Get us in your inbox

Lauren O’Neill

Lauren O’Neill

Articles (14)

London’s best cafés

London’s best cafés

London, obviously, has a great many cafés, but how to choose? We've got normal ones and really posh ones. Massive ones and tiny ones. Ones with loads of cake, and ones with loads of sandwiches. All of them, thankfully, with coffee and tea. This list is our attempt to group together the best ones. Want to know the difference between this list and our ranking of London’s best coffee shops? Well at these spots you can get eggs (fried, poached or scrambled) and a sit-down meal with your flat white.  Recommended: London's best breakfasts. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best restaurants in Hackney

The best restaurants in Hackney

Head to Hackney and you've got a seriously exciting evening of dining ahead of you, as some of the city's boldest chefs have set up shop in this rapidly-gentrifying patch of east London. High-end restaurants sit alongside chic brunch spots, inviting gastropubs and long-established neighbourhood joints. Whatever you're after, you'll more than likely find it here. Go east(ish) and eat. New additions to the list include smoke and fire fun at Lagom, Michelin starry-ness at Behind, chef Abby Lee's incredible Mambow – which recently moved to Clapton from Peckham and canal-side standout, Sune.  Recommended: Here are London's 50 Best Restaurants. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.  

The best brunch in London

The best brunch in London

The humble brunch is perhaps one of the greatest inventions of the modern age. Breakfast is too early to really get stuck into, while eating eggs and downing buckets of coffee at lunchtime seems odd. Brunch, then, is the one true morning-ish meal, especially if it incorporates pancakes, bacon and those aforementioned eggs – or a totally vegan take on proceedings like at LD's at The Black Heart in Camden or WAVE in Hackney. London is particularly well stocked with places to indulge in the famous breakfast/lunch hybrid. Let us guide you to the best restaurants in town for a fabulous brunch in our city, from a traditional full english to innovative twists on the majestic meal, such as a bacon bao brunch. And it’s not just a weekend treat; some of these spots serve brunch every single day.  RECOMMENDED: Like unlimited fizz with your fry-up? Here are the best bottomless brunches in London.  Want to brunch for less? Check out the awesome selection at Time Out Offers. Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best bars in London

The best bars in London

Want a drink? Well you've come to the right place. This is Time Out’s list of best bars in London, our curated guide to London’s drinking scene, featuring the buzziest booze dens in the capital right now. If it’s on this list, it’s excellent. These are the 50 places we'd recommend to a friend, because we love drinking in them and have done many times over. From classy cocktail joint to delightful dives, hotel bars, speakeasys, bottle shops, rooftops and wine bars, London's got them all. The latest additions to our list include the new Three Sheets in Soho, Bar Lina, an Italian aperitivo spot underneath the famous deli, Moko hi-fi listening bar in Tottenham, Oranj's vertitable wine warehouse in Shoreditch, and Helgi's, a suggestively Satanic rock bar in Hackney. Now go forth and booze. RECOMMENDED: Like bars? Then you'll love London's best pubs.  Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The best bars in Soho

The best bars in Soho

For centuries, Soho has been London's playground: packed with spots for boozing, flirting and soaking up the best of the city after dark. And even though it's largely cleaned up its once-sleazy reputation, it's still packed with fine drinking spots, from gloomy basements to high-end cocktail bars. Whether you join the crowds hopping up and down its famous network of streets or settle in for the duration, you’re guaranteed a brilliant, boozy night out in Soho and neighbouring Chinatown. Word to the wise: you might want to line your stomach at one of Soho's best restaurants. Now head to the heart of the West End to make sure you don’t miss a thing. RECOMMENDED: These are London's very best bars.

The best Sunday roasts in London

The best Sunday roasts in London

Sunday lunch. There’s nothing quite like it. An elemental meal, one that Londoners take incredibly seriously. Debates about what constitutes the ‘perfect’ Sunday roast have been known to last for hours. There is no shortage of top roasts in London. We’ve rounded up the city’s best Sunday meals from a host of homely pubs and restaurants all around town. From snug neighbourhood staples to more bijou gastropubs and plently of vegetarian options too, we’ve got something for every taste (if that taste is for comforting mounds of roast meat, lashings of gravy and carbs for days).  A lot of these places get quite busy, by the way. So you’re always advised to book ahead to avoid disappointment.  Leonie Cooper is Time Out London’s Food and Drink Editor. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.

