Eat Like the Queen: A Road Map to London’s Royally Approved Food Shops
Nothing beats a restaurant recommendation from a trusted source. Even better: If that source is the Queen of England, whose taste, we hear, is impeccable. Thanks to the centuries-old practice of issuing an official label of approval (aptly named the “royal warrant”) to favored suppliers of the crown, it’s possible for any old commoner to patronize the royal family’s preferred brands. In honor of the recent birth of Princess Charlotte, we’ve rounded up a few London food purveyors whose goods have been deemed worthy of the crown's consumption. Not everyone can be born to the throne, but we can all have a taste of the royal experience.
Forget Starbucks. Behind this humble storefront is a third-generation family-owned and -operated enterprise that started out of a single room in the middle of World War II. Using the finest quality beans to make both single-origin and specialty blends, H.R. Higgins has been a long-trusted source of coffee for the royal family and was served at the wedding breakfasts for both Charles and Diana and William and Kate.
79 Duke Street, London W1K 5AS, United Kingdom
Rose crèmes. Pâtes de fruit. Cocoa-dusted truffles. They may sound like specialties at your granny’s favorite fuddy-duddy sweets shop, but the old-fashioned atmosphere at Prestat is inherent to its charm. Another draw is the brand’s place in cultural history: Longtime customer Roald Dahl made Prestat truffles the centerpiece of his novel My Uncle Oswald, and he was said to have used the brand’s exotic ingredients as inspiration for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Old-school classics like the Marc de Champagne are still in demand, but new flavors are seasonally introduced as well. The latest batch of truffles includes a tangy yuzu sake and a London gin that dramatically fizzes in the mouth. Crown favorites? It’s well documented that the Queen is gaga for violet crèmes.
14 Princes Arcade, Piccadilly, London SW1Y 6DS
Some upscale shops convey luxury status with a signature scent. Paxton & Whitfield, an artisanal cheese shop, welcomes customers with the heady aroma of washed rinds. The company has furnished the palace with a staggering array of cheese since 1742, and in 1850 Queen Victoria officially proclaimed the company cheesemonger to the Queen. Tip: Go hungry and request samples. The nattily dressed cheese stewards love dispensing intel as well tastes of esoteric products.
93 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6JE