If you’re looking for somewhere to eat after a show, find yourself peckish mid-way through an evening out or you’re just a bit of a night-owl, London’s late-night dining scene has something for you. Here’s our pick of nocturnal establishments that are open to all, no booking required.
Earl’s Court institution The Troubadour has been an important part of London’s culture scene since it was founded in the 1950s. The site, where Private Eye magazine was first produced, has played host to the likes of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Paul Simon. But while gigs and other events still take place in the downstairs venue, the ground floor is home to a restaurant that stays open until midnight seven days a week. The wide-ranging menu features mainly European and British dishes, with a few international nods — the classic fish and chips is hard to beat and the vegetarian lasagne is a real winner. Portions are very generous, but remember to leave room for the rich, homemade desserts: nostalgic options such as banoffee pie and chocolate roulade are an ideal fit for this place’s old school vibe. Best of all though is the buzzy atmosphere you find here on a visit after nightfall.
There are plenty of places to eat after-hours in the center of town, but it’s hard to find somewhere as civilized and friendly as Tokyo Diner. Tucked away in the heart of China Town, it’s open until midnight year-round, and although it’s often busy, it’s rare to have to wait more than 10 minutes for a table. There’s sushi and sashimi to satiate the growling tummy and comforting curries for those with more of an appetite (and if you’re really hungry, they’ll give you an extra large portion of rice for free). One thing to bear in mind: as is the custom in Japan, they don’t take tips. So if you’ve had a great time, just remember to tell your friends.
Although The Wolseley only opened 10 years ago, it’s one of those places that feels like it’s always been there and always will be. This grand dining room on Piccadilly began life in 1921 as a showroom for luxury Wolseley automobiles, before being transformed into a bank, and finally a restaurant in 2003. The pair behind what has become a true London dining institution are Chris Corbin and Jeremy Kind, the entrepreneurs who found fame with The Caprice, The Ivy and J. Sheekey, three of London’s top restaurants. The décor — all high ceilings, dark banquettes and art deco touches — is reminiscent of grand European cafés, and the menu is too. Classic French and German dishes are served until midnight Monday to Saturday and 11 p.m. Sundays (try the steak tartare) and an all-day menu features lighter options including sandwiches and salads. The eatery’s full breakfast menu, which ends at 11:30 a.m., serves omelets, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast, and eggs Benedict — all satisfying meal options perfect for stating your morning off.
Photos courtesy of The Troubadour and Tokyo Diner