Wild Honey Restaurant
12 St George Street, W1S 2FB S 020 7758 9160
Open Monday-Saturday 12-2.30pm, 6-11pm, closed Bank Holidays Tube Oxford Circus Bus 6, 10, 23, 55, 73, 88, 98, 139, 159, 453, C2 The ground-floor tables are wheelchair accessible but not the toilets in the basement
The look of this beautiful dining room is enough to tempt any diner to linger here for an evening of culinary delights. The contemporary artworks on the walls are entrancing and the mustard- and peachcoloured velvet dining chairs are as comfortable to sit on as they are attractive to the eye. The English/Asian/French-inspired menu changes daily and reflects the seasons throughout the year. The chef at Wild Honey worked with Bruno Loubet for a while, and his octopus carpaccio and morello cherry lemonade are well worth a visit to this lovely restaurant. Other inventive dishes include Scottish scallops with flourless gnocchi, Dover sole with red quinoa and brussels sprouts and partridge with damson jam and green freekah wheat.
35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden WC2E 7LB S 020 7836 5314 www.rules.co.uk
Open Monday-Saturday 12-11.30pm, Sunday 12-10.30pm, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day Tube Covent Garden, Leicester Square Bus 1, 168, 176, 188, 243
The ground-floor wheelchair access is good but the toilets are on the first floor
Rules first opened its doors in 1798 as an oyster bar, making it the oldest restaurant in London. The entire building has a tangible sense of history and many famous people have dined here, including Charles Dickens, Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin, Ava Gardner and a few currently serving politicians. Edward VII used to arrive with a friend by a secret entrance and it is no wonder he appreciated coming here. The listed building is sumptuously decorated, with hunting trophies, antique prints, silver cutlery and red wax candles on starched white linen. Specialising in classic game cookery, the venison and wild birds served here are all sourced from the Lartington Estate, with occasional beef from their grass-fed Galloway herd in the Pennines.
Simpson’s in the Strand
100 The Strand, WC2R OEW S 020 7836 9112 www.simpsonsinthestrand.co.uk
Open Monday-Friday 7.15-10.30am, 12.15-2.45pm, 5.45-10.45pm, Saturday 12.15-2.45pm, 5-10.30pm, Sunday 12-9pm
Tube Charing Cross, Covent Garden Bus 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139, 176
The restaurant and bar are wheelchair accessible
For over 170 years the historic Simpson’s in the Strand has been offering classic British dishes to Londoners and visitors to the capital. Many famous writers and artists have dined here, from Vincent Van Gogh and Charles Dickens to George Bernard Shaw. Simpson’s originally opened in 1828 as a chess club and coffee house; to avoid disturbing the chess games in progress, large joints of meat were placed on silver-domed trolleys and wheeled to guests’ tables for carving – a practice Simpson’s still continues today. For a convivial lunch, order a smoked haddock omelette, their classic beef Wellington and finish your hearty meal with a traditional treacle pudding.
46 Hanbury Street, E1 5JL ® 020 7377 0344 www.dosa-world.com
Open Monday-Thursday, Sunday 11.30am-3pm, 5-11pm, Friday and Saturday 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-12am
Tube Aidgate East Overground Shoreditch High Street Bus 25, 67 The restaurant is wheelchair accessible
This small restaurant is the only one around Brick Lane which serves South Indian food, including the delicious crispy rice and lentil pancakes called dosas. Although they play background music, there are only 16 seats so if you bring a few friends they will gladly turn the sound system off. The staff are very helpful and considerate, and this low-key restaurant feels informal and intimate. Try their vegetarian thali – an entire meal in itself, with spicy sambal, rice and a lentil-and-vegetable curry, all served in small stainless steel dishes on a tray. Their speciality is cabbage thoran served with crunchy mixed pickle and a cooling carrot-and-cucumber raita, a rare treat for lovers of South Indian cuisine.
