Vagabond Wines Paddington

Paddington foodie guide: where to eat and drink

From a lively bottomless brunch to cinnamon buns and some of the best dim sum in London, here are the best spots to visit in Paddington (perfect if you're waiting for a train)

Looking for Paddington restaurants? Here are our favourite places to eat and restaurants near Paddington station. Check out our ideas for eating and drinking locations in Paddington, from Merchant’s Square to Sheldon Square and beyond…

Advertisement

London Shell Co, Paddington Central – for seafood cruises

From pop-up to permanent, brother-and-sister team Harry and Leah have curated an ode to seafood on a pretty blue barge moored at Paddington Central. It travels down Regent’s Canal and is a classic (but jolly) affair, peppered with theatrical announcements from the small crew. Tables are crammed together, so you’ll be nestled close to other diners, which makes for plenty of chat and camaraderie.

There’s an à la carte midweek lunch, but we suggest hopping on the dinner or weekend cruise for a seasonal five-course tasting menu focusing on British ingredients. Crisp, golden angel hair fries and creamy Jersey oysters lead the way, followed by hand-dived scallop tartare with a zesty coriander and lime dressing. Next, a light and bright seafood stew with springy braised cuttlefish, chickpeas, olives and juicy tomatoes. A hake dish was an ode to an English country garden, with wonky Jersey Royals, bright English asparagus and plump peas in a buttery perry sauce. Desserts are kept simple and British: a twist on an Eton mess, for example, with Kentish rhubarb, sweet strawberries and pistachio kernels adding colour to the cream and meringue shards.

The £55 drinks pairing is very generous, and a great opportunity to try some unusual wines: biscuity Hattingley Valley Hampshire fizz, mineral and floral Greek mountain wine, and a robust Malmont rosé. There’s a refreshing halfway cocktail of Cristallier cider vermouth and tonic, and a ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ cocktail to finish, made with crémant sparkling wine and Yorkshire rhubarb.

olive tip: There’s a small deck at the front, so take your aperitif outside and soak up the sites (leafy Little Venice, Regent’s Park mansions and their pristine back gardens, plus Camden’s edgy lock, to name a few).

londonshellco.com

Two glasses of sparkling wine and a plate of oysters on the front of a barge on the canal
Oysters and English sparkling wine aboard London Shell Co’s dinner cruise

The Grand Duchess, Grand Union Canal – for seafood

Paddington’s waterways are becoming more and more foodie, with London Shell Co’s acclaimed seafood dinner cruises extending to a larger, permanent barge next door, this one dedicated to more casual floating dining. The Grand Duchess is decked out with duck-egg blue dressers, wooden floors and splashes of luxury. White tablecloths cloak a handful of tables down one side of the boat, with canal-facing counter seats down the other, and an impressive burnt-orange booth that fits snuggly into the bow of the barge, complete with a large wine cabinet divider providing intimacy for groups.

Small batch wines are carefully curated by the team from the UK and beyond. A sparkling pinot gris and bacchus blend from Hampshire’s Hattingley Valley Wines, with its notes of nettle, elderflower and gooseberry, offering an ode to the English countryside, is a good place to start. Cinsault rosé on tap, from southern Rhone, is pale and elegant, as it should be, while glasses of minerally furmint are poured from a magnum.

An à la carte menu allows punters to choose between the likes of lobster nuggets coated in golden beer batter served with shoestring fries and sultana-jewelled curry sauce, and pepper-crusted turbot with pink grapefruit, cucumber and pea shoots. A hefty Tamworth pork loin chop is crowned with plump clams, their briny juices bathing with Somerset’s Perry cider and dulse flakes. Soft flakes of crisp, pan-fried cod fall into a bed of borlotti beans, salty capers, courgette ribbons and artichoke hearts. A dessert of fresh strawberries and apricots with gin and tonic sorbet and bright mint leaves provides a simple, superbly English finish to dinner.

