WHO: Ed Sheeran
WHAT: Bertie Blossoms
WHERE: Notting Hill
Last August, Ed Sheeran shocked his fans by announcing an 18-month hiatus from music. It seems the singer has found a new calling, because it was only a month later that he launched his very own restaurant, Bertie Blossoms. The eatery, which Sheeran co-founded with his manager Stuart Camp, can be found amongst the colourful sights of London’s Portobello Road.
An intimate dining room greets guests, who are then offered an array of dishes made with fresh, local produce from a concise and British menu. A selection of craft beer and wines accompanies the dishes, though fans may be disappointed that any trace of Sheeran is hard to detect in this quaint eatery.
The Evening Standard called the venue an “immensely likeable, warmly run room”, though said it was a “shame” that less effort had gone into the food itself. Upon observation, the food seems relatively fuss-free and no-frills, which perhaps, is exactly what Sheeran is aiming for as he steps out of the limelight. Whether you’re a Sheeran fan or not, the venue is humble and homely, and a welcome respite in the heart of the city.
WHO: Mark Whalberg and family
WHERE: Covent Garden
Mark Whalberg swapped acting chops for pork chops when he announced the launch of Whalburgers, an all-American food fest alongside brothers Paul and Donnie. The trio have now made a name for themselves in the restaurant world on both sides of the Atlantic, and they continue to expand across the United States.
Their Covent Garden site first launched in May 2019, and was the first of their ventures to open outside of North America. Anyone who is a fan of the family’s work is treated to walls adorned with photos and memories that celebrate the life and work of the Wahlberg brothers.
The star of the menu is its ‘signature’ burger range, and each brother highlights his favourite choice on the menu. Other American classics are on offer, including ribs, mac ‘n’ cheese and everything in between.
The Guardian described the eatery as “puzzling”, while the Independent called it a “theme park restaurant”. Perhaps this reputation led to the recent swirling rumours it was closing its doors, though Wahlburgers UK swiftly put this to bed, saying it had “no intention” of shutting up shop anytime soon. Rather, the restaurant group is relaunching its Covent Garden site as a full-service restaurant. As well as the addition of a whole host of dishes, cocktails and DJ nights will be added to give the family-friendly restaurant an after-dark twist.
WHO: David Beckham and Guy Ritchie
WHAT: The Walmer Castle Pub
WHERE: Notting Hill
David Beckham and Guy Ritchie took their friendship one step further when they purchased The Walmer Castle Pub back in 2018. The dynamic duo bought out the gastropub for a cool £3m, and the Notting Hill site has proved a popular haunt ever since.
The pub combines the “best in British pub hospitality with individuality, character and quirky charm”. Its seasonal menu offers a range of pub grub favourites, and seems to pride itself on its Sunday roasts that boast “perfectly cooked meats” and “beautifully roasted vegetables”. The site dates back to 1845, and retains much of its original Georgian features.
It’s not the first time that Ritchie has tried his hand in playing publican. In 2008, Ritchie and then-wife, Madonna, bought The Punchbowl, a quaint and quiet Georgian pub in the heart of Mayfair. Although the couple divorced that same year, Ritchie could not part with his favourite haunt, and kept it running until 2013.
Ritchie also runs the Gritchie Brewing Company from his farm in Wiltshire, while Beckham was behind the launch of Haig Club whisky in 2014, so the duo are certainly not novices when it comes to the finer drinks in life. Expect to see a range of Ritchie’s very own beers on tap in this watering hole.
WHO: Usain Bolt
WHAT: Track and Records
Usain Bolt ventured off the track and into the restaurant industry when he launched his very own range of fast-dining eateries, aptly entitled Track and Records. The chain was first established in Jamaica, but in 2018, the brand branched into the UK with the opening of its first London site in Spitalfields.
The quirky haunt continues to serve up fine Jamaican fare, where jerk chicken, coconut prawns, homemade soup and saltfish fritters are just some of the dishes on offer from Bolt’s home country. Guests can also sample the ‘U-Burger’, named after the man himself, while over 150 rums are available behind the bar.
Not only is it a place for authentic cuisine: the lively dance floor and on-hand DJs attract the late-night crowds. Memorabilia from the eight-time gold medal Olympian decks the walls of the two-storey venue, while a late lounge, boardroom and private suite allow more space for punters to dance.
WHO: Idris Elba
WHAT: The Parrot
In November 2018, actor Idris Elba decided to take a dip into the world of cocktail lounges. Alongside brothers Lee and Nicky Caulfield, Elba went ahead and launched The Parrot, a rainforest-themed watering hole in the heart of London. Tucked away within the Waldorf Hilton, the 60-seater venue serves up a vibrant array of cocktails within a tropical, jungle-themed oasis.
Every cocktail is named after a breed of parrot, while palm leaves and bird cages adorn the darkened room. Cocktail glasses arrive in the form of puffer fish and octopi, while an exotic array of light bites is served upon repurposed seashells. The intimate and atmospheric venue even boasts its own chauffeured car, with an Aston Martin on standby to transport guests to and from the venue.
The Parrot also offers up a range of live entertainment, featuring live DJ sets from Elba himself. A live band sets the tone every night, with pre-theatre sessions kicking off an evening of acts that include West End performers and special guest singers. For a thespian like Elba, The Parrot certainly provides all the theatrics.