27 Wellington Street, WC2E 7DB S 020 7240 5269
Open Daily 12pm-12am including all Bank Holidays except Christmas Day
Set pre-theatre menu available daily 12-6.15pm
Tube Temple, Covent Garden Bus 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139, 176
The restaurant is not wheelchair accessible
This well-established Italian restaurant used to be an orchid warehouse, where blooms for the Covent Garden flower market were stored deep underground. Since 1985 Orso has been serving authentic Italian cuisine to opera-goers and lovers of fine food. The set pre-theatre menu offers three choices, including a salad of goat’s cheese, radish, lambs’ lettuce, fennel and endive with fig balsamic dressing, delicious pan-fried mackerel with crushed new potato, spinach and salsa verde and a slice of their delectable lemon cake with blueberry compote. They are renowned for their extensive list of imaginative cocktails so, after a visit to the ballet, slowly sip their Espresso Martini – a luscious mix of espresso coffee, Stolichnaya vodka and Creme de Cacao.
10 Lincoln Street, Chelsea SW3 2TS S 020 7225 5181 www.rasoi-uk.com
Open Monday-Friday 12-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm, Saturday 610.30pm, Sunday 12-2.30pm, 6-9.45pm
Tube Sloane Square Bus 19, 22
There are steps into the restaurant but wheelchair users can be accommodated
Rasoi means ‘kitchen’ and this sophisticated Indian restaurant serves up delicious South Asian dishes in a beautiful 100-year-old townhouse. The walls are decorated in warm, ornate patterns and the judicious arrangement of carvings, silks and Indian trinkets adds to the comfortable ambience. Considered one of the best Indian restaurants in Britain, this Michelin-starred venue is a rather special place to dine. The menu is consistently innovative yet draws on traditional Indian cuisine. Typical dishes on the seven-course tasting menu might be banana-wrapped mustard tilapia with aubergine achari couscous, mango-tellicherry pepper chicken and their delicate champagne-rose petal sorbet sweetened with rose marmalade.
47 Newington Green, Stoke Newington N16 9PX S 020 7359 2338
Open Daily 7.30am-7pm, including Christmas Day
Overground Canonbury, Dalston Kingsland Bus 30, 73, 141, 236,
The shop and cafe are wheelchair accessible
This may be the only bakery in London where you can see your durum bread being rolled out and baked on a hot griddle in the window. Even though you are in North London, the friendly women who work here make this small cafe and patisserie feel as if you have arrived in a Turkish village. On a summer day, take your piping hot, delicious lahmacun (Turkish pizza), zeytinli (olive) bread, some pistachio baklava and a few beakers of ayran yoghurt drink for a Mediterranean picnic on Newington Green.
Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX ® 020 3166 6113 www.oranqerykensinqtonDalace.co.uk
Open Daily 10am-6pm March-October, 10am-5pm November- February, closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day Book a table in advance as private events often take place here Tube High Street Kensington, Queensway Bus 9, 10, 49, 52, 70, 94, 148, 390, 452
Wheelchair access is via a ramp which is situated on the right side of the terrace
Built as a pavilion for Queen Anne in 1704, these graceful rooms have been transformed into a sunlit cafe overlooking Kensington Palace’s immaculately kept gardens. This is a very civilised place to sit on the outdoor terrace on sunny days underneath a white parasol. The lunch menu suggests free range egg-and-cress sandwiches, leek-and- potato soup and fish stew, while the famous Orangery afternoon tea includes Duchess of Bedfordshire cake, old English jam tart and ten speciality teas. Enjoy your orange posset with a glass of fine wine, knowing that anyone can now sit in this elegant room designed for a Hanoverian queen.
The Cloister Cafe Great St Bartholomew’s
West Smithfield, EC1A 9DS S 020 7600 0440
Open Monday-Friday 8.30am-4pm, Sunday 9.30am-1:30pm, 56pm for afternoon tea until Evensong begins, closed Saturday Tube Barbican, Farringdon, St Paul’s
Bus 4, 8, 17, 25, 45, 46, 56, 63, 100, 153, 242, 243, 341, 521
There is step-free access to the church and cafe along the path leading to the West Door but no wheelchair access to the outside toilets
Enter the beautiful Great St Bartholomew’s Church by passing underneath the Elizabethan gatehouse. After slowly wandering round its hallowed interior, find a table in this tranquil cafe to the right of the main porch. There aren’t many places where you can sit and have a slice of chocolate cake among fifteenth-century cloisters, but the ancient surroundings make this one of the nicest cafes in London to enjoy afternoon tea. Fresh mint tea is served in white china pots, and with the pale green light filtering through the leaded glass windows this is one of the most peaceful corners in England.
