You can always spot someone who’s just gotten a new haircut. They walk like they’re in an advert for Frosties. They stop in front of every single reflective surface. They smell of some amazing product made of honey and mermaid tears. Or, they’re the person running down Shoreditch High Street weeping with a bag over their head. But that’s for a different guide. This guide is about capitalising on that moment after a great new haircut when you’ve never looked, or felt, better. Here’s where to take your new look for dinner and drinks, because it would be rude to hide this level of good-looking from the general public.
At 6.46pm today, your makeover entered the world. And since then, you’ve practiced your Oscars speech in the mirror four times, lip synced to every song containing the words ‘hair’, ‘gorgeous’, and basically the entire soundtrack to Hair The Musical. Frenchie is a restaurant as beautiful as you are. It’s a modern brasserie in Covent Garden that serves some seriously excellent food like a bacon and maple syrup scone, goat’s cheese manicotti, and a banoffee dessert that’s an absolute must order.
Today someone massaged your skull for you and you felt like a beloved pet cat. How could today possibly get any better? Kerridge’s Garden Grill, that’s how. This upmarket British restaurant inside the Corinthia Hotel has taken their rib of beef with gherkin ketchup and casual £35 lobster thermidor omelette outside to the hotel’s stunning - yes, stunning - courtyard. This place gets bonus points for having the kind of blindingly shiny cutlery that you can subtly check your hair out in every ten seconds or so. Perfect.
The Prince is one of those loud and proud boozers that will undo all that personal growth you made having to tend to your own split ends over the past year. Farewell responsibility, hello £6 frosés. From the people behind Pergola, this West Kensington spot is a huge open-air situation with plenty of cute ‘candid’ photo opportunities beneath the foliage or whilst casually holding a jug of Pimms. The selection of street food vendors changes regularly but usually they’ll be classics like burgers, jerk chicken, and empanadas. But really, this place is about boozy fun with friends whilst fulfilling your noble cause of ensuring as many humans as possible see your haircut before the blow-dry wares off.
This past year has taught you all kinds of unexpected things. Patience, gratitude, the harsh reality of what you look like with a mullet. And yes, that memory will probably haunt you forever but in the meantime replace it with some stellar memories at Ell Fresco, the outdoor terrace from excellent Borough Market spot, Elliot’s. Set under one of the market’s arches, this is hands down one of the best outdoor dining experiences we’ve had in London. Thanks to the quality nduja-covered pizza, the must-order Isle of Mull cheese puffs - a naughty little fried situation you will inhale in quick bites mixed with the odd glowing expletives - and friendly natural wine recommendations from the servers, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday in no time. Bottoms up, here’s to your new ’do.
The Palomar is one of the most fun places in the whole of London. Yes, we’re including Hyde Park, your local ’spoons, and your cool stoner mate’s kitchen in that statement. For the first time you can now enjoy this Israeli restaurant’s sharing plates on their new terrace. It’s buzzy, cool, and basically a party where the guest of honour is octopus hummus. And your hair, obviously.
Lady Of The Grapes is one of those charming little wine bars that always brings out our inner romantic. Seeing as you’re probably deeply, tenderly in love right now - yes, with that nice chap who just spent four special hours smearing your scalp in peroxide - it’s the perfect spot for an al fresco glass of red and compliments, not to mention a top cheese platter. For the first time they’ve got outdoor seating on Maiden Lane, an equally charming Covent Garden side-road that has all the potential to feel like the quiet parts of Montmartre on the right sunny day. Parlez-vous hair flick?
Okay, so maybe you and the hairdresser weren’t entirely on the same page, unless that page was ‘make me look like a yeti that got trapped in a car wash’. Nevermind. As all of your friends keep repeatedly saying to you, ‘you just need to get used to it’. The unexpected barbecue-curry mash-up menu at Temper Covent Garden might not sound exactly like your cup of tea when you first get here, but as soon as you try the cheeseburger tacos (yes, really), smoked meats, and cookie dough dessert you’ll be a convert. This place is loud, proud, and their terrace is the perfect place for a couple of - celebratory or commiseratory - tequila cocktails.
This one goes out to the real ones. The ones who got up at the crack of dawn because the only hair appointment within the M25 was at 7.15am. Proud of you. Now you need somewhere fabulous to brunch and by brunch, we mean sip Bloody Marys whilst taking a very casual new WhatsApp profile picture. Riding House Café is a smart brasserie that’s perfect for everyone and everything, including a humble hair brag over pancakes. A 10-minute walk from Oxford Circus, you can expect big weekend brunch options on their terrace, four types of eggs benedict, and top post-breakie shopping potential in the area.
You need somewhere that is big enough and trendy enough to hold all your BHE (Big Haircut Energy). Greyhound Cafe is that place. Everything about this Fitzrovia spot is capital F Fashion. The menu looks a bit like a food focused issue of ID, the service is as aloof as a model that’s just been booked by McQueen, and the crowd is generally very good looking. Basically, this is the perfect place to debut your new look. Think of it as your own personal catwalk with some really great Thai food thrown in for good measure. Get the tataki tuna laab.
Sushi Atelier sounds kind of like a hairdressers for fish, but that’s not why we put it in this guide (picture a tuna with a quiff though, we dare ya). No, Sushi Atelier gets a place in the guide because eating great sushi when you’ve got brand new hair is just one of those combinations in life that works. This place on Great Portland Street serves an excellent 12 piece omakase, as well as a razor clam ceviche that arrives in its own smoke filmed dome. The best part is it’s all pretty affordable.
You’ve just gotten a fringe, again, and you know that eventually you’re going to have to grow it out and it’ll be your own personal Waterloo. But you can’t waste your new hair thinking about your future, or whether in that future you’ll look like the love child of Liam Gallagher and that dog from the Dulux adverts. No, just head for a drink (or many) at Goldfinch in Tooting. It’s a great, casual bar that serves excellent cocktails, and has the kind of atmosphere that turns one drink into several. It’s a small spot and the back garden is always pretty crowded, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.