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The best spots to visit during Marylebone Food Festival

In advance of the Marylebone's food festival, the we headed down to see what the neighbourhood has to offer

Kicking off on Tuesday 26 April, the Marylebone Food Festival will see the Marylebone Village come to life with a variety of special events, limited edition menus and cooking classes. Spotlighting the area's myriad dining establishments, it promises to be a week full of good food and fun in the heart of central London. Here at Foodism, we took a little staycation in advance of the festival kicking off to give you our guide to the area's best place to stay, eat and play while the festival takes place. 

The terrace at The Marylebone Hotel's 108 Bar

Where to stay?

A short stroll from Bond Street yet seemingly miles away from the hubbub of central London, The Marylebone Hotel puts the term Marylebone ‘Village’ to the test and succeeds. Largely unassuming from the outside, the only hint of its presence being the large flag fluttering above the pavement, it’s a haven of calm once you’re inside. With more than 250 rooms it’s hardly a boutique hotel, but the space has a consistent easy feel to it, the only hint to its size being the lengthy walk between lift and room should you find yourself positioned towards the rear of the building.

Decor is entirely inoffensive, but beige doesn’t necessarily mean boring – instead, the rooms feel like an exercise in understated elegance. Gargantuan marble-clad bathrooms and details in the way of patterned carpets, statement wallpaper and pops of colour help keep the rooms feeling fresh. Malin+Goetz toiletries and a Nespresso machine, meanwhile, make worthwhile additions that elevate your stay. Our only bugbear was the lack of fresh milk – at these price points the sachets of long life you get on an LNER train don’t quite cut it. Guests have complimentary access to the impressive on-site Third Space gym with a lengthy selection of classes and an 18-metre swimming pool which makes working up an appetite for the cornucopia of restaurants in the area an easy task.

Beige doesn’t mean boring – instead, rooms at The Marylebone Hotel feel like an exercise in understated elegance

The grand draw at The Marylebone Hotel is definitely the cocktail bar. With a sizeable terrace for these increasingly sunny days, it makes for the perfect place to pull up a pew after check in and watch the city go by. Flagship restaurant 108 Brasserie, meanwhile, features its own separate entrance on Marylebone Lane, with bistro tables lining the pavement and a cavernous interior. Serving up a British-leaning menu that pulls in influences from anywhere between Italy and Japan, it could probably benefit from a narrower culinary focus, but the parent company is Irish-owned, and this can be seen in the dishes that did impress – like the smoked salmon with Guinness bread, the latter the perfect iteration of this Gaelic carbohydrate, delicately malty with a residual sweetness that, alongside a squeeze of lemon, elevates the rich simplicity of the salmon.

Cocktails at The Coachmakers Arms

Cocktails at The Clubhouse, hidden underneath The Coachmakers Arms

Where to eat and drink?

Marylebone Village is one of those neighbourhoods that feels conspicuously free of the usual metropolitan detritus – rubbish is nowhere to be seen, footpaths are free of spilled drinks and dried gum and outside tables are occupied by a steady stream of long lunchers – and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d be transported to some sort of Home Counties enclave. But no – this is still London, even if it might not seem like the one we know, and if there were any lingering concerns you had been magically squirrelled out of the capital, the selection of restaurants would surely quell them.

The Ottolenghi deli on Marylebone Lane sits like a beacon, its red and white exterior heralding a compact inside that serves up the chef’s iconic selection of salads, grilled fish and vegetables and sweet treats to go. Around the corner is Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Delamina, famed for its vegetable-centric menu rife with Middle Eastern spices like ras-el-hanout and baharat and dishes that you absolutely want to eat.

The Coachmakers Arms sits proudly on the corner of Marylebone Lane, attracting post-work boozers like moths to a flame. But it’s not just the pint-pulling to visit for, but a secret little cocktail bar squirrelled away downstairs. The Clubhouse is a recently opened, speakeasy-style bar helmed by the former general manager of Soho’s Disrepute. A focus on putting producers central means there will be a rotating menu that spotlights different spirits brands every couple of months, kicking off with East London Liquor Co. Choose from a great list, or ask the bar team for a recommendation – either way, some innovative flavour combinations and unique, often off-kilter combinations are sure to result in a beverage worth talking about.

Cauliflower at Delamina, Marylebone

How about the food festival?

The gastronomical gravitas of Marylebone can be easily seen in the village’s annual food festival. Running until early May, the festival sees the area’s multitude of food vendors and restaurants putting on masterclasses, supper clubs, tastings and specially-themed menus. Head to iconic Italian joint Caldesi for their three special pastas (or partake in a light dose of competitive eating and try to make your way through them all – trust us, it’s possible). Swing by The Coachmakers Arms for its inaugural menu in partnership with East London Liquor Co., and pop into Delamina for a rotating range of daily specials that highlight the best of the restaurant’s menu (and order anything that features zhoug – packed full of herbs and a lip-puckering amount of lemon, it’s the kind of sauce you could eat with a spoon or simply slathered on bread).

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