The Brunel Museum Cafe
Railway Avenue, Rotherhithe SE16 4LF S 020 7231 3840 www,brunel-museum.org,uk
Open Daily 10am-5pm, late opening Thursday
Bus 1, 188, 381, C10
The cafe is wheelchair accessible
This little-known museum shows the history of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel’s Engine House, and one corner has been converted into a small cafe. Have a cup of tea surrounded by drawings produced by local artists on the curved walls.
Dalston Eastern Curve Garden
13 Dalston Lane, Hackney E8 3DF
Open Daily 11am-6pm, cafe 11am-7pm and later for evening events Overgound Dalston Junction, Dalston Kingsland Bus 30, 38, 76, 149, 236, 242, 243, 277, 488
The garden, cafe and toilets are wheelchair accessible
Enjoy a peppermint tea and a freshly baked banana cake in this relaxing cafe overlooking a pretty garden. The outdoor benches are a delightful place to sit on summer afternoons. Stay late for an artisanal beer or a pizza baked in their outdoor clay oven.
127 Church Road, Barnes SW13 9HR
Open Daily 8am-5pm (winter), 8am-8pm (summer)
Rail Barnes, Barnes Bridge Tube Hammersmith
Bus 22, 33, 209, 265, 283, 337, 419, 485
The cafe is wheelchair accessible
With its ornate mirrors and glass chandeliers, this pretty cafe in Barnes Village has a relaxing French ambience. The chef used to work at La Duree in Paris so is an expert patissier, but you can also order one of his freshly made crepes, a slice of home-made carrot cake or a croque-monsieur. For lunch, enjoy salad with potato tortilla followed by a nougat stick for dessert – a sweet which could be described as a mini-Danish pastry covered in chocolate and almonds. The cafe also serves freshly squeezed carrot juice, thick fruit smoothies and a wide range of teas, including jasmine pearls and a soothing liquorice-peppermint mix.
30 Charing Cross Road, WC2H ODE » 020 7836 4233
Open Monday-Saturday 9am-midnight, Sunday 11am-10pm
Tube Leicester Square, Charing Cross Bus 14, 19, 24, 29, 38, 176 There is wheelchair access but the entrance is narrow
The longevity of this popular deli restaurant comes as no surprise. Located near the major art museums around Trafalgar Square, Gaby and his staff have been serving up salt beef sandwiches, hot chickpea falafels and crunchy salads for five decades now. Whether you are here for a substantial lunch or a quick bite on the way to the theatre, it’s a real pleasure to choose from the dishes on the counter and pile your plate high with colourful vegetables, creamy hummus and a smoked salmon bagel. The cafe has a licence, so you can order a glass of house red or white to accompany your meal in this unpretentious Middle Eastern deli.
270 Portobello Road, W10 5TY ® 020 8960 5169 www.makancafe.co.uk
Open Daily 9am-9.30pm
Tube Lad broke Grove, Westbourne Park Bus 28, 52, 70, 295, 452 There is an 8cm step at the entrance
The chefs start chopping and slicing early in the morning, so a few dishes will be ready by the time you arrive for a cooked halal breakfast. Makan is famous for the owner’s very own Malaysian green curry recipe, made with chillis and lemongrass, but you can also try her Singaporean laksa, Indonesian mee goreng and spicy Indian dhal. Everything is cooked fresh daily and available from the counter, so you can also take home a variety of delicious vegetarian and meat dishes. If you don’t have time for a tasty South East Asian meal, you can drop in for a coffee and a slice of their coconut and banana cakes.
