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Brat — the Shoreditch restaurant that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city

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How to Eat Your Way Through London in 24 Hours

Make every dining minute count in the Big Smoke

Tomos Parry’s Brat, one of London’s biggest 2018 restaurant openings
| Ben McMahon/benjaminmcmahon.com

Eating in such a massive city like London comes with a few specific problems. But one comparatively new problem in a city whose modern restaurant scene has exploded — especially with limited time — is less where and how to eat well, but exactly what to eat and when.

This just-about-feasible itinerary offers a glimpse into how the city has evolved and how visitors, although they may wish to stay for the full bells-and-whistles lunch or dinner, can pop into many of London’s best restaurants for just a snack or a takeaway treat. It’s a guide that can be taken with a pinch of salt or one that can be followed to a T. Ultimately, it’s a guide that will ensure its users will eat extremely well — all of these restaurants have the invention and skill to flex in accordance with individual needs, dietary concerns, and everything in between.

So here it is: From a restorative Japanese breakfast through to a late-night Turkish grill, via a modern Chinese restaurant, a bakery, a pub, and thoroughly modern wine bar. Get ready.

7.30 a.m.

Kaffeine

Begin the day with a coffee at one of the essential London coffee shopsKaffeine on Great Titchfield Street in Fitzrovia. It’s one of the original third-wave cafes, it now has a second branch on nearby Eastcastle Street, and David Beckham is a fan of its punchy espressos, silky flat whites, and enviable range of brioches, cakes, and salads. But you’re not here for the food. That’s what’s next, after a short walk into the heart of Soho.

Kaffeine in Fitzrovia, one of London’s best coffee shops
Kaffeine in Fitzrovia is the perfect place to start with a coffee
Kaffeine

9 a.m.

Koya Soho

One of London’s great (Japanese) restaurants serves one of the city’s greatest breakfasts. There are two ways to go: Order either the traditional Japanese breakfast (grilled fish, rice, miso soup, and pickles), or a breakfast udon noodle dish of fried bacon chunks, and egg yolk, with chopped spring onions. The advice on the latter is to stir in soy sauce, which delivers extra umami.

Koya in Soho, the perfect breakfast spot, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
Shuko Oda’s Koya in Soho is one of London’s essential breakfast spots
Ola Smit/Eater London
The best London breakfasts: English breakfast udon at Koya in Soho, rumoured to be opening a new London restaurant at the Market Halls food hall in Victoria, south London
English breakfast udon at Koya in Soho
Ola Smit/Koya

11 a.m.

The Wolseley

For those who opt to take a light breakfast at Koya, and still have room for something for something more substantial, and rich, there are few things as iconic as The Wolseley’s omelette Arnold Bennett — a rich, buttery hollandaise base, with smoked haddock, chives, and parmesan — and few more salubrious dining rooms in which to kick off a day (even for the second or third time.)

Omelette Arnold Bennett at The Wolesley on Piccadilly, a second breakfast spot that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city The Wolseley [Official Photo]

1 p.m.

A. Wong / 40 Maltby Street

Since it’s going to be one of those days, why not separate lunch? A good idea is to head to one of only a few very good restaurants in Victoria and have a few baskets of dim sum at Michelin-starred A. Wong. As well as serving first class modern Chinese food, chef/owner Andrew Wong’s dim sum — including immaculate xiaolongbao soup dumplings with vinegar and tapioca pearls — are available by the individual piece. If it’s a Friday or Saturday, then 40 Maltby Street — which some say is French in disguise — offers a real insight into what contemporary British cooking looks like. The blackboard menu changes every day, but there’s always a pie, often a terrine, and always something that will remind you why it’s one of London’s best restaurants. Props to anyone who manages both.

Dim sum at Michelin-starred A. Wong, the Chinese tasting menu restaurant in Victoria that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
Dim sum at A. Wong
Ola Smit/Eater London
Broad beans and toast, little gem lettuce and asparagus at 40 Maltby Street in Bermondsey, the modern British restaurant that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
40 Maltby Street is many a chef’s favourite restaurant, for good reason
Ola Smit/Eater London

3.30 p.m.

Quality Chop House

Yes, 24 hours in London must include a visit to the vaunted home of mince on toast. But, given all else to eat in such a limited time, the trick here is to stop into the shop next door for meat encased in pastry: a pork pie, or sausage roll — fresh out of the oven. (Even if there are none fresh, pick one up from the deli refrigerator and save it for breakfast the next day.)

Sausage roll from Quality Chop House shop, one of the best places to eat pastry in London, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city Read_Pasture/Instagram

4.30 p.m.

St John Bread and Wine

A visit to London for someone interested in food must not exclude a brush with the St. John brand, no matter how fleeting. Depending on how one feels, there might be room for a slice of Welsh rarebit or a plate of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad, but it’s more likely that a sugar hit is more in order by now. For that, there are doughnuts filled with vanilla or chocolate creme patissiere, or jam. But the real sweet hack is half a dozen still-warm madeleines to take away which should be eaten while regrouping on a walk through Shoreditch, in preparation for further eating.

The dining room at Fergus Henderson’s St. John Bread and Wine, the classic, modern British restaurant that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
The restaurant and bakery at St John Bread and Wine
Ola Smit/Eater London

6 p.m.

The Clove Club

The tasting menu at this Michelin-starred, Shoreditch institution — London’s highest placed restaurant in the dubious, but powerful, World’s 50 Best list — is up there with only a few essential fine dining experiences in London. But that would mean missing out on some less time-consuming eating elsewhere. So, get a seat in the bar, order from the clever cocktail list and get a plate of the inimitable pine salt buttermilk fried chicken. It’s now the only dish available to eat in the bar. (Open from 6 p.m.)

