21-22 Warwick Street, W1
One of Ottolenghi's restaurant, tucked away on Warwick Street just behind the bustling Piccadilly Circus. It is tapas-tastic - a marvellous date venue. Sharing food is always a good conversation topic, especially when you've landed a boring date with a guy who thought he was Dorothy, complete with his red slippers. His droll conversation caused me to drink excessively and when I stumbled downstairs to the toilet, I found myself staring at my own face, from every angle. The toilet is made of mirrors and thus, it is quite a struggle to find the exit - unfortunately, the date was still there when I returned to the table - all the same, the food was ace. Thank you, Mr. Ottolenghi.
28 Heath Street, NW3
The best Gastro in North West London and a great pub too. I have fond memories of living in Hampstead with its country-bumpkin atmosphere and this, my friends, was always my choice of pub. A quiet pint or a slap-up Sunday lunch - this place had it all. It's wooden benches and tables give it a natural, vintage chic which is comforting and homely - it feels like a local. I've definitely spent many a Sunday writing a word or two in this Hampstead Hub.
Chelsea Cloisters, Sloane Avenue, SW7
Heart-stopping performances at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall tend to leave your throat dry, so I always liked to take my friends to this friendly speakeasy at the back of Chelsea Cloisters. It's secret and attracts a neighbourly crowd. It is simply the best secret bar in London (keep this one to yourself though). They have an extensive dressing up box and there is an outfit for everyone. Every month or so they host a Cabaret, one with the talented Fifi Green. I highly recommend it. A bottle of champagne and a Viking hat awaits you behind the hidden doors in the heart of Chelsea, but you might need a password to get in.
129 City Road, EC1
Just off Old Street, this is also a secret basement bar which presents some awesome jazz and a cocktail menu of class, sophistication and plenty of unlikely ingredients. I have spent many a night in here with a musician or too after concerts at nearby venues. One hopped onto the piano once or twice. It's East, it’s cool and it’s classy.
113 Whitecross Street, EC1
The best haircut in London. I fear people touching my hair and I hate changing my hair stylist. I was recommended this place by an old friend and I never regretted it. Every haircut I ever had there was neatly done and exactly how I had asked. The staff are friendly and talkative and destroy the common hairdressers idle chatter that one always loathes. Walking into any other barber, when asked "How would you like your hair cut, sir?" I would reply "in silence". No longer. Traditional, bespoke and utterly brilliant.
The Elk in the Woods
37-39 Camden Passage, N1
My favourite pub in the North (London, that is). Every meeting I have ever had here has gone swimmingly - I think it’s their chips. Potatoes are a winner and these guys know how to cook them. In a great back passage, near Angel tube station in Islington, this is another wooden-benched vintage-chic pub. Nearly always busy but great for a bite to eat or a quiet drink.
The Vintage Showroom
14 Earlham Street, WC2
I have always been a fan of paisley scarves and this is the best place to buy a proper, vintage one and consequently be the trendiest gentleman in the garden. The place screams gentleman and has an impressive collection of clothes for all sorts of men.
Sorry, but some secrets are too delicious not to share. Perhaps if we all pitched together we could all assume an exact knowledge of London that we all so much desire. Jet-Setting is all very well but nothing beats a holiday in your own city. The pleasure, sir, is yours.