In tribute: Anthony Bourdain on London

In tribute and homage to this culinary rockstar and the 'Elvis of bad boy chefs', we document and share Anthony Bourdain favourite "home away from home" eateries.

St. John

"If I had to die with half a bite of anything hanging out of my mouth, it would probably be the roast bone marrow in Fergus Henderson's plain-white dining room at St. John." Bourdain has also described St. John as "the restaurant of my dreams" and his favourite restaurant in the world - stating that he "loved absolutely everything about it: the attitude, the look, the food, the wine." Having been introduced to the restaurant by AA Gill, he would visit every time he came to London.  St. John is an English restaurant in Smithfield, London. It was opened in October 1994 by Fergus Henderson and Jon Spiteri, on the premises of a former bacon smoke-house. Under Henderson's guidance as head chef, the fabled restaurant has specialised in "nose to tail eating", with a devotion to offal and other cuts of meat rarely seen in restaurants, often reclaiming traditional British recipes and has become one of Britain's most iconic eateries. Order the warm pig's head with white beans, which was described by Anthony Bourdain as "so Goddamn amazing that it borders on religious epiphany."


Located in a Grade II listed building on Queen Victoria Street, City stalwart Sweetings is probably the oldest fish and oyster restaurant in London and has been serving up signature dishes at lunch (including: West Mersea oysters, lobster salad and smoked eel) to busy Londoners since 1889. In its 124-year venerable history, the "very superior oyster rooms" has been owned by six different people and it's nostalgic charm shows that little seems to have changed, which is a good thing. Timeless. Anthony Bourdain joined Fergus Henderson for lunch there when filming the London episode of The Layover, stating that "you are made to feel like you're back at boarding school. Minus the caning and the sodomy." This is Henderson's favorite restaurant in London (if not the world). 

Rochelle Canteen

Converted from the old school bike shed and opened in 2006, Rochelle Canteen looks out onto the grassy playground and the trees of Arnold Circus beyond. This well hidden gem co-owned by Margot Henderson, wife of Fergus Henderson of St. John, and has a similar culinary approach. The menu changes seasonally with ingredients left mostly to speak to themselves. The laid-back atmosphere and charming setting make for pleasurable mealtimes. Whenever it’s warm enough, tables are set outside. Bourdain visited Rochelle Canteen (which nows has an outpost at the ICA), in 2016 for Parts Unknown London, and ate peas in their pods, radishes, vitello tonnato, Welsh lamb chops with lentils and green sauce.

Other places Bourdain visited when visiting London, included: the Princess Victoria pub in Shepherd's Bush where he ate Scotch eggs, whitebait, fries, and Guinness and also Caribbean takeaway Peppers & Spice for a Jamaican takeout.

The world-traveling gourmand and award-winnng chef Anthony Bourdain moved out of the kitchen to become a bestselling author and award-winning television personality, gaining wider fame with his unique culinary worldview and using food as a window to the world and described by Marco Pierre White as the “Hemingway of gastronomy”. RIP. 

Ideal For

Paying homage