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5 Secret Villages for Drinking and Dining in London

By Baldwin Ho (16 Jun 14)
Tags: secret london,hidden london,best places to eat and drink in london,columbia road london,st christopher's place london,abbeville road clapham,heddon street mayfair,lower marsh waterloo,new bars and restaurants,bars london,restaurants in london,hidden gems london,

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Hidden London; little gems; secret venues; we're always out to find the next surprise. It's easy to feel isolated in London and not know where you belong. What you almost need is to find your own village, and that sense of community. Here are five such villages within our wonderful city. How many of them have you checked out?

Abbeville Road, Clapham

You haven't really been to Clapham, if you haven't visited the Abbeville Road. With the opening of Comensal, the community just got even more vibrant. Adding a splash of colour are their enchiladas, ceviche and homemade guacamole washed down with tequilas and margaritas. Also on Abbeville Road is the famous Abbeville pub with food supplied from their own farm. Many understated, independent restaurants line the leafy road as well. If French is your thing, there's family restaurant La Bonne Heure; for modern British you should definitely try Abbeville Kitchen or Bistro Union; and for fancy fish and chips, visit Kerbisher & Malt. Or if you're cooking your own, the famous Ginger Pig butchery also has a home here.

Heddon Street, Mayfair

Away from the hustle and bustle of the hectic shopping life on Regent Street is the pedestrianised Heddon Street (pictured above). If retail therapy isn't your cup of tea, you have the option of breakfast at Aubaine or a vegetarian buffet at Tibits restaurant. Momo, with their North African and Mediterranean cuisine, is a famous dinner celebrity haunt. The ever popular ICEBAR LONDON is busy throughout the day for those tired legs in need of a refreshing cocktail. Also look out for Gordon Ramsay's latest venture, Heddon Street Kitchen coming in the Autumn.

Lower Marsh, Waterloo

Think Waterloo and you might think Southbank and the London Eye, but behind the station is a little gem called Lower Marsh. There's an eclectic collection of restaurants, bars and shops. Scootercaffè might just be the hippest bar in London whether you are a Vespa aficionado or retro coffee lover. La Barca offers Tuscan highlights cooked with traditional recipes. Cubana not only offers exciting Latin American food and cocktails but late night live Cuban music. Possibly one of the best organic markets in London lies in Greensmiths, and there's a food market on the street every Saturday. If you fancy decadent cocktails on a train, check out Carriage 34.

Columbia Road, Hackney

A must for any Sunday is a visit to the Columbia Road flower market. There are flowers and foliage from all over the UK and more exotic species from around the world. The street is composed of sixty independent shops from art galleries to cupcake shops like Treacle. Lee's Seafoods has been selling high quality produce since World War II. There's authentic Italian delicatessen, Campania Gastronomia and a host of drinking establishments from pubs like The Royal Oak to Brawn which specialises in sustainable, organic wine from small growers.

Marylebone High Street and St. Christopher's Place

More of a metropolis rather than a village, it might be longer than most typical high streets; but it still maintains a distinctly village vibe. I could write a book about the endless list of shops and restaurants in this area. There's the well respected French restaurant, Orrery and the Golden Hind which has been serving fish suppers for 100 years. Al fresco dining is ever popular at St Christopher's Place with Mediterranean restaurants like Sofra leading the way. A meat lover's haven is Patty & Bun with their famous burgers. The Sicilian delicacy specialist, Olivelli, the pan-Asian restaurant, Cocochan, and the North African restaurant, Ayoush all add a global touch to this village making this area a must visit for all food lovers.

Have you discovered a hidden village in London lately? Share your treasures with the world using the comments box below.

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