DECK THE HALL
Many of the city’s edgy designers call the East End home — and now visiting fashion folk can do the same.
The Town Hall hotel on Patriot Square in Bethnal Green, near Shoreditch, is located in a vast, handsome building that was once the neighborhood’s actual town hall. The owner, entrepreneur Peng Loh, opened the hotel in the Grade II-listed space this year and commissioned Michel da Costa Goncalves and Nathalie Rozencwajg of Rare Architects to restore the building’s Thirties-style features.
“I feel this is the perfect time to open a luxury boutique hotel here,” said Loh. “Having the opportunity to restore the town hall makes it all the more special.”
Now, the 98-room hotel boasts Henry Poole sculptures, an ornate marble staircase and stained-glass windows. The hotel even asked the nonprofit organization Artsadmin to commission local artists to create new installations for display throughout. Loh said the hotel, which also has a swimming pool, gym and restaurant offering Portuguese fare, is “performing very well. This is already the most vibrant part of London and continues to draw the very best of the city’s creative field,” he said.
— Yety Akinola
Town Hall Hotel and Apartments
Patriot Square, E2 9NF
DECK THE HALL
London chef and restaurateur Tom Aikens is rapidly colonizing Somerset House — the Thames-side home of the British Fashion Council and the London Fashion Week tents — with eateries for every mood and moment of the day. There are now three places where hungry showgoers can sample Aikens’ finger-licking British food: Tom’s Deli, Tom’s Terrace and Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House.
The deli opens at 8 a.m. and stocks meats, cheeses, quiches and smoothies.
His newest venue, Tom’s Kitchen, offers more sophisticated dishes, such as sea bass meunière with black olives and tomatoes, and truffle chips with Parmesan.
Finally, Tom’s Terrace, as its name suggests, is an al fresco space overlooking the river. Dishes include grilled paillard of chicken salad, tartine of red onion and aubergine compote and mango rice pudding.
This is the first time Aikens has ventured outside Chelsea, where the original Tom’s Kitchen and Tom Aikens Restaurant are located.
— Samantha Conti
London WC2R 1LA
Patrick Cox, the footwear designer whose loafers sold like hot cakes in the Nineties, is now deploying his creative talents in the kitchen. This month, he opened Cox Cookies & Cake in the heart of London’s Soho. But beware: The designer is not in the business of whipping up homey, grandmotherly treats. Instead, there are vanilla frosted “Coxxx Cakes” in the shape of breasts, and hazelnut praline “Beef Cakes” that are delicately decorated with bulging biceps.
Others cakes are unapologetically bling, with sugar rhinestone sprinkles. Cox calls the shop, which has a flashing neon sign in its window, “A smart, sexy amalgam of honorable London traditions: The corner cake shop and the Soho hot spot.”
The store is a partnership between Cox and Eric Lanlard, a master patissier who has worked with Albert Roux and designed cakes for Madonna and Elizabeth Hurley. Cox says his favorite treat is the Nanaimo bar, a creation from his mother’s personal recipe book.
“It’s a fantastic concoction of coconut chocolate biscuit with a layer of custard vanilla butter cream, coated in melted dark chocolate,” he said.
Just the ticket for the figure-conscious fashion crowd.
Cox Cookies & Cake
13 Brewer Street, W1F 0RH