My relationship with Covent Garden? We go way back. Ever since I discovered that it was within walking distance of Charing Cross and no Travelcard was needed (though it probably cost £2 at that point, le sigh), I’ve used it as my preferred shopping area whenever I can’t face the crowds of Oxford Street. I’ve gone from shoe-stalking on Neal Street and probably eating an M&S egg and cress sarnie to making my way through some of the area’s tastiest eats. The sheer amount of choice may seem overwhelming if you’re a newbie, so I’ve helpfully narrowed everything down to a few faves with a surprise at the end. Enjoy!
I do love a bit of all-day dining. It’s handy to know of a few places that cater to all different kinds of foodie personalities and can satisfy the fussiest of friends. Step forward Tredwell’s, I’ve been lucky enough to have attended a few blogger events here and have always marvelled at the unique touches to the menu (chorizo jam, anyone?) and relaxed atmosphere. You hardly feel like the chaos of Leicester Square is around the corner. The brunch is a real treat, with a prawn-laden take on the humble eggs benedict and a brioche French toast complete with bacon. It’s as if they read my mind or something when creating the menu. I recommend choosing a savoury main and sharing a sweet one, to avoid the whole food-FOMO situation.
Now although Tayyabs has my heart in this category, sometimes you just need a bit of Indian food without a District Line trip. Dishoom is a firm favourite in this category, it’s modelled on a dying breed of Bombay cafe and even though I wouldn’t have the foggiest as to what one would look like, the tiled floors and cheeky signs definitely appeal. I always tend to go for a mixture of dishes with friends (a couple of curries, biryani, black house daal plus naan usually will suffice), though I’m intrigued by the breakfasts. Favourite memory? Coming here for my Mum’s 50th, even though we were late due to a slight Apple-related detour, it was nice to see my immediate family for a rare meal together in the heart of London.
I’ve lumped a massive category in a pretty small section (plus is Chinatown even in Covent Garden anyway) but I had to include a few recommendations, as I’ll always venture across if I get these sorts of cravings. It’s probably only down to Yishyene and Winnie that I don’t end up in the first place boasting crispy duck in the window. Royal Dragon is a handy place to have on your list with cheap-as-chips prices for dim sum and ample space for a last-minute visit. My trip to Young Cheng only came about after seeing a certain lobster feast on Snapchat, before realising that actually the logistics of splitting it three ways were actually pretty tricky. Still, the lunch ticked all of the right boxes and we had a good experience. Some of these places can be hit or miss in terms of service, but I’ve been pretty lucky so far.
Pizza time! I’ve definitely had to re-educate myself after eating so many grease-laden, rubbery cheese versions back in the day, now I know that less is more and wood-fired ovens are a must. When Rossopomodoro got in touch to invite me for a meal, it was purely for research reasons of course. The location is handy, close enough to theatres, Tubes and the colourful shopfronts of Monmouth Street and the menu is pretty extensive. We went for the fried calamari and courgette mixture to start, the Ventura & particularly jazzy Fru Fru pizzas as a main plus a shared dark chocolate souffle for dessert. After trying out something similar back in Italy a few weeks ago, it’s pretty comparable with a fluffy, more-ish kind of crust and three different kinds of topping to stop you from getting bored. After nibbling a few more pieces at The Apartment the other day, it’s definitely up there with my faves and has made me want to delve deeper into this category. Funny that.
Some of you may know about this unassuming cog in the Meat Liquor wheel already, but I thought I’d include it anyway just in case you find yourself in the area yearning for burger and/or buffalo wings. My favourite thing about Meat Market is that you don’t have to queue like the other branches. It may seem a bit grotty from the outside but once you’re on the first floor, it’s a slightly ironic take on a fast-food outlet with puns that Dreamland would probably approve of. There’s basic seating just in case you need it (I once brought my Mum here and she asked for a cup of tea) but take-away is probably the best thing about the place. The menu seems to have expanded to include more of the chain’s specialties plus they also do alcoholic shakes. Sold.
Audrey Hepburn: Portraits Of An Icon
What’s this, a spot of culture I spy? Even though the National Portrait Gallery technically isn’t in Covent Garden, it’s a nice little excursion to make if you’re around and fancy being transported into the world of Audrey Hepburn. You’ll probably only want to visit this exhibition if you’re a true fan, even though there are some unseen pictures taken from the family album, you’ll find many of her iconic prints where she never looks less than perfect. I find myself torn between agreeing with points in this article and just being mesmerised by images such as the vivid Norman Parkinson print. Nevertheless, the show is still a sell-out and I have two tickets to give-away, just like and leave a comment on this Instagram snap and I’ll choose a winner in a week. All you need to do is make sure you’ll be in London before the 18h October!
What are your favourite spots in Covent Garden? A special mention also has to go to Matilda The Musical, a real treat if you read the book as a kid and have forgotten most of the finer details now. Lucy’s also obsessed with the songs, we had a little Spotify sesh in my room the other day!