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Photograph: The Cheese Bar Instagram
Photograph: The Cheese Bar Instagram

11 must-visit shops and restaurants for committed London cheese heads

Only true fans have been to them all

Kate Lloyd

London is a city of cheese stans: lactose fanatics all jonesing for another salty, salty fix of the yellow (and sometimes beige, orange and blue) stuff. Thankfully, over the past five years, the fair restaurateurs and shopkeepers of our city have picked up on these cravings and catered to them. Now, our city is awash with cheese-addiction-enabling venues and we have rounded the best up right here.

Have you ever punctuated a boring workday by eating slivers of cheddar straight from the fridge? Do you find that there’s always an awkwardly long pause between when the waiter in an Italian restaurant starts grating Parmesan on your pasta and when you tell them to stop? Do you own a T-shirt that says ‘pecorino’ on it? Well, friend, this post is for you.

1. The one on a boat

We’re skipping the actual Cheese Bar here because it’s old news (although that's where the burger at the top is from). The Camden restaurant was just the beginning of the cheese-loving company’s city takeover. The new news? The Cheese Barge. It’s the same vibe as the landlocked joint – a menu only featuring dishes made from cheese – but it’s on a boat.

2. The one with a conveyor belt

Head to Covent Garden's Pick & Cheese, also from the makers of The Cheese Bar, for what can only really be described as ‘Yo! Sushi but for cheese’. A conveyor belt carries 25 kinds of cheese and cheesy snacks past diners and they pick what they like the look of.

3. The one that puts pasta in a big ol’ wheel of cheese

Imagine forking into ribbons of perfectly tender fettuccine that have been swirled inside a huge, hollowed-out grana padano cheese wheel before being served to you with a flourish (and bacon bits). Well, as luck would have it, you don’t need to imagine – you can get your mitts on a bowl of the stuff this very weekend, thanks to the Cheese Wheel at Camden Market. 

4. The really, really old one

What was life like 200 years ago? Awful probably. But at least Paxton & Whitfield was still around then. Yes, the Jermyn Street branch of the cheesemonger has been around for more than two centuries. It’s also a royal favourite. Go there for stilton and cave-aged cheddar.

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5. The one that does incredible toasties

Tottenham’s Wine ‘n’ Rind does unbelievable sarnies. Think: gorgonzola and jalapeños, black truffle and molten Mont d’Or or even a cacio e pepe – mozzarella, pecorino and cracked black pep.

6. The one for fondue or raclette

For a good old-fashioned pool of cheese to dunk stuff in, look no further than St Moritz in Soho, London’s oldest Swiss restaurant. It does both fondue and raclette as well as a simple cheese platter. Sounds like the dream three-course meal to us.

7. The one for vegans

La Fauxmagerie on Brick Lane is London’s first vegan cheesemonger. Its wares are made from plant-based sources like coconut oil and blended cashews and come from some of the country’s best artisan producers. Basically, forget everything you thought you knew about vegan cheese and come here.

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8. The one with the cheese trolley

When you make it to the end of a meal at French restaurant Orrery they don’t just whip out a dessert menu. No, no! They give you the option to have an award-winning trolley of 30 different artisan cheeses rolled around to you.

9. The one for mozzarella

To some, having three whole bars dedicated to the milkiest Italian cheese might seem a bit much, but to the lads at Obica it makes perfect sense. The Neapolitan chain’s whole menu is based on mozzarella di bufala campana.

10. The one for kooky flavours

You’ll find cheese laced with the likes of french violet syrup, fennel pollen and rare heirloom beans at La Fromagerie’s cheese shops/cafes in Marylebone, Highbury and Bloomsbury. They all have walk-in cheese rooms and maturing cellars too.

11. The classic one

You cannot call yourself a true cheese fan until you have gone on a pilgrimage to Neal’s Yard Dairy. The Covent Garden, Borough and Bermondsey shops – run by top cheesehead Randolph Hodgson – source the finest artisan blocks from around the country and do it very well.

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