The Folks Behind East London's Only Urban Winery Know Where to Eat in the Neighborhood

Check out their go-to list of things to do, see, and eat.

January 14, 2019

You can find East London’s only urban winery by turning into a narrow alley with used furniture piled high on either side (making it feel all the more narrow). Continue beyond the armchairs and dressers and you’ll find yourself at the coolest little enclave: Renegade London Wine. After the tunes spilling out of the speakers and warm candlelight beckons you in, their top-notch wines will keep you around (their English sparkling wine is some of the best bubbles I’ve ever had). Here, founder Warwick Smith—who left a career in finance to open Renegade—shares some of his favorite spots around London:

where to stay

KQ: Where would you put up friends visiting from out of town?

WS: London hotels are nice but expensive, so I'd probably tell them to book an Airbnb somewhere interesting.

What to eat

Kricket, in London's trendy Soho neighborhood, is one of Warwick's go-to casual spots. Photo by Kricket

Katie Quinn: Where do you head for a casual meal?

Warwick Smith: Best cheap meal in London is at Falafel and Shawarma in Camberwell. I get the chicken wrap for £3.5. Incredible! The lunch set menu at Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly is brilliant, too. Kricket is amazing, as is som saa. London does Asian food really well (and I lived in Asia for nearly 10 years).

KQ: Where would you send folks for a celebratory dinner out?

WS: I'm a bit over super-fine dining, so I'd send them for really good, wholesome, solid cooking. I was impressed with Brat recently. I also love som saa and Smokestak. These are all Central-East. If you wanted more West End, then Sketch is pretty spectacular.

KQ: Where do you go for a proper cup of coffee or tea?

A crowd hanging around outside Rapha. Photo by Rapha Cycle Club

WS: I don't think any Brit would go out for tea. (Do they?) Homemade Builder's tea is best. For coffee, I like Rapha Cycle Club in Soho and I like Allpress on Redchurch Street. If I'm near the winery, I'd go to Second Shot.

KQ: What’s the spot in town with the best late-night eats? What’s the thing to order?

WS: Lahore Kebab House is a great spot and it's B.Y.O.B., so buy some Renegade wine and take it along. The curries are great and the lamb chops are ace, too.

KQ: What’s the dish everyone should try once when visiting London?

WS: Hard to narrow down one dish. I'd say the turbot at Brat is pretty special. Or the dim sum at A. Wong.

Things to Do

KQ: Is there a museum or cultural activity you really love in the area?

WS: I am really not a museum or gallery person. I love art and music but I don't really like the traditional spaces...I'd rather just go to a gig!

KQ: What’s your favorite way to spend a Saturday or Sunday in town?

WS: Wandering around, eating and drinking. Just wander and pop in places.

London's Sky Garden offers one of the best views in the city. Photo by Sky Garden

KQ: Where can folks find the best view in town?

WS: I'd say up the Shard or at the Sky Garden.

KQ: What’s the best souvenir from London?

WS: Well, I would take Renegade London Wine home to wherever you live and show people how progressive and amazing urban craft wine can be!

KQ: What’s the thing people shouldn’t leave your city without trying/doing?

WS: In the summer, go to a lido and have a picnic in the parks. In the winter, just eat and drink at non-touristy places. In spring, walk in the parks. In autumn, probably just eat and drink, too.

What are your favorite London spots? Tell us in the comments below!

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Katie Quinn is the author of "Cheese, Wine, and Bread: Discovering the Magic of Fermentation in England, Italy, and France" and "Avocados." She co-hosts the podcast Either Side Eaters and creates weekly food and travel videos for her YouTube channel, QKatie.

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