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London's Hippest Places To Eat Right Now
This small Soho restaurant is London's only pisco bar and cevicheria. Besides plenty of Peru's national drink and dish, visitors can dine on small plates packed with flavor, including chancha (crunchy corn), yucas (fried cassava), lomo saltado (sirloin marinated in soy sauce and spices), octopus skewers and quinoa salad. Just don't come expecting servers donning hokey ponchos and serving roasted guinea pig to a background of music on the pan flute: here you'll find a chromed-out bar that resembles a fish market and walls filled with screen-printed posters from classic and modern Peruvian artists, all of which were handpicked by proprietor Martin Morales. Morales makes sure all of the music is 100 percent Peruvian, from '60s psychedelic rock to the latest Afro-Peruvian electronic music, and he even goes so far as to put some of the bands out on vinyl under his record label Tiger's Milk, a moniker that gives a nod to the nickname for leftover ceviche marinade.
17 Frith St., London W1D 4RG
Duck & Waffle
This new restaurant serves tasty British-influenced dishes, but what really draws visitors are the amazing city views. The restaurant is perched on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, a high rise in the heart of London near busy Liverpool Street Station. The building is set very close to London's famous Gherkin, and from high above you can see all the landmarks along the Thames River. Even better, you can take in the birds-eye-view morning, noon and night: this place is open 24/7, meaning you can stop in late after a night of club hopping or drop in early to get breakfast before a day of sightseeing. If you stop in for breakfast, the steak & egg benedict (above) was perfectly poached and smothered in delicious hollandaise sauce, and you can't go wrong with an English breakfast, a traditional dish that includes two eggs, sausage, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, trotter-braised beans, hash browns and Scottish black pudding.
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
Evans & Peel Detective Agency
An American phenomenon is taking a hold on London: speakeasy-themed bars and restaurants set in 1920s prohibition-era hideaways. One such place is Evans & Peel Detective Agency, a restaurant under the guise of a private investigation agency. Visitors need to make an advanced "appointment" with a detective and state their case before even being approved for their reservation. The unassuming entrance is to the side of busy Earl's Court Road, and diners are buzzed down into a room where a stern detective leads an interrogation about your case (it's okay if you giggle while lauding him with a made up tale about your search for a runaway husband, like my friend and I did). From there, I won't ruin the experience for anyone wanting to check this out for themselves, but I will say the owners spared no expense at making this seem like a real, candlelit safe house for illegal boozing. The menu is mostly American-style finger food, plus some inventive cocktails using whiskey as the main ingredient.
310c Earl's Court Rd., London SW5 9AQ
The Wilton Way Café
This independently owned cafe is filled with young artists and bohemians who inhabit Hackney, one of London's up-and-coming hipster havens. The tiny cafe is notable because it is also home to London Fields Radio, a station broadcasting podcasts filled with eclectic musical selections and conversations about London's creative community. If you want to find the pulse of London's creative heart, this is the place to be. Luckily, the food and coffee match the vision of these creative types; Wilton Way Cafe serves up fresh croissants and cakes from nearby bakeries, and makes their coffee with locally roasted Climpson & Sons beans.
63 Wilton Way, London E8 1BG
If you find yourself in London on a Sunday, heading to Brick Lane is an absolute must. Rain or shine, young Londoners flock here to shop for new and second-hand wares, making sure to stop for a bite to eat at what is called the Sunday UpMarket inside the Old Truman Brewery. Here, you'll find a collection of small but tantalizing food stalls, each with artfully crafted displays of everything from hand-rolled sushi to Spanish paellas and empanadas. You'll also find Mexican, Ethiopian, Turkish, Indian, Argentinian and more. My suggestion is to bring a friend so you can sample more than just one type of cuisine. When you're finished, browse more than 140 stalls selling fashion and accessories, also located in the building. If you're up for more, Old Spitalfields Market is also nearby.
The Old Truman Brewery, London E1 6QL
If you're looking for additional suggestions on where to eat in London, check out Visit London-I found several of the above restaurants through their website.
[Photo credit: blogger Libby Zay]