Chic eats: Where to eat, drink and dance for London Fashion Week

·8 min read
Dream scene: Expect a celeb-y crowd to be drifting the frankly gorgeous NoMad Covent Garden throughout the week (Simon Upton)
Dream scene: Expect a celeb-y crowd to be drifting the frankly gorgeous NoMad Covent Garden throughout the week (Simon Upton)

Laylow

Some places just get it right, and Notting Hill’s Laylow is one of them. Since opening four years back, its little blue door has drawn a host of A-listers, from Rihanna to the Beckhams to Rami Malek, Amal Clooney and Stormzy. But it appeals to the fashion set too: Kate Moss, Jourdan Dunn and multifarious Delevingnes have all been in too.

Why? Well, the one-time pub (and brothel) has an arty sheen of glamour thanks to founder Taz Fustok — a fashion week regular — plus a decent restaurant, a cracking live music line-up and, upstairs for members, a cute little snug of a bar. Besides, for the right crowd, it stays open late: Johnny Depp was in till 5am.

Try your luck, though if you’re after something gentler, head to the Sister Jane Townhouse (sisterjane.com) all of a minute down the road. Part shop, part rooftop bar, part Latin-ish restaurant, it always draws a stylish set but is more of a daytime vibe.

10 Golborne Road, W10, laylow.co.uk

Doña

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Thea Cumming and Lucia Massey, the founders behind this place, don’t do duds. Between them, previous hits include New Orleans-style supper club Slap Ya Papa as well as London’s new favourite mezcal, Dangerous Don. Doña is Lady Penelope pink, full of tequila and good times, with regular live music and an urge to dance. No surprise its non-hierarchical, matriarchal-led ethos, which welcomes everyone of all sorts — unless you’re being a dick, has already been taken to heart by the fashion set. The east London queer collection Faboo hosted a party there recently, drawing the likes of long-time fashionista Princess Julia and designer Pam Hogg. Expect similar shindigs to follow soon.

92 Stoke Newington High Street, N16, bardonalondon.com

The NoMad

 (Simon Upton)
(Simon Upton)

Beauty draws beauty, and hence New York’s stunning NoMad has long been a hit with a glamorous set. Canadian model Coco Rocha is a fan, likewise Jennifer Aniston — who presumably doesn’t stick to her “one crisp” diet when she’s in —and Kanye West. Granted, the jet-set crowd has been somewhat stifled of late (that’ll be the lack of jets, probably), but expect a similarly celeb-y crowd to be drifting through this frankly gorgeous Covent Garden opening throughout the week. The main restaurant, with its sky-high ceiling and trailing plants, is set to be a spot to be seen in, while head next door to the terrific little bar, Side Hustle, where in the booths runway types will likely be huddled around great trophy-sized sharing cocktails. Look into the library too which is where you’ll hear all the whispered gossip from the fashion world and far beyond.

28 Bow Street, WC2, thenomadhotel.com

Isabel

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Both Isabel the restaurant and its downstairs bar Dragon Room — a sort of lair of smiling naughtiness — are glitzy stunners, and attract an in-the-know crowd, from Rosie Huntington Whiteley to Suki Waterhouse. The place seems to throw parties endlessly, the kind that scoff when the clock strikes midnight, welcoming influencers and cooler types a few times a week.

With the fashion set is in town, things are set to step up a notch: come for glistening Wagyu platters, oysters and halibut decorated with Datterini tomatoes — all made for an enviable story — then slink down into the basement bar for music turned up and spotting celebs in the shadows.

26 Albemarle Street, W1, isabelw1.london

The Windmill

 (Thomas Alexander Photography)
(Thomas Alexander Photography)

Some 111 years after first flinging open its doors — and via a few changed hands and bad runs — the Windmill has returned as an unashamed palace of drinking, dancing and debauchery. Soho-born DJ, model and fashion-world insider Sydney Lima is said to be a fan, while tomorrow night RuPaul star Jodie Harsh, once dubbed “Britain’s best known drag queen”, is hosting an official opening party to kick off Fashion Week as it deserves.

Soho, no surprise, always fills up with party-goers and good-time types during LFW; at the long-standing Karma Sanctum hotel (sanctumsoho.com), expect to see famous faces headed to the rooftop hot tub and bar — the hotel is a go-to for touring rockers too, so the parties have a reputation for being gleefully wild.

