Just off the busy pavements of Oxford Street, there’s a secret pathway…
Taking you away from the hustle and bustle of London’s busiest shopping street and into an oasis of calm.
St Christopher’s Place is a pretty piazza filled with beautiful boutiques and restaurants, pedestrianised pathways and plenty of al fresco dining areas. I’ve been here many times before and it’s great for stepping off the beaten path at any time but St Christopher’s Place becomes even more alive in spring and summer, when British people take full advantage of our period of good weather and eating outside in the sun feels like such a treat.
You could easily spend your whole day exploring this not-so-secret enclave in the heart of London and the best place to start would be Workshop Coffee.
Because don’t all good days start with coffee?
It’s not always easy to find the very best coffee in London as it’s just packed with chain places but Workshop Coffee strive to find the very best coffee farmers, producers and exporters in order to find the very best quality. My usual Americano was smooth, rich and ever so slightly sweet – this place is not about frills it’s just about really really good coffee.
The purchasers for Workshop Coffee travel through Africa, Central and South America five times a year fostering relationships with producers and working collaboratively with them. Once they have the highest quality in terms of raw material, Workshop Coffee maintains those standards with careful and consistent roasting to ensure the very best of freshness and flavour.
Once fully fuelled on coffee it was time to explore the boutiques and there are some fantastic brands as well as independent stores.
Much loved British retailers such as Jigsaw, Whistles and Kurt Geiger have stood proudly in place for years.
And the area is also home to the oldest store of iconic British brand Mulberry. I’m a huge fan of the handbags by the stylish designer and had a little peak in there! In terms of clothing, as well as the more well-known there’s also a branch of eclectic Scandinavian store Hampstead Bazaar, belt designer Elliot Rhodes and affordable luxury brand Les 100 Ciels.
Velvet by Graham & Spencer is quite a bijou brand but they have been creating fashion forward t-shirts since 1997 inspired casual chic LA-style.
I have some tops from there myself as there’s a strong focus on quality and I love soft fabrics such as cashmere. You can see that it’s my colour palette…I mean everything is blue and white with some pink…The layout of the shop felt very zen too, the pieces weren’t crowded together and I could see everything easily.
As the brand has developed they’ve branched out into offering a curated collection of accessories and the scented candles and jewellery collection was gorgeous. I did try a few bits and pieces on but I didn’t buy anything, I did however head to my perennial favourite Reiss and bought a black playsuit. Quite randomly, the fourth playsuit that I’ve bought recently when I’d never considered owning one before!
Anyway…while we’re talking accessories, there’s plenty of places for gorgeous gifts for yourself and others.
The Rituals shop smelt absolutely gorgeous or there’s L’Occitane, a brand that specialises in gorgeous bath and body products made with ingredients from Provence.
But if you’re looking for a really special gift, and I mean really really special, there’s family run jewellers Steven Stone.
Established in 1937, I met with Zack Stone who is the third generation in his family to run the business. And yes, Stone is their real name! Zack had just come back from Iceland and I’m keen to visit so we chatted away about that while he showed me some beautiful diamond rings.
While they sell all sorts of beautiful jewels at Steven Stone, the diamond rings are the most popular for couples on the hunt for the perfect bands to cement their engagement and wedding. It bought back memories of when Mr S and I were looking for my engagement ring and Mr S was so determined to find the perfect stone and setting, it actually took three months to finally get it and he developed a really good understanding about what makes a quality diamond.
At Steven Stone, they offer clear guidance and education so that customers find the ideal cut, colour, clarity and carat that suits their expectations. All diamonds are GIA certified and firm quality checks are in place.
Zack also took me to see the work room at the back of the store as everything is manufactured in house and after chatting to the jewellery maker, I found out that he had been perfecting his art form for over thirty years.
Looking at diamonds and buying playsuits is clearly hungry work and it was time for lunch. At St Christopher’s Place there is the perfect combination of well-known grab and go places such a Pret, Benugo and Costa, alongside chain restaurants, independents and higher end places. Pizza Express, Carluccio’s, Cote Brasserie and Busaba EaThai are on the square if you’re looking for a very recognisable restaurant brand and something familiar. Turkish restaurant, Sofra, is an old favourite of mine and there’s lots of outdoor seating to enjoy springtime prosecco. I also love Social Wine & Tapas by Jason Atherton and the Mole Taco Bar is on my list to try along with recently opened Bone Daddies.
Today though I would be paying a visit to Asian fusion restaurant, Cocochan a restaurant that’s been on my list for a while! With dishes from Chinese, Japanese, Thai and Korean cuisines we felt quite spoilt for choice and so opted for dishes from the new spring menu of Sushi, Salad and Spitz.
New style sea bass sashimi with orange, lime, chilli and onion was a light and zesty way to kick of our meal.
Papaya salad isn’t something that I’d usually order but it took me by surprise and I loved the lightly sweet dressing and the combination of watermelon radish, mango and grilled tiger prawns.
My favourite dish was the sushi of course and the yellow tail avocado, king prawn tempura and pink mayo maki were perfectly prepared and utterly Instgrammable. The restaurant actually has a new head chef and Yuka Aoyama is an expert in Pan-Asian cuisine.
A pile of grilled avocado with pickled mustard seeds, cherry tomatoes and miso ponzu dressing had the perfect tang mixed with a hint of sweetness that I love in this type of cuisine.
Finally from the main menu we ordered some succulent chicken teriyaki skewers, a great option for if you’re looking for something hot but still light. On the spring menu are also two different Spitz cocktails with prosecco, perfect for the warmer days!
There’s something for everyone at St Christopher’s Place and I really recommend it if you want to escape the busy London high streets!
To find out more visit their website: www.stchristophersplace.com
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I was compensated for this post with vouchers to spend at St Christopher’s Place.