Palm Vaults

Pastels, plant pots and the prettiest coffees in Hackney 

Walking down E8's Mare Street you'll be able to spot Palm Vaults almost immediately. The avocado green exterior is distinctly 1970s and is topped with the cafe's name in glittery capital letters. 

Step inside and you're transported away from Hackney and instead to what could be the set for a Wes Anderson film. The interior is different to anything else in London at the moment, with marble table tops, suspended pastel plant pots overhead and everything awash with pastel pink and green down to the napkins and till roll. 

There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options at PV. Try their Palm Vaults classic: smashed avo on sourdough with a dressed salad. You can pick your own toppings with crumbled feta and sundried tomato being the obvious choices for us. Their pastel palette even translates to the coffee: which is prettier than any hot drink you will have seen before. Our favourite was the Matcha Tea Latte which is served a beautifully light shade of green. 

This spot is so pretty you'll find yourself wanting to spend the whole day there. No bookings, this is less than five minutes walk from Hackney Central Overground. 

www.palmvaults.com

411 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HY

 

On The Bab

Craving fried chicken? This Korean eatery will hit the spot.

You'll find Korean food spot On The Bab on Old Street. They serve a mixture of tasty morsels from their modest kitchen which explains the queue outside the door. Bab, the Korean word for rice, is not the only option; there's a range of tasty meat filled steamed bao buns and sticky, spicy fried chicken on the menu.

This venue is only small with about eight small tables in total and a few seats at the bar. Sticking with Shoreditch tradition, On The Bab boasts the distressed look, with exposed brickwork and the menu is listed on a vintage peg board.  

This spot is definitely all about the food: arm yourself with some napkins and try the sweet and spicy Yangyum Korean fried chicken. Sticky, crispy and more-ish, the chicken comes topped with peanuts and served with shredded Korean cabbage. A trip to OTB isn't complete without sampling a couple of their bao buns. We love the soft shell crab and guac bun drizzled in garlic and chilli soy sauce. 

The Kun Mandu chicken dumplings and Gimari seaweed salad are also worth trying. This place is all about sharing, so get a group together and enjoy! 

www.onthebab.co.uk

305 Old St, London EC1V 9LA

 

Southbank Skatepark

Spend an afternoon at this iconic London skate spot.

The skatepark at Southbank has been viewed as the birthplace of British skateboarding since 1976 and is an attraction for graffiti artists, skateboarders, inline skaters and BMXers from all over the city. The concrete undercroft provides the perfect environment for skating as it is sheltered from the ubiquitous British rain, has conveniently flat smooth surfaces and a wealth of interesting architectural features (think banks, ledges and sets of stairs). And with graffiti on every inch of the park it's a mesmerising slice of colour by the Thames.

On any given day you’ll find a number of tourists and passers by watching skaters shred the park. The skaters tend to be pretty experienced making this a really good place to see some complex tricks.

The undercroft was threatened by redevelopment plans back in 2014 but after skaters and members of the community formed the Long Live Southbank campaign and a 30,000 strong petition was delivered to the Council, the park was saved.

Half a mile from Waterloo station, bring your camera or your board and enjoy this iconic London skate spot.  

www.llsb.com

Southbank Skatepark, Lambeth, London, SE1 8XZ
 

 

Thrifting at Central Market

A Saturday Flea Market in the Pink City.

On a Saturday morning, if you find yourself in the middle of the Pink City, then wonder round the back of City Palace and head to Central Market. There you’ll find - popping up between the regular vegetable stands and the marigolds - some amazing thrift stalls that gather here on a Saturday at which point you can settle in for a few hours of browsing trying to find that little something. Stalls here sell everything, it’s a playground for bargain hunters. There’s tool stands selling car jacks and wrenches, homeware stands selling crockery, radios, trunks, books and other random collectables and toy stands where you can find paint pots and roller blades, badminton racquets and bicycles to name just a few of the possibilities. There are clothes and shoe stands too to make sure all needs are catered for! Ideally get there before 8am and you can scan the stalls as they are being set up and be sure not to miss what you’re after or just enjoy the slightly cooler streets before the morning sun starts to heat up. 

