In every corner of the world, nature is for us a sweet, ancestral, perpetual call. Even when a city seems to satisfy any possible curiosity, we find the way to explore further and get to a beach, a forest, or a lake. When a walk in Hampstead Heath stirs up the need to visit the English countryside, you catch a train from Penn Station and get to The Olde Bell, in Hurley. For an old style lunch a walk along the riverside, a barbecue in the garden, or a romantic night. Over-a-hundred-year-old walls, folk-Nordic design, burned-wood smell, British old and new style cuisine, ruffled country, noble and melancholy.
This time our London is called Hampstead, with its brick walls, its paved alleys, its boho-chic meeting places and its wood – Hampstead Heath – where you can find refuge anytime the rain stops falling. You can eat and drink at The Holly Bush, a perfect recap of the neighbourhood style: faded, authentic, British and old school.
Because of this café, Highbury & Islington will become the starting point of your nth wandering in Dalston. As soon as you exit the underground station, point at the black shiny window of Maison D’Être, get in there and stay long. They define themselves as ‘a neighbourhood independent coffee house’, and that is exactly what they are…
This small comfortable eatery in Soho holds “Udon culture” and the art of cooking and serving udon noodles. To us, who have just come back from Japan, the concept of simplicity expressed by this big spaghetti in its elegant broth (Dashi) is immediate and only admits hot or cold versions, and a delicious variety of side dishes. Try Kinoki Hiya-Atsu, the vegetarian version – cold udon in hot broth with Asian mushrooms and hazelnut miso – and an excellent tempura of fish and vegetables (Tendon) on rice. Noodles Save the Planet!
When there is no more food on the table and you start missing avocados, red quinoa, red onions, chili, yogurt, aubergines, fresh queso, more chili and any other delicious and marvellously served Peruvian superfood, you can only tell the waiter ‘I wish I could go to Peru’, and he will reply that in the meantime you can go back to Andina anytime. In Shoreditch, close to everything, you can have the perfect Sunday lunch before buying the last flowers at Columbia Flower Market, with a blue sky and wind, and saying hi to the animals in Hackney City Farm.
New East London begins in Dalston, so when our afternoon along Hackney Central’s avenues and stories – through the park and among the athletes in London Fields – is over, we are magnetically drawn back to Dalston Junction, where two stools are waiting for us at Mussel Men. A nautical world opens, and the crew guides us with strong arms and a refreshing smile into a cool spontaneous often-needed atmosphere. The short and wise all-seafood menu touches northern seas, islands and archipelagos.
by Andrew Totter
Born in 1972, Colne, Lancashire, England. Andrew studied interior design at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University, Australia, then worked for Alessi, Anouska Hemple Design, Yohji Yamamoto and Michiko Koshino all in London, then at Persuade in Bilbao. After moving to Barcelona in 2011, he launched Openhouse…
by Kim Alderden
Kim is PR and social media manager for Piet Boon Bonaire, a magnificent retreat set within the equally impressive Bonaire Island. She is also Creative Consultant for ATP Event Experts and owner of Simply Canvas, a lovely glamping site in the rolling hills of South-West France.
Jane Austin was 25 when she moved to this county. We like to imagine that she would have chosen Babington House as the dream backdrop for her heroines’ romances. In the secluded British countryside, the perfect spot for a short break away from the busy urban life. Babington is an exclusive private member club where anyone – shy, spoiled, dreamer, impulsive, rational or spontaneous – will find what they need, when they need it…
by Luca De Santis
Luca loves traveling to discover wonders. He loves to give space to diversity. Luca loves to stay. He loves everything that becomes ritual and is handed down from father to son. (Luca, Meraviglia Paper Creative Director is also art director, photographer and video maker).
by Hattie Fox
You’ll probably have to come say hi for me to really explain my continuous curiosity with plants – my obsession to better my knowledge about them and my genuine daily amazement at the way they present themselves. Then you might get what I’m on about, get why they’re a part of my lifestyle – it’s not something I can explain but I know if I’m not doing this I’m not being myself. This thing we’re doing, I say ‘we’ because I have an army of green fingered helpers who deserve an applause….This thing works because of all of the other favourite things in life, like late 90’s hip-hop, avocados, coffee, hats (all varieties; caps, beanies, cowboy?) my van, a constant desire to be by the sea, my dad, new Nikes, arboretums, leopard prints, first harvest of tomatoes/lettuce/melons/chillis – all that kind of other normal life stuff.
The poetry of an industrial building brilliantly restored. A flowerpot on the grand piano. The beauty of white. A dreamlike menu from A to Z. Bistroteque is a restaurant that needs to be seen, before many others that have opened following its success. For us, it was love at first sight. Our suggestions for a Meraviglia dinner: Scotched Eggs (quail eggs in crust), cured salmon (smoked salmon with beetroot and horseradish), mini burgers, steak tartare and lemon cheesecake.
There’s an air of refined contemporary elegance in the simple rooms of London’s St. John. As if you didn’t feel blessed enough for being in one of the most sought after restaurants in the city, on a sunny day the light filtering through the skylight feels like another gift from the sky. Choose the restaurant room for a gourmet lunch or dinner, the bakery for a quick lunch full of flavour and poetry.
The access to this diner on Shoreditch High Street is through a lovely small flower shop. A wall of leaves and flower buds, a counter where to arrange the chosen flowers in bouquets and shelves with tools. The smell of berries, peonies and wild flowers accompanies you to your table together with a tall blond waiter. You pass some nut-brown sofas and get a peek at the kitchen as you walk through low lights, sculpture lamps and light wood furniture. Refined contemporary dishes from breakfast to supper (evening snacks). P.S. Both the flower shop and the brasserie are part of the happy Ace Hotel family recently landed in East London.
The atmosphere of a typical Peruvian restaurant right in the centre of London. All the flavours of Latin America combined in small fresh tapas, hot or spicy, for a journey from Cusco to Lima through Machu Picchu without leaving Soho. Causa Lolo Fernàndez was our favourite dish, a salmon and avocado tartare served on a potato cake. Don’t miss it.