Friday, December 21, 2012


40 Maltby Street is my absolute fave of the year for the ambience, food and location under the arch. There isn't a time of day or evening it doesn't suit perfectly. As great to pop into on market day for a snack and a glass of wine as for dinner with a group of friends. I love it.

Runners up:
Ducksoup, although I don't end up going there much because if I'm in Soho I'm usually rushing through. As with 40 Maltby the natural wines, simple shared plates and relaxed vibe wins me over - that's just what I want to have, always.

Jose for those times when you really want croquetas and don't mind crowds/standing up/perching. The staff is always very welcoming and accommodating too.

I'd rather go to any of the above, where they serve high quality food and wines without fuss, than any number of swanky, overhyped trussed up places that you can certainly find enough of in London.

Detox lunch at Rose Bakery @Dover Street Market is a perennial fave. It just makes me feel better and less ill and you can go and look at Celine downstairs after - what's not to like. Cake is also detox if it's carrot, yes?

Honorable mentions: Rochelle Canteen, Terroirs, Fernandez & Wells, various places in SE London: The London Particular, The Gantry, Handmade Food.

Claridge's - classic. Nowhere else comes close.
Bob Bob Ricard - Clear Vodianova Bloody Mary. Opulent and irreverent.

Off Broadway - beards, tattoos and cocktails.

Virgin coconut oil. I put a teaspoon of it in the bath and cook with it, though not at the same time.

Farmacia Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Maggio (special mention to the new-ish Farmacia SMN shop in Shoreditch for being lovely with friendly, approachable staff you can actually ask things like what is this for and how much is it?) Anyway Acqua di Maggio is a strange kind of liquid you splash on after a bath - I don't know if it does anything but it smells like Italy in spring.

Diptyque Baume Genereux - the hand cream the word unctuous was invented for.

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant - the only exfoliator that doesn't mess up my skin. Also one of the many, many products bought this year on the recommendation of Lisa.

Swimming in the Serpentine (May-Sept) - why did we only discover doing this regularly at the end of August? I'm going to be there every day possible next year. Full of interesting people watching opportunities too.

Maltby Street/Spa Terminus Saturdays - the best for Saturday morning shopping with coffee and doughnut stops. Honorable mentions: Brockley Market and Brixton Village.

Roadtrips - need to do more of these next summer.

Office days at the Royal Festival Hall - let's go and do *research* - i.e. look at the spectacular view, drink tea, eat snacks, look at interwebs/magazines and call it work.

I feel like I should have a whole list of shops I love in London but I don't really. Liberty? Aesop, APC and Acne but they're not exactly London specific. I like Couverture and The Garbstore, Merchant Archive and Aime's buying on the biannual occasions I haul myself over to Portobello. Opening Ceremony is (WHY is it in Covent Garden?) a good addition. I'm surprised myself that I can't get enthused about anywhere east except men's shop Present. Oh - Artwords for magazines. However, the internet means that you don't need a one-stop shop to curate stuff for you, and for me, there have been other things that made me sartorially happy this year. Such as:

Having a brilliant seamstress at my disposal. All my dreams can come true.

Margaret Howell sample sale + Maxmara outlet in Italy = I'm good for a few years of well made classics.

New obsession with beautiful lingerie and swimwear. Half of me is like oh great, yet another insanely expensive luxury sector for me to bankrupt myself on. The other half; the one that's keeping La Perla afloat is like, well why wouldn't one insist on only the most beautifully constructed silk and French lace next to one's skin? That half is winning.


Tommy said...

I'm crashing your swimming trips.

Claire said...

Tommy you're welcome to crash! Except it's not really crashing when you're invited. You can splash instead.

K. said...

This summer try Heath mixed pond! Lots of interesting characters picnicking by the side, rustic and clear pool of water with birds flying by. x

Tattyfee said...

Would you mind me asking who your seamstress is? I've been looking for a good one for ages. I buy lots of vintage which needs some love and care! High street tailors have ruined things in the past.

Claire said...

Tattyfee - if you email me (address is on profile page) I'll give you her details/phone number. She only has a landline, no website, mobile or email! (And she's in south east London) Thanks