fashion

Where to eat in London, according to its top models

Published 12th September 2019
Credit: Franziska Barczyk
Where to eat in London, according to its top models
Written by CNN Staff
For models, there's more to fashion week than walking a runway or two. Days start in the early hours, with multiple castings, fittings and shows to cram into 24 hours; naturally, they need to keep well fueled. CNN asked four models where they like to eat in London during fashion week, as well as how they spend their spare time in the city -- if they have any.

Sam Rollinson

Born in Doncaster, England, Sam Rollinson has shot campaigns for Burberry, Balenciaga, Mulberry and Chanel Beauty, and she's appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar UK, Japan, Singapore and Serbia. In recent years, she's walked for brands including Chanel, Hermes, Dior and Emilia Wickstead.
What's life like for you during fashion weeks? What's a typical day?
It's pretty hectic: normally I have a few castings or fittings to go to, then in the evening there's lots of fun parties to go to. So I'll go home, quickly get ready, and then head out to meet my friends and have some well earned champagne!
How important is good food for you during this time?
I'm a real foodie, so good food is important to me all the time. But that's especially true at fashion week when you're busy all day so you really need your energy.
Where is your favorite place to eat in London and why?
It would have to be my local gastropub, The Gatehouse. It's got a really chilled vibe and the food is amazing. I have very fond memories there with my boyfriend, friends and family.
Do you have a favorite dish?
Chocolate fondant is my all-time favorite. I can't ever resist it on a menu.
Any other tips for the city?
Go to Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath -- you can get an amazing view of the city among the trees, and on a rare sunny day you can take a dip in the Hampstead Heath Ponds or the Parliament Hill Lido.

Pixie Geldof

Born and raised in London, Pixie Geldof is a model, singer and DJ. A current face of Miu Miu, she's covered Elle UK and Tatler, and walked for Ashley Williams and Pringle of Scotland at London Fashion Week earlier this year. She's also walked and led campaigns for House of Holland.
What's life like for you during fashion weeks? What's a typical day?
It can be busy and full on. If I'm walking shows, it's about running from venue to venue in time to prepare before the shows and work with the designers. If I'm attending the shows, it's a little calmer as I love seeing what my favorite designers have created that season. It is so wonderful to see everything come to life.
How important is good food for you during this time?
Well, I have to say that good food is important to me all the time!
Where is your favorite place to eat in London and why?
I love Farmacy in Notting Hill, West London. They create the most delicious plant-based dishes in town. If I'm in the center of town, it has to be Ciao Bella. It's the not-so-secret gem that everyone loves.
Do you have a favorite dish?
I'd have to say that it would be the avocado vinaigrette, followed by the most delicious spaghetti aglio e olio at Ciao Bella.
Any other tips for the city?
Columbia Road Flower Market is a pretty fantastic way to spend your Sunday morning and afternoon. Other than that, it would have to be Hampstead Heath. It's breathtakingly magical.

Miss Fame

Miss Fame is a model, makeup artist, singer and drag artist from California, who rose to prominence as a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race in 2015. She has appeared in Vogue Germany, LOVE, Elle and V Magazine, became a spokesmodel for L'Oréal in 2016, and performed at Opening Ceremony's Spring 2019 show at New York Fashion Week.
What's life like for you during fashion weeks? What's a typical day?
Life during fashion week has always been intensely immersive. It's a time to show up at the highest level, where everything must be perfectly detailed.
I start out my morning the night before, pre-setting my makeup kit, washing my brushes, laying out my look and confirming the hair direction. Upon awakening, I drink two glasses of water back to back, eat a whole avocado and prepare my skin for an hour. It's a methodical process.
Then time seemingly runs out and I start to feel the rush -- that's where nails are eventually glued on on the car. Then I arrive to the show, pose for press shots and am escorted to my seat to drink in the extraordinary details.
How important is good food for you during this time?
As mentioned, I start with extremely healthy food in the morning -- a green juice, water, either a tomato or avocado with olive oil and salt or granola and almond milk. I never want to feel heavy, especially while wearing a steel boned corset for hours. Then as soon as I get back to my hotel or apartment, I usually go in with a red sauce pasta. My favorite post show foods are usually Italian.
Where is your favorite place to eat in London and why?
I'm not so familiar with dining in London -- I have been a few times over the years but I don't know if I have a favorite yet. I need someone to show me the spots to go for good Vietnamese pho or vegan restaurants.
Do you have a favorite dish?
I actually prefer desserts. I just love sweets. Anything baked makes me happy, and usually I can't and don't finish dinner without looking at the extended menu. If I had to choose one treat, I'd say carrot cake from Bakeri in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
Any other tips for the city?
When traveling I always ask my local friends where they suggest for whatever I'm craving. It's the best way to discover incredible restaurants while away from home.

