The Break-Up Guide: Where To Go When It All Falls Apart

10 spots where food and feelings go hand in hand.

Love. It’s a beautiful thing. Until, one day, you’re standing in your bedroom, listening to your beloved brushing their teeth, and you realise that you hate the way they gargle. Hacking. Gurgling. Like a dog eating a pack of Strepsils. You’re moments away from injecting Listerine into your eyeballs when you realise, this is it. The love: it’s crumbling. It’s falling apart. Faster than a digestive in the interrogation room of a BBC drama. So, what next? Here’s where you need to go and eat when everything has fallen apart.


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ZSL London Zoo

££££+44 344 225 1826

Personal growth, self reflection, or gently weeping as you watch two otters hold hands under water. You know what to choose. The good thing about animals is that they aren’t your ex. The bad thing is that the penguins have more emotional intelligence and you’re not really into tuxedos. Still, London Zoo is the perfect attraction. Get a slushie. Lick an ice cream. Pour your heart out to a sloth about the split and flirt with a camel called Trevor. You’re worth it.

If you were a celebrity couple, your Twitter statement would say that it had been a mutual decision. A conscious uncoupling. So, like any media-trained professional you’re out for one last public appearance together. Make it Wong Kei. The Chinatown institution has a brisk and blunt approach to service, so you can slurp your noodle soup or shovel your char siu, be done in half an hour, and part ways. Onwards and upwards.

You’ve had the best of times. You’ve had the worst of times. You had that one time where you went to see Sherlock Gnomes alone because you just needed a minute (or 86) to yourself. Anyway it’s time to call time, and you want to do it right. You want outside space, you want almond croissants, and you want coffee. Popham’s in Hackney is your answer to all of these things. It’s a calming bakery that oozes consideration and also cheese out of their excellent pastries. That's the kind of salty you're looking for.

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Nando's Gatwick Airport

To think, you once shared a bed with this person. Even worse, you shared your good moisturiser with them. All that collagen… gone. You can’t bear to think of them, be in the same city as them. They are a living, breathing stain. You need out. Out of the country. You need a piña colada and peri-peri sauce. You need garlic bread on the side, obviously.

Nobody likes to cry in public. But crying in public with one of London’s best sandwiches to soak it all up? You’ve got yourself a deal. This Algerian sandwich stall in Shepherd’s Bush Market is a real eat your feelings kind of meal: bread, chips, merguez, and mayonnaise. There are benches around if you want to sit and stare into the middle distance. But we’d recommend that you concentrate on the only thing that understands you right now: an extremely large sandwich.

After years of being kept on a proverbial leash—the literal one was for birthdays only—you are independent again. Young, wild, and free to eat sticky toffee pudding doughnuts. The Treats Club is a kind of celebratory sugar emporium in Stratford. There are Oreo-stuffed doughnut sundaes, Biscoff glazed rings, and other kinds of unique doughnutty treats. If you’re looking for a quick and dirty rebound, Wendy’s is there as well.

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££££+44 20 3846 3222

Swingers is ground zero for doomed relationships and a buffet for any wounded energy vampire. Take the diamanté shine out of that couple’s matching Balmain caps by having a Happy Gilmore moment at a novelty putting green in the West End. It won’t make you feel better but it will make you feel something. FYI there’s Patty & Bun, Breddos Tacos, and Pizza Pilgrims for when the self-loathing hits.

They’re north, you’re south. They’re a ketchup person, you like HP. They won’t say how they voted and, well, you know what that means. It was never going to work. Still, you’ll always have Yada’s. The BYOB Kurdish restaurant is handily located right by Peckham Rye station so, whichever direction your journey home is, you should be getting yourself a sensational shawarma. Alternatively you can get a few mates along and settle in for a falafel-filled debrief.

There are only really two types of break-up: bad break-ups and sensationally bad break-ups. The latter is the kind that cause you to wander aimlessly like a tourist with their location services turned off, and it’s for this temporarily earth shattering break-up that you want to go to The Southampton Arms. It’s a cosy old-school boozer in Gospel Oak where a corner can be found, tears can be wept, and scotch eggs can be damply eaten. Best of all it’s bang opposite Hampstead Heath: London’s finest green space for pensive meandering.

It’s not that you’re scared of commitment. It’s that you’re absolutely fucking terrified of commitment. Seriously, the last time you even attempted to commit to new bedding, a series of Ikea workers had to wrap you in a fluffy rug until you calmed down. When you’ve once again made the mistake of being a prime dickhead and led someone on, take them to this entirely fun, but moody Soho bar. You can time the chat to the saxophone player’s live Ray Charles solo, and afterwards they can dance to a rendition of Howlin’ Wolf with a pint to feel better. Leave. Keep walking. You don’t like commitment, remember?

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