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
 

 

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

 

The Book Club

Food, drink, events and everything in between.

The Book Club is a former Victorian warehouse nestled between galleries and coffee shops on a Shoreditch side street. Ideal for coffee in the day, cocktails in the evening and ping pong at any hour; The Book Club is always busy with creatives, coffee lovers and cool East Londoners.   

TBC have an extensive list of unusual cocktails, including the ‘Beetroot’s Manuva’: a curious mix of tequila, beetroot juice, chilli agave, basil and chilli liqueur which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘health kick’. Try their ‘Gin Genie’ a cucumber-y homage to David Bowie. A cucumber, vinegar and sugar cordial is mixed with Hendricks gin, Lanique’s Rose liqueur and soda. Finished with a thin slice of cucumber and plenty of ice, this is a refreshingly tasty gin drink.

The food menu here is worth checking out too. The nachos come with a heavy recommendation and the weekend brunch menu will have you salivating with potato hash and huevous rancheros top of our list of choices.

More exciting than your typical Shoreditch stop off, The Book Club have mosaics, interesting artwork and wall plants dotted about the venue. A mix of seating on the top floor and a downstairs basement that’s used for speed dating, events, exhibitions and bingo – you’re likely to find whatever you’re looking for here. 

 

www.wearetbc.com

100-106 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4RH

 

Flat Iron Steak

Steak, chips and a butcher knife.

Along the famous Denmark Street, aka Tin Pan Alley, lies Flat Iron Steak. A lit-up sign reading 'Flat Iron at La Giacondo' is on display outside while the full-length glass window entrance displays what's going on inside. La Giacondo used to be a favourite hang out for the likes of David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Sex Pistols (to name a few), so you know that you're stepping into a venue with some rich musical history about it.

The interior features exposed brick walls, hanging vines entangled around the specials board while other green plants are scattered around the space and neon lighting reading 'steak is what you want'. And steak is what you get.

Upon being seated, you are given a cup of popcorn to nibble on while you peruse the menu. Daily specials normally include a burger and a wagyu bavette but who are you kidding, you came here for the £10 flat iron cut. The flat iron cut of steak is neatly sliced and presented on a wooden block, while the sides are served in enamel camping bowls. The steak is lightly seasoned and cooked to perfection with each slice tasting more juicier and flavoursome than the next. The creamed spinach is a must as well as the perfectly crunchy chips. Choose between bernaise, peppercorn, horseradish or fred's sauce (a spicy tomato salsa) to accompany your steak and you're good to go. 

It's all about that flat iron cut.

www.flatironsteak.co.uk

9 Denmark Street, London, WC2H 8LS