Behind the main street stretches the beautiful flower market where sari’s are filled to overflowing with orange and yellow marigolds. Most people around you head there to do their daily deals and gather their goods while others take the more laid back approach and chill on their bikes with a chai to watch the day’s trading, whatever takes your fancy. 

Also nearby are the garden’s of Shri Govind Dev Ji Temple there is a lovely park just off the back of the market. Relax after your morning of bargaining and watch the monkeys do what monkeys do!

 

Daunt Books

You'll find thousands of travel books in this beautiful bookshop

Daunt Books is arguably one of London's most beautiful bookshops. Founded almost 30 years ago, Daunt Books can be found on Marylebone High Street in an old Edwardian building. Spread over three floors, this stunning oak bookshop is primarily known for travel books. Arranging all books by country, book lovers are given a unique browsing experience. As the store has expanded, they have encompassed fact, fiction, guides and cooking books.  

Everything about Daunt Books is aesthetically breath-taking. The shop front is organised neatly and opens up into a long galleried main room, reminiscent of an old university library. At the end of the room is a huge stain glass window and this, teamed with the oak balcony and William Morris prints, gives Daunt Books a real sense of grandeur.   

Daunt Books became so popular that over the last 15 years they have opened stores in Holland Park, Hampstead, Chelsea, Belsize Park and Cheapside. Keep an eye on their website for details of talks and discussions that are held in store and look out for their annual book festival. 

Spend a Sunday flicking through their travel photography books and enjoying the peace of this old book store. 

www.dauntbooks.co.uk

83-84 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4QW

 

Bleecker Street Burger

Head to Bleecker Street for one of the best burgers in town.

Located in Spitalfields Market, Bleecker Street couldn’t have picked a finer spot for their first permanent premises. This is a great area to head to for lunch, with a mix of people milling about on the hunt for food and lots of other stalls and stands to browse.

Bleecker Street Burger are all about the beef. Using rare-breed, pasture fed beef, they season their meat beautifully and serve all burgers medium rare. Keeping things simple, Bleecker Street serve their patties in a sesame seeded bun with onions, cheese and their burger sauce.  

A double cheeseburger clocks in at £9 and definitely makes for a filling lunch option. If you’re super hungry try the Double offer which comes with a side of fries too. Grab yourself a handful of napkins and take on a BS burger. Juicy, pink and surprisingly light you’ll feel like lunch is over too soon.

Get yourself down to Spitalfields and enjoy the bustle of the market with a Bleecker Street Burger in hand.

www.bleeckerburger.co.uk

Old Spitalfields Market, Unit B SP4 London E1 6EA
 

 

Granger & Co.

Head to Granger & Co. for a delicious, Aussie style brunch

Relaxed, unfussy and effortlessly cool - It all makes sense when you find out Granger & Co is the brainchild of Aussie Bill Granger. With great atmosphere and service, it's easy to while away a couple of hours here and kick back for a morning with a leisurely brunch.

The coffee here is great, but more importantly, start your day with a decent Bloody Mary. Opt for either the classic or the 'Clamato' juice version - clam and tomato juice - for subtle spice and depth of flavour.

If sweet things are your style, the ricotta hotcakes are a tempting stack; doughy, comforting and drizzled with honeycomb butter. Utterly delicious. If you fancy something savoury, the classic breakfasts are big platefuls here, with runny poached eggs, just ripe avocado and verdant piles of kale. True to Aussie style, there are also plenty of healthy options too, including smoothies, chia porridge and courgette fritters. The buckwheat bowl is a big bowl of bright greens, with rose harissa, goat's yoghurt, poached egg, avocado and sunflower sprouts. There are some interesting ingredients there, but it all comes together as a tasty and slightly more virtuous option.