The Grand Duchess Paddington

Vagabond

Vagabond’s sixth wine bar joins the new crop of restaurants and cafés popping up along Paddington Central’s Grand Union Canal. The industrial-styled space is a temple to small-batch wines that the Vagabond team has carefully curated from all over the world. Pick up a card from the till, add credit and taste your way through bespoke wine dispensers divided into categories such as crisp, aromatic, spicy and elegant. Some wines will always be on offer (Vagabond PÉT-NOT, for example, a slightly sparkling English wine with a pinkish hue made at its urban winery in Battersea Power Station), while others rotate weekly to keep local oenophiles on their toes. On our visit, highlights of a section dedicated to Greek wines included mineral Hatzidakis Santorini Familia, with subtle floral aromas.

Seasonal small plates include braised lamb sliders, wafer-thin slices of octopus with refreshing pickled peppers, and creamy burrata adorned with vibrant pesto and pine nuts. Tuck into plates in a nook by the window or soak up the canal-side vibe at tables that spill out onto the pavement (make sure you wave to those aboard London Shell Co’s seafood safari, and groups of pals trying to manoeuvre dinky GoBoats).

vagabondwines.co.uk

Vagabond Wines Paddington

Pearl Liang, Sheldon Square – for Chinese banqueting and dim sum

Business hub Sheldon Square may seem like an unlikely place for one of London’s best Chinese restaurants, but Pearl Liang is constantly brimming with large groups feasting around banqueting tables; business people doing deals over dim sum; and couples getting to know each other against a backdrop of water fountains and Chinese blossom wall murals.

We recommend starting with a selection of dim sum (dumplings filled with gigantic prawns, crunchy prawn rolls wrapped in shredded taro, and juicy pork shu mai), followed by a few starters. Vietnamese spring rolls are deep-fried and crisp, filled with freshly shredded vegetables, and pan-fried chicken wings come in an incredibly moreish caramelised teriyaki glaze.

For mains, pick spicy crispy chilli beef, or a lighter fish dish. We loved whole steamed sea bass with fragrant ginger and spring onion.

olive tip: If you’re part of a crowd, Pearl Liang’s sophisticated interiors and sharing ethos (there are five set menus to choose from) make for the perfect feast.

8 Sheldon Square, pearlliang.co.uk

Pearl Liang Dim Sum

Satay House, Sale Place – for Malaysian food

For proper Malaysian food in a laid-back setting, head to this family-run restaurant on Sale Place just off Praed Street. The dishes are true to their origins – favourites include chargrilled chicken satay with peanut sauce, classic nasi lemak steamed rice with prawn sambal, and kway teow goreng, a flat rice noodle stir-fry originating from Penang. Hearty meat dishes include traditional Malaysian lamb curry, and Malay braised beef with coconut milk and fragrant spices.

Sale Place, satay-house.co.uk


Beany Green, Sheldon Square – for brunch

Beany Green, a coffee shop and brunch spot, brightens up the concrete canal-side area just off Paddington’s Sheldon Square. Stone picnic tables and hot pink deckchairs covered in pop art bananas illustrations spill out onto the AstroTurf that hugs the side of this industrial building, and, inside, the bold and bright theme continues with colourful metal chairs and shaggy fluorescent orange cushions.

There’s a huge counter heaving with healthy treats – vibrant salads, perfectly formed little protein balls and fibre-rich muffins to take away.

olive tip: We recommend sitting in and enjoying the generous two-course bottomless brunch with free-flowing cocktails. Read our full review of Beany Green’s bottomless brunch here.

6c Sheldon Square: daisygreenfood.com

Beany Greens, Little Venice: brunch review

Casa Malevo, Connaught Street – for Argentinian

There’s a cosy, intimate vibe at this family-run Argentinian restaurant in West London’s leafy Connaught Village. A brushed wood dresser, dinky bar in the corner, and framed photographs covering exposed brick walls add rustic, homely touches to the small space, topped off with plenty of warm Argentinian hospitality.

