Summer in London

picture of Trafalgar Square

Harden’s newsletter is going on its holidays next week and won’t be back until 29 August. But before we head off to the beach, we wanted to make sure that readers were covered should they find themselves in the tourist hotspots of London and in need of refreshment, or perhaps just a welcome spot of shade.

Here are some thoughts we hope you will find useful on a day out with the family…


Navigating the urban nightmare of Piccadilly Circus…

Prix Fixe W1


A “cosy” and “reliable” Soho bistro, offering “great food, reasonably priced” – no wonder it’s always “lively”; there was a major refurb in the summer of 2013.

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Don’t fall into a tourist trap at Trafalgar Square (“Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0”)

Terroirs WC2 


“Hidden-away” near Charing Cross, this “stylishly simple” Gallic bistro has won fame with its earthy, “big-flavoured” dishes (often in small-plate format), and its “almost perversely unusual” range of organic wines; its ratings, however, continue to drift gently.

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picture of Balcon

The Balcon SW1


“Large”, “airy” and “relaxed”, and just by Trafalgar Square too – this “reliable” brasserie certainly makes a handy West End rendezvous; the pre-theatre menu, in particular, is “hard to beat”. If you’re in a rush you can go for two courses for only £15, but if you have a little more time have three for £20 – add a glass of wine to your three course menu and it’s £25 or a glass of champagne for £30.

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If you want a break from shopping in Covent Garden… 

Brasserie Blanc WC2


With its “simple” Gallic staples and “helpful” service, Raymond Blanc’s brasserie chain makes a “reliable” fall-back; last year, it absorbed the old Chez Gérard outlets, including the WC2 branch, which – with many al fresco tables on the first floor of Covent Garden Market – has one of London’s best locations.

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picture of Tas

Need a bite before heading to the National, BFI or Southbank Centre? Try...

Tas Pide SE1


“Cheap”, “cheerful” and “dependable”, this Turkish bistro chain is hailed by pretty much all reporters as at least a “good stand-by”, especially “for a late meal”.

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There’s also a bevy of decent chain restaurants down by the water’s edge, including: Wahaca, Wagamama and PizzaExpress. Or, for something a bit different on the South Bank try the Bleecker Street Burger stall – considered by many aficionados to be one of the best burger bars in London and located by the water’s edge between Waterloo Bridge and the Embankment footbridge.


Where to refresh after your day at the museums of South Ken…

Ognisko Restaurant Polish Club SW7


For time-warp grandeur at reasonable cost, few venues rival this faded émigrés’ club, in South Kensington; its dependable Polish fodder is best enjoyed in summer on the “lovely balcony”. October 2013: A £250k refit has spruced up the building, and reports on the new culinary regime suggests a major hike in performance.

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Find more great places to dine al fresco with our top 10 outdoor eating spots in London


Spending some time at the historic buildings of Greenwich? Head a bit further south and find…

Le Querce SE23


An “unexpectedly fine” family-run Sardinian in Brockley Park; fans cross town for its “truly fabulous” cooking, including “real and rare Italian specialities”; “the ice-cream and sorbet list is absolutely unbelievable”.

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The Sea Cow SE22


“Delicious basic fish and chips, but also stunning steamed and grilled options” – this “café-style” East Dulwich chippy invariably pleases; “great value when kids eat free at weekends” (before 4pm).

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picture of Wells

Or perhaps you just fancy some grub after a stroll through Hampstead Heath? We recommend…

The Wells NW3


“A credit to Hampstead” – with a “cosy first-floor” restaurant, and “more bar-like” downstairs, this “very busy and buzzy” tavern makes a “lovely” destination; it offers a “high standard of cooking” too (even for your canine companion!).

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