What’s your favourite thing about Christmas? There’s so much to choose from – the music, the decorations, the donning of an itchy, garish-looking novelty jumper. For us at Residential Land, however, it’s all about the food. We’ve been snaffling treats here, there and everywhere all over the capital. So put on your warmest coat and your loosest jeans and join Residential Land’s festive feast…
During Christmas it’s never too early to start celebrating. Why not start your day with something freshly-baked and delicious from London’s best bakeries? In fact, when two of the city’s finest chefs have cafés on the same road it would be absurd not to visit both… ‘tis the season!
The handsome patissier Dominique was named the World’s Best Pastry Chef this year. His bakery in Victoria provides sweet-toothed Londoners with all of Ansel’s fanciful creations.
You have to try the signature dish: the Cronut – the beautiful product of croissant meets doughnut – it propelled Dominique to cult status in New York, and when he opened the doors of his London bakery fans had been queuing outside from 5am desperate to get their hands on one.
Grab a limited roasted plum and eggnog flavoured Cronut, or a Welsh Rarebit Croissant, a miniature bûche de Noël… what were we talking about again?
Peggy Porschen Cakes
The luminescent pink exterior of this precious cakery is enough to brighten any cold December morning, looking more like a set from a Wes Anderson movie than a bakery in central London.
With Christmas decorations up in the windows, Peggy Porschen is a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds. Famous for their cupcakes, everything is ornately decorated (not to mention delicious).
For any aspiring Great British Bake Off contestants, Peggy also runs cake decorating classes at her school just down the road – a perfect Christmas present for the chef in your life.
The ‘bring me back to life’ Brunch
With so many occasions to indulge in a festive tipple (or several), it is only reasonable that one knows where to find a revitalising breakfast. The spacious Rail House Café has comfortable sofas you can sink into while sipping a coffee to soothe the soul. We love the Victoria Branch for its airy yet ambient interior but there are also locations in Fitzrovia and in Canada Water.
Whether you want to start the day with a super–healthy kale and avocado smoothie to balance out copious Mince Pies or if you need a Full English to repair the damage inflicted by the night before, Rail House Café has you covered.
This brasserie stays open late and has the décor of a bar which, if you can stomach the sight of spirits, means dimmed lights and cosy corners – ideal when you’re feeling fragile. Try the shakshuka for a healthy hangover cure, or the unique ‘Eggs Burgerdict’ as a festive comfort.
Take me down to the Gingerbread City
The Museum of Architecture has constructed a sprawling metropolis entirely from Gingerbread, adorned with sweet treats.
Sponsored by Tibbald’s Planning and Urban Design, each of the stunning buildings that make up the Gingerbread City is handmade by one of Britain’s leading architectural firms and visitors are asked to vote for their favourite entry.
This exhibition is perfect for kids – so long as no little hands make a grab for any loose candy – while the attention to detail makes it captivating for grown-ups too. You can even attend a Gingerbread House-making workshop, running three times a day, every day from the 9th to the 22nd of December.
There is nothing more comforting than a warm Italian supper on a freezing cold winter’s day. The finest dishes depend on the most authentic ingredients, which will be stocked here at Lina Stores. Lina has been running ever since the original owner (and the store’s namesake) arrived from Genova in the 1940s.
Stepping through the doors of this gorgeous salumeria is to be transported from the streets of Soho to the culinary paradise of Italy. Colourful panettone hang from the ceiling, jars of sweets line the countertop safe from the hands of bambini, and fresh pasta is rolled and pinched into shape at the back of the store.
For the foodie on your Christmas list, they offer beautiful hampers with recipe cards and every ingredient they need to recreate favourite Italian classics. Check out this year’s gift guide here. Buon Natale!
No Turkey? No Problem
This year marks the highest ever number of Brits going vegetarian. Supermarket giant Tesco reports a 40% increase in sales of vegetarian and vegan meals over this year alone. So, if you’re veggie yourself or just struggling with restaurant recommendations for herbivore visitors or relatives then look no further.
The hallowed and adored institution Mildreds has been London’s veggie paradise since 1988 when it inherited the lease of this former seedy club. Now there are also branches in Dalston, Camden and King’s Cross.
A no-reservation policy at their flagship Soho store can make it tricky to get a table, but you can grab a vegan eggnog cocktail at the bar while you wait – or you can reserve if you have 10 people, so the more the merrier! Sample the special Christmas menu, or the tried and tested favourites like the mushroom pie – tasty enough to convert even the most carnivorous palettes.
The dedicated and talented chefs even offer vegan cookery classes – a scrumptious and unique gift for any cook. If Mildreds Soho is too crowded to contemplate, nip up the road to The Coach and Horses – London’s only vegan and vegetarian pub, famous for vegan twists on pub classics like their signature ‘ToFush and Chips’.
The Christmas Shopping Stress reliever
Whether you’re taking the edge off after battling the crowds, or rewarding yourself for getting all your gifts in time, you’re bound to be thankful for the rooftop bar crowning the iconic London shopping destination that is Selfridges.
Find the express elevator on the ground floor (next to the fragrancy counter – you’re welcome!) and zoom up to Il Tetto on the top floor.
This is the UK’s first bar devoted to the ‘hot tail’ – a warm cocktail designed by prestigious mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardna. We recommend the Santo Punch for a lighter rhubarb and apple flavoured twist on a traditional mulled wine to warm you from the inside out.