In it’s previous incarnation, Victoria wasn’t particularly luxurious. It was a hub for business people who would leave their offices at lunch time to grab a sandwich from Pret, maybe have a drink in the pub post-work but would then leap on the train home to get out of the city. Victoria, does of course have fantastic transport connections, with a large train station housing the underground, national rail and the Gatwick Express. The National Express coach station can also be found in Victoria; it really is basically the centre of the universe ;).
But now Victoria is so much more than a train station… the bland restaurants (Pizza Express, Ask and Prezzo) are all gone… generic shops have closed and Victoria has turned into a luxurious destination that I really urge you to visit. With that said, here is a list of my favourite places to go!
UNI probably takes the top spot for my favourite restaurant in Victoria. Mr S and I were so excited when a place serving Nikkei food opened in the local area. The restaurant is small, cosy and intimate and serves incredible sushi and ceviche, it’s perfect for a date night.
Also check out the sushi and cocktail masterclass, it’s really good fun!
Word about this fantastic sushi restaurant spread very quickly, and it’s no surprise as the food is incredible. I loved both Kouzu and Uni, but the difference between them is that the food at UNI has Peruvian influences where Kouzu is a Japanese restaurant with an omakase sushi bar.
The chef previously worked at Zuma and the Arts Club and runs the kitchen of all-Japanese staff.
Bank has been a favourite of our family ever since moving to Victoria, my dad loves the ribs so much that he’s been know to order them for both starter and main course. The main restaurant is located in a pretty conservatory and looks out onto a quiet courtyard. You’d almost think you weren’t in London! The food is Modern European with a large selection of British beef, all cooked on a wood burning grill using lump wood charcoal. The restaurant’s bar, Zander, is the longest in London so head there for a cocktail first.
Blue Boar is another favourite of our family and serves British food using fresh regional ingredients, including farm sourced meat and seafood from Devon. The restaurant also has an excellent free-flowing brunch, the next one being on Easter Sunday. That’s all you can drink Bloody Marys and mimosas plus an unlimted dessert buffet!
When Tozi opened a couple of year ago, it made a great addition to the dining scene in Victoria. With a menu serving Venetian cicchetti, a fab dining room with a buzzy environment, and prosecco on tap, you can’t really go wrong!
Other great restaurants to check out include: Noura (Lebanese), Kazan (Turkish), Olivo and Olivomare (both Italian). Also I’ve not yet been but I’ve heard great things about Quilon (a Michelin-starred Indian), A Wong (Chinese), Boisdale (Scottish) and Adam Handling at The Caxton.
Pubs and Bars
Our absolute favourite pub in the Victoria / Pimlico area is The Orange. Mr S thinks that they serve best Sunday roast in London, but there’s lots of other choice on the menu, they even have a wood-fired pizza oven. The Orange get spectacularly busy at the weekend so I would highly recommend booking and if you don’t get in you can always try it’s sister venue…
Like the Orange, The Thomas Cubitt serves great food and both have light and bright wooden interiors; these aren’t you’re average old man pubs!
Another great local bar and restaurant with a cool modern design… Mr S loves their Sunday roast and I love their brunch!
Sleep like a princess for the night at The Goring, the only hotel with a royal warrant.
The gorgeous luxurious hotel is where Kate Middleton laid her head the night before the royal wedding. Pop there for a glass of champagne, lunch, dinner, afternoon tea…just anything really it’s fabulous!
The Conrad is a gorgeous five star hotel in the heart of Westminster, in easy reach of Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and you just need to pop across the bridge to visit the London Eye. The hotel also houses the Blue Boar Restaurant and Bar but what really sets the hotel apart is the incredible afternoon tea.
At The Conrad the tea is themed around seasonal events and celebrations. I’ve tried the tea twice, first of all the Edible Garden Afternoon tea for the Chelsea Flower Show…
And also the Christmas themed tea…
It’s one of the best values teas I’ve tried in London as it’s £45 with free-flowing champagne.
Though I’m yet to try the Caxton Restaurant at the St Ermin’s hotel, I’m keen to pop there soon as it’s headed up by Adam Handing who was a finalist in the 2013 Masterchef the Professionals competition. I have sampled the lovely afternoon tea, served in the very pretty and relaxed tea lounge. Suze, Kelly and Melanie all visited the St Ermin’s more recently for tea and you can read more about the experience on their blogs.
A super luxe hotel that’s hidden away from the crowds with a gorgeous courtyard to relax in. To be honest, I’ve only ever popped in for coffee but some of my favourite bloggers claim that the 24 Karat Afternoon tea is one of the best in London. Check out the blogs of Caroline, Melanie, Amanda and Shikha for reviews and also Suze’s blog for a review of their restaurant Bistro 51.
For a more boutique hotel, I loved my stay at the Belgraves.
I adore the chic and modern design of this hotel and it’s only a stone’s throw from the designer shops of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street. I’ve also enjoyed both brunch and dinner at the restaurant, Pont Street, headed up by talented chef, Sophie Michell.
Go to Buckingham Palace…
…well obvs…but remember it’s only open for visitors during summer.
The long running shows in Victoria are Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre and Wicked at The Apollo Victoria Theatre.
I’ve seen both and they’re great fun! More recently opened is the St James Theatre which houses both a theatre and a smaller studio.
The theatre shows a mixture of plays, musicals and revues with a program that changes frequently. It also houses a restaurant and a bar and brasserie for a pre-show nibble and a glass of wine.
Cardinal Place Food Market
If you happen to be in Victoria on a Thursday lunch time I’d really recommend heading to the Cardinal Place Food Market.
Inside the precinct there is a selection of gorgeous cold produce such as:
Beautiful patisserie from Comptoir Gourmand…
You may also remember I mentioned in a previous post that a university friend of mine had started a rather unique company called Bad Brownie. I’m incredibly proud for him of how far the company has come as they have now been voted Best Brownie in London! There are so many fantastic and original flavours, so make sure you check them out!
Outside hot food is served, perfect for lunch time, with classics such as fish and chips and burgers as well as more exotic street food.
The largest queue came from a Polish deli selling hot dogs but there’s also Paella, Thai food, Empanadas and Peruvian food to choose from.
I hope my posts have given you an idea of the wealth of choice available in Victoria and if you happen to be in the area or passing through, please do tweet me if you’d like any further recommendations.
Do you have any top tips for places to go in Victoria?