There’s a quaint little square in central London called St James’s Market – it’s surrounded by Regent Street St James’s and Piccadilly Circus, but we like to say it’s a secret, because of its ever-so-slightly tucked-away (but easily accessible) location. It also happens to be home to some of London’s most exciting restaurants. Keen to explore this part of town? Here’s a list of our favourite places to eat in St James’s Market. Go forth and feast.
The foodie one: Scully St James’s
Ramael Scully was one of Yotam Ottolenghi’s most promising chefs in London. He worked at Nopi for six years before branching out on his own and opening this colourful eatery in St James’s Market. He was born in Malaysia but brought up in Sydney, and cites influences from China, Bali, India and Ireland. The result? A hugely diverse menu, packed with bold flavours, like the delicious-sounding spiced goat shoulder with salted green chilli yoghurt and pickled red onion. Definitely one for the foodies.
The quick lunch: Ole & Steen
The original Ole & Steen branch at St James’s Market is three floors high. It’s properly set up to cater for the numerous office workers in the area, who are almost always in the mood for a Danish pastry or an open sandwich for lunch – and why wouldn’t they be when they taste this good? This minimal bakery is also well-known for its specialty coffee and ‘cinnamon socials’ (long Danish pastries, made for sharing and plaited with vanilla custard). They’re worth the visit, trust us.
The one-of-a-kind: Tonkotsu at Anzu
This thoroughly inviting restaurant is a unique offshoot of the mega-popular ramen joint Tonkotsu that’s dotted throughout the city. It’s a modern, stylish Japanese bar and dining room with a daily set menu of delights. Picking highlights from the menu is tricky (simply because it’s all excellent), but you can’t go wrong with the karaage (fried chicken) and mouthwatering pork gyoza. Pair it with Japanese-style fries and a yuzu cocktail. You might well end up ordering more afterwards, but that’s definitely not a bad thing, as you’ll realise once the food arrives.
The late-night one: Duck & Waffle Local
St James’s Market is home to Duck & Waffle’s first spin-off, a more casual version of the original branch. Duck & Waffle Local stays open late and serves all kinds of delicious eats, from heavenly, hearty brunches to deep-fried bao and other small plates, plus cocktails, and dessert. Keep it in mind the next time you’re in need of a bite in central London – as soon as your food arrives, you’ll be very glad you came to this spot.
The best for drinks and snacks: Aquavit
This award-winning restaurant in St James’s Market is one of the best places in the area for drinks and snacks, partly because it has a great alfresco eating area in the market square. The Nordic-inspired establishment has a Michelin star to its name and the all-day dining menu has a mightily impressive selection, from smörgåsbords to small plates to sublime sweet treats. It’s also the perfect place to order a cocktail and match it to your food – perfect for when you’re not massively hungry but craving something to nibble on while you sip.