Craving something sweet? Go for the pumpkin spiced brownie. Marbled with subtly spiced pumpkin and rich, rich chocolate, these are utterly divine. Best offset by a coffee, this is the perfect way to round off a brunch.

www.grangerandco.com

50 Sekforde St, London EC1R 0HA

 

Euston Tap

Enjoy a big selection of beers in one of London's smallest pubs.

The Euston tap may be small, but their selection of beers is mighty. With two huge fridges either side of the bar and just shy of thirty taps, you're spoilt for choice at this teeny tiny pub.

Originally one of the four pillars supporting the Euston Arch, this Victorian lodge house seems a little out of place on Euston Road, but if your train is running late or you find yourself in the area, it's a great place to enjoy a few beers.

Throughout the summer the modest pub garden is teeming with punters and come winter you'll find them crowded around the horseshoe bar or in the upstairs area.

If you're into your craft beers you can't do much better than the Euston Tap. Their selection and staff make this a popular destination and one we would recommend any day of the week.

www.eustontap.com

190 Euston Road, Kings Cross, London, NW1 2EF

 

Section 8

Melbourne's most quintessential laneway bar.

What was meant to be a temporary container unit bar in an empty car park has stayed put and is possibly the best thing to have ever happened to Melbourne. In the heart of the CBD, on the outskirts of Melbourne's Chinatown, down an alleyway lies Section 8. 

Section 8 is as industrial as it gets. The open-air space is surrounded by a chain link fence and graffiti every which way you look. Inside, there are barrels to perch your beer on, wooden crates to sit on and pallet furniture galore. This place is proof that you don't need to spend a ton of money to create a great bar. DJs are regularly spinning the decks meaning there is basically always a laneway party going on at Section 8.

The drink selection is pretty vast for such a small place. Grab something exotic from their imported beer selection like a Royal Jamaican Ginger Beer - a delightfully refreshing beer with a lingering spicy kick. Sink an Australian classic in the form of Coopers Pale Ale, Melbourne Bitter or good ol' Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. Or check out what beer specials they're stocking for the week. Cocktails are aplenty too - choose from the classics or try a herbaceous Chartreuse Swizzle combining Green Chartreuse, pineapple juice, lime and velvet falernum or a Mediterranean Azedar with gin, fino sherry and elderflower with apple, lemon juice and egg white.

Need food to soak up some of that alcohol? Section 8 also serves a selection of burgers, hot dogs, fries, and melted cheesy open-face sandwich goodness aka zapiekanki (which is basically a polish pizza).

This is a Melbourne beer garden like no other.

www.section8.com.au

27-29 Tattersalls Lane, CBD, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Section 8 Melbourne CBD Voyage Collective Billie Norman
 

8bit.

Fast food at its best in Melbourne's CBD.

Remember when you used to play video games in 8bit? Well now you can eat delicious fast food and pretend you're in one. In the heart of Melbourne's CBD lies 8bit - a fast food joint whose quality puts it above the rest. 8bit is a reminiscence to video games of days gone by. The interior is fun and playful with a bold blue and yellow colour scheme. On the walls you'll see 8bit artwork of your favourite Nintendo games. Even the tiles are pixelated. At the front of the store, you can get your 8bit fix while you wait with the old school Arcade Classics game machine.

The menu has all of the varieties of burgers and hot dogs you could ever want (and they are all named after old school video games, of course). Grab the 'Double Dragon' for double everything, the '1 Up Mushroom' for all of your veggie needs, or the 'After Burner' if you think chilli sauce and jalapeños should coexist. But sometimes you've just got to go for the classics. The '8bit with Cheese' comprises of a juicy beef patty with tomato, lettuce, onion, pickles, mustard, cheese, ketchup and 8bit sauce all squeezed into a soft sesame seed bun. While the '8bit Dog' consists of a huge smoked frankfurter topped with grilled onions, pickle, relish, ketchup, mustard and spring onions. 

For those who say it isn't over until they've had dessert, don't you worry, salted caramel, peanut butter, and strawberry cheesecake milkshakes are available. And there's even a changing weekly chocolate bar milkshake.

Classic 8bit, classic food.

www.eat8bit.com.au

231 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000