The first stop on my three-month tour of London is my very own neighborhood of Parsons Green. Complete with beautiful parkland, exquisite dining and some of the best pubs in London, Parsons Green is a little slice of Surrey right in the heart of the capital.
Although Parsons Green is not on the tourist trail, in fact it isn’t even in zone 1, there are few better places to enjoy a pint on a summer’s day than in this welcoming corner of the capital. Whether you fancy spending the day watching rugby with a beer in your hand, surrounded by fellow fans or wandering around the countless independent boutiques before a glass of wine under the stars, there is something for everyone in Parsons Green.
Bayley & Sage:
Nestled in the heart of Parsons Green is the culinary gem that is Bayley & Sage, a local food store that specialises in seasonal produce of every shape, size and variety . This is hands down one of my favourite shops in all of London, and luckily there are four of them dotted across the city.
All of their fresh stock is brought in every morning from the New Covent Garden market, making every trip to Bayley & Sage a unique experience. Walking around the tightly packed store is an assault on the senses which only intensifies each time you discover a new room stocked with all your favourite foods.
A particular highlight of the Parsons Green branch is the florist nestled away behind the main store. Hidden behind all the delicious food is a tiny garden full of fresh flowers that would make a beautiful addition to any home. As if Bayley & Sage needed anything more they also run a street food stall outside the front of the shop every day, come rain, shine or even snow.
It might sound strange to recommend what is essentially a green grocers as a highlight of an area, but Bayley & Sage really is a culinary experience unlike any other. I guarantee that you won’t leave empty-handed.
If you’re looking for delicious food at affordable prices, and all served with a smile then look no further than Hally’s.
Walking into Hally’s is like walking into your best friend’s kitchen, if that best friend were an uber-chic chef living in a sea-view apartment in LA. Its bright, welcoming and you can’t help but smile when you walk through the door. As if the colourful furniture and rustic charm weren’t enough the food on offer at Hally’s is out of this world. Although they have a great selection of booze and a lovely lunch menu it is their breakfast that really stands out from the rest.
Hally’s offers a no-nonsense menu of breakfast classics with a modern twist, all of which are made fresh by their incredible chefs. Along with this there is wide variety of teas, coffees and smoothies on offer if you need a morning pick-me-up. Some particular highlights aree the vegetarian full english and the eggs florentine…which are both out of this world.
The best thing about Hally’s is the atmosphere, rarely do you find a restaurant in Central London that feels quite so welcoming. In fact I would recommend trying Hally’s for the first time on your own, the staff and fellow customers are so friendly that I guarantee you’ll meet some amazing people.
I’m a sucker for a charcuterie, pair that with one of the best wine and cheese lists in London, friendly staff and a hodge podge of up-cycled furniture and you get Petite Terre. Despite being one of the more recent additions to the area Petite Terre has already become a local hot spot.
Offering first class food and wine from across France, they specialise in creating platters of artisan cheeses and cured meats from every region of the country. Alongside their famous sharing boards they offer a carefully chosen menu of classic french dishes, including roasted bone marrow, aged Charolais beef rib and tarte tatin.
Although a fabulous place for couples or solo diners Petite Terre is designed for groups, everything they offer is more fun when shared among friends. Whether you feel like having meat, cheese or both they have countless options for a range of budgets. The wine on the other hand can be pricey, that said it is not overpriced and if you are looking for a wide variety of high quality wines then you can’t go far wrong here.
If you happen to find yourself in Petite Terre then I would highly recommend trying their Viognier de la Cadole and the Truffle Board.
Duke on The Green:
The first of the heavy hitters in the pub world of Parsons Green is the aptly named Duke on the Green. This pub has ease and relaxation at its heart, from the huge armchairs and chilled-out music to the generous portions of world-class pub grub everything about the Duke on the Green is built to make you feel relaxed and at home.
The word that best describes this pub is Hygge, this Danish word has no direct equivalent in english but translates roughly to the creation of warmth, connection and well-being. There really is no better place in Parsons Green if all you want is a big comfy chair, world-renowned drink and superb food.
