Christmas Gift Guide: 9 Present Ideas From the Capital
Still looking for gift inspiration? Why not gift a slice of London? Our fine city boasts world-class restaurants and culture, as well as unique experiences and pockets of joy you just can’t find anywhere else. Here, The Resident rounds up some of the best gift ideas from the capital…
1 Tate Membership, Bankside & Millbank
One of the best cultural institutions there is, the Tate is where you can see work by the world’s best contemporary and modern artists including Yayoi Kusama, Olaf Eliasson and Ai Wei Wei, as well as important British artists, both past and present. Browse through permanent and free collections, including the comprehensive archive of British art at Tate Britain, and Australian Art from 1992 at the imposing Tate Modern Bankside. Membership gives you free entry into exhibitions and priority booking, access to private and starts at £84 which offers entry into all four Tate galleries for one person. You can build on this with various add-ons.
Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG; Millbank, SW1P 4RG
2 Tasting Menu at The Waterhouse Project, Bethnal Green
The Waterhouse Project (TWP) dubs itself as social fine dining, which basically means the food is exquisite yet the whole experience is unfussy and without any of the formal pomp. TWP has also recently relocated to a permanent home a converted warehouse in Bethnal Green styled out in scandi-esque simple elegance. The nine-course tasting menu, created by Gabriel Waterhouse (ex Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle) turns local and seasonal ingredients into creative dishes with unfamiliar but delightful flavours and textures – smoked eel, miso broth pineapple and shallots; thyme baked beetroots, chestnut, cherry, cavolo nero, fig chutney and
gingerbread sauce for example. Vegetarian and pescatarian menus are available, and dishes change monthly and comes paired with low intervention wines. For one person, with wine the menu is £120.
Address: 1 Corbridge Crescent, Cambridge Heath, E2 9DT
3 Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Founded in 1707, Fortnum & Mason has gone on to carve out a name for itself as a purveyor of fine food, as a royal supplier to hosting the now annual food awards which are graced by the likes of Jay Rayner, Grace Dent and Mary Berry. There’s plenty of things to choose from here, across budgets -a Fortum & Mason gift hamper is a classic, and there’s a host of iconic tea paraphernalia as well. Choose a china tea set, a mix up a selection of pots, mugs and cake stands with some loose leaf tea and treats fit for elevenses.
Address: 181 Piccadilly, St. James’s, W1A 1ER
4 Tasting Menu at The Drunken Butler, Clerkenwell
Combine French and Persian cuisine, The Drunken Butler (TDB) in Clerkenwell hits the sweet spot of being chic and homely. There’s no menu, rather all diners try the same dishes in a kind of tasting menu affair with dishes based on Chef Patron’ YUMA Hashemi travels across the globe. Take a seat at the kitchen counter, as part of TDB’s Chef’s Table, to watch the chefs at work and see how the dishes come about. On Sundays, dinner celebrates Yuma’s Iranian heritage and some of his mother and grandmother’s dishes – kashk e bademjoon (sun-dried fermented yoghurt, served with smoked aubergine, roasted walnuts and flatbread) or ghorme sabzi (lamb stew with dried limes and kidney beans) for example. Persian menu £75 pp; dinner menu £100; chef’s table menu £145pp; wine pairing extra.
Address: 20 Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4SX
5 Kew Gardens Membership, Richmond & Wakehurst
Royal Botanical Gardens Kew are not only a dreamy way to while away an afternoon, it is a centre for bio-diversity research and conservation, and education too. It’s also home to the largest in-tact Victorian-era greenhouse, has a busy programme of art, family activities and things to do for adults, such as yoga, courses and forest bathing. Memberships gets you unlimited entry int Kew Gardens and into Wakehurst in West Sussex too. Membership starts from £42.
Address: Richmond TW9 3AE
6 Aulis London, Soho
An intimate chef’s table dining experience from Michelin-starred Simon Rogan, Aulis, fits up to eight people and is tucked away off Dean Street – cosy dining, right? Watch your dishes being cooked right in front of you, and let the team guide you through what you’re eating, and get a taste of the Aulis’s farm to fork philosophy and ethos of seasonality, respect for nature and getting creative in the kitchen. Dishes include ox in coal oil, caper jam and cured egg yolk; mussel and seaweed custard with beef tendons and caviar; and frozen Tunworth with London truffle honey and cob nut crisp. Tasting menu is £125 per person, and there is a selection of wine pairing and drink packages to go with your meal.
Address: 16a St Anne’s Court, Soho, W1F 0BF
7 Ekstedt at The Yard, Westminster
Another dining experience offering up a seven or three-course sharing menu designed by Michelin starred Swedish TV chef Niklas Ekstedt. Housed in the grand Great Scotland Yard hotel, dishes make the most of Scandinavian cooking techniques with a focus on cooking over fire – oyster flambadou with apple, beurre blanc and nasturtium; charcoal cream with vendace roe, ember baked leek and smoked deer; and fire baked cod with potato and horseradish sauce, fermented parsnip, and ember baked shallot. Per person it’s £135/£75 seven-course/three-course and you can pair this with wines or a non-alcoholic drinks.
Address: 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, SW1A 2HN
8 London Shop Fronts book, Hoxton Mini Press
An ode to London’s charming streets that often are a charming hodgepodge of eras, style and typography, London Shop Fronts is a coffee table book of some of London’s most photographic commercial facades. Written by journalist Emma J Page and photos by Racheal Smith, each shop front comes with a write up that offers a little insight into the business, its owners and style choices. £20, available online
London Zoo Lodges, The Regent’s Park
Waking up (and going to bed) with the cacophony of animals around you sounds like the stuff sweet dreams are made of. As does going on an after-hours tour of the world-class London Zoo. Explore, discover and learn about all the animals that call the zoo home, and then stay the night in one of nine wooden lodges inspired by homes traditional to Gujarati, India, also the native home to the zoo’s lions. Tickets include a drink on arrival, breakfast and dinner on your lodge veranda, free entry for two days to ZSL London Zoo with the option of using up one of those days at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, car parking and an exclusive after-hours tour. Oh, and of course the accommodation. Prices start at £345 for two adults.
Address: The Regent’s Park Outer Circle, NW1 4RY