Tag Archives: date

exmouth market – all day ideas

12 Apr

For a number of years I had the joy of my place of work being located a stone’s throw from Exmouth Market.

Photo credit: Alan Stanton

You might think “joy” is a slightly exuberant word to use to describe a street, but in my opinion it’s one of the few streets in London that you can visit at any point in the day or any day of the week and go somewhere interesting, independent and of a good standard (also fitting that my office is now based right on Leicester Square.. which is a long way from joyous).

Exmouth Market is in no means a hidden gem, but it still surprises me how many people haven’t visited.. I think it probably has something to do with there not being a tube stop in the close vicinity (Angel, Farringdon and Kings Cross are a 10 min stroll away).

So here’s the His and Hers recommendations of spots in the vicinity, by time of day and activity.. this is in no way exhaustive (unfortunately we’re going to miss some spots, otherwise this would be the longest post ever..)

Weekend Breakfast & Brunch: Starting with the obvious here… one of the more recent additions to the market is Caravan (which we recommended here). Run by a group of antipodeans it’s the spot to get breakfast and top notch coffee (lets face it, there’s two things you can expect Kiwis to be great at, coffee and beating everyone in rugby). Tip: If you don’t like waiting, turn up early, or in pairs.. if not, prepare for a bit of a wait.. it’s popular.

Weekday Lunch: Not technically on Exmouth Market but just around the corner, Clerkenwell Kitchen, frustrates me. Mainly because it’s so good and I don’t get to go there as often as I’d like (it’s only open weekday lunchtimes). With a real focus on sustainability, the team that run the kitchen change the menu daily. If it’s sunny make sure you sit in the courtyard out the back (bordered by the kitchen’s herb garden).

Weekend Lunch / roast: Again just off Exmouth Market on a very quiet residential street (this post should possibly be renamed “Side Streets around Exmouth Market”), The Easton is a gastro pub, which, due to its slightly hidden location, will always guarantee you a spot even if everywhere else is rammed.. which maybe implies it’s a last resort, but it definitely isn’t, especially based upon the quality of the Sunday roast we had there recently.

Early evening with friends: Cafe Kick – The spot to have a post work beers and then get way too competitive on their table football tables.  You reserve and pay for the time on the tables, as opposed to sinking quid after quid into hungry machines, which makes things a little less expensive.. but the likelihood is that you’ll probably spend the equivalent on beers working up a competitive thirst (no halftime oranges here)..

Evening – “Catch up with friends” dinner spot: Morito is the little sister restaurant to possibly my all time favourite restaurant Moro (it’s next door). Unlike its bigger sibling which is probably for more special occasions, Morito is all tapas, you can’t reserve a table and there is a very relaxed vibe to proceedings.

Due to its pedigree and no reservations policy, it is always extremely busy from opening. However, due to patrons’ keenness to eat, I’ve actually been a couple of times a little later in the evening, Spanish style (maybe after a game of table football/beer or two), and never had to wait… however the danger of this approach is a tendency to get carried away with the ordering… “7 plates per person yeah?”

I could carry on with recommendations but I won’t, so go explore for yourself – you might even find “The Secret Pub”.. and this place is infamous.. the one with the best beer garden, cheap drinks, great food and no crowds.. I’m not going to tell you where it is here, but if you invite me for a drink.. I may just show you.

Exmouth market – from central London (Charring Cross Rd / Tottenham Court Road) take the 38 bus and it’ll drop you right at the end of the end of the market in about 15/20 mins

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looking and booking

9 Apr

Great thing about long weekends and long train journeys to and from the provinces, is getting a bit of time to scour listings and organise the diary of what we want to do and see over the next few months.

Recommended by our culture vulture insider, we were told to put Big & Small, a play opening this week at (our favourite) The Barbican, top of the list in the booking department.

With Cate Blanchett in the lead role, and winning all sorts of awards and plaudits amongst Australian cultural critics (ahem) when it was staged in Sydney last year, this production seems to have fallen well under the radar for most people (including us) over here..

We booked over the weekend and there seemed to be heaps of availability across the production’s run. Based upon our insider’s previous recommendations, I doubt you, or we, will be disappointed with this trip to the theatre.

Big and Small: 13th –  29th of April

beauty and the barbican

1 Apr

I have a lot of love for the Barbican, and the amount of time I spent there this weekend is probably testament to this.

Last night the His and Hers went to see Master & Margarita (as mentioned before here), the new production by Complicite of Mikhail Bulgakov’s cult novel, and loved every 210 minutes of it. But if one dose of concrete brutalism in one weekend wasn’t enough, we returned today to explore the lesser known parts of the estate.

Guilty of usually hanging around the theatre levels, until very recently I didn’t realise that The Barbican is actually home to the second largest conservatory in London after Kew Gardens. Sat up out of sight on level three, this enormous structure encases multiple levels, over 2000 different tropical plants / cacti, exotic birds and some Koi Carp thrown in just for good measure..

With the exotic birdsong, warmth of the building and the scarcity of any other people in the Conservatory (I swear we saw less than 10 other people the whole time we were there), it’s up there as the ultimate “escape the city” location… pretty much in the heart of the city (it’s also a great “I know London” daytime date spot).

I know a lot of people who claim to “hate” the Barbican without necessarily having explored the estate properly. If you do only one thing, go see the conservatory. Seeing the tropical plants climb and cascade over the balconies of its towers is special, and I’m sure would convert even the most ardent of critics… and if it doesn’t take them to the estate’s brilliantly named hairdressers Cissors Palace, as this at least should put a smile on their face.

And if I haven’t prattled on about its coolness enough, let’s consider it in other terms- there are not too many buildings over 50 years old that have ceiling and lighting design as great as this.