"Why don't we go to East London for brunch?" suggested a friend. And there it was, that dreaded word "east." I had lived in London for four years and the thought of taking a 30 minute tube ride to the east side had me considering canceling brunch, with the excuse that the London weather had induced an incapacitating malaise.
The long disputed east versus west argument has pulled Londoners to opposite ends of a tea party for decades. The east, historically a gritty, working class area, known for it's brawling footballers and dive hangs, has become a trendy hub for non-conformists who effortlessly set the tone for hipster culture worldwide.
The west, by contrast, is and has always been ruled by the British elite who would flock to London to indulge in debauchery after temperate weekends on their estates. Champagne brunches, high teas and indulgent shopping are plentiful.
I had to decide that morning, was I East or West London? Both, I thought, and so here is the Haut Appetit version of London: East meets West because I like to have my cake and eat it, too.
West: The Rum Kitchen, Zuma, Mari Vanna, Charlie's Portobello Road.
East: Les Trois Garçons, Poppies of Spitafields Fish and Chips, Duck & Waffle.
Foodsplurge: Noma (crowned best restaurant in the world) opens a pop-up restaurant at Claridges.
Sweet treat: Primrose Hill Bakery in Covent Garden offers some of the most deliciously adorable cupcakes in a quintessential London setting. Don¹t miss Cocomaya London in Knightsbridge.
West: Experimental Cocktail Club, Eclipse for their watermelon martinis, Bodo Schloss.
East: Loungelover, Beach Blanket Babylon, Nightjar.
West:Harrods, Selfridges' shoe hall, Elvira vintage in Marylebone.
East: The Laden Showroom and Rokit Vintage on Brick Lane, Luna & Curious
Splurge: A pair of Nicholas Kirkwood shoes (Mount St.).
West: Portobello Road Market, Borough Market.
East: Columbia Road Flower Market, Spitafields Market.
West: Claridges, Dean Street Hotel, Sanderson Hotel.
East: Shoreditch House, The Boundary, The Hoxton Hotel.
Best Afternoon Tea
West: Pret-à-Portea at the Berkeley Hotel.
East: Fan Museum Greenwich.
West: Buckingham Palace (and wave to the Queen!).
East: The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, where timezones were invented.
West: Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum.
East: Museum of London, Barbican Center, Fan Museum.
Best Beauty Buy
Butter London nailpolish, Eve Lom Rescue Mask, Rimmel London Kohl eyeliner.
West: Smart jackets, designer bags, and Hervé Leger for evening excursions.
East: Be everything but conformist. The more you don¹t give a f*ck the better (think just rolled out of bed, in leather and vintage).
Forget your "brolly" (umbrella).
"Mind the gap."