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Londonspring in the square mile

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Destinations with Andrew Zimmern

Borough Market, Mark Parren Taylor

Photos by Mark Parren Taylor

Spend a day at Borough Market.

I am an Anglophile. There, I said it. I started traveling regularly to London in the late 1960s, learning from my father at an early age that loading up on socks and boxers at Harrods was simply smart shopping. Long one of world’s trendsetting cities, there’s something intensely reliable about London. From clubs to markets, shirting stores to restaurants, if you think Britannia is bland, you are off your rocker.

     
The Goring hotel.      

In a city full of my favorite luxury hotels, my pick is the Goring. Owned by the same family for more than a century, the Goring is stunning in style and service. Let’s put it this way: Kate Middleton stayed here the night before her royal wedding, and you might see Keith Richards or Bryan Ferry in the hotel bar (one of the best hotel bars—ever). If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

Spend a day browsing at Borough Market.​ Within its alleys, find loads of ancient species of apples, freshwater char and eel, eggs from laying hens and plenty of cheese and wild game. Sausage makers, artisan goods—it’s all here. And don’t miss Neal’s Yard Dairy. For prepared foods, try Roast, an upscale spot dedicated to reviving the best of British cooking. Think imaginative takes on traditional dishes, such as roast grouse, game chips and quince jelly. Not feeling fancy? The Stoney Street Café does some of the best bangers in the city.

The food world is loving snout-to-tail dining, and chef Fergus Henderson at St. John does it as well as anyone else in the world. The menu has the dishes you’ve prayed about trying once in your life (roast widgeon with beetroot, anyone?), but for an unforgettable experience, assemble a group and go for the whole suckling pig. If game isn’t your thing, try Marcus Wareing’s fare at The Berkeley, where the focus is on local ingredients with a modernist twist. Try the Scottish lobster or the Dorset turbot.

     
Jewelry at Luna & Curious.      

I love Harrods, and though it has beautiful clothes, I always stock up at the food hall. Stop by the seafood counter for live scallops (fresh off the north coast of Britain) and smoked salmon. I often purchase small portions of rare Italian salumi, German cured beef or slices of Iberian ham right before I leave. And ice cream lovers will freak at the scoop shop, where they will literally create any flavor for special orders. It helps if you’re a dignitary, but overruns are always for sale.

Nearly 20 years ago, I heard about the bespoke shops on Jermyn Street. I put all my chips in and went for a custom navy cashmere sport coat from Hackett. Two decades later, I still wear it. Another fun, more recent find is Luna & Curious at the trendy Sanderson Hotel. Easily the most offbeat collection of jewelry, apparel and the coolest patinaed bronzed bird skulls I’ve ever seen. No, I’m not kidding.

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