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Idle Moments

Analog hi-fi? Check. Japan-pressed vinyl? Check. Natural wine? As with anywhere in East London—check. Idle Moments, on Columbia Road, is perhaps the city’s best record shop, a highly competitive title. Established during the pandemic by the team behind beloved Dalston venue Brilliant Corners as a way of paying off outstanding lockdown bills, the wax-and-wine boutique is a joint venture with Tokyo’s Vinyl Delivery Service, a dealer who brings over impeccably curated original records from Japanese collectors by the thousands. Pick up a bottle of Poudre d’Escampette, 2019, from recently deceased legendary Roussillon vigneron Alain Castex, along with a copy of Stevie Wonder’s underrated Hotter than July LP, from 1980, with the intact outer-band insert typical of Japanese releases. If you work up an appetite digging through Idle Moments’ crates, head to the Brawn, across the street, one of Shoreditch’s most essential restaurants. (86 Columbia Road, E2 7QB)—Spike Carter


Anya Hindmarch

Any Londoner knows that weekend getaways to somewhere—anywhere—warm and sunny is basically prescribed by the N.H.S. Those who trust in the baggage handlers at Heathrow, more power to you, but carry-on types (and we are legion) will appreciate Anya Hindmarch’s Bespoke In-Flight Case. A classic for a reason, it’s waterproof, customizable, security-line-friendly, and, most importantly, a slim, stylish way to stash those liquids and gels. (Never suffer with those flimsy plastic bags again!) And it’s probably best to nab Hindmarch’s matching Logo Safe Deposit Case too; the water-resistant pouch is an ideal home for cards, a passport, and even earphones. ($425, —Ashley Baker


Crisp Pizza W6

Until recently, the frills-free Chancellors pub, in Hammersmith, was simply a reliable place to watch Rugby. But after Carl McCluskey took it over from his grandmother and launched Crisp Pizza W6 out of the kitchen, it’s drawing dough fiends from all over London. McCluskey, a self-taught pizzaiolo, specializes in all manner of indulgences, from a classic margherita to a New Haven–style tomato pie. But it’s his thin-crust pizzas topped with salami, honey, fior di latte, ’nduja, and fungi that are compelling London’s beau monde to head way west only to line up in the drizzle. Should they feel compelled to finish things off with a Nutella calzone, we’d never judge. ( —Ashley Baker


Rye Lane

A great romantic comedy should make you fall in love with not just the characters but the world they inhabit. If first-time director Raine Allen-Miller had simply followed her quick-witted leads David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah around multicultural South London for 82 minutes, Rye Lane would already have been the most charming rom-com in years. Her candy-color palette, musical rhythms, and spry formal innovations give this Sundance hit a giddy, fantastical quality, Before Sunrise meets The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Subtly alert to race and class, art and food, and the joy of conversation, it both spring-cleans a musty genre and floods London with magic. ( —Dorian Lynskey


Norman’s Cafe

Fish finger sandwiches, chip butties, full English breakfasts. You can find the same menu at countless greasy spoons across the capital, but there’s something about Norman’s Cafe (pronounced “caff”) that takes these quotidian British meals, beloved by lords and laborers alike, and elevates them to another plane. Look at its much-beloved Instagram (@normanscafelondon) and against an uncluttered white background you’ll find whitebait, cornflake tart with custard, beans on toast, each dish looking like it could be on a plinth in an East End gallery. There’s some experimentation within these closely defined boundaries—kedgeree arancini, for instance—but the reason this Archway favorite is constantly packed with an eclectic crowd, the reason that Burberry took over Norman’s during London Fashion Week, is its simplicity. Uncomplicated food for complicated times. ( —George Pendle


Design by Nature

In a city with no shortage of creative fresh-flower studios—Lys and Untitled are two of the best recent additions—Emily Ayres’s Design by Nature distinguishes itself by making arrangements from dried flowers. Ayres, who studied fine art and sculpture, is equally influenced by the cracked textures of Frank Auerbach’s paintings and the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which embraces the aesthetics of imperfection and transience. Her exquisite, abstract bouquets feel wonderfully in concert with the natural world, and dried flowers and botanicals are also a sustainable investment. For bespoke projects, Ayers offers appointments at her Tottenham studio. ( —Spike Carter

Issue No. 226
November 11, 2023
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Issue No. 226
November 11, 2023