Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A month ago my company moved into a new office in Noho. Formerly known as Fitzrovia, Noho is a trendy area around Charlotte Street in central London. The area has grown on me quite a bit since I started spending most of my waking life there.
Noho wasn’t totally new to me when we relocated in June. I have two friends who live on Charlotte Street, so I’ve spent a few evenings in the area. But being there during the day is different. I’ve been able to explore the breakfast and coffee scene in the morning, the lunch scene at midday, and dive deeper into the drinks and dinner scene post-work.
From swanky Roka and Michelin-starred Pied à Terre to cheap-eat Mizuna, Noho is brimming with good places to get a meal. There’s two coffee places within bleary-eyed-morning stumbling distance from my office, and the little cafe on the corner serves up eggs and sausages for those that can’t bear to miss one day of full English breakfast!
Lunch often takes me to Lantana, an Aussie-run restaurant on cozy Rathbone Place that serves up good sandwiches and salads, and the Thai place on the next block is great for green curry. The Charlotte Street Hotel is a perennial favorite for post-work drinks, and Salt Yard with its fabulous tapas is just up the road.
Noho has a few secrets, too. There’s Crazy Bear, a hip bar and restaurant that confuses people with the rather odd-sounding name. While I first thought it would be a pub full of men from the logging industry, upon walking in I discovered it was an ultra-modern Thai restaurant and uber-cool lounge serving up an impressive array of cocktails. Not bad for being right next to a grungy part of Tottenham Court Road.
Crazy Bear’s sister secret of Noho is Shochu Lounge. Located below Roka, Shochu serves up some fabulous sushi and sake, and cocktails rivaling those of it’s Thai neighbor. But despite being hidden from ground-level view, Shochu isn’t a very well kept secret. Getting a table is often quite a challenge.
For those not in need of a table, the pub scene on Charlotte Street is as high quality as the restaurant one. The Fitzroy Tavern, an old Victorian pub once frequented by Dylan Thomas, is now frequented by an after-work crowd so large that it spills out onto the sidewalk on sunny afternoons. Just down the road is the equally busy Duke of York pub, which always has a fair number of besuited drinkers outside during lunch hour.
And while I would love to spend my lunch hours at the pub, I spend most of my time in the office making the means to enjoy my new Noho neighborhood. But knowing there’s a world of good food and drink outside the door is a surprisingly good motivator to get my job done while I’m inside of it.