Starters include grilled octopus salad and rich provoleta cheese that arrives bubbling in a pan, sprinkled with almonds and honey. Or opt for golden empanadas filled with beef, chicken and peppers or sweetcorn, pumpkin and mozzarella. Large sharing plates allow Argentinian grill technique of asado to shine, with your meat of choice served on a bed of onions and potatoes and red peppers. If you prefer your own dish, choose between sirloin, flank, ribeye and more, then pick your sauce (chimichurri comes at no extra cost) and a side of crisp, herby chips “provenzal”.

Connaught Street, casamalevo.com

A steak and sides at Casa Malevo

Abasto, Connaught Street – for empanadas

Casa Malevo’s airy, glass-fronted café and wine bar is the place to go for homemade empanadas. Mahogany shelves groan with Argentinian produce, and there’s a dedicated empanada cabinet that displays those delicious pastry parcels, filled with everything from creamy chicken and leek to spiced minced beef and vegan curried potato.

Pair your empanada with a side salad and a glass of wine, or enjoy as part of an aperitif board (Manchego, Spanish chorizo, chargrilled artichoke hearts and more). Pop in for a tutored wine tasting, or spend a Sunday morning reading the paper with a coffee and a couple of indulgent chocolate alfajores.

Connaught Street, abasto.co.uk


Kioskafe, Norfolk Place – for coffee and cinnamon buns

While away the hours in Monocle Café’s dinky magazine shop on Norfolk Place, complete with on-site coffee bar. Peruse the luxe food and travel magazines from around the world, buy a copy, and enjoy it at your leisure alongside an Allpress filter coffee and scandi-style Fabrique cardamom bun.

31 Norfolk Place, kioskafe.com

Cinnamon buns at Il Caffé, Stockholm | Photograph by Alex Crossley

Kerb Paddington, Sheldon Square – for street food

Twice a month, London’s hottest street food vendors descend on Paddington with the reputable market, Kerb. The 12 traders rotate each time, so you can eventually try fare from all over the world: crispy Filipino pork belly from BBQ Dreamz, loaded burgers from Mother Flipper, or Cyprus Kitchen’s pitta pouches stuffed with slow-roast lamb, roasted aubergines, or charred halloumi. Look out for dates on the Kerb website.

Sheldon Square, kerbfood.com


Pilgrm, London Street – for breakfast (and the best foodie hotel)

A quirky, design-led, 73-bedroom hotel with lounge-bar and cafe that’s brought a fine Victorian building in London’s Paddington back to life.

Breakfast is the thing here, kicking off at 7am and continuing until 3pm in the vintage-chic first-floor lounge. It’s a pleasingly well-travelled menu – there’s full-cooked Pilgrm (with house-baked beans) or a vegan version of smashed avocado, butternut squash hummus and a knock-out beetroot falafel. But the top seller is smashed avocado on toast with crumbled feta, which comes with the unexpected addition of a tomato and olive salsa. We also tried, and loved, the Pilgrm’s chorizo-dotted version of shakshuka. There’s sweet stuff too, including granola with fruit and yoghurt (Greek-style or coconut) and American-style pancakes as large as saucers. You eat at small round marble tables, seated on dainty reclaimed cocktail chairs that the hotel’s design team, 93ft (93ft.com), have re-upholstered in green, pink and grey velvets. Or eat while you work on your laptop on booth-like seats in the adjoining corridor.

For grab and go, there’s a small coffee bar downstairs, by the entrance, that’s run by Workshop Coffee, selling their own blends of coffee, teas and homemade cakes.

Between 3 and 10pm, the lounge serves snacks, juices (including Square Root London’s small-batch sodas) and cocktails. We enjoyed a pairing of padrino peppers and a fig-leaf collins (one of eight cocktails exclusively ‘loaned’ to The Pilgrm from bars across the world) but were also tempted by the anchovies and toast. The hotel is soon opening a terrace too, where guests will be able to enjoy alfresco tapas using ingredients from companies like Brindisa and Belazu.

