London – Under The Radar

Filed in Guest Blogs, Outside Zurich, Travel by on November 1, 2014 0 Comments

London – Under The Radar 

London Underground sign

Photo © NewInZurich

This week we are featuring a guest article by NoéMie Schwaller, Editor-in-Chief of DASH Magazine, entitled “London – Under the Radar”. NoéMie Schwaller was born and raised in Zurich, and has lived in Darwin, Paris, Lucerne, Vienna and Auckland. She now calls London home, yet loves going back to Switzerland time and again.

NoéMie is interested in design, fashion, social contact, world affairs, good food and visually literate people. She loves nature – especially the Alps.

London Underground sign

Photo © NewInZurich

We caught up with NoéMie in Switzerland and were curious to discover what a modern Zürcherin makes of London and her favourite haunts. Luckily for us, she was happy to share some of her “under the radar” discoveries and to give us her unique take on London. If you’re planning a trip to the UK capital anytime soon then check out her recommendations:

***BARS***

Night time in London

Photo © NewInZurich

SPECIAL

At the Experimental Cocktail Club you dive into a calm and relaxed local bijoux just off the buzzing streets of Chinatown. Dimmed lights and several small corners on three floors allow you to interact socially or enjoy your privacy if you prefer. You need a reservation, but every now and then you’ll get in without one if you’re lucky! Website 

WINE

Borough Wines on Wilton Way is a great little wine bar – with its airy and wooden interior, it complements their restaurant around the corner at Hackney Downs. Website

BUSINESS

Next to Liverpool Street Station, where you’ll struggle to find a good, nice bar, is the Andaz Hotel’s Catch Champagne Lounge. Its free WiFi, low music, peaceful atmosphere and discreet yet attentive service make it the perfect location for a business meeting. Website

***RESTAURANTS***

 

Smiths of Smithfield Photos © Tom Grifiith

Photo © Tom Griffiths Smiths of Smithfield

SPECIAL

Restaurant Story experiments with cuisine and taste – every dish is a surprise. I had a ten course meal at this one Michelin star venue near London Bridge and didn’t feel stuffed at all – quite an achievement! Admittedly, one of the courses consisted of a single flower blossom, so maybe not so much of a surprise. Website

PRICEY

The top floor of Smiths of Smithfield has a stunning terrace and a nice view – definitely worth visiting on a beautiful day for a chilled-out lunch and a bottle of crisp wine. Located in Farringdon, you could also use it as a starting point in the evening before heading clubbing at Fabric. Website

MEDIUM

Ffiona’s, located in the gorgeous Kensington Church Street, offers a personal touch and a tasty menu. Its small size, charm and the eponymous owner are all worth experiencing. Website

The charming Mayfields on Hackney’s Wilton Way has reinterpreted the menu as we know it. Instead of starters and mains, there’s a small list of dishes and the further down you read, the bigger the portion sizes and prices become. Perfect if you can’t decide and want to share some plates. The service is extremely friendly and welcoming. Reservations are advisable as there are only a few tables. Should you have to wait, just head across the road to Borough Wines (see above) for an aperitif. Website

CHEAP

Just a little off the beaten track of the Shoreditch High Street mile of Vietnamese joints, in De Beauvoir Town, you’ll find an old early 20th Century building with not much indicating the hotspot inside. Closed on Sundays, Huong-Viet 12-14 Englefield Rd, London N1 4LS, is a cheap, quick and perfectly fine place for an uncomplicated dinner. Just don’t even think about trying the wine!

***MUSIC***

London's lions in Trafalgar Square

Photo © NewInZurich

HIP

Dalston Superstore. Since I moved to London this is where I go to shake that booty. Since Hackney has become such a hip place for tourists too, the doorman isn’t quite so strict any more, meaning you can get in even if you don’t look super gay.

HIP

The Moustache Bar is another place to go on Kingsland Road. I must say that I have lost track with so many new places popping up all over this area, but this one has been there for a while now and yes, you will be wearing that moustache with pride.

PUB

The Shacklewell Arms –  a London live music pub and an old institution that has not tried to change whilst its surroundings have. It’s a place where you’re never quite sure how the evening will end.

***SHOPPING***

Shoppping in London

Photo © NewInZurich

A must to find one-off pieces: the designer archive clothing store Storm in a Teacup in Haggerston.

The wonderful interior design of the concept store LN-CC on Shacklewell Lane makes the visit worth it, next to its book store containing a thought-through selection of Damir Doma, Rick Owens and the likes. By appointment only.

KTZ on Soho’s Greek Street, because for me the label, under the creative direction of Marjan Pejoski and management of Sasko Bezovski, incorporates what’s going on with London’s cutting-edge street style.

***MARKETS***

Hertford Flowers Ltd at Columbia Road Market

Photo © Hertford Flowers, Columbia Road Market

Dover Street Market  – concept store created by Rei Kawakubo of Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons, located in Dover Street, Mayfair – no explanation needed!

Broadway Market takes place on Saturdays and is usually pretty crowded. Most people buy something from the hot food stalls to eat in the adjacent London Fields, or while the hours away in one of the bars along the street.

Columbia Road Flower Market is a pretty way to start Sunday mornings. While there, try to snatch a table at the Brawn for a cold platter of meats and cheeses from Androuet in Spitalfields and a glass or two of wine from small but committed growers.

***PARKS***

London Parks

Photo © NewInZurich

Springfield Park is nothing like The Simpsons. It’s a quiet park on a slope in a Jewish quarter with a pond, ducks, a café and plenty of grassy fields to lie on. Should you feel the need to practice your backhand, you’ll find tennis courts or alternatively table tennis to have your fling on.

London Fields Park is where it all happens on a sunny weekend. Be sure to bring your portable grill, plenty of booze and your new hipster shades.

***VISIT***

Hampstead Heath is great for meditative walks, watching the change of season or jumping in the ponds if the weather allows.

Pitzhanger Manor House and Gallery in Ealing stands in the middle of a gorgeous, flowery park and offers 6-7 annual, small but superb and free of charge art, architecture and design exhibitions. The house was designed by architect Sir John Soanes’ (1753-1837) and served as his country retreat.

***RANDOM***

No 74 Hair & Beauty offers a personal and warm service and an array of treatments from cuts and colour to sumptuous beauty treatments. I found it as they are one of the few salons using Yon-ka Paris natural products, so have kept going back there ever since.

Pubs –  There are all sorts to suit everybody  – just try one!

We hope that you’ve enjoyed this view of London through NoéMie’s “Swiss Eyes”. To find out more about DASH magazine please see here and you can order your own copy here.

 

Dash mgazine

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Our thanks to NoéMie for sharing her insights on “London – Under the Radar”. If you have any special haunts or favourite “must sees” or “must dos” in London be sure to share them with us in the comments box below! We look forward to hearing from you.

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