The 15 best books of 2023

The 15 best books of 2023

From head-spinning literary debuts to masterful novels from authors at the height of their power, big-name autobiographies to binge-worthy cultural histories, here are our editors’ favourite page-turners of 2023. Add these lot to your ‘to read’ pile, stat. RECOMMENDED: 🎬 The best movies of 2023📺 The best TV shows of 2023🎵 The best albums of 2023

Have we finally reached peak supper club?

Have we finally reached peak supper club?

If your Insta ‘explore’ page is full of London food, London bars and London restaurants, you’ll be well-versed with certain unavoidable phrases: ‘small plates’; ‘neighbourhood’; ‘bosh’. But there’s another, which has found renewed interest on feeds over the course of 2023. And that phrase is: ‘supper club’. A supper club is a one-off dinner thrown by a venue or cook, usually with a special menu just for that evening. They’ve been a staple of dining culture in London for years, with the most hyped ones hosted by chefs like Asma Khan of Biryani Supper Club and Maria Georgiou and Rhiannon Butler of Mam Sham – but over the last six months, it feels as though something has shifted. Suddenly, online, it was supper clubs as far as the eye could see. There they were, replete with rows of colourfully set tables, swathes of cute gingham place settings and piles of prettily mismatched vintage plates. The supper club had collided with the algorithm, and it was taking over sharpish.  Nailing the aesthetic  As a quick scroll of TikTok or Instagram will show you, these days, there are supper clubs of all kinds: supper clubs in chefs’ own homes, on barges, even one on an old Tube carriage. There are supper clubs for singles, supper clubs for vegans, super clubs for zero-waste aficionados and supper clubs for only women. The concept has grown in visibility – and has been filtered through the #aesthetic hashtag – after being adoptied by increasing numbers of chefs with big social media follow

The best restaurants in Richmond

The best restaurants in Richmond

Richmond: go for the green space (or for the Ted Lasso location spotting clout), stay for the gastronomy. There are more than a few great restaurants in TW9, from charming neighbourhood bistros to easy-breezy brunch spots and polished garden cafés with lovely outdoor dining areas. Here's our pick of Richmond’s best. RECOMMENDED: The very best breakfasts in London. .

Students, listen up: these are our essential London dos and don’ts

Students, listen up: these are our essential London dos and don’ts

So you are moving to London for university. Welcome! It’s great here. You can get amazing bagels and basil flavoured soft serve ice cream (it’s good), and you’ll find that it’s both absolutely huge and really actually quite tiny all at once.  Now you’ve finally got your exam results and every single person in your extended family has said ‘oooh the Big Smoke’ when you told them where you’ll be studying, it’s probably about time you brushed up on some local customs. And no, we’re not just talking about escalator etiquette (you should know that by now).   RECOMMENDED: 23 things you should know before moving to London Luckily for you, your London fairy godmother (like a normal one, they just always have a Lost Mary and plate of pie and mash on the go) is on call, with some handy dos and don’ts for your big move. Listen up, take note – and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.  DO Rush, everywhere you go Slow walkers are at the very bottom of the London food chain. Even if you have all the time in the world to get to your next lecture, act like you don’t. You should pretend like you’re late to your own wedding, just to fit in. DON’T  Queue single-file in the pub It’s not polite or ‘British’. This orderly trend is an attack on our traditional culture. Photograph: Ben RoweThe Coach and Horses DO Book absolutely everything It’s sad but true, I’m afraid. London is full of wonders but it is admittedly slightly harder to be spontaneous in than a lot of other UK cities (the reservation cu

Is it about time we stopped going foraging?

Is it about time we stopped going foraging?

Lobster smoked over green juniper branches. Chives preserved in a vinegar, itself made with wild chives (call it chives squared). A flavour-overload butter, packed with cornflowers, sorrel flowers, nastursium flowers, caloundria flowers, wild fennel pollen and fronds – like a many-layered, throw-it-all-at-the-wall Café de Paris sauce with particularly green fingers.  At Kitchen Table in central London, a two Michelin-starred restaurant run by chef-patron James Knappett, the dishes you’ll be served don’t necessarily depend on the whims of the cooks, but on someone more powerful: Mother Nature. While any good restaurant is governed by the seasons, the backbone of this place’s menu is foraged ingredients: expertly sourced and in many cases picked by the chefs themselves.  Foraged foods are now a regular sight on restaurant passes up and down the UK. From sloes and sea buckthorn on the tasting menu at Horsham’s Michelin-starred Interlude, to Edinburgh’s Wedgwood the Restaurant, which regularly runs foraging walking tours with chef-patron Paul Wedgwood, foraging is deeply en vogue. It makes sense, then, that the trend has trickled down from professional kitchens and onto the house-share hobs of food enthusiasts. Photograph: Chalk This all seemed to peak this spring, as wild garlic season became the natural equivalent of a ‘Heaven by Marc Jacobs’ drop. Blackberry picking season has landed with a similar level of hype. Over the last few months, it has seemed like my every acquaint

