Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Emily Chang
This is not going to be Frommer’s, nor is it going to be a Wallpaper guide. Think of this as a good friend who happens to live in a foreign city, has exquisite taste and is in the know of everything wonderful, new, worthwhile and happening. In our new segment, after Fresh Music and Fresh + Creative, Freshness is taking you places with Fresh Destination through the help of influential friends and family all over the world. For each segment, Freshness and a new friend will be taking you through a city, breaking down your trip into manageable, bite-sized pieces with orgasmic gastronomical spots (eats), great places to invest your money in (shops), and insider places your regular travel guide may not tell you about (spots). Fresh Destination is an intimate guide to experiencing a city with like-minded friends who understands your tastes and interests, and is all about giving you an insider perspective to the city. So as the timeless and wise saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, be a little adventurous, scratch out trite attractions and wander off the beaten path sometime because this is what differentiates a traveler from a tourist.
For our inaugural trip on Fresh Destination, Freshness is taking you through the charming aged city of London, home of the Big Ben, of the Queen, The Sex Pistols, The Clash and Dr. Martens, with the help of Chris George of creative agency U-Dox. As the Director of U-Dox Brand Development, George may be building cool things for brands such as adidas Originals, Vans, Dickies, Crooked Tongues and Ralph Lauren during the day, but this also makes him the perfect go-to for advice on the best places to eat, shop and see in his city. Aside from creating the cool during the day, George also heads internal projects like the upstart, online visual-rebels at Spine TV.
As a concept created by Comme des Garcons’ Rei Kawakubo, Dover Street Market is the avant garde Japanese label’s curated concept stop on Dover Street in the West End.
The highly selective retail space spans over four floors and houses amazing collections that have been so meticulously selected that the space is never associated with redundancy (a common problem for boutiques). The best place to visit according to George though, is the basement. As George shared with Freshness, ” …the basement is where I usually end up heading straight down to. They run the gamut of stand-out brands and the Nike Tier Zero account can be [found there] minus the queues you will find for big releases at other Tier Zero accounts in London “. And an added bonus? Dover Street Market is always ” looking good and smelling fine “.
The Hideout is a “quintessential streetwear destination since 1998 “, and is one of London’s original purveyors of high-end street wear labels from New York and Tokyo. The collection is ” thoughtfully curated and carefully considered “, and is the forerunner of stores outside Japan and the U.S. to carry some of the most renowned and coveted labels such as Supreme, visvim, A Bathing Ape, Let It Ride, WTAPS, Head Porter and Unrivaled.
No. 6 London is a concept store by adidas Originals, and is one of the most well-executed spaces and projects before the idea of pop-ups became ” played out “. Expect to find highlights of the three-stripes such as items from the label’s top-tier collections such as Consortium, Originals by Originals and OT Tech. Also, the shop currently carries the new season of adidas Skateboarding items, and a carefully selected line-up from the adidas Originals collection.
Another tip from Georgeâ€”” Don’t forget to say hi to Paolo. He will be wearing purple.“
Kindle and iPad and electronic readers may be affecting traditional bookstores and print quite a bit, but Magma is one of those spaces which will ” ensure that the printing press is relevant for aeons to come“.
Magma has a few locations throughout the UK, but the Covent Garden store is the one George visits the most, as it is the closest to the U-dox office and stock ” London’s best range of design, fashion, music and sub-culture related magazines and books “.
Aside from reads, there is also a continuously refreshed collection of prints and t-shirts.
U-dox’s Friday afternoon staple treat is all about taste of the deep south with the full rack of ribs, Boston Butts and Soho Specials. And if they can unlock the secrets of the Cheese Whiz, Bodeans will be a formidable gastronomical presence.
19 Kingly Street | Map
London W1B 5PY
Ramen is one of the hardest things to nail from Japan because of the multitudes of secret recipes and sauces that can come with the broth or the marinated barbecued pork slices, but Ramen Seto has become a lunchtime must for the U-Dox folks. Ramen Seto is unpretentious through and through, from its understated appearance to it pared down men of Shoyu and Miso Ramen variations, the Gyoza (fried dumplings), and basic assari-kei noodler which ” does exactly what it says on the box “.
The Michelin man is definitely reliable for dining recommendations, and Yauatcha is a Michelin rated restaurant (and had been award the coveted star too!) serving the beloved Cantonese dim-sum fanfare.
Created by Alan Yau who also had his magical hands in creating the Wagamama Japanese, Busaba Eathai, and the celebrity favorite, Hakkasan, Yauatcha ” combines remixes of traditional [dim sum] favorites, a tea menu befitting an emperor and the best macaroons in the world “. Meaning? ” …if it’s a first date, you can thank me afterwards “.
The Epping Forest is the ” perfect tonic for some inner city stress relief “, and a great escape from the ” non-stop hustle of Central London “. The ancient woodland is a former Royal Forest, and nurses an impressive botanical system which lend themselves well to the ” Bonsai technique of dwarfing plants such as oaks, hornbeam, beech and birch “.
The forest is only a 45 minute ride away from Central London by the tube on the Central Line, and is the perfect place for ” open spaces and inspiration “.
Berwick Street Market
Berwick Street and Rupert Street | Map
The Berwick Street Market is the oldest produce market in London in the heart of the bustling Soho. The freshest fruits and vegetables housed in the “grittiest of surrounding makes for an intriguing contrast. Think gorgeously plum apples framed by SoHighSoho (a purveyor of all your finest 420 needs), the famed Foot Patrol, Tokyo Fixed Gear, a ” plethora of vintage stores and London’s best coffee from the antipodean massive at Flat White “. What can get better than a morning of produce, grass, kicks and caffeine?
Sounds of the Universe is a place that will restore your belief in the staying power of vinyl, for this record store has been quietly keeping vinyl alive with a knowledgeable staff and a steadfast loyalty to the vintage sound bytes. Sounds of the Universe is consistent with its top drawer releases, and the staff is always more than happy to make recommendations. It is also the home of the ” infamous Soul Jazz record label, and is one of the finest purveyors in soul, funk, dancehall, hip-hop and broken beat in London Town “. You can check out their monthly show on Spine TV.
RD Franks is ” London’s pre-eminent fashion and trend book shop “ and it has been holding the fort down for the style conscious London fashionistas since 1877.The book shop features an ” incredible range of fashion and style-centric books and magazines “. Expect to hang with students from the nearby London College of Fashion and Central St. Martins, whose grounds have nurtured great designers and artists whose documented work bound in tomes are probably resting on the racks you are perusing through in RD Franks.