24-hour London

With the Night Tube coming this summer and a trend emerging for restaurants that serve food and drink around the clock, Destination: Audi explores the new 24-hour London.

Exploring London’s 24-hour restaurants

There’s always an excuse to stay out late in London, whether it’s a late-night drive in an Audi R8 Coupé V10 or a late-night meal at one of the capital’s 24-hour restaurants. These sophisticated any-hour eateries are a very different breed to the chip shops and takeaways that preceded them and, with the launch of the Night Tube this summer, are the ideal option for when you want to leave the car at home. We went in search of the best.

Balans Soho Society

  ‘Haven for the convivial’ is the tagline for the newly refurbished Balans Soho Society and that certainly sums up the restaurant on Old Compton Street. The mixed crowd, modern decor and upbeat music all made for a jovial atmosphere, and then there was the food. Beautifully tender calamari and spicy ‘thrice-fried’ chicken arrived looking scrumptious, followed by a delicate crab linguine and mouthwatering apple compote doughnuts.

  It would seem a lot of people go to Balans for the convenience of grabbing a late-night nibble and stay for the party. And if feeling in a convivial mood, then this is a very good spot to settle in.

Vingt-Quatre (VQ)

  However, for those in search of a more low-key affair, see VQ. Located in Chelsea and Bloomsbury, VQ stands for Vingt-Quatre, and it is a truly 24-hour establishment. It calls itself a diner and that gives a decent impression of what’s on offer. Although a phenomenally juicy and perfectly cooked rib-eye steak, served by attentive and professional staff at one o’clock in the morning means that this is one of the most decadent diners in town.

Duck & Waffle

  And then there’s Duck & Waffle. Located on floor 40 of Bishopsgate’s Heron Tower, it is London’s highest restaurant and easy to spot thanks to the throng of people outside, so booking is advisable. Whizzing up in the glass lift, it’s clear why there is always a queue… the view is one of the best in London.

  ‘We tend to get really busy around three o’clock,’ says head waiter Christopher. ‘People come in for a nightcap and then get into the restaurant at four in time for breakfast and watching the sunrise.’

  The food and cocktails verged on experimental and were delicious. A petite pot of baked haddock in lobster cream, white chocolate and pistachio blondie, and banana and chocolate waffles all brought more joy than can adequately be put into words. And then there’s the view. Again. The breakfast and sunrise club suddenly makes a lot of sense.

Written by Emma Barlow; Photographs by John Wycherley.


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