London in the sun is touched by the gods

London in the sun is touched by the gods

Every year there is a turning point. Just when you think you have finally had enough – when you find yourself Googling ‘where is hot in April’ and ‘UK to Italy visa’ – it happens.  You wake up one morning and you draw your curtains and you are met not with the sight of your bins against a greying sky, but with that of your bins in the sun – real sun, that looks like it would feel actually warm on your skin, and makes London the greatest place you could possibly be.  It’s almost a cliché to say that a London summer makes the bad parts of being here (the rain; Old Street roundabout) worth it, but it’s true. Of course, nobody needs to be told that this place is often far from idyllic – it somehow now costs £20 every time you run to the shop for a few bits, after all – but in the summer months, the place crawls with such momentum that if you ever felt sick of it in the winter, you’re rapidly reminded of exactly why you love it.  When it’s warm, bright and a little bit sweaty, London is unmatched. There’s no competition. I laugh in the face of your little Parises and your New Yorks. I do not need them. I have London and its beer gardens full of people saying ‘go on then’ to a single cig, its gins in tins and aircon on the overground, and its sheer possibility as the nights lengthen outwards. In the sun, London belongs to its people. It is such an easy place to love. As soon as the weather lifts, this city is glorious, gilded, touched by the gods. Like, of all of the experiences t

Listings and reviews (8)

The Standard

The Standard

4 out of 5 stars

‘The Standard’ is a ballsy name for a hotel chain. It comes in hot, and essentially announces itself as the bar that everyone else should meet. It says ‘We are the standard; here’s what you’ve got to beat.’ And in the case of The Standard’s London hotel, it’s an accurate description.  The Standard London is the UK branch of the global hotel chain, which has outposts in all of the world’s sexiest cities – from New York to Bangkok. Opened in July 2019, it contains 266 rooms of varying types, two restaurants (Decimo and Isla), two bars (the Rooftop and Sweeties) and one bar-restaurant (Double Standard). It’s a Michelin Guide Recommended hotel, but it’s also got a lift that flies up and down the outside of the building like Charlie’s Great Glass Elevator. It’s fancy and fun; an undoubtedly luxury hotel that is boutique-y and small enough to feel personal too. The Standard eschews the laciness and fancy frippery you might commonly associate with London’s poshest hotel destinations, to appeal to contemporary tastes and people who own multiple pairs of Salomons.   Inside the hotel – a former Camden Town Hall annexe, itself a Brutalist masterpiece preserved from the 1970s – the design principles are bold and graphic, informed by the outer curve of the building. I got the most out of this unusual shape when I was allocated a ‘King of Kings’ room, which contains (you’ve guessed it) a bafflingly comfortable king-sized bed, a rainfall shower, and a corner sofa and working area, as well a

Three Sheets Soho

Three Sheets Soho

4 out of 5 stars

Since its opening in 2016, the outwardly unassuming Dalston cocktail bar Three Sheets – owned and run by brothers Max and Noel Venning – has become a city-wide favourite, known for the inventiveness and quality of its drinks, which often play on established classics. Unsurprisingly then, for Three Sheets’ second iteration, the Vennings have pulled up in Soho, London’s storied cocktail hub, to launch a new menu of brilliantly re-thought standards upon a more central crowd. While the Dalston spot is narrower and more secret-feeling – maybe a touch cooler, if you really want me to say it – the W1 iteration adapts to its new surroundings. It’s warmer and fancier, all soft, inviting booths and dark wood. So far, so Soho.  The Mezcal Sunset is the grown-up older sister of a tequila sunrise, only more Ibiza than Benidorm In keeping with Soho tradition, you must – once you are installed in your plush seat, or on your bar stool – begin with a martini. The Three Sheets bartenders are seasoned pros, who will make yours however you like it, but the house Dirty Martini is worth a go even if you’re a purist. Done with Belvedere, a little olive oil, and some Koseret tea to take the edge off the booze, it’s a gentler take on the OG, and even those who like the drink blisteringly alcoholic will appreciate the riff. For something more serene as you’re getting settled in, go for Three Sheets’ signature pre-bottled French 75 – a bubbly blend of gin and Chardonnay, plus some lilting botanical e

