Simms’ city


Our new diarist Freya Simms offers the first of her fortnighly previews of her favourite London haunts…


One Drayson Mews  

One Drayson Mews

One small corner of Kensington is a luxury haven for the high-net-worth residents of W8. Just round the corner from Gordon Place and its row of ‘secret’ gardens is Holland Street – and it’s here that Tracy, hairdresser extraordinaire, resides with her razor sharp scissors and endless supply of foils at One Drayson Mews.  

This fantastic business boasts a fiercely loyal clientele – many stay for 20 years or more; I once bumped into a boyfriend from my teens there. Not only are they very good at what they do, but they also manage to remain reasonably priced…

Islington branch of Ottolenghi

Knowing that I would be with Tracy and team for a while, I stopped off at Ottolenghi next door to grab a frothy cappuccino and one of their sticky sweet concoctions that pairs perfectly with well-thumbed issues of Hello and Vanity Fair.




I couldn’t help popping into the string of excellent and original boutiques that run along Holland Street. In just a short block it’s possible to have your feet nibbled at by fish, buy sumptuous cushions by Yastik by Rifat Ozbek or procure sensational jewellery and clothes that will have your friends enviously enquiring where they are from. As luck would have it, Manguette had a sale on so I was able to buy a gorgeous pair of chunky blue quartz and vermeil earrings.

The Abingdon pub in London

In the evening I was meeting the Tarnished Knight in The Abingdon, a long established neighbourhood bar and restaurant. By rights he should be my knight in shining armour – as in so many ways he has proved to be just that – but there are a few rusty edges that remain in need of a good polish. As I had arrived a little earlier than my partner in crime, I tucked into a glass of wine and was smartly propositioned by some ageing lothario who amusingly made a swift exit when he encountered the TK’s stature.


Kitchen W8

Post-drinks, we moved a few paces up the road to the delicious Kitchen W8. The menu was excellent – seasonal with some staple classics and some unusual partnerships that worked a treat. We also polished off a lovely New Zealand Pinot Noir that was full of fruity berries. The final treat was coffee served with dusty chocolate truffles that oozed a delicious dribble of salty caramel.



Freya Simms is managing director of Gong Muse a Strategic Communications agency for the art and luxury markets and winner of PRCA Agency Campaign of the year 2011.