St Martin’s Courtyard and Mercer Walk are pockets of peace, sandwiched between the hustle and bustle of Leicester Square and Covent Garden.
Tucked away behind the busy Long Acre Road, it’s the perfect place to escape the crowds. Here you’ll find clean streets, beautiful shops, and a selection of restaurants to tempt every palate.
Whether you’re after a quick lunchtime bite, or somewhere a bit more fancy for a date in Covent Garden, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
Here’s what my ideal day in St Martin’s Courtyard and Mercer Walk looks like!
BREAKFAST AT BILL’S RESTAURANT
Bill’s has become a British institution, and the branch in St Martin’s Courtyard is one of my favourites. The sprawling interior is bright and quirky, with mismatched lighting and shelves of interesting brick-a-brack lining the back wall.
There’s more space upstairs, with colorful velvet sofas, and windows overlooking the courtyard. And of course there’s the outdoor terrace, complete with red sun shades and wicker chairs.
You’ll find a variety of options on the menu, including some great vegetarian and vegan dishes. I ordered the Green Plate, a vegetarian breakfast of (among other things) crispy halloumi, avocado, excellent hashbrowns, and poached eggs on sourdough toast. It was a bigger plate than I’d expected, but somehow I still managed to get through every bite!
If you’re around in the evening, their dinner menu is also fantastic, and they do a GREAT selection of cocktails.
MAKE UP LESSON AT SMASHBOX
I’ve become very boring with my makeup. Where I used to constantly experiment with bright colours and new products (lol remember when I was a beauty blogger?), nowadays you’re lucky if you find me using anything more than one nude eyeshadow and some mascara.
So I was super excited to refresh my routine with a makeover at Smashbox!
Melissa went through each product as she applied them, and explained how they all worked and how I could add them into my own routine. We went through every step of makeup application, and Mel was so great at checking what sort of look I liked best and my preference on colours and textures.
I felt like I learned such a lot in just one hour, and my face looked fab by the end of it. Best of all: the full experience only costs £30 AND they offset the price against any products you buy.
They also do shorter half hour slots for just eye makeup, or just foundation/contouring, and I think these would make a great little birthday present!
FIND IT: 8 Mercer Walk, London, WC2H 9FA
LUNCH AT DISHOOM
I love Dishoom. Their food is consistently brilliant, and the only reason I don’t visit as often as I’d like to is that the queues outside tend to put me off, and I’m far too unorganised to book a table!
Most of the tables are unreserved, but there are a selection of them available to book in advance for breakfast and lunch. For dinner after 5:30pm, they’ll only take bookings for 6 people or more.
Even without a booking, I found that the wait for lunch at the St Martin’s Courtyard and Mercer Walk branch wasn’t too bad at all. I waited just 20 minutes at 1pm on a Thursday, and the queue after me was even shorter.
The menu is a nod to the old Irani cafés in Bombay, with some very clever twists on classics such as chilli cheese toast and their famous breakfast bacon naan. I opted for a selection of small plates for lunch, with hot chai tea to drink. The chai is bottomless, so the waiters just keep topping you up as you go!
The bitesize Prawn Koliwada were fantastic, meaty prawns cooked in a thin and spicy red batter, and served with a tamarind chutney. I loved the crunchy okra fries, which were a bit spicey, a bit smokey, and utterly moreish.
But my favourite was the Keema Pau, which the waitress recommended. It’s an Irani cafe classic of spicy minced lamb and peas, served with soft buttered buns. It’s warm and comforting, full of flavour, and I’m desperate to try recreating it at home!
FIND IT: 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9FB
SHOPPING IN ST MARTIN’S COURTYARD AND MERCER WALK
St Martin’s Courtyard and Mercer Walk are a shopaholic’s paradise. Beautiful homeware at The White Company, gorgeous clothes in Cos, H&M and & Other Stories, shoes from Pretty Ballerinas… you can even get your hair done at Blow Ltd or pick up some flowers in The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers.
The shop I want to focus on today though is Choose Love, the new popup store that opened on 30th June to raise funds for LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers throughout Pride in London.
Run by the charity Help Refugees, the Choose Love x Pride store is open for one week only, where they’ll be selling the rainbow Choose Love t-shirt pictured above. Designed by Katharine Hamnett, the t-shirts are just £19 each, and all the profits go towards supporting LGBTQI+ refugees and asylum seekers around the world.
On top of that, St Martin’s Courtyard have planned a whole load of free events in the run up to Pride: on Saturday 7th July you can enjoy free colourful makeovers at Smashbox, rainbow cocktails at Bill’s, free braids at Blow Ltd. (from 10am-12pm) as well as special edition Pride Pizzas at Temper, before heading off to join the Pride Parade!
FIND IT: St Martin’s Courtyard, Slingsby Place, London, WC2E 9AB
SUNNY DRINKS AT DALLA TERRA
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the best way to start a sunny evening in central London is by sitting outside with a glass of prosecco. (Or wine. Or a cocktail. Basically: something chilled and delicious!)
Dalla Terra is tucked into one of the corners of St Martin’s Courtyard. The bar is big and cosy, with hundreds of wine bottles lining the walls, and comfy leather armchairs for guests to sink into. Outside, the tables and chairs spill out on to the pavement, and small bunches of flowers add a touch of elegance.
There are over 500 wines for you to choose from, and the friendly bar staff are always on hand to help you make the best choice. They also have a small but perfectly formed menu of traditional Italian dishes, and a selection of cold cuts and cheese sourced at Borough Market.
They offer an express 2-course menu for under £11 from Monday to Thursday until 6:30pm, so if you’re after a delicious but fairly cheap supper in town, Dalla Terra is one to hunt down!
FIND IT: 25 Slinsgby Place, St. Martin’s Courtyard, London, WC2E 9AB
*This post is sponsored by St Martin’s Courtyard and Mercer Walk.
All my experiences, meals and services were paid for by the brand.