So, your friend/loved one/relative is running the London Marathon and you said you would go out and support them. Good for you! But once you’ve spent 10 seconds cheering them on as they whizz past, you’ll have about four or five hours to kill. Fortunately London is packed full of places to eat and drink along the route, meaning there’s somewhere to set your taste buds racing wherever you end up.
The big race starts at 10.10am in Blackheath, which is just about the time we like to eat breakfast on a Sunday. Why not head to nearby (1) The Ivy Cafe Blackheath for a posh Full English? That’s the first leg sorted.
The runners loop round to Greenwich via Woolwich but you don’t need to do that, so take a stroll through Greenwich Park to (2) Rivington for fuss-free food and an extensive drinks list, featuring plenty of gin cocktails to pick up the day’s pace. Rotherhithe and Bermondsey are the next restaurant hotspots on the route and we make that time to stop by (3) Blueprint Café, which boasts incredible views of Tower Bridge and the City's skyscrapers. There's also a great Sunday lunch menu, offering the likes of cauliflower soup followed by honey-roast pork belly and rice pudding.
Before you cross Tower Bridge at mile 12 and-a-bit, pop in to (4) Cantina del Ponte (above) and experience its take on Tuscany by the Thames, with a bargain set menu and an all-Italian wine list.
You’ll be feeling a bit tired now, so a pick-me-up is essential. We recommend ducking up Bermondsey Street to (5) The Garrison for a freshly pressed juice or energy-boosting coffee. Now you can cross Tower Bridge and head to St Katharine Docks for a spot of tapas at (6) Bravas Tapas. Beef short rib with truffle and crispy onions, anyone?
You’re more than halfway, well done. Head to Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub (7) The Narrow (above) for pints and posh snacks to celebrate, before heading to Canary Wharf for all manner of eats, including fish & chips at (8) Tom's Kitchen Canary Wharf. Or if dim sum’s more your thing, head to (9) Royal China as the runners pass Westferry Circus.
Back in the Square Mile, saunter up to the One New Change mall at St Paul’s and pay your respects to one of the restaurant world’s most committed marathon runners, by pulling up a table at Gordon Ramsay’s (10) Bread Street Kitchen. If Jamie Oliver is more your idea of how a celebrity chef should look, the Naked Chef’s (11) Barbecoa is in the same building.
Then jog along the Strand to legendary Theatreland hangout (12) Joe Allen (above). The menu of American-accented, international comfort food ranges from eggs Benedict to calf's liver with bacon and apple strudel – plus an off-menu burger that's even more famous than the restaurant's clientele of West End stage stars.
You’ll need a digestif at the legendary (13) Gordon’s Wine Bar – a cheeky Madeira should do it – then it’s back to the track for a plate with a view at the (14) Portrait restaurant (above) at the National Portrait Gallery.
You’re doing so well – nearly at mile 26! The finish line is on the Mall so you’ll need to collect your runner, force-feed them a tactical Mars Bar and march them a little way from the crowds to St James's landmark (16) Le Caprice. You might want to get them to ditch that foil cape though, as it’s not exactly proper restaurant attire…tut tut.
Main image credit: IR_Stone