A food and shopping inspired stay with rock star vibes in Carnaby and Soho
Our hotel in Soho, the Karma Sanctum, was well isolated from all the hustle and bustle, but like most places in London’s West End it was only a stone’s throw from all the shops, restaurants and exciting attractions. that my wife and I had planned to visit.
Soho and Carnaby are world-renowned areas of our capital and go-to destinations for the best retail and dining experiences, while they’re also hotspots for the rich and famous, but before we check in for our weekend it was Carnaby – the birthplace of Swinging London in the 60s – where we first landed to browse the shops.
After an early start, lots of walking, and with the weather warming up, booking midday lunch at Tapas Brindisa didn’t seem too early, and in the Spanish-style temperatures, it seemed only right to quench our thirst with a carafe. refreshing sangria while perusing the menu.
Starting with the delicious ‘Croquetas de dia’ (Croquettes of the day), we were more than happy to be guided by our waitress, who brought us a constant stream of beautiful dishes to share, including the tasty ‘Navajas’ ( clams), ‘Chorizo de Leon’, ‘Patatas Bravas’ and my favorite, the ‘Gambas al Ajillo’ (giant prawns).
After washing it all down with a ‘digestive’ of ‘Patxaran’, a sloe-flavored Spanish liqueur, there was time for another stroll along Carnaby Street to admire the recent art installations marking the company’s platinum jubilee. queen, with a glittering crown embellishing the usual Union Flag and two platinum disc archways at both ends of the street.
The stylish Karma Sanctum Hotel on Warwick Street has a clear rock star vibe and we were immediately impressed as we were warmly welcomed into the surprisingly colorful ‘Hendrix inspired’ reception area.
Our room – a spacious Deluxe Double – was in the upper echelons of the building, just one flight from the rooftop terrace, which has a 24-hour bar and an open-air Hydro Spa for night owls wishing to continue the party.
Guests can dine at the sophisticated Wild Heart Bar & Shokudo, a venue that embodies the creative spirit of the hotel with its hip underground cocktail bar and Japanese restaurant offering innovative street food and a sake menu.
Aperitifs for us were at the new Nightjar cocktail bar which, based on the original ‘speakeasy’ bar in Shoreditch, has quickly become a hidden gem in Carnaby.
After an initial struggle to find it, we finally settled in for two hours of slow-sipping relaxation, listening to the musical tones of a live pianist as we were taken on a journey of a pre-era mixologist. -prohibition in the post-war era. .
Our chosen creations included the crisp, floral gin-based Ermine, an aromatic and refreshing London Mule, the vodka-inspired Cascara with hints of hazelnut and coffee, and the full-bodied whiskey-based Nightjar Boulevardier.
Appetites whetted and the night still young, we went to dinner at one of Soho’s newest Indian restaurants – Kricket – where we tried not to make our hunger too obvious by patiently watching the chef prepare our food in the open kitchen. theater.
Like many of the best Indian restaurants, it’s all about the spicy flavors and our choices from Kricket’s appetizing seasonal sharing menu did not disappoint as we gorged on dishes including grilled butternut squash with makhani sauce, Cornish sole with Goan prawn butter, Keralan fried chicken and kulcha naan with dates and pistachios.
After a great nights sleep in our super king bed, it was an early morning start and an egg-inspired hotel breakfast with a few lattes before some new shopping therapy.
Our final stop was for a truly unique lunch at the small but popular Ugly Dumpling restaurant on Newburgh Street, where a fusion of Western and Eastern flavors transformed the humble dumpling from an Asian street snack into a sit-down meal sensation.
The introduction of street food into restaurants is a growing trend and Ugly Dumpling understood this well with its simple but delicious menus as we dined on the ‘classic’ and ‘new favourites’ platters which included flavors of aromatic duck, prawns and chives, chicken satay, cheeseburger and mushroom and truffle. To our surprise, there were also sweet versions with nutella and pecan pie, which were heavenly.
Back at the hotel to collect our bags, we said goodbye to ‘Jimi’ one last time and headed to Piccadilly Circus for the start of our return journey, knowing full well that we would be back soon to explore more. alternative London.
For a Double Deluxe room at Karma Sanctum Soho, prices can range from £180-£285 per night depending on the day.