We’re Leaving Our Secret London Stamp Of Approval At Our Favourite Local Businesses

Planning in London is a challenge. It’d be foolhardy to lament the sheer breadth of places to eat, drink and enjoy yourself out and about… but! An abundance of choice can lead to just as big a issue as no choice at all – and that can even be applied to sifting through all the places we’ve written about in our eight years of existence. Now comes the time to champion our favourite places with a physical seal of approval: through stickers, baby!

As a team of curious Londoners, we like to spend our time nosying around for the gems of the city, and each sticker should represent a spot that our team – streetwise as ever to the top spots in the city – cherishes.

If you’re out and about looking for a snack, a cocktail, or a plate of pasta and you see one of our new stickers, levitate towards the rectangle of recommendation, and waltz right through the doors. You have our undying assurance that you’ll be endorsing these places yourself within no time. Secret London-approved has just garnered a new meaning, and you’re coming along with us for a new journey. That is no secret.

Fair Shot Café only moved to their new location in Covent Garden earlier this year (February 1), but has instantly become a beloved destination for the Secret London team. There’s dozens of reasons to pay a visit, but it’s Fair Shot’s mission that makes it such an important addition to our list.

This central London café fights damning employment bias by hiring people with learning disabilities, helping them train within the hospitality sector. Bianca Tavella founded Fair Shot back in 2019, and the initiative helps those who may not otherwise have been given a chance find work during and after their time here. Sandwiches, coffees and pastries here are bloody tasty, too — it made all the sense to place our first Secret London sticker at this lovely café.

As you can see in the video we filmed, our Phoebe had a rollicking time over here, and, no doubt, you will too. It’s no secret: we adore Fair Shot Café.

📍3 Slingsby Place, WC2E 9AB – read more about Fair Shot here.

2. La Mia Mamma

Tell us to find you an exuberant, lively meal out in London–where the energy levels are cranked up as high as the quality of food–and we’ll be escorting you straight over to La Mia Mamma. Pasta at its freshest, finest, and creamiest; made by Italian nonnas from different regions of the Bel Paese, who come to the capital for a few months at a time to unload their cooking wizardry onto us unknowing Londoners.

You can stay here for hours; not just stuffing your face with cacio e pepe, but having a boogie with the nonna chefs, who are known to start an impromptu song and dance while you eat. Even if your full bellies are begging you not to start cutting shapes, the vibe is going to be too infectious to permit that, I’m afraid! After a trip here to try the set menu, La Mia Mamma was a surefire selection for one of our stickers. Bellissima!

📍 La Mia Mamma have three London locations, and you’ll find our stickers over on in Chelsea (257 King’s Road, SW3 5EL) and Notting Hill (190 Kensington Park Road, W11 2ES). They also have a second Chelsea restaurant, which you can find over at 2 Hollywood Road, SW10 9HR.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Yurii Kovryzhenko and his partner Olga Tsybytovska made the decision to stay in London after what was only intended to be a short trip to cook at the Ukrainian embassy. After raising relief funds for Ukraine through charity dinners, they opened Mriya Neo Bistro.

Mriya is a markedly poignant, essential addition to London’s dining scene in the form of a restaurant that’s almost entirely staffed by Ukrainian people – many of whom are refugees – and serves up food of the highest quality. When Jess, Secret London’s Head of Video, paid a visit, it was her first time (undoubtedly like many others) trying Ukrainian cuisine; and it’s safe to say she was instantly smitten with the forshmak waffles, pampushkas, and the honey cake (a recipe of Yurii’s grandmother) — not to mention the artwork and décor of the restaurant which transmits a message of love and hope.

📍275 Old Brompton Road, SW5 9JA – read more about Mriya Neo Bistro here.

Now comes the time to tell you about all things dessert. We’ve banged on about this place–and their ridiculously OTT (in the best way) liquid nitrogen ice cream–for yonks, so Chin Chin just had to get a Secret London sticker.

Whether they’re serving up preposterously indulgent heartbreaker cakes for Valentine’s Day or gallons of rich hot chocolate, Chin Chin know the drill. If that drill is answering the prayers of sweet-toothed Londoners that go out in search for the the fulcrum of desserts in the Big Smoke, that is. Which it most definitely is. In the words of our Phoebe, BRING ME CAKE.

📍You can see our sticker in the window of Chin Chin Soho (54 Greek Street, W1D 3DS), but you’ll also find Chin Chin over at 49-50 Camden Lock Place, NW1 8AF.

5. The Farrier

Another Camden stalwart comes in the form of a lovely Secret London local, The Farrier Pub. It’s not your typical boozer; when you walk in you’ll be greeted by a wall of wine bottles, which are available to buy.

Their food is up there with some of the finest pub grub in London too — the confit pulled duck, served on a hash brown with crispy kale and a truffle-cured egg yolk is a must, for example. They also run a famous Tomahawk Thursdays, where you can order a steak larger than your noggin’, at a time when restaurant surcharges are temporarily slashed in Happy Hour fashion. Their Sunday Roast isn’t half bad either, and The Farrier are stickered up with Secret London’s approval.

It’s no secret; and this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more Secret London stickers going up across the capital. We’ve also put our favourite places on this handy that you can save to your phone.