Hélène Selam Kleih

Londoner Hélène Selam Kleih is a writer and activist as well as a model. She established her own publishing house, Prosperitee Press, and launched an anthology about male mental health titled HIM + HIS. Kleih has also appeared in campaigns for Dior and Stella McCartney, and walked for Vivienne Westwood, Pam Hogg, Mowalola and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy.
What's life like for you during fashion weeks? What's a typical day?
It can be a manic dash to back-to-back castings, but also a waiting game -- waiting to hear when the client can see you and queuing for castings, fittings and parties. Every fashion week is packed, and every old friend in fashion pops up. The schedule is crazy but it's also so fun if you're with the right people.
I normally have to balance castings with writing, events planning and admin for HIM + HIS (an anthology Kleih created about male mental health) but I allow the book to take a backseat in what is always going to be a busy week. Never make set in stone plans with anyone too -- you'll always be late to the dinner table.
How important is good food for you during this time?
It's essential to have a balance of protein, greens and carbs to keep you full and fueled throughout a hectic day. I can't deal with being hungry and not knowing when I can next stop and have a break. I'd rather keep snacks on my person, like boiled eggs or a whole carrot with some salt. I love Haribo but I obviously don't want that sugar crash, so I carry mini packs around for when I'm really low on energy and just want a treat.
Where is your favorite place to eat in London and why?
Eat Tokyo -- it has the freshest sushi and the cheapest too. They also do a quick takeaway if you need to eat on the go, and have a couple branches dotted around London so you're never too far from a restaurant.
Do you have a favorite dish?
Tuna sashimi, if you didn't guess that already , with a seaweed salad and miso soup. Or a chirashi don or sashimi bento box. Also, it's only a fiver for my favorite -- fresh mussels in sake.
Any other tips for the city?
Transport wise, jump on the tube! Always check whether it's quicker to get the underground or get an Uber -- London is huge and sometimes it can take an eternity to get anywhere in a car, especially in traffic. Party wise, stick to smaller pubs and bars in Soho and east London. The bigger fashion parties are fun to start the night with, but grab your best friends and head to a local afterward for a proper chill.

Anisha Sandhu

Anisha Sandhu
Anisha Sandhu Credit: Mary Kang / The Society Management.
Anisha Sandhu, from Ontario, Canada, is a fresh face at fashion month, making her runway debut for Alexander Wang in June. Since then, she's walked for Prabal Gurung and R13, and shot with renowned photographers Mert Alaş and Marcus Piggott. Sandhu also works as a freelance stylist alongside her modeling work.
What's life like for you during fashion weeks? What's a typical day?
A typical day for me during fashion week usually starts with breakfast in the morning then rushing out the door for either a full day of castings and fittings, or a show. By the time I get home, I'm so exhausted that I make dinner and head to bed by 10 p.m., since I'm someone who needs at least nine hours of sleep to get ready for the next day all over again. Since this is my first season, I'm really enjoying it so far, as these are some of the few rare weeks when I have a somewhat consistent routine -- and I love the fast pace.
How important is good food for you during this time?
Good food is always important to me, but especially during fashion month when I need as much energy as possible. If I don't eat healthy and nutrient-dense food, I can't function properly and well enough to be able to make it through the day. I usually try to cook food ahead of time so that when I get home exhausted at the end of the day, I don't have to worry about making anything, but I also really enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes, so if I'm not too tired I actually look forward to making dinner and find it therapeutic.
Where is your favorite place to eat in London and why?
My absolute favorite place to eat in London is this vegan Ethiopian place called Andu Cafe in Dalston. I kind of stumbled upon it when I was on a lunch break, and it was the first time I'd tried Ethiopian food before. For only £5, you get a massive sharing platter that has different types of vegetable dishes with either rice or injera, which is a type of bread. It's such a simple restaurant and it reminded me a lot of how my mom cooks Indian food at home, which is why I found it so comforting. The food is so flavorful and healthy that my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Do you have a favorite dish?
I always get the sharing platter with rice, and since it's for two people, I usually eat half and then save the rest for dinner later. One time I had the entire sharing platter in one sitting, and for the rest of the afternoon, I was in a bad food coma while working.
Any other tips for the city?
Get an Oyster Card, spend a day at The National Gallery, always carry a jacket or a sweater with you, and try to stay away from the main touristy areas like Piccadilly Circus if you can. Instead, wander around other areas like Camden or take a day trip to Brighton.
The models' words have been edited for length and clarity.