Three London shops with in-house refreshment

If a day of retail therapy has left you parched, refuel at these sumptuous stores with their very own cafes and bars

Photo Credit: Andy Barnham
(Image credit: ©Andy Barnham)

Maison Assouline and the Swans Bar

Finding peace and quiet in the heart of London's bustling Piccadilly is no mean feat. However, Maison Assouline is a rare oasis of relaxation at its most refined, for those who have a taste for the finer things – be it culture or cuisine.

Set within a spectacular Grade II–listed building, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1922 and originally built as a banking hall, the concept store is a purveyor of beautiful coffee-table books focused on subjects ranging from fashion, art and architecture to photography, design, travel and more, as well as custom furniture and unique collections of vintage objects curated by the store's owners, Prosper and Martine Assouline.

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Once visitors have perused the expansive bookshelves and cabinets of curiosities, the peaceful cafe and Swans Bar is an ideal spot for a quiet coffee, a light lunch or an evening tipple. The menu is available throughout the day, from breakfast to early dinner, serving espresso, artisanal tea, wine, champagne and cocktails, with savoury and sweet snacks ranging from foie gras to caneles.



Dunhill and Alfie's Cafe

Dunhill started as a small, equestrian harness-maker over a century ago, but it soon became renowned for selling "everything but the motor" – including leather goods, clothing, goggles and headlights. It's now a purveyor of all manner of luxury menswear and accessories, with its flagship store located in the magnificent Bourdon House in Mayfair.

The house was first built in 1720, well over a century before the brand's founder, Alfred Dunhill, was born, and in 1911, the Duke of Westminster repaired and modernised it, making it his official London residence until his death in 1953. Today, the opulent building houses a dedicated barber and spa, a private cinema and bespoke and made-to-measure tailoring rooms, in addition to the Dunhill ready-to-wear collection.

As any discerning gentleman knows, shopping can be thirsty (and hungry) work, and last month Dunhill unveiled the new design of Alfie's, the cellar bar and cafe inside Bourdon House. There is also seating in the courtyard outside for summer months. The menu includes a concise selection of starters and light meals, as well as mains such as spaghetti pomodoro with basil and parmesan, and seared sea bass nicoise, as well as a choice of tea and coffee, wine and champagne.

(Image credit: TinaHillier2016)

Burberry and Thomas's cafe

After a long day shopping on Regent Street, hearty comfort food is the order of the day. At Thomas's – Burberry's first permanent cafe – cakes, biscuits and scones are baked in a traditional Aga, and the menu includes dishes such as lobster and chips and Wiltshire ham and cheddar on sourdough.

The cafe is located on Vigo Street, adjacent to Burberry's Regent Street store, and is named after the brand's founder, Thomas Burberry. From the elegant interior design to the menu, Thomas's is quintessentially British, with all the seasonal ingredients sourced from small, independent farmers and artisan suppliers from across the UK.

Just in time for the festive season, the cafe has been transformed to include new fixtures, products and spaces, designed in close partnership with The New Craftsmen. It's also introduced a weekly changing seasonal menu, and launched a series of creative collaborations featuring British guest-chef takeovers.

Until Christmas, those who stop by the cafe can watch Burberry artisans at work in the newly created in-store personalisation areas, showcasing such skills as scarf calligraphy, leather hand-painting and wreath customisation.

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