Pine salt buttermilk fried chicken at Michelin-starred The Clove Club in Shoreditch, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
The Clove Club in Shoreditch. Pine salt buttermilk fried chicken
P A Jorgensen/The Clove Club

7 p.m.

P. Franco

There are many reasons to visit the Lower Clapton (natural) wine bar and shop that Eater awarded London restaurant of the year in 2017. The operators have changed the template of a wine bar in 2018, with the head chef role rotated every six months consistently making it one of the most dynamic and exciting places to eat in the city. The current chef, Seb Myers, is taking the space back to its roots in European winemaking and drinking traditions, with food that feels like it belongs in the most urbane French countryside auberge that any diner could imagine. (Food is served only in the evening, Thursday — Sunday)

The interior of Lower Clapton wine bar and restaurant P. Franco, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
P. Franco is one of the city’s most interesting wine bars
Ola Smit/Eater London
Chef Anna Tobias — alum of The River Cafe and Rochelle Canteen — outside Lower Clapton wine bar and restaurant P. Franco, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
Anna Tobias is the new guest chef at P. Franco
Tegan Hendel/P. Franco

8.30 p.m.

Brat

Head back into Shoreditch for dinner at Brat, one of the hottest London restaurant openings of 2018. The restaurant here is named after turbot (Brat is an old English name for the large flat fish) and the restaurant grills that gelatinous sea creature with great care and attention. However, given the circumstances, something a little more modest might work better: Perhaps a plate of roast duck, served with radicchio, and cherry; or a few bites of whipped cod’s roe on toast, a plate of perfect tomatoes with olive oil and salt, grilled flat bread with Cantabrian anchovies, langoustine, velvet crab, or Moorland beef tartare. A massive, excellent wine list put together by the owners of Noble Rot plumps for traditional styles, mainly eschewing the more trendy natural style of winemaking.

Anchovy flatbread at Brat restaurant in Shoreditch, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
Anchovy flat bread at Brat
Iamleonatan/Instagram

10.30 p.m.

Marksman

It’s London, so it’s important to go to the pub. For a straight-up boozer, there’s the Wenlock Arms just off City Road, that’s worth a look. A spit n sawdust venue, whose existence was only recently ensured by an enthusiastic local residents group who protested its planned demolition. But, if there’s still some room to eat, then the Marksman on Hackney Road represents probably the best example of a gastropub 2.0 and hasn’t completely lost its old-school east end drinking den identity.

Grouse! At Marksman on Hackney Road, the pub and dining roomthat forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
The Marksman — a pub that behaves as a pub and a restaurant
Harriet Clare/Harriet Clare Photography

Midnight

Still awake? There’s a strong case for staying on Hackney Road and heading over to one of the city’s most accomplished late-night restaurant wine bars, The Laughing Heart — which is open 2pm — 2am Monday to Saturday — but it’s as good an idea to head north, and up Kingsland Road to Dalston, where the air is filled with the aroma of grill smoke from the many Turkish ocakbaşi. Mangal 2 is the pick here, and not just because of the very competent cooking (go for a çöp şiş — tender chunks of grilled lamb), but because its something of a family-run institution which counts Turner Prize-winning artists Gibert and George among its most trusted patrons, too.

Ocakbasi and mezze at Mangal 2, the Turkish restaurant in Dalston that that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
Ocakbasi-grilled chicken and mezze at Mangal 2
Ola Smit/Eater London

~Sleep well.~

For further recommendations, check out London’s best coffee shops, bakeries, lunch deals, sandwiches, ice cream, tea spots, wine bars, pubs, essential restaurants, and the hottest restaurants in town, right now.

Quality Chop House

94 Farringdon Rd, London, Greater London EC1R 3EA +44 20 3490 6228 Visit Website

St. John

26 Saint John Street, , England EC1M 4AY 020 7251 0848 Visit Website

BRAT

4 Redchurch Street, , England E1 6JL Visit Website

The Wenlock Arms

26 Wenlock Road, , England N1 7TA 020 7608 3406 Visit Website

The Clove Club

380 Old Street, , England EC1V 9LT 020 7729 6496 Visit Website

The Dusty Knuckle Bakery

Abbot Street, , England E8 3DP 020 3903 7598 Visit Website

Mangal 2

4 Stoke Newington Rd, London, Greater London N16 7XN +44 20 7254 7888 Visit Website

Ace Hotel

100 Shoreditch High Street, , England E1 6JQ 020 7613 9800 Visit Website

The Laughing Heart

277 Hackney Road, , England E2 8NA 020 7686 9535 Visit Website

Rochelle Canteen

16 Playground Gardens, , England E2 7FA 020 3928 8328 Visit Website

P Franco

107 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 0NP 020 8533 4660 Visit Website

Kaffeine

66 Great Titchfield Street, , England W1W 7QJ 020 7580 6755 Visit Website

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, , England SE1 3PA 020 8076 9517 Visit Website

The River Cafe

Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London, W6 9HA Visit Website

Koya Soho

50 Frith Street, , England W1D 4SQ 020 7434 4463 Visit Website

A. Wong

70 Wilton Road, , England SW1V 1DE 020 7828 8931 Visit Website

Marksman

254 Hackney Rd, London, Greater London E2 7SJ +44 20 7739 7393 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website

St John Bread and Wine

94-96 Commercial Street, , England E1 6LZ 020 7251 0848 Visit Website

The Wolseley

160 Piccadilly, , England W1J 9EB 020 7499 6996 Visit Website

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