We headed to the West End’s Seven Dials for one of the most opulent experiences of our lives.
Seven Dials: does the name fill you with a heady rush of fond eating and shopping memories? No? Me neither. Until I took the time to visit, that is. So much more than Covent Garden’s lesser known cousin, it’s really a dining and retail haven like no other right in the heart of the West End. I had the distinct pleasure of kicking off my luxe visit there with a meal at Marcus Wareing’s Tredwells. My expectations were sky high, mainly because Tredwells is the AA Restaurant of the Year for 2015 – and because, having seen judge-mode Wareing torpedo some poor chef’s chocolate tuile mix on the Great British Menu, I hoped his position of esteemed authority wasn’t misplaced. Well, though he was almost certainly not in the kitchen when I visited, his reputation as a restaurateur remains unscathed as our brunch was up there with the best.
In the pantheon of traditional conserves, chorizo jam might not be the one you reach for to spread on a croissant. When paired with slow cooked egg and avocado over sourdough toast though, it was pretty special. With a long day ahead, excessive brunch boozing would have been irresponsible, so we settled for a quick glass of a fairly spritely sparkling rose from Jenkyn Place (an estate in Hampshire of all places – support home-grown where you can, of course). Then it was off to another home-grown favourite, British parfumer Miller Harris, where our conversation with the eminently knowledgeable staff left me knowing more than I ever imagined I would about the processes of blending and infusing. Best of all, I got to take a little something home in the form of Harris’ impossibly nice Veti Vert Eau de Parfum – and there I was thinking that my Drake-approved, Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather was as luxurious and sophisticated as perfume got.
There are plenty of nu-trad barbers smattered around London these days with that part gentleman’s club, part vinyl-and-craft-beer vibe, but Murdock in Monmouth Street really is one of the best: though I lacked a beard to have wet-shaved, the facial more than made up for it. The pampering didn’t stop there, as we then headed to Pierre Herme for a box of their latest macaroon selections (a tough life, I know) before heading to reservations at Hawksmoor.
Now, if you’re a vegetarian, I might suggest that Hawksmoor shouldn’t be your first choice – because it’s really a gourmet steak house (sans Texan bullhorns and the various other Americana décor you encounter in the more pedestrian kind of cow-shack). If you’re the red-blooded, carnivorous kind of Wonderland reader though, it’s pretty ideal: forget everything you thought you knew about steak. The chateaubriand at Hawksmoor is quite simply one of the finest pieces of beef I’ve ever had. Add to that some beef dripping fires (probably not for the dieters amongst you either, if we’re honest) and you’re laughing all the way to the coronary. As for drinks, there’s a vast cocktail menu, but as I was feeling my mid-century masculinity after that trip to Murdock, it had to be a full-fat Old Fashioned.
So, if the fancy takes you to enjoy what Seven Dials has to offer, head over there on Thursday for an evening of Christmas fun, including in-store activities, talks and 20% off reductions in over 100 stores. Register for your free ticket here.
Seven Dials Shopping event tonight