There is no secret to Duke on the Green’s success, no gimmicks or unnecessary themes, instead it is simply a great British pub. While the beer and wine lists might not be as extensive as those elsewhere in the area, the drinks they do offer are pub classics with a regularly changing menu of craft beers.
Without a shadow of a doubt the highlight of The Duke on the Green is their Sunday roast. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a roast quite like I have here, everything from the quality of the meat to the range of trimmings, it really is flawless. Pair this with their incredible service and the beautiful interiors and you have got yourself a Sunday lunch you won’t soon forget.
If it isn’t booze that you’re looking for during your time in Parsons Green then head over to Local Hero. Just a short walk from Parsons Green station is this local cafe offering great food but truly outstanding drinks.
Local Hero offers a wide variety of coffees from around the world, all at a reasonable price, however the real highlight are the smoothies on offer. Their smoothie menu changes regularly but you can guarantee they will always have both the classic health smoothies and a selection of odd concoctions that will give your taste buds a lot to think about.
While Local Hero may not have the speed and efficiency of Starbucks or Costa, the relaxed vibe and beautiful interiors make it a truly enjoyable place to spend some time in. The best way to enjoy the cafe is slowly, take a book and soak in the atmosphere or sit out in the garden on a summer’s day with a banana smoothie and slice of freshly baked cake, there’s something for everyone.
Amuse Bouche really is a gem. This sleek cocktail and champagne bar combines effortless french chic with the easy charm of West London. Set inside a beautiful terrace a stones throw from Parsons Green station this bar offers a small but incredible choice of cocktails as well as an extensive list of Champagne, Prosecco and Cava.
The atmosphere in Amuse Bouche is a lot younger than elsewhere in Parsons Green, making it feel a lot more like the kinds of bars you would find in the hustle and bustle of Central London. However the out-of-place vibe that Amuse Bouche exudes only adds to its appeal.
While the classic view of Parsons Green involves traditional British pubs and local , the presence of Amuse Bouche gives the area a more dynamic nightlife than one might expect from this part of the capital. Amuse Bouche is the perfect place to either start or end an evening in Parsons Green, particularly if you are looking for somewhere with a younger crowd and all that comes along with that.
The White Horse:
The second heavy hitter of the Parsons Green pub scene is The White Horse.
The Sloaney Pony, as it is lovingly referred to by its patrons is one of the best pubs in London if not the UK as a whole. It’s lively and welcoming atmosphere combined with one of the widest selections of beer in London make it a real highlight of the area.
The White Horse is loud, busy and boisterous in all the best ways. It doesn’t matter what day of the week you decide to visit this watering hole, it’s always guaranteed to be teeming with locals. For many places that would be bad thing but its the friendly and crowded atmosphere that gives the Sloaney Pony its charm.
Whether you just want a pint with your friends or you’re getting together to watch the world cup, there are few pubs that can boast an atmosphere to match that of the White Horse. Not to mention a larger beer garden than you’ll find in most city pubs and a year round BBQ offering deliciously guilty treats.
The White Horse would be nothing however without its extremely solid boozey foundations. With a stock of literally hundreds of types of beer they have earned their title as one of the best beer pubs in Britain. They were also the first pub in Britain to start serving Pilsner Urquell tank beer…which my beer-drinking friends assure me is one of the best brews on the planet. So why not give it a try?
BEST TO DO:
If you’re looking for something to do in Parsons Green aside from eat and drink then head on down to one of the many beautiful parks that dot this little corner of West London. There really is a park for everyone here, whether you want to play tennis or rugby in Hurlingham or fancy relaxing with the hundreds of dogs that fill Eel Brook Common you’re sure to find your own piece of paradise.
If you decide to visit Parsons Green in the summer then there really is nothing better than sitting on the Green with a group of friends, a bottle of wine and some sausage rolls. The parks really are at the heart of Parsons Green and they provide a much needed break from the endless urban sprawl of London. After all, the area was named after the parks for a reason.
Hopefully this has persuaded at least some of you to come and visit this often overlooked area of the capital. If you think I’ve missed out any amazing places in Parsons Green, or simply have questions about the ones I have mentioned, then please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Next stop on ‘A Queen’s Guide to London’ is my home away home and the hub of LGBT life in the capital, Soho.
See you soon,