Shakshuka at The Pilgrm London

Heist Bank, North Wharf Road – for pizza and craft beer

Follow the yellow road sign for ‘pizza, beer and flowers’ by Paddington’s Regent’s Canal to this foliage-filled restaurant and bar, complete with concrete walls, exposed piping and floor-to-ceiling windows. Come with your mates for an informal dinner – help yourself to cutlery from concrete pots and choose a pizza and a pint (there are around 20 beers and ales, 10 of which are on tap).

When it comes to session IPAs, Beavertown Neck Oil is the most popular and rightly so, due to its easy-drinking crispness, while Gipsy Hill Hepcat is a little more bitter and hoppy. There are also plenty of beers from the fridge, including caramel and chocolate Wild Beer Co Millionaire milk stout, and Fourpure Shapeshifter (dry hoppiness with mango, grapefruit and pineapple notes). 

On the food front, we suggest sticking to the super-crisp pizzas, cooked in a wood-fired oven in the open kitchen and loaded with inventive toppings. Go for spiced lamb with crumbly feta, wild rocket and lemon, or radicchio with pears, toasted walnuts and gorgonzola, both on a tomato base. The creamy white pizzas are also worth a try – we love the wild boar sausage topping with sliced potatoes, rosemary and chilli.

olive tip: All of the beers on tap can be taken away in a 3.3 pint reusable ‘growler’ container. Plus Heist Bank hosts semi-regular beer festivals, so keep an eye out for more craft beer fun. 

5 North Wharf Road: heistbank.com

Pizzas on wooden boards at Heist Bank Paddington

Darcie & May Green, Paddington Central – for antipodean food on a canal boat

Prue Freeman and her team of cool and collected Aussies from Daisy Green Collection (Beany Greens in Paddington is our favourite) have brought their Aussie dishes and killer coffees to two canal boats on Grand Union Canal. Sister vessels Darcie and May Green float elegantly outside Paddington station, brightening up the office block surroundings.

Legendary pop artist Peter Blake is the man behind the design (his signature is playfully scribbled on the side of each boat), so expect a bold and bright look – hearts, rainbows, swirls and stars in primary colours, greens, purples and pink.

Visit Darcie Green, the restaurant canal boat, to bob around with a cocktail and some antipodean-inspired snacks (avocado tzatziki with chia crackers, halloumi fries with pomegranate yogurt, Aussie BBQ lamb cutlets with homemade chilli pesto), or tuck into the group’s brunch favourites (including their epic posh bacon sarnie, charcoal sourdough and squidgy banana bread).

olive tip: There’s a little lawn on each roof with wicker chairs and palmy plants for when the sun’s out and the evenings are longer.

Read our full review of Darcie & May Green here.

Plates of food on marble table
Photograph by Leyla Kazim

Pergola Paddington Central, Paddington Central – for a night out

The guys behind Pergola on the Roof have collated some of London’s best street food folk under one pretty roof in urban Paddington Central. Past vendors include Decatur; Birmingham-born Tom Browne (who served Louisiana-inspired food, such as chargrilled Maldon oysters and crunchy buttermilk fried chicken burgers); D/F Mexico and its vibrant Mexican food; and Patty & Bun, with its legendary burgers.

Order an Aperol spritz or a Pimms from the bar and take a seat at one of the brushed wooden tables beneath the pergola, while you listen to some great guest DJs. There are blankets in case it gets chilly, and an open air bar upstairs with plenty of day beds for lounging on during summery evenings.

5 Kingdom Street: pergolaontheroof.com

Decatur at Pergola Paddington Central

Lockhouse, Merchant Square – for burgers

The industrial interiors of Lockhouse provide a trendy hangout for after work drinks, brunch and a bloomin’ good burger. Try the Locked and Loaded, a juicy beef patty topped with Norfolk smoked streaky bacon, American cheese and all the works in a brioche bun. If you fancy something fiery, the Hothouse burger gets its kick from jalapeños and Sriracha sauce.

The selection of beers is impressive, with 14 on tap and 10 craft bottled beers, including London’s Beavertown, Czech lager Hobo and even a couple of beers from Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii.

Advertisement

3 Merchant Square: lockhouselondon.co.uk

Lockhouse Paddington Burger