A couple of weeks ago I decided to go on another tour and, this time, I opted more for a food orientated guide and what a better place to do a foodie tour than Marylebone itself, well, Portman Village to be more precise.
For those who are not familiar Portman Village, it’s an area tucked behind the hustle and bustle of busy Oxford Street. Comprised of New Quebec Street and Seymour Place, Portman Village is an independent shopping and dining destination and one of London’s best hidden gems, located in the heart of prestigious Marylebone. The Portman Estate has regenerated the area over the past 13 years with a £12 million investment, attracting an array of exciting new retailers and restaurants and transforming the area into a vibrant community for locals and visitors alike. It is the personal service by passionate proprietors at these independent eateries, services and shops that ensure Portman Village maintains its neighborhood charm within a cosmopolitan dining scene, and is a sharp contrast to the nearby high street.
We started on a Seymour Street with a coffee at Bernardi’s followed by a couple of smaller dishes including Charred squid, garlic, parsley & pepperoncino and Burratina, pereronata, basil & pine nuts. Bernardi’s is a modern Italian restaurant run by two Australian brothers Gabriel and Marcello Bernardi. The Bernardi brothers bring with them an antipodean approach to Italian hospitality, teaming tradition with a creative, youthful perspective.
The menu features light, simple Italian dishes, including homemade pasta, cichetti, pizzete, porchetta roasts on Sundays, and brunch at the weekend. Food is served all day needless to say quite delicious. The price is quite decent for this side of the town.
From here we walked a couple of doors down the road to Donostia, a traditional restaurant serving Basque region of Spain. Donostia serves tapas style dishes and fine wine straight from a small, family-run vineyard in Spain. The menu includes a delicious selection of pintxos (small tapas) – such as Basque salt cod with pil-a- pil sauce (a traditional Basque white sauce), and foie terrine (a slow-cooked beef in salsa verde). Familiar dishes are served alongside these Spanish classics, including tortilla and sliced Jamon Iberico that’s aged for five years) however having felt almost quite full from the delicious food at Bernardi’s, we opted for Foie gras with walnuts & PX vinegar and Crispy creamy croquettas with jamon. We washed it down nicely with Txakoli wine and the most delicious basque cider Bereziartua Eusko-label Sidra, Gipuzkoa poured in a rather special way.
After Donostia, we wanted to go and have a dessert however we felt so full and opted for a more sensible option of coffee and herbal tea at GAIL’s Artisan Bakery. Another great option would be the Mae Deli run by famous blogger Deliciously Ella however, it was quite packed and we preferred a slightly quieter option for a tea.
By now you can imagine we felt quite full and spoiled for choice of locations to eat in some of which include Sandy’s Pizza, Lurra a sister restaurant to Donostia, The Lockhart, Vinoteca and The Grazing Goat.
There is nothing better after food than a lovely walk down the Upper Berkeley and New Quebec Street, admiring the architecture and small boutiques along the way. I love the independent shops and boutiques that you can only find in Marylebone giving the authentic feel to the area.
Finally, we arrived at the Zetter Townhouse the 24-bedroom Georgian townhouse where we decided to enjoy a cocktail at Seymour’s Parlour. I highly recommend this cocktail lounge, as it’s very different and quirky to a lot of cocktails bars in London. The concept is based on the idea of drinking at Wicked Uncle Seymour private residence which features so many details and antiques. It actually took the venue around 2 years to collect all the props in order to open the bar. We decided to have a glass of Elderberry Kir each (elderberry cordial and Champagne) in what it looked like Wicked Uncle Seymour Lounge.
Before completing the tour we decided to walk across the Portman Square toward Marylebone’s must-visit, Chiltern Street, an iconic red-bricked stretch of chic boutiques and cafés amid Victorian gothic architecture. Chiltern Street is also home to a famous Chiltern Firehouse, the first European hotel from notorious international hotelier André Balazs, a rather regular celebrity hotspot. You will be spoilt for choice of authentic boutiques selling luxury goods of all sorts. I really loved Parisian boutique, Cire Trudon, which is one of the oldest and most prestigious wax manufacturers in the world, with a history dating back to the 1600s. This branch on Chiltern Street is the first outside France and stocks luxurious, high-quality candles needles to say that the shop smelled and looked divine.
This is where we decided to end our adventure with a walk to the Baker Street tube to part our ways for the day.
Have you ever visited Marylebone and if so, what did you think of my recommendation of places to visit?