My wife's cousin who lives in Switzerland insisted that when we were in London, we had to go to Yotam Ottolenghi's food shops selling ready-made or, as the English call it, "take-away" salads, mains and desserts.
Nopi near Oxford Circus).
Just inside the shop, farmers market fresh salads are displayed in large oval bowls on elevated platforms, the better to grab your attention. Almost as an afterthought, the few mains like cold chicken and baked salmon are tucked out of sight in a refrigerated section.
What I didn't eat, I brought back to the hotel so we would have late night snacks.
Riding House Cafe
A few blocks from Oxford Circus, the Riding House Cafe (43-51 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 7PQ, 020-7927-0840), an English brasserie featuring comfort food, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The large space has the atmosphere of an English country cafe.
Located under the London Tower Bridge at the London Tower tube stop on the Jubilee subway line, the Market is open Thursday (11:00AM-5:00PM), Friday (Noon-6:00PM) and Saturday (8:00AM-5:00PM). Part street fair and farmers market, the Market has outdoor restaurants, indoor cafes and ready-to-eat food in a funky, casual setting.
Tate Modern is only a ten minute walk from the Market, I spent one morning exploring the permanent collection and then had lunch at the Market. Another day I had lunch at the Market first and then walked to the Tate to see the Damien Hirst exhibition (until September 9, 2012). An exceptionally well-currated, comprehensive and large exhibit of Hirst's art, tickets are required and should be booked on line well in advance.
Monmouth Coffee Company. Also just outside the Market is a Neal's Yard Dairy shop with giant wheels of cheese stacked floor to ceiling. For any cheese aficionado, the Market is a must-stop.
Speaking of fine dining, we splurged and had two meals that were really good and worth recommending.
In the 1960s, he and his brother Michel revolutionized English cooking when they opened Le Gavroche, the first world class French restaurant in London. Since then, he, his brother and son have opened a score of restaurants. One of the most recent is Roux at the Landau (1C Portland Place, W1B 1JA, 020-7965-0165) in the elegantly comfortable Langham Hotel in London's West End.
At Heathrow Airport and St. Pancras train station, I had coffee at Costa Coffee, a clean and well-appointed shop with good coffee and tea, freshly baked goods, snacks and sandwiches. You'll see Costa Coffee shops all around greater London. I was tired and hungry and a cup of coffee and Costa's biscuits hit the spot.