Cover The igloo dining experience at the Mercer Roof Terrace. Photography by Amy Murrell. Image courtesy of Vintry & Mercer

Renew your appreciation for impressive architecture and interiors at these places around the capital city


From afar, Hide has the visual spectacle of an Apple store, with its two above-ground levels connected by a spiral staircase, all of which can be see through floor-to-ceiling windows. The Ground level features more of an industrial chic look, with large tables matched with farmhouse-style chairs and a menu that borrows from different cuisines for intriguing dishes such as Cornish mackerel tartare with iced eucalyptus and barbecued langoustines with pandan broth.

The striking staircase leads to the Above floor, where there is a softer colour palette, pendant lights that resemble cracked eggshells, and wall panels decorated with delicate details of foliage—all to match a menu of more refined dishes. Things take a more whimsical turn at the subterranean Below level that houses three private dining rooms—one of which is the Reading Room that features a display of culinary books and paper sculptures inspired by fairy tales.    

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Sir John Soane’s Museum

Walk around the home of Sir John Soane, who became the architect for the Bank of England in 1788 and later a professor at the Royal Academy. Soane is known for his distinctive take on the Classical style of architecture and innovative use of light and space—all of which is evident at his home in Lincoln Inn’s Fields. The residence takes up the three buildings—Nos 12, 13 and 14—that Soane acquired during his lifetime and started to repurpose into a museum to showcase his extensive collection of paintings, architectural models, sculptures, artefacts and more for students to visit and be inspired. The collection is impressive indeed and even includes the sarcophagus of an Egyptian pharaoh on display in the basement, now known as the Sepulchral Chamber, and paintings by Italian artist Canaletto—all within the residential confines of 17th century townhouses.

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This Italian restaurant in Shoreditch calls itself a “70’s Capri-style trattoria” and subtlety was not in the design brief when it comes to the decor. The sunny yellow façade gives way to an entrance bar with a tabletop of Carrara marble in hues of white, grey and pink. The main dining room features a multitude of different patterns and colours in the upholstery and cushions, while decorative ceramic plates form a border along the walls and flowering vines creep across the ceiling. The 70’s element kicks into gear in the basement, where there is a mirrored ceiling, a floral carpet in bright shades of red and yellow, and an open kitchen. Gloria definitely doesn’t do anything in half measures and the attention-grabbing décor is matched by an extensive menu of Italian favourites that includes a 10-level lasagna, and an equally comprehensive list of wine and cocktails such as a negroni with truffle foam.

Vintry & Mercer

This 92-room boutique hotel within the City of London take its name from the trading guilds that use to operate in the area—Vintry being the guild for wine merchants and Mercer for sellers of luxury fabrics. The décor at Vintry & Mercer pays homage to the history of the area—from old traveller maps featured on the wallpaper to the different types of fabric in an assortment of colours and patterns used throughout the lobby and reception area, alluding to the Mercer trading guild. The lobby and reception area also feature whimsical elements such as potted plants with barrels as the base, and a cascading light installation above a staircase that leads down to the hotel’s private event spaces and an installation of old suitcases.

The Mercer Room Terrace is the place to enjoy both old and new London, where the views include both St. Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard. During the winter months, the hotel offers a unique dining experience on the terrace, where you can dine on modern British cuisine while enjoying the look of London at night, cocooned within the cozy confines of a transparent igloo.

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2 Willow Road

Ernö Goldfinger was an architect that helped drive popularity for Modernist architecture in the UK and his home on 2 Willow Road, which was completed in 1939, provides plenty of eye candy and food for thought for architecture fans. At 2 Willow Road, visitors can see how Goldfinger incorporated Modernist architectural design into his home and marvel at his collection of modern art, with works by Bridget Riley, Henry Moore and Max Ernst among them. Goldfinger also designed furniture and many of his pieces are on display on 2 Willow Road, such as a desk featuring multiple drawers that pivot instead of sliding out and is located in the studio—one of the key rooms to check out in the residence.