By Hannah Connolly
hough the editors might be snacking in sponsored cars during the day (as deadlines loom in the race for which publication can get their show reviews up fastest), The Stack is breaking down where the fashion industry dines during the quiet(ish) moments of this year's London Fashion Week schedule.
Whether you want to tune in to London’s finest shows via Zoom whilst tucking into some of the best plates in town, are in the mood to catch the inside scoop on fashion after the runway applause is over, or, you're just on the hunt for your next reservation - check out what's on the menu from our pick of the most fashion-insider approved restaurants in London.
Where: Clerkenwell, EC1M 4AY
A cult classic, St. JOHN has inadvertently become one of fashion's favourite restaurants. Although founder and restaurant maverick Fergus Henderson has recently declared ‘food and fashion do not go hand in hand,’ fashion hands have certainly got a grip on the restaurant's now ubiquitous ‘merch’. It is hard to walk around London without spotting a canvas bag boasting the leaping pig logo slung on the shoulders of stylists, editors and models alike.
In fact, so popular with the fashion crowd that the staff uniforms made an appearance in Junya Watanabe’s MAN Spring 2020 collection with models seen walking down the runway in reworked chef jackets with the St. JOHN pig insignia embroidered on - which can be yours for £200 (we recommended sticking to the totes, they are only £7.50).
Yet, make no doubt, there is reason for its sartorial seal of approval, in fact you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who has dined here and said they didn't love it. Beginning in the late 1990s with husband and wife duo Fergus and Margot (of Rochelle Canteen) running St. JOHN Wines, importing the best reds, whites and rosés from Paris to the release of Fergus’ game changing culinary masterpiece Nose to Tail Eating book. Which then allowed for the opening of their first restaurant space across the street from east London’s Spitalfield Market.
Expect: cult status plates like the famed bone marrow and toast dish which quite literally revolutionised the restaurant industry from its very first serving over 20 years ago.
Where: Hackney, E8 4RL
Cafe Cecilia is one of Hackney’s latest culinary offerings founded by Max Rocha, the son of designer John Rocha and brother to London Fashion Week heavyweight Simone Rocha. Named after his grandmother and subsequently the middle name of his designer sibling, the new site will only open for breakfast and lunch services for the time being, in a curated, relaxed environment.
The intention of the cafe is to avoid burnout, something the chef and founder Max himself has faced after leaving the music industry for the restaurant game and is determined to maintain that all staff have a work-life balance, which can be difficult to propagate in the restaurant industry.
Hailing from Ireland, the gaelic influences are tangible. Take the Guinness bread, boiled eggs & coolea - but don't bank on permanence, the menu is set to change according to what's in season, aiming to work with the best produce at the right times.
Expect: canalside views and a small menu you can trust will be sublime, Cafe Cecilia makes for the perfect AM pitstop to ensure your day gets off to a good start.
Where: Piccadilly, W1J 9EB
For a favorite amongst the old guard, look no further than The Wolseley, frequented by the likes of Editor-in-Chief at British Vogue Edward Enniful, design tour-de-force Vivenne Westwood and shoe impresario Manolo Blahnik.
The restaurant began as a showroom for Wolseley Motors, designed by English architect William Curtis Green in 1921. A 100 years later and the cars have been swapped for canapés after restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King acquired the premises, and, with the help of the David Collins' team of architects, restored the building to its former glory. Maintaining the roaring 20s elegance whilst ensuring the space worked for contemporary diners.
Where: Leicester Square, WC2N 4AL
“J Sheekey has livened up Leicester Square since 1896. As it stands, I think they’re good for another century” are the words of fashion journalist turned renowned food critic Grace Dent. J Sheekey has and remains one of the best seafood restaurants in the city and often serves some of fashion's finest from Kate Moss, Goop Founder and 90s it-girl Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as Suki Waterhouse.
The restaurant is this year celebrating its 125th anniversary - which is a pretty good tell that the food is set to impress. The site has been serving the actors and spectators of London’s theatres since the 19th century which is reflected in the original photographs of famous faces hung in the four interconnecting rooms. The inimitable red exterior shares the dramatic flare of its thespian patrons - whilst the inside feels warm and intimate.
Expect: a perfectly sourced menu of prepared fish, shellfish, specialised vegan and vegetarian options and of course the famous Sheekey’s Fish Pie, served up in the winter-proofed outdoor terrace.
Where: Temple, WC2R 1LA
Founded by Skye Gynell, the former Food Editor at British Vogue, Spring has been serving up deliciously prepared seasonal produce season after season during London Fashion Week. Previously acting as the official caterer to LFW and fostering a close relationship with many industry heavyweights, including the likes of Chanel, Mulberry and Gucci.
Located in one of fashion’s favourite exhibition spaces Somerset House, Spring lives up to its name with a sense of airy elegance and heartfelt cooking inspired by beautiful ingredients aiming to create, not only stunning food, but a plate “that lingers in the memory.”
Expect: to discover the ultimate lunch spot with curated plates like the seared beef with viola artichokes and refined desserts - we recommend the rose geranium ice cream with blackcurrant ripple that quite literally tastes like spring on a plate.
Where: Shoreditch, E2 7FA
Rochelle Canteen has been a consistent favourite for over a decade. With dinner guests including Lulu Kennedy the founder and director of Fashion East, and was even cited by Net-a-Porter as one of their top spots to visit. As well as playing host for events thrown by the likes of Balenciaga, Acne, Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu, and that's just a few of the global mega brands that have wined and dined at Rochelle Canteen.
Offering an ever changing, seasonally inspired lunch and supper menu embracing both classic and modern European cooking, allowing their “produce to speak for itself with a gentle approach.”
The brainchild of Margot Henderson, (who also works alongside husband Fergus at St. JOHN) this restaurant offers elegantly simple plates that allow their expertly sourced produce to do the talking.
Expect: fold out chairs and long white washed wooden tables surrounded by equally minimalist white walls. Whilst skylights allow for floods of bright sunshine giving the restaurant space a refreshing sense of calm - much needed in the flurry of cabs, cameras and deadlines during the fashion week schedule.
Native at Browns
Where: Mayfair, W1K 4JE
Opening just this year, Browns has embarked on its first ever culinary venture working with the award winning team behind Native. After unveiling their new concept store also in 2021, the legendary department store is now hosting fashion's finest for food and cocktails - so if you fancy a shop and plate after plate of perfected bites this is the spot for you.
The Browns store itself has been responsible for launching some of fashion week's biggest names, from John Galliano to Hussein Chalayan - there is no place where fashion and food comes together quite this well.
Working with a sustainable and conscious ethos that protects and preserves British culinary heritage, with high gloss tables, shaded beneath the leafy canopy of a giant oak tree. The atmoshphere feels organic and refined, perfect for an inbetween-shows-pitstop. The restaurant is based on the lower floor and the internal courtyard of the store, offering both al-fresco dining and a cosy interior, featuring a mosaic floor that maps out Native's most popular menu items.
Expect: an innovative and unexpected menu including the renowned Native Fillet - but prepare to be surprised as this is one of the few items with permanence, like the collections stocking the shop space, the menu will change with the seasons.
London Fashion Week will be taking place from Thursday 16th Sept 2021 – Tuesday 21st Sept 2021.
From oyster bars frequented by Kate Moss to the official caterers of London Fashion Week - discover some of London's best restaurants who hold the sartorial seal of approval.
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