Food blogger extraordinaire James Thompson is the man behind @food_feels; a food and travel blog boasting a following of over 125k. James is originally from Sydney, but after going travelling a few years ago, he decided to move to London in 2015. His account covers all aspects of food including street markets, cafés, bars, restaurants and hotels, and has caught the attention of London foodies.
James says the London food scene is the most exciting in the world right now, and ‘having Europe on your doorstep is an added bonus.’
The Aussie food blogger started his account back in February 2014 as a hobby, but gradually his passion for food evolved into his full-time job. Over the years, he has cultivated a giant following and has collaborated with some incredible restaurants, hotels and tourism boards.
James believes there are two kinds of fine dining in London; traditional fine dining and casual fine dining: ‘London does both extremely well. The traditional fine dining restaurants in London are some of the best in the world. The reason why casual fine dining is becoming extremely popular is because people are wanting a more relaxed style of service and atmosphere, yet still enjoying incredible food and high quality ingredients with top service and overall experience.’
With that in mind, here are James’ top casual fine dining spots in London:
Clipstone sits on Fitzrovia’s Clipstone Street and is the younger sister restaurant of nearby Portland (which is similarly located on Great Portland Street). Clipstone’s simplistic and angular decor oozes sophistication and while the hard wooden chairs may not be to everyone’s taste, the food certainly impresses the masses. The restaurant prides itself on its high-quality cooking, wine and service, all of which can be enjoyed in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. The menu offers just four options per course, a move which reflects their mantra of focusing on quality rather than quantity. While the menu may be limited, there’s an excellent selection of fish, meat, and vegetarian dishes to suit all palettes, and of course every dish is crafted with an attention to detail and stunning presentation, making them incredibly Instagrammable!
Bistrotheque is located in a converted warehouse in between London Fields and Bethnal Green. The exterior of the building may not scream fine dining, but the interior is bright, white and minimalist. This modern European restaurant boasts an eclectic selection of French-bistro style dishes and has a generous drinks menu. Bistrotheque certainly attracts an alternative crowd and the air in the restaurant oozes sophistication (but in a non-stuffy way). The East End venue also boasts a weekend brunch menu that is extremely popular with locals.
Located in what used to be Bethnal Green’s town hall, this restaurant is named after the building’s original typing room. If you’re a keen wine enthusiast, this East London hotspot packs a punch when it comes to alcohol. The wine list boasts around two hundred references, with prices ranging from £8 to over £900. The menu also offers two wine pairing options to choose from (an original or a prestige option) to accompany your tasting menu. The chef behind the restaurant is Chef Lee Westcott (who you may recognise from shows such as Masterchef and The Great British Menu). Lee Westcott is well-known in the culinary world and his menu has continued to impress Londoners since opening in 2014.