Compared to our American counterparts, when last orders at the bar have been done and dusted and you’re looking for a late-night bite, sometimes it seems like London’s a city that really rather likes her sleep.
But truth be told, there are restaurants dotted all over the city serving late or even the night through. And with the tube’s weekend curfew extending to 24 hours from 12 September 2015, and today marking the longest day of the year with the Summer Solstice, there’s never been a time more opportune to soak up the city, after hours.
Open until midnight every night, and later on special occasions, Hoi Polloi restaurant in the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch is a sophisticated, wide and wood-panelled hipster haven. Powered by Pablo Flack and David Waddington of Bistrotheque, Hoi Polloi serves “English modernist” brasseries-style food via an extensive all-day menu comprised of breakfast, lunch/brunch, dinner, and supper – the late-night selection available from 10.30PM until close.
An elegant late-night menu, Hoi Polloi’s selection appeals to those simply dining late and those fueled by booze-induced cravings, with dishes like smoked trout, cous cous, broccoli and preserved lemon, and a quinoa, squash, radish and spring onion salad with seeds amongst more indulgent carb-y classics, like a posh cheese toastie with Montgomery cheddar, leeks and focaccia, cheeseburger with dripping chips, and battered hake and salt and vinegar chips – though at a rather steep £17.
Bob Bob Ricard
Home to the famous “press for Champagne” button, Bob Bob Ricard is fabulously and modernly antiquated, with a glamorous blue and gold all-booth dining room located in Upper St James Street, Soho.
Serving Russian and English classics with a luxury twist, the food is really a blast from the past, and is referred to (not by the restaurant) as comfort food for billionaires.
With the same hours as Hoi Polloi, open until midnight in the weekdays, and until 1AM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, oysters and caviar (and, of course, button-Champagne) are Bob Bob Ricard staples, residing on their menu amongst the likes of their crispy chicken kiev, beef wellington, chicken, mushroom and champagne pie, Waldorf salad, and lobster mac and cheese, all for luxury prices (main courses range from £15.50 to £44.50).
Soho Kitchen & Bar
Located in the heart of Soho on Old Compton Street, Soho Kitchen & Bar’s naturally rather raucous vibe and mixed clientele makes it seem a world away from its sister private members clubs in the Soho House Group.
Serving brunch, an all-day menu, a 4-7PM menu for £4-£7, and a late-night selection, “drunk food” prevails, particularly after hours, with a menu comprised of nachos, Philly cheese steak, honey-fried chicken and a juicy-greasy cheeseburger – just the thing if you’ve been on the G&Ts.
Open until 1AM Monday to Wednesday and 3AM Thursday to Saturday, and just opposite G-A-Y and the Prince Edward Theatre, one of the best things about late night here is the prime people watching – sit close to the window and you couldn’t be better poised for soaking up Soho’s colourful nighttime promenade.
Northwest London has its fair share of after-hours fun as well, thanks to late-night Lebanese institution Maroush on Edgware Road.
The first Maroush opening more than 20 years ago, the group now has 5 restaurants across the city, all with the same premise – of indulging and entertaining the evening and late-night crowd.
The original Maroush restaurant in Edgware Road is open until 2AM 7 days a week, lavishing guests with live music and belly dancing and flavour-packed Lebanese dishes like shawarma wraps, kibbeh, charcoal-grilled meats, herb-filled salads, dips and dense falafel.
Duck & Waffle
Potentially the current king of the late night, a best-of list of restaurants open late wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Duck & Waffle, open 24/7.
40 storeys up the Heron Tower’s glass elevator on Liverpool Street will take you to Duck & Waffle’s never-ceasing dining room, where the kitchen run by head chef Dan Doherty serves a familiar yet inventive mix of elevated dude food.
With a late-night menu including ox cheek grilled cheese, with onion jam, fried organic hen’s egg and sriracha, BBQ crispy pig ears, a spicy ox cheek doughnut with apricot jam and smoked paprika sugar, and their namesake, the famous duck and waffle with mustard maple syrup, Duck & Waffle masters big-boy salty-sweet flavours and nails what the palate desires when it’s been awake for a little too long.
Created by Phil Owens & Media for Bespoke Menu Design