17-19 Great Windmill Street, W1, thewindmillsoho.com

Sessions Arts Club

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Just weeks after opening, Sessions is already in the running as London’s handsomest dining room and as such is being almost constantly talked about, filling up with beautiful types partly there for Florence Knight’s food and partly there to be spotted eating Florence Knight’s food. No surprise getting a table is set to be the get of the week, especially as it’s only open from Wednesdays to Fridays.

If you can’t, bad luck, although similarly buzzing is Santiago Lastra’s Kol (kolrestaurant.com); it posts cancellations on its Insta stories, so keep an eye out. Long-standing favourites that always draw the British designers — the likes of Molly Goddard and Sussy Cazalet among them — include Margot Henderson’s Rochelle Canteen (arnoldandhenderson.com) out in Shoreditch. Henderson’s husband’s gaffs, the St John restaurants (stjohnrestaurant.com), seem immune to the passing of time; both the Clerkenwell and Shoreditch sites are always full with a modish crowd.

The other place everyone’s talking about? Cafe Cecilia (cafececilia.com) in Bethnal Green — read our review to see if it’s worth booking up.

Old Sessions House, 24 Clerkenwell Green, EC1, sessionsartsclub.com

Scarfes Bar

Inside the Rosewood London, Scarfes Bar benefits from being so constantly busy that high-flying fashion types and genuine A-listers can mingle without anyone really noticing. Brad Pitt once came in every night for a fortnight, sitting at the same seat at the bar every time, and managed to stay anonymous the entire time. Reliably popular, and serving some of the capital’s finest cocktails, Scarfes is an old favourite for those who’ve been on the circuit a few years, as well as the likes of Justin Beiber. Turn up, take a drink and keep your eyes peeled — there might just be someone special at the end of the bar. The other place where this is often true is The Standard Hotel (standardhotels.com) up by St Pancras, though expect things to be somewhat less conspicuous. This year it’s hosting a few bashes for LFW, though details are being kept hush-hush for those not in the know.

10 Argyle Street, WC1, standardhotels.com

Annabel’s

 (Handout)
(Handout)

Not just a private member’s club but, during LFW, the private member’s club. If you know someone who can get in, start shamelessly flirting your way to an invite now. The sprawling spot watching over Berkeley Square draws models, designers and party-lovers from dawn till, well, dawn the next day. If you can get in, expect star-studded breakfasts, well-known faces lounging about during the day and parties in the mirrored club. Everyone from Drake to Dolce and Gabbana are said to come in.

Mayfair, of course, is never glitzier than when the fashion set are rolling through; when they’re not here, expect to see them heading for gilded Chinese fare and cabaret at nearby Park Chinois (parkchinois.com) or stepping out of Lamborghini’s and into the jungle that is Amazónico (amazonicorestaurant.com), where there’s no such thing as going OTT. It’s the same story at SexyFish (sexyfish.com), which is going harder than ever with a series of Thursday night parties put together with help from DJ Seth Troxler. In 2021, more is most definitely more.

46 Berkeley Square, W1, annabels.co.uk

Mondrian

 (Niall Clutton)
(Niall Clutton)

London isn’t short of hotels for the fashionistas: besides the NoMad, this year’s big one is Mondrian. It has the pedigree — Mondrian’s do this globally — and is in the right hands with David Lockhart as manager (Lockhart was previously at The Ned [thened.com], itself an LFW favourite). The BiBo restaurant, from Spanish chef Dani Garcia, is proving a hit for the hotel, but make sure to only go in once it’s dark outside. In Knightsbridge, it’s little surprise the sleek understated cool of the Bulgari Hotel (bulgarihotels.com) is a favourite of Bella Hadid’s, while at The Mandrake (themandrake.com) in Fitzrovia, everyone seems to be so good looking, it’s hard to know who’s a model and who’s meant to be serving the drinks.

45 Curtain Road, EC2, sbe.com

Bistrotheque

Fashion is cyclical; so are its hangouts. Over by Victoria Park, this warehouse of a room with its mascara-black window frames and sleek white tableclothes has drawn a chic set since opening in 2004. There have been ebbs and flows but is remains a constant on the scene. It’s as east London as they come — open kitchen, art projections — but it’s fun too, often featuring a little live music and never taking itself entirely seriously. Now working with the Chic Hen, have the chicken.

23-27 Wadeson Street, E2, bistrotheque.com

Read More

Why the NoMad hotel is the London opening of the year

David Ellis reviews Sessions Arts Club: Chef Florence Knight’s superb return is a place to see and be seen

Jimi Famurewa reviews BiBo: Spain’s Michelin star brings his beguiling hedonism to Shoreditch

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting