How do you start your day?
I like to exercise at least four times a week, which means either running through Richmond Park or training in the gym; so you’ll normally find me up at 6am to ensure I get my exercise fix. I try my best to ignore my phone until afterwards as this helps clear my mind before starting the day; only when I'm ready do I start checking and responding to emails over a herbal tea.
Leisurely lunch places go to?
London, like any world class city, is always having new restaurant openings; meaning there’s just so much to choose from. In the summer I don’t think you can beat the Richmond Gaucho for a lazy lunch though; it’s on the river and a great way to enjoy the sunshine with a glass of whatever Argentinian wine you choose. Another great option is the Rib Room at the Jumeirah Carlton on Sloane Street. It's a somewhat old school way of doing lunch (especially on Sundays with their excellent roast) and offers the best of British food from locally sourced fish to the beef from a Royal Warrant holder. It never disappoints.
Favourite way to pass the time in London?
I love being outdoors, so if I can combine that with eating and drinking, I'm happy. Chucs restaurant on the Serpentine is a great choice for brunch, set in a beautiful blend of old and modern architecture, against the backdrop of Hyde Park. When I'm feeling cultural I like to pop into the Royal Academy of Arts, on Piccadilly. It has recently celebrated 250 years and expanded to cram even more incredible art in for us to appreciate. The added bonus is that, when you're done, you're right next to Burlington Arcade, meaning I can indulge my passion for watches by browsing the vintage Rolex stores it houses.
Favourite London landmarks, and why?
Being a lawyer by profession my number one would have to be the Royal Courts of Justice, on the Strand. It houses our High Courts and Courts of Appeal and was designed by George Edmund Street before it was opened by Queen Victoria in 1882. It's a stunning gothic building, both inside and out and, having had many cases there over the years, it was a privilege to practise in such surroundings. Most people are more likely to recognise it out of Bridget Jones' Diary though... My second would have to be the Shard. Not only do I love it as a piece of modern architecture, whilst it has two good restaurants in Oblix and Aqua (the latter especially so for breakfast, overlooking London), the viewing platform is amazing providing the perfect birds' eye view of the city.
Tipple of choice and favourite cocktail hangouts?
My favourite cocktail is a Martini, specifically a Vesper, which I find is a great barometer of whether a place is actually any good at making such concoctions. If it’s made well, the chances are I’ll go back. If not, then... Scarfes bar at the Rosewood Hotel is excellent, as is the bar at the Mandrake Hotel. I also love whisky so Roka tends to be high on my list. Their selection of Japanese whiskies is top notch, plus their cocktails tend to match the quality of their food. Lastly, there's a small but mighty cocktail bar on Hoxton Square called Happiness Forgets.
Favourite dining destinations, and why?
I, with my family, have been going to a Pakistani restaurant called Salloos for almost 20 years. It's on the same street as Petrus, is family owned, small, cosy and offers some of the most authentic, best tasting cuisine of its type you’ll find. Black Roe, opposite Maddox Club, serves great Asian fusion food, including delicious Poke, against a cool, funky backdrop. It’s dark but not overly so, plays great music and the staff are always helpful and friendly.
Best hangover remedy?
Without sounding too smug, I don’t seem to really get hangovers. But on the few occasions I do, then a glass of nicely chilled Rose tends to sort me out. Keeping moving is always key too... lying on the sofa, wallowing in my own self pity, is definitely not the way to go
Oliver Al-Falah is a Gumballer taking part to this year’s rally “The battle of islands”, starting in Mykonos and ending in Ibiza. He is the founder of thepeakedlapel.com, a men's lifestyle magazine for anyone interested in horology, performance cars and fine tailoring. The lifestyle brand gives daily updates on fashion trends, but also documents Oliver’s Gumball experience and an insider’s track into what is required to prepare for it. The Peaked Lapel is also coming out with a custom made line of high end tailored sporting clothes, available to the public after the rally.
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