For the past five years the focus has been on East London but after years out of the spotlight, the balance is once again shifting to central London – this time not to Noho but to Marylebone.
This good looking neighbourhood just north of Oxford Street is fast becoming a hotspot, buzzing with so many seriously haute places to drink, dance, dine and sleep that it makes the likes of Shoreditch and Stratford look positively parochial. Make no mistake: in 2014 everyone wants a piece of Marylebone – not just Madonna (the Queen of Reinvention has long owned a house here).
The suave entrepreneur Andre Balazs – who inspires an adoration that turns grown men girly and grown girls into pots of simpering mush – is the man who has given Marylebone its biggest boost, with the launch of Chiltern Firehouse.
Located in a former fire station, this flaming hot new hotel/restaurant is the celeb hang out du jour – Bradley Cooper, Cara Delevingne, Kate Moss, Stella McCartney, Noel Gallagher, Lily Allen and erm, the cast of Made in Chelsea have all been spotted slipping out of the restaurant in a food coma. Clearly Balazs has worked his magic once more…
But Balazs isn’t the only one to have put Marylebone back on the map. Cult Parisian cake shop, La pâtisserie des rêves, arrived on Marylebone High Street last month as did the discerning Canvas by Michael Riemenschneider while the relaunched Michelin starred restaurant, Trishna, has had the critics drooling. And in April, the area’s food scene will get another boost: Chris Corbin and Jeremy King – the guys behind Brasserie Zedel, The Wolseley and Delaunay – are opening Fischer’s, a restaurant that’s set to be “evocative of early 20th century Vienna”.
For post dinner drinks, seek out Speakeasy-type bar Purl. Inspired by the prohibition era of the US, Purl isn’t the easiest place to find (that’s the whole point) but the pay off – live jazz (Mondays) and a new menu of Q-vodka based concoctions – is worth it.
Yet while Marylebone is luring London’s foodies, it’s also attracting the capital’s fashionistas who are flocking to its gorgeous Georgian squares and streets for shops such as Skandium, Suzannah (Pippa Middleton wore the couture designer to the christening of Prince George), Ronen Chen, Les Senteurs, Oliver Bonas, Mouki and Prism.
There’s culture too: the Everyman is a quirky, independent cinema that makes a refreshing change from the multiplexes (think Vue, Odeon and the rest of the chain gang). Elsewhere Wigmore Hall and the Wallace Collection are only a short stroll away…
Yes looking at Marylebone today with its affluent streets that everyone wants a piece of, it’s hard to believe that the parish of Mary-le-bone was once known for its criminal population.
Ready to check out the area where London’s power players are moving in their droves? The best bit is that Marylebone is only a stone’s throw from both Baker Street and the new Bond Street tube stations. See you in W1…