Sunday in Brooklyn

Sunday in Brooklyn

3 out of 5 stars

The modus operandi of Notting Hill’s Sunday in Brooklyn is simple but effective. This ‘modern American’ restaurant takes popular US dishes – fried chicken, pancakes, s’mores – and classes them up a little. The result is both dinner and brunch that feels relaxed but still refined: here, you’ll find diner standards given a modern kick up the backside, and LA-style veggies and salads, heavy on the garnishes. For dinner, executive chef Esteve Prats has designed a selection of crowd-pleasers: there are burgers and steaks, as well as lighter fish and veggie options. Highlights include a wedge salad with savoury hazelnuts and a ‘fancy ranch’ dressing that you’ll have to be forcibly stopped from drinking, a fried chicken sandwich featuring the internet’s favourite ingredient, hot honey, and corn ‘ribs’, with a genius, salty kelp seasoning that properly showcases the sweetness of the corn.   Cream cheese-stuffed jalapeño poppers come out wrapped in bacon, swaddled like cute, delicious newborns Of course, like any self-respecting diner, Sunday in Brooklyn is also a powerhouse of a brunch spot. At weekends, the dining room is super lively – and quite busy, so book – as the kitchen slings out plates of well-loved flavours, from breakfast slams as American as Uncle Sam, to pillowy slices of brioche piled high with ricotta and jam, or lavished in cream cheese and smoked salmon.  Across the board, the sweets are particularly special: the star of the brunch menu is the pancake: order just o

Guerlain Spa at Raffles London

Guerlain Spa at Raffles London

For a delectable wedge of pure luxury in central London, the Guerlain Spa at Raffles London is a phenomenal bet. Down in the basement of one of the capital’s most grandiose hotels, it’s a tucked-away cavern of utter marble-surfaced bliss. The main treatments on offer are massage and facials, using the French beauty heavyweight Guerlain’s pioneering techniques and much-loved products.  If you’re in the market for a side of relaxation with your beauty and wellbeing, the Imperial Face Sculpt in particular is worth your time and money. This 60 or 90 minute treatment, which takes place in one of the spa’s other-worldly private rooms, is an in-depth facial massage which will depuff and bring back your face's natural contours, leaving you feeling refreshed and looking sharp. Elsewhere, the spa facilities – including a pool – are also available to bask in at your leisure. 

If I Had...A Pie and Mash Shop - Calum Franklin and Ivan Tisdall-Downes at M. Manze

If I Had...A Pie and Mash Shop - Calum Franklin and Ivan Tisdall-Downes at M. Manze

Like black cabs, red buses and the Hackney Downs puddle, pie and mash is a London institution, and Manze’s pie and eel houses are its beating heart. For one day only this Sunday (7th April), south east London-born chefs Calum Franklin – Insta’s own King of Pastry – and Ivan Tisdall-Downes, a champion of wild food, take over the Peckham branch of the iconic local chain, to offer a look at the next frontier of pie and mash. The event is exclusively on sale via foodie event platform Sera, which gives London food fans access to one-off collabs and pop-ups. It’ll see the chefs serving up twists on classic flavours, including Ox Cheek and Oyster, Stargazey with Langoustines, and Masala Dauphinoise. Tickets are £35 through Sera, and include your choice of pie, mash and sauce. Get down, eat all the pies, and bend the knee for the capital’s greatest dish.

Electric Diner

Electric Diner

A slice of Americana as classic as cherry pie and Chevrolet, Portobello Road’s Electric Diner, run by Soho House, is a loving ode to the food of the US – just with an upmarket London twist.  Lined with plush red leather banquettes that’ll make a fine backdrop to your next Insta grid post, the restaurant is an easygoing space, as welcoming to families as it is groups of tourists. Where the food is concerned, the menu is full of US classics like baby back ribs and honey fried chicken, though if you pop in for brunch, you’ll find a full English nestled up against American favourites like French toast, waffles and cheeseburgers. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (plus cocktails), with a special menu for late night bites too, the place is a versatile spot with something for everyone – plus, if you’ve got a valid Electric Cinema ticket, you can enjoy 50% off your meal at Monday to Thursday from 4 until 9pm.  

