, take a leisurely two minute stroll round the corner to Bao Fitzrovia (a.k.a., the one you don’t need to form an orderly queue on Lexington Street to get into) and order yourself a fried chicken chop and short rib rice bowl.
Waterloo // Bakerloo, Jubilee, Northern and Waterloo & City Lines
London’s crumbled under a couple of drops of rain (again) and somehow you’re at the busiest station in the country. Twenty two thousand umbrellas have gone up at once, and the umbrella-less are all getting poked in the eye. It’s bedlam. Don’t worry, the Anchor and Hope is around the corner and it’s one of the best pubs in London. A two minute walk up the Cut (if you leg it) and you’re in cozy boozer heaven. Yes it’s got a fire. Yes it’s got lots of beers. And yes, it’s got really, really delicious food.
Bank and Monument // Central, Northern and Waterloo & City Lines + DLR
There used to be no worse place to be when it’s raining than Bank, because unless you worked there, there was nowhere to take shelter. But now there’s The Ned. It’s not our favourite spot in town, but it’s just a few steps from the station exit. Malibu Kitchen is probably the best option here for something to eat, particularly if you’re veggie or vegan. It’s a bit pricey, but a good call for when the soggy weather’s got you craving curly kale and ahi tuna poké.
Leicester Square // Northern Line
If you’re getting off at Leicester Square and need shelter from a storm, there’s nowhere better than J Sheekey. It’s old school, it’s elegant, it’s unpretentious, and their legendary fish pie is so warming and comforting it’ll make you forget your socks are sopping wet.
Oxford Circus // Central and Northern Lines
If you have to be anywhere near Oxford Circus and it’s raining, then this is probably the worst day of your life. Bar Remo will redeem it with wine, bread, and pasta done the old school way: in a huge bowl at a low price.
Embankment // Circle, District, Bakerloo, and Northern Lines
You’ve carried a mysteriously heavy umbrella with you everywhere for the past two weeks ‘just in case’, but today you decided to leave it at home. Somehow that decision has resulted in a thunderstorm redirecting itself from Scotland to Embankment station, and directly above your head. Leg it to Kerridge’s. Think of this place as your personal ark, which also serves really excellent British food and is filled with people who have probably never had to hold their own umbrella. Yes, this place is expensive but lobster thermidor is exactly what you need right now.
**Highbury and Islington // Victoria, Overground, and Main Lines
Honestly, if every time it rained we got to take shelter in somewhere like Trevi, we’d be packing a rain dance into every single evening commute. This spot is directly opposite Highbury and Islington station and is also conveniently home to a lasagne that’s guaranteed to make you warm and happy. It’s a small family-run, Italian, blackboard-of-specials kind of place which makes it perfect for getting cosy with some meatballs and a pint of on-tap Birra Moretti.