40 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath SE3 OBD S 0208 297 9966 www.handmadefood.com
Open Wednesday-Monday 9am-5pm (Sunday to 4pm), closed Tuesday and Bank Holidays Train Blackheath Bus 89, 108, 202, 386 The cafe is wheelchair accessible and has a ground-floor table
Every day the menu changes at this award-winning traiteur and cafe, and wondering what will emerge from the kitchen is part of the pleasure of coming here. Whether you take away their dish of the day or eat here, you won’t be disappointed with the textures and flavours of the delicious food. Try the Moroccan-style chicken pastilia served with cumin yoghurt and turlu (Turkish vegetable stew) or their cauliflower, leek and celeriac gratin. Ethically sourced and sustainable food tends to be prepared with care and inventiveness, and Handmade Food is a great example of how to do this well.
German Deli Warehouse Shop
Unit 1, The Hamlet Industrial Estate, 96 White Post Lane, Hackney Wick E9 5EN a 020 8985 5385 www.Qermandeli.co.uk
Open Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm Overgound and Train Hackney Wick Bus 108, 276, 308, 588 The ground floor is wheelchair accessible with a 4cm step to the toilets
It is hard to decide whether to call the German Deli a shop or a cafe – it is both, of course, and this unusual venue is located in the middle of industrial Hackney Wick. Many of the surrounding buildings now house small businesses and art galleries, so the German Deli has a varied clientele. Try their bratwurst and sauerkraut sandwiches or a slice of lemon cheesecake with a pot of limeflower tea. The partitioned spaces upstairs are as eclectic as the diners – a typical Bavarian room has a cuckoo clock on the wall while the balcony has views over an intriguing garden shed and outdoor patio. Don’t be put off by the location – the staff are friendly and the atmosphere unpretentious but upbeat. This is a good place to hang out with up- and-coming artists.
The Angel Inn
420 St John Street, EC1V4NJ » 020 7837 7946
Open Monday-Friday 7am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-4pm, closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day
Tube Angel Bus 19, 38, 153, 274, 341
The cafe is wheelchair accessible
This is a greasy spoon with a menu to suit everyone, from city gent to builder’s mate. Drop in for a huge weekday cooked breakfast with baked beans on toast and fried eggs, then bring your children at the weekend for knickerbocker glories and milkshakes. The chefs also cook substantial lunches at very reasonable prices, including roast chicken with potatoes and vegetables or fish and chips followed by roly-poly pudding with custard. On a Sunday you could even bring your aunt for an Americano coffee and Danish pastry after a trip to the local antique markets.
15 Bedford Street, Covent Garden WC2 9HE S 020 7379 6428 www.patisserievalerie.co.uk
Open Monday-Friday 7.30am-9pm, Saturday 8.30am-9pm, Sunday 9am-8pm
Tube Covent Garden, Leicester Square Bus 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87, 91, 139, 176
The cafe is wheelchair accessible
Madame Valerie came to London from Belgium and opened her first patisserie in Frith Street, Soho, in 1926. After the premises were bombed in the Second World War, she moved to Old Compton Street where her teashop can still be found today. None of the Patisserie Valerie cafes play background music, but the popularity of their delicious cakes and pastries does mean they can be quite lively. The
Covent Garden branch tends to be quieter, although if you want a really peaceful afternoon tea, you can book the private upstairs room in Soho for yourself and a few quiet friends.
249 Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 1DE a 020 8442 1330 www.sabledor.co.uk
Open Monday-Friday 7.30am-6pm, Saturday and Sunday 7.30am- 6.30pm, closed Christmas Day Tube East Finchley, Bounds Green Bus 43, 102, 134, 234
There is a small step at the entrance
The title of this pleasant cafe translates as ‘Golden Sand’, and the elegant French chandeliers and North African tiles suggest a Mediterranean influence. Drop in for a croissant and coffee for breakfast, then come back for a lemon, frangipani or pear apricot tart around 11am. If you have time, discuss the issues of the day over a sun-dried tomato, mozzarella and olive ciabatta sandwich for lunch. Delicious viennoisseries can be bought at the counter to take home or enjoyed with a cup of tea in this stylish cafe. Artists show their work here in monthly changing exhibitions, which means that if you run out of conversation you can always discuss the paintings on the walls.