Westminster the area should not be confused with the City of Westminster, a London borough that covers most of the West End. The “West Minister” itself is the abbey church, founded in the 10th century and home to the coronations of kings and queens ever since. by William the Conqueror in 1066 (and also the final resting place for many of them).
The nearby Palace of Westminster has been the seat of government since the 13th century, although the original medieval structure was destroyed by fire in 1834 and replaced by the Neo-Gothic complex that stands today on the river and houses Big Ben.
London’s answer to the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building is an icon that serves as an instant visual shortcut to the capital, although as any pub quiz fan will tell you, the name “Big Ben” specifically refers to the larger than the five bells inside the Elizabeth Tower, whose dial appears to glow after five years of renovation.
The Prime Minister lives down the street behind the revolving door of 10 Downing Street, but while Westminster has no shortage of sightseeing, what you can’t find here is a plethora of decent places to eat, especially for diners on a budget. limited. Regency, arguably the best greasy coffee in the capital, is a notable exception.
What Westminster has, however, is a trio of cool modern Indians, as well as historic pubs, old-school Italians, and posh hotel restaurants. We measured the distances below from Big Ben, but keep an eye on the clock – none of them are open on Sundays.
The Caffè Regenza
A pint in a pub or a fish and chip dinner might be at the top of any tourist to-do list in London, but for a true taste of retro British, a greasy coffee is hard to beat. And the Regency is a gem, attracting everyone from black taxi builders and drivers to civil servants and members of parliament. Whoever you are, the rules are the same: queue up to place your order, spend the waiting time deciding what to eat and don’t panic that there will be no seat: somehow a table is always free. Orders are barked from behind the counter when they are ready to be picked up; Full English breakfast is the house specialty regardless of time of day, with plump sausages and dripping eggs bordered by ditches of baked beans and slices of fried bread, but an honorable mention goes to school-style puddings with custard , and it’s all washed down with tea poured from a giant metal pot. If the place looks familiar, the linen and ant interiors have starred in everything from filming Vogue to Guy Ritchie films. Heaven for the hungry, the hangover and anyone on a budget, but note that the Regency currently closes at 2:30 pm.
How far away? 15 minutes on foot
How many? Full English breakfast from £ 6; lunchtime specials £ 6.75; puddings with custard about £ 3
17-19 Regency Street, SW1P 4BY, 020 7821 6596
The Cinnamon Club
This part of town is unusually well served by high-end Indians – Michelin-starred Quilon and Atul Kochhar’s Mathura are worth a look – but the model was set when The Cinnamon Club opened in the Old Westminster Library in 2001 and it quickly took off. established as the curry house of choice by the House of Commons. The spices and sauces of the subcontinent are grafted onto ingredients of good origin from Europe, with the same attention given to texture and flavor: grilled chalk river trout with carom seeds, fennel and pickled radish, let’s say, or bacon double-cooked pork with masala mash, raw mango and sambal pepper. There is also a vegan menu, a vegetarian tasting menu and a fixed two / three course lunch for £ 30 / £ 35 to avoid the high a la carte prices. Even the most fervent opponent of local government cuts would have to admit that the book-filled dining room looks much livelier than its previous incarnation, while there’s a clubby bar serving delicately spiced cocktails served on leather bath chairs.
How far away? A nine minute walk
How many? Starters around £ 13, mains around £ 28, dessert around £ 10
The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, SW1P 3BU, cannellaclub.com
Weapons of Westminster
Legend has it that this pub is haunted by the ghost of a little boy who died in a fire here, although it is the specter of long-forgotten political careers that give the pub its nostalgic vibe. The Westminster Arms is one of six local pubs that contain a dividing bell that alerts MPs when a vote is about to be cast; the view of Big Ben disappeared when the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center was built opposite, but there is still a view of Westminster Abbey for the drinkers who congregate outside. Before rushing back to work, MPs may have stuffed themselves into fish and chips, sausages and mashed potatoes, ham and eggs, or a steak and beer pie, hidden in one of the conspiratorial booths in the flag-floored basement wine shop or in a suitable table set in the first floor dining room. In between, the downstairs bar serves pints of Spitfire ale brewed in Kent by owner Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer.
How far away? A seven minute walk
How many? Sandwiches around £ 6, main courses and burgers around £ 14
Floor Gate 9-10, SW1P 3AT, westminsterarms.co.uk
It could be housed on the ground floor of a newly built condominium, but once you walk through the door of the Osteria Dell’Angelo the atmosphere is decidedly out of date, with only the tables of the Ministry of the Interior officials in front of you to dispel the imagination. for lunch around 1970 in Umbria, where chef Demian Mazzocchi comes from. The cuisine is slightly more contemporary than the brown skin and white tablecloth setting suggest: seared scallops with paprika, caponata and almonds followed by roasted quail with crispy polenta and braised red onion, say, with mascarpone and vanilla cheesecake with plums for pudding. To keep the fairly high prices in check, order pasta like rabbit ragout tagliatelle and a bowl of ice cream, or there’s a two / three course set lunch for £ 24.50 / £ 28.50. The all-Italian wine list has nine by the glass for less than ten euros.
How far away? 12 minutes on foot
How many? Starters around £ 13, mains around £ 25, desserts all £ 7
47 Marsham Street, SW1P 3DR, osteriadellangolo.it
Ekstedt at the construction site
The real Norwegian Niklas Ekstedt grew up hunting with the Sámi tribes of northern Sweden and made a name for himself (and a Michelin star) with a restaurant of the same name in Stockholm that avoided gas or electricity in the kitchen and instead cooked only with fire. The wood-fired shtick is repeated in his restaurant inside the Great Scotland Yard hotel (former Metropolitan Police headquarters) in an exposed brick dining room with the blazing furnace of the oven exposed in an open kitchen. Sirloin is smoked with hay and juniper turbot on a menu bristling with pine sprouts and bitter leaves. It is a delicately stimulating food that offers what for many diners will be an entirely new palette of flavors, although there can be a disconnect between the primeval nature of the kitchen and the meticulousness of the presentation in the six-course tasting menu and the absence of set choice. of three courses. The wine list takes an equally natural approach or is there a rewarding kombucha pairing for non-drinkers and the curious.
How far away? A nine minute walk
How many? Three courses £ 80, six courses £ 135
Great Scotland Yard Hotel, 3-5 Great Scotland Yard, SW1A 2HN, ekstedtattheyard.com