Winter Warmers: Where to Eat and Drink in London

Baby, it’s cold outside… but you can banish those winter chills and head to one of these hot spots to warm up over a Sunday roast or crumble, hot chocolate or spicy cocktail.

Comfort Food

It’s cold and dark but that gives you the perfect excuse to stay indoors and tuck into an English Sunday roast. Traditionally, the meal comes with roasted meat, vegetables, a Yorkshire pudding and lashings of gravy. Try one at Roast by Borough Market, offering slow-roasted lamb shoulder studded with rosemary and garlic, or the pork belly and Bramley apple sauce. For something meat-free, Manna by Primrose Hill, has been serving vegan food, wine and beer since 1967. Its vegan Sunday roast changes every week, but is always made up of nuts, grains, seasonal green and root vegetables. 

Roast, London, UK
Delectable roast turkey at Roast restaurant. (©Roast London)

Here for Thanksgiving (22 Nov, 2018)? Then feast at Rail House Café near Buckingham Palace, Riding House Café off Oxford Street or Village East near the Fashion and Textile Museum. Start with an old-fashioned cocktail made with Calvados and cinnamon with bourbon-soaked cranberries. Dine on slow-roasted Norfolk bronze turkey cooked in herb butter served family style for sharing. The bird comes with sides of cornbread and sausage stuffing, maple-buttered sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, and creamed corn casserole, smothered in Calvados gravy and a spoonful of cranberry and confit orange relish.

Rail House Cafe, London, UK
Festive, flavoursome sweet treats at Rail House Cafe. (©Rail House Cafe)

If that triggers your sweet tooth, then look out for Crumble Shack at London-wide markets and festivals. If you like crumble and custard, then it’s a dream come true as you choose from a selection. Festive fruit with a classic topping, mulled wine and pear or apple and cinnamon with chocolate? It’s hard, we know.

Hot Drinks

For the mother of all hot chocolates, sniff the air around Covent Garden and follow your nose to ChoccyWoccyDooDah. Don’t even think of ordering a cake and a hot chocolate, as a single slice of cake is bigger than your face. Instead, indulge in its decadent hot chocolate – molten Belgian chocolate stirred into warm milk, topped with a caramel waffle, ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. If you’d rather takeaway, pass by Paul A Young in Soho, Angel or Bank, where you’ll smell hot chocolate churning on a stove. Order one and mix it with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and chili or sea salt. 

Alternatively, opt for Dishoom’s house chai, chocolate chai (dark chocolate and spices) or chai egg nog, made with nutmeg, cinnamon and Hennessy VS, at one of the five London branches.

Spice it Up

Get in the festive spirit with a glass of mulled wine—red wine typically simmered with cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise and lemon or oranges. Try it at Christmas markets across the capital, such as Wintertime outside the Southbank Centre or Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

Mulled wine, Kupp, London, UK
Get a taste of Scandinavia with a glass of glögg at Kupp. (©Kupp London)

You can also try glögg, or Scandinavian mulled wine, at Kupp, a Scandinavian restaurant-bar that overlooks the Grand Union Canal. After a brisk walk along the canal, warm up over a glass made with red berry wine flavoured with cinnamon sticks, cardamom, star anise and cloves, oranges, sultanas, ginger and flaked almonds.

Hot Spots

If you don’t care what drink, as long as you’re snug, then head to The Holly Bush near Hampstead Heath. This Grade II-listed gastropub has coal-burning fires, candles and warm, hearty dishes. Sink into leather armchairs by the fire or bag the cosy snug made for two.

The Holly Bush, London, UK
The Holly Bush, a cosy, wood-panelled pub with a coal fire, perfect for a winter's day. (©Holly Bush pub)

Milroys in Soho serves 250 whiskies from all over Scotland, U.S., Japan and elsewhere—so if the 10-year Arran doesn’t warm your cockles, a bottle of 35-year-old Macallan will (if you have £5,200 to spare…). Push through the bookcase at the back and downstairs you’ll find The Vault of Soho, a candlelit cellar bar with a wooden den with cushions.

Fed up of being stuck inside? Then head to Pergola Paddington near Little Venice, which brings the outdoors in with a pergola of ivy. The two-storey food and drink hall has seats for 850, and while its rooftop is exposed to the elements, blankets, heaters and mulled wine keep you warm.