My Soho Selection
Everyone knows Soho for its night scene but how many have explored it during the day?
Try to go there in the morning and watch the locals and those commuting to work in the many independent production film houses. You will have to find your way between the delivery vans and the street sweepers tackling what remains from the previous decadent night.
Soho has a human and down-to-earth character, an air of Continental Europe full of history and old stones. There is a French flavour everywhere, present since the 17th Century with the arrival of the Huguenots. Italian connections are also very strong, with a first wave of Italian political refugees who settled in the 19th Century. There are an abundance of Italian espresso bars, Venetian bacaro, authentic gelato and Italian delis. Today the food scene is one of the best in London. Stories about this multicultural and diverse area can be told about each single alleyway and townhouse. You can still feel the shadows of important artistic and intellectual personalities such as Mozart, Karl Marx and Oscar Wilde. The area is also full of iconic venues in the field of commerce, culture and entertainment. Here is a selection.
For a box of chocolates
The whole range is presented in the middle of the store on a round table. You can ask for a description to the manager who loves to talk about it. New creations are added all the time. The award winner is the salted caramel bonbon.
For a photography exhibition
Situated in a former 1910 warehouse, it is the largest public gallery in London dedicated to photography. It currently shows Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, The Condé Nast Years 1923-1937.
For tapas to share with friends
A Venetian bacaro located in a house where the painter Canaletto lived. They don’t take reservations in the evening. It is always full but worth the wait. Try the linguini vongole.
Same concept as Polpo but with French food. Simple and fresh ingredients in small portions to share. Try the Confit Duck Leg with Butternut Squash Purée, Hazelnuts, Chili and Star Anise.
Dishes from modern day Jerusalem, inspired by traditions from Southern Spain and North Africa. Since day one, tables have been hard to book – you can try to queue for a seat at the bar. Don’t miss the Kubaneh Yemeni pot baked bread served with tahini & grated tomatoes and the polenta Jerusalem style.
For a coffee
Created by an Algerian businessman in 1887, this old fashioned shop is now owned by an Italian family. The choice of teas and coffees is huge and you can buy all sorts of herbs and flowers to create your own composition. The selection of chocolate, amaretti and cantuccini is also great and you can grab a cappuccino on the go.
Opened in 1950 by the Polledri family, this is the place to go for a late night espresso. They are open from 7am to 5am every day.
For the art
Co-founded by dancer Damtsa and composer Tot Taylor, this gallery is located in an historic gunmaker's workshop built in 1712. This month, starting on the 17th of November, they present the work of Shoja Azari who combines film with painting and photography.
For an ice-cream after the show
Owned by the restaurant Bocca Di Lupo on the same street, they offer an amazing selection of gelati and sorbets. The menu changes everyday with flavours such as Ricotta & Sour Cherry Straciatella or Ricotta Chocolate & Black Pepper.
For a croissant
A French patisserie founded in 1871, bought by sisters Michele and Tania Wade. It has a nice vintage atmosphere and is also the home of the The Maison Bertaux Theatre Club. The terrace is a perfect Soho spot on a nice day. Get an almond croissant – it is worth a stop.