Where To Go When You Need To Dissect Your Love Life For A Minimum Of 2-6 HoursBehold, the London restaurants that will enable an essential deep dive into what that thumbs up emoji truly means for your relationship status.
Love is a beautiful and profound part of the human experience. It also makes you do things like call an ‘urgent meeting’ to discuss whether the de-escalation from four kisses to two kisses means someone is dating other people. Is it healthy to obsess? No. Are you going to do it anyway? Yes, pass the vino. Focus on their last seen WhatsApp status, we’ll cover the setting. Onwards for the places that will enable this incredibly chill—not at all un-chill, no no—behaviour.
Good friends will ask you if you’re dating anyone at the moment. Great friends will let you trap them on a boat for four hours while you make the case that you haven’t been ghosted, someone is simply holding your beloved’s fingers hostage. Enter Caravel, a maroon converted barge that is both deeply charming and home to an impossibly smooth chicken liver pâté. It’s the kind of place where you can talk over candlelight for hours, safe in the knowledge that there’s an excellent blood orange jelly waiting at the end. There’s even a stained glass window depicting a pigeon doing its ‘business’, that you can stoically point at after your fourth glass of red and say ‘just like they shat on my heart’. Magical.
Besides being one of London’s best coffee shops, Ozone Coffee Roasters near Old Street roundabout in Shoreditch has a mind-boggling 11 menu sections. Which means 11 opportunities to circle back to what he really meant by “I’m busy on Thursday”. The newer Emma Street spot tops that by adding pizza to the mix, alongside brunch, evening meals, lunchtime soups, salads, and pastas. There’s also an all-day breakfast menu that features eggs benedict on crunchy bubble ‘n’ squeak cakes which is, hands down, one of the best breakfasts you can get in London. Pop in for a breakfast catch-up that seeps into lunch, then dinner, and ends with your friend intervening when you try to order a third cup of cold brew.
There is nothing quite as sobering as googling your own attachment style while trying to decipher whether there is a way to reply to a message that simply reads ‘hahaha’. That’s why it’s time to turn to old faithful, the pub, where sobriety is never encouraged but long wistful chats most definitely are. Norfolk Arms is a pub where you can do exactly that with the added benefit of a Spanish cheese platter, grilled octopus, and lamb skewers. Hot tip: get the tzatziki. Another hot tip: do not reply with ‘yes, I am very funny’.
You’ve been on two dates with this person. Things were going fairly well. Then out of nowhere they respond to your question with a single, deafening, moon-face emoji. Are they losing interest? Did they get back with their ex? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?! There’s only one way to find out—a whole lot of whining to your friends, checking your star sign compatibility, and never, under any circumstances, addressing the issue with the actual person you’re dating. This all-day cafe in Covent Garden is the perfect place to spiral uncontrollably while drinking homemade peach ice tea and eating baked porcini pasta, followed by a slice of chocolate cake. Do this on repeat from 9am to 5pm (when it closes), and take back all the mean things you said when they inevitably hit you with the “sorry got distracted” text.
When you’re planning to spend half a day talking about yourself, you’ve got to make sure the seating is at least comfortable for your human sounding board—because although your ex couldn’t see it, you’re a very considerate person. Tavolino gives the people what they want with intimate seating, not to mention a fiery ’nduja and pork ragu pasta, as well as top negronis. Come here for a late lunch, begin your monologue on why you “really and truly want to be single” in one of their comfy booths, and enjoy the excellent views across Tower Bridge come golden hour.
When the weather is behaving and you need a distraction and healthy dose of gelato, this street food market in Elephant and Castle is a great shout. You can rock up at the weekend with a few friends to eat, drink, and have a painfully detailed debrief of your trainwreck of a love life. They’ve got all the usual craft beer, burgers, and hot dogs, as well as a build-your-own tiramisu stall and Italian sandwiches—all of which should buy you more than enough time to get everyone's advice… and, of course, to ignore it once you get home.
There are some conversations that a restaurant simply can’t handle. Sorry, it’s not their fault. People, you know, eat in them and what you’re about to discuss makes a Sally Rooney novel look like Anne of Green Gables. Take it to society’s morally ambiguous wonderland, Hyde Park, where people get away with doing all sorts like mounting each other or better yet, loudly discussing mounting each other. Add a little sophisticated subsistence with this Japanese cafe’s signature mille crêpes and the hefty ice cream sando. No being told you need to give up the table, no strangers listening in, and no doubt, all that sugar will inevitably lead to true clarity.