Bloom­bury’s New Buzz

Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia - - CONTENTS - BY JEMIMA SISSONS

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.

4 Nep­tune

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.

6 L’os­car

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.

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