Bloombury’s New Buzz
No longer known for fading grandeur, this central London neighborhood is a hub for modern dining and shopping.
Known for cerebral residents like Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster and, more recently, for fading grandeur, this central London neighborhood is getting a makeover. In December, the long-awaited Crossrail will open up at Tottenham Court Road, connecting the area to Heathrow Airport in 40 minutes. And culture remains a draw: the British Museum, the most visited sight in London, will complete part of a major refurbishment later this year. Here, our guide to the addresses to check out on your next trip.
1 Centre Point
Originally an office building, this Brutalist skyscraper and central London landmark has been renovated and made into luxury apartments. Street-level dining options include Sushi Samba and Black Sheep Coffee. centrepoint residences.co.uk.
2 Coral Room
The bar at the Bloomsbury hotel has had a dazzling overhaul by designer du jour Martin Brudnizki, with lacquered walls and artwork by on-trend illustrator Luke Edward Hall. Wash down the Dorset crab on toast with cocktails such as the verging-onhealthful Green Fingers, with vodka, kale juice, and agave and ginger syrups. thecoralroom. co.uk; small plates from £5; cocktails from £12.
3 James Smith & Sons
At this Instagram-ready emporium founded in 1830, you'll find umbrellas with handles made of ash, blackthorn and hazel woods— some carved into fanciful shapes such as Airedale terriers and jaguars. jamessmith.co.uk.
Part of the newly reopened Principal London hotel, this chic seafood restaurant offers dishes such as wild mussels with a saffron, orange and bayleaf sofritto. It also pairs shellfish with cocktails such as Nepotism—a gin-and-mezcal creation made with lime, agave, sugar snap peas and dill. neptune.london; mains £12–£30; phcompany.com; doubles from £211.
5 Fortitude Bakehouse
This photogenic space is furnished with handsome Norfolk oak counters piled high with examples of London's latest food trend: slowferment baking (think sourdough, but used to make sweets). Standouts include the rye, chocolate and sel de Guérande cookie and the rhubarb-andlemon sourdough cake. fortitudebake house.com.
Designer Jacques Garcia shook up the
Paris landscape when he opened Hôtel Costes in 1995; now he has unleashed his extravagant style on this boutique hotel on the grounds of a former Baptist chapel, adding opulent touches such as Laliqueinspired crystal faucets and a seven-story chandelier. loscar. com; doubles from £322.
7 La Fromagerie London
A spinoff of the beloved Highbury original, this award-winning specialist cheese store has a deli, a tasting room in the basement, and a delightful little café serving comforting dishes such as melted raclette. lafromagerie.co.uk; mains £8–£13.
8 Pentreath & Hall
Those in search of stylish souvenirs should stop in at this housewares store off Lambs Conduit Street, which has become something of a design hot spot in the past few years. After browsing decoupage trays, unique ceramic pieces, and jaunty graphic notebooks, you'll be unlikely to leave emptyhanded. pentreathhall.com.
The revamped Coral Room bar at the Bloomsbury hotel. FROM TOP: Sea bass with Ibérico tomatoes, mussels and broad beans at Neptune; stylish gifts at Pentreath & Hall.