Where to find London's best midnight munchies



Britain has never been good at late night dining. For far too long your only option beyond 11pm was a questionable takeaway (bucket of deep fried, unidentifiable meat pieces anyone?) or you had to wait until the greasy spoons opened at dawn. There were notable exceptions such as a number of excellent takeaways dotted about the city, a few late-opening restaurants in Chinatown and classic 24hr post-party spots like Chelsea’s VQ and the Polo Bar (don’t expect to get into either if you’ve had too many).

 

But the general rule was if a restaurant stayed open after hours it either sacrificed substance or style. Happily, times are a-changing. As the distinction between café, bar and restaurant becomes increasingly fluid, one venue fulfils multiple functions. Take the 24-hour Duck & Waffle, one of the much-hyped openings of 2013 in the Heron Tower: it can morph from breakfast business meeting to lunch date to evening cocktails to late night party place.

 

Looking to far more civilized models of dining on the Continent, restaurateurs are filling the gap in the market for late night meals. There’s a hoard of twenty-something foodies currently hungry on the streets of London, who want to make an entire evening of eating out, and places like the Coal Vaults or Spuntino with their cocktails and small plates are perfect for that. Now you can have your cake and eat it at any time of night you like. 




This 24-hour café and diner in Chelsea has long catered to the most elegant post-2am party crowd in town. People don't come for the food, although there's nothing wrong with it, but they come because it's a laid back yet stylish place to keep...  Read More




The original Polo Café served up greasy spoon (that's a typical British caff for all who don't know) fodder since 1959. It was recently given a nicely done revamp embracing all that is retro and British from the OXO cube sign on the wall to the...  Read More




This traditional Parisian bistro has been operating here for over 20 years and has become an elegant, bustling staple to Old Compton Street. In summer the pavement tables are perpetually packed, and in winter, it provides a retreat from the...  Read More




Ace Hotel is the place to stay in NY's Midtown, so when it opened up its first UK branch in Shoreditch, it already had a placard of cool credentials. Tourists aside, the locals have come in on the action, hitting up the all-day brasserie Hoi...  Read More




High dining in every sense, the much revered Duck and Waffle enjoys a delightful spot on the 40th floor of Heron Tower in central London with expected views of the iconic skyline. It's worth a visit for the rush of the elevator alone: 40 floors...  Read More




It opened to such hype in 2012 that one would think London had never seen a Mexican restaurant, but to be fair, they hadn't seen one like this. Disguised as a sex shop, you enter past the flashing neon 'Peep Show,' sign to be greeted by 'sex...  Read More


Bar Italia


This is a Soho institution; one of the few survivors of old Soho, when it was seedy, slutty, a little dangerous and infinitely more fun. First opened in 1949 by Lou and Caterina Polledri as a hub for the local Italian community, Bar Italia...  Read More




In the hipster heartland of London, the dogged late night zoo of Kingsland Road is fuelled until the early hours on pizza by-the-slice at Voodoo Ray's. Why it took East London so long to get a pizza by-the-slice joint is a mystery, especially...  Read More




They've got a skeleton in the hallway wearing a baseball cap and they've glued pennies to the floor of the toilets. Despite its cool décor - exposed brick, copper bar, refurbished wood, brooding lighting – the team behind Coal Vaults has a...  Read More




Brought to London by the restaurant king of Soho, Russell Norman, the man behind other lauded London eateries Polpo and Mishkins, it was always going to cause a stir. It opened right on the trend for American diner food with comfort dishes like...  Read More


Map

Meet Tyler Wetherall

Tyler Wetherall is a freelance writer specialising in travel, food & drink, covering topics as varied as narcs in the Colombian jungle to cocktail drinking in Cuba. Tyler has lived in London...  More About Tyler

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×

×