The Waterman's Arms

The Waterman's Arms

4 out of 5 stars

As soon as autumn rolls around, there’s no question I like being asked more than the one which goes: ‘Pub?’ When the nights start drawing in and you re-embrace your Big Massive Coat, the only thing better than sitting in a warm, wood-panelled room with a pint or glass of red is doing so while also being served plates of thoughtful, cosy comfort food. West Londoners can rejoice, then, at the opening of The Waterman’s Arms.  Hearty steaks, chips, soda bread and fish stews were executed with a clear, admirable goal: to give the people what they want. The new Barnes venture from Patty & Bun founder Joe Grossman, with a kitchen led by Sam Andrews (former head chef at The Camberwell Arms and Soho’s Ducksoup), takes the concept of ‘Pub?’ and elevates it to the nth degree. The drinks – from aperitifs to wine and beer – are a well-curated mix of standards, and the food is made up of seasonal small and large plates. A daily chalkboard of specials features market meat and fish, mostly designed for sharing.  It’s all served up in the newly-renovated site’s two inviting dining rooms, and the dishes are big-hearted and generous. You can order snacks and a pint, or linger over a four course meal – we see punters doing both when we make the trip on a chilly Thursday evening.  Whatever the reason for your visit, though, the service is invariably perceptive. This is the sort of place where you request a dirty Martini, and in response are asked whether you’d like that made with pickle juice –

Behind

Behind

5 out of 5 stars

When you walk into chef-owner Andy Beynon’s east London restaurant Behind, you are confronted by a sweeping, horseshoe-shaped table. It is around this imposing structure – somewhere between Judy Chicago’s gigantic 1970s artwork The Dinner Party and the dining area in a Scandi tech billionaire’s house – that the 18 punters are seated at every service. It’s an assured type of set-up for an assured type of place.  Awarded a Michelin star in 2020 after being open for only 20 days (a tantalising bit of lore that most chefs would kill for), Behind is a seafood-focussed, chef’s table restaurant in London Fields. The restaurant itself, however, refuses any expectations you might have of its E8 postcode – there’s no exposed pipework or menu with a jolly logo and cursive font (not, to quote Seinfeld, that there’s anything wrong with that particular brand of millennial ambience, but it’s also refreshing to see it bucked). Instead, Behind deals squarely in fine dining, done with a personal, laid-back air.  The main event is an eight course tasting menu for £98 – with an accompanying £84 wine flight if you’re feeling freaky – though six courses are also available at lunch for a more reasonable £54. Before service began at our Wednesday evening sitting, Beynon sauntered around pouring wine and chatting with each party, as though we were at his house.  There was a fish pie croquette that looked like The Arm from Twin Peaks: The Return The menu changes seasonally, so during our early May vi

News (2)

What Quality Street Chocolate Are You?

What Quality Street Chocolate Are You?

Nothing says Christmas like pushing yourself to the human limits of food consumption, whether that means Christmas pudding, novelty crisp flavours, or simply: roasted meats. A highly important cornerstone of this particular seasonal tradition is the obligatory box of Quality Street. Cracked open in late November and passed around laps in living rooms all December long – until it’s more infuriatingly full of wrappers than it is of sweets – it wouldn’t be Christmas without between one and four chocolates to send you nicely over the edge after dinner every night. Your choice of Quality Street is especially telling (milk chocolate block: boring; fudge: cute, likes little treats), but consider this: is it actually the case that your Quality Street chooses you? Hear us out: each choc in the box has clear characteristics (like, Strawberry Delight is definitely annoying on a night out), but does your favourite match your personality? Are you a classic, discerning green triangle? Or the biggest chaos merchant of them all: a Toffee Finger? Take our (definitely very scientific) quiz below to find out.    

What will be the London hype dish of the summer?

What will be the London hype dish of the summer?

Picture it: you are sitting on a restaurant terrace drinking a cold glass of white wine. It’s a balmy 26 degrees in London and you don’t need a jacket, and are wearing sunglasses so you look really fit. You feel good. You are perusing a concise but varied menu and you are about to order a meal which will both satisfy and enrich you. But what are you going to order? What foods will define your summer dining experiences in 2023?  When considering what the big dishes of sunny season might be, there are a few criteria that we need to take into account. First – seasonality: which fruits and vegetables thrive during the high season? But equally, is it light and airy enough to eat on a hot day? Secondly – how does it look? London restaurants are increasingly susceptible to the hype machine, largely fuelled by social media and photos of viral dishes that crop up online. The big hits of the summer then, will also be photogenic. And thirdly – and most importantly – is it properly delicious? The dishes that go stratospheric, after all, are those which stand up to demand.  With these important yardsticks in mind, I have employed my knowledge as a deeply greedy individual to predict what you’ll be ordering as you while away the hours (and your earnings) during the very best time of year, from fluffy roe to citrusy crudo.    10) Perello olives Now memed to within an inch of their lives, meaty, briney Perello olives are still a very nice offering for your mate’s barbecue (moved indoors last