I’ve lived in London for 40 years and remember my grandma bringing me to Seven Dials when I was a child. Its warren of backstreets, courtyards and vibrant buildings fascinated me then and whenever I come, there is still always a surprise or new discovery around every corner. If it was up to me, Seven Dials would remain a secret but it really deserves to be seen as more of a destination in its own right.
There is a lovely mix of wonderfully quirky boutiques, exotic sights and scents and of course, quality restaurants that shouldn’t be overlooked. Seven Dials is like an integral cog in the heart of London, linking areas like Holborn to other areas of the West End. The area celebrates a rich tapestry of culture just bursting with diversity not only representing from a cultural perspective but also, rather proudly, celebrating and supporting local and national produce through its community and network of businesses. I was so impressed to see that the Italian fresh pasta bar, Strozzapreti in Seven Dials Market serve Somerset Burrata, which Chef Cristiano has chosen, giving it his seal of approval, as an Italian showcasing the best of British produce with Italian tradition and flare for flavour.
From Flesh n Buns’ Taiwanese Bao, and the Korean, Japanese and Thai-influenced fried chicken at Chick N Sours, to the Eastern exotica of Israeli, Persian, Turkish and Mediterranean offerings at The Barbary, every destination offers the perfect escapism through vibrant, tempting and delicious dishes with something to suit every palate and preference. Every corner you turn showcases a unique beauty and is studded with hidden gems perfect for any time of day or evening. In the world-famous Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials houses Homeslice pizza, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturals wine bar, 26 Grains and Redemption, and at this time of year, it’s spellbinding autumnal setting makes it worthy of a painting, peppered with orange, yellow and red hues of autumn leaves, berries and, of course, the wonderfully quirky, characterful buildings. Homeslice creative director Mark Wogan told me that the building that now houses Homeslice was once a potato warehouse that used to serve the original Covent Garden Market, which gives you little glimpse into the long history of the area.
To start the day for breakfast or brunch, try the eggs florentine croissant with beetroot hollandaise at Apple Butter Café or head to the brilliant Redemption vegan restaurant, tucked away in Neal’s Yard, which was one the area’s biggest surprises for a consummate meat-lover like me, but I must admit to thoroughly enjoying its shakshuka and full English breakfast. It just goes to show that the area is full of little surprises and it’s fair to say that Seven Dials has something for absolutely everyone.
The theme for this year’s World Food Day is ‘Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future’. Seven Dials is the perfect place to show your support to some incredible businesses. You come away having enjoyed great food, really good drinks, and fantastic coffee and experience the vibrant and unique pocket of diversity that the area has to offer.
For me, World Food Day represents an opportunity, and now – more than ever – a chance for us to step up and show our support to the wonderful restaurants, cafes and bars of Seven Dials to enable them to thrive and continue to provide us with diverse offerings of beautiful produce, wonderful culture and friendly multicultural staff. It’s that mix of diversity that makes London great and Seven Dials has that in abundance.