Broadcaster, food author, Finery Female and Forever Pieces collaborator Alice Levine is back with an update of her eponymous blouse. A step on from last year’s blush pink reworking, Alice’s latest foray into design saw her experiment with print, colour and silhouette. To mark the launch, we caught up with the London resident to get her recommendations on why she loves the city so much, where to eat and what to listen to.
What do you like most about living in London?
‘That it is made up of lots of little villages. When you first arrive, like any big city, you feel like it is one giant, faceless metropolis but actually there are lots of little pockets and distinct neighbourhoods that can feel very homely. I live in Hackney and finally now have that feeling of it being home - recognising people as I walk down the street, knowing my local shopkeepers' names and vice versa; having neighbours who I could borrow a cup of sugar from. It's really great when you get to that point. Suddenly you think, "Maybe Richard Curtis' London does exist!"’
‘Pretty chilly...why is my flat ALWAYS cold?’
Where do you go when you want to get away from everything?
‘The lido in London Fields - it is the most incredible place. On cold, sunny days the steam rises off the surface of the water, at night it is floodlit and often empty (very eerie), and early in the morning in the summer you could almost pretend you were somewhere very hot and glamorous.’
Where’s your favourite place in London for a date?
‘Lyle's – it has the most delicious food and wine and brilliant ambiance and sitting up at the bar is a lovely thing to do on a date. The staff are wonderful - just the right side of attentive and they really know their stuff.’
What’s the best thing you’ve discovered in London?
‘Rochelle Canteen. It’s hidden in a garden, behind the wall of a Victorian school on Arnold Circus in Shoreditch; this is one of my most visited spots. A simple, seasonal, well-thought out menu always greets you and our friend Euan is head chef so we like to think we get a bigger portion.
What is the best gig you’ve been to in London?
‘Not really a gig but I'll never forget seeing A Midsummer Night's Dream open air in Regents Park - very special.’
Best place for an impromptu dinner?
‘The Little Duck Picklery (which is from the same team behind Duck Soup and Raw Duck). This new restaurant is exactly what you would think of if you dreamt up your ideal neighbourhood joint.’
And where do you go when you want to pull out all the stops?
‘I don't like stuffy or fussy restaurants where they put your napkin on your lap for you or pull out your chair. So I like the theatre of Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecôte - it feels like a really old school treat. It's a very traditional French steak joint that reminds me a bit of Chartreuse in Paris. It only does a walnut green salad and steak frites, that's it. They only have one white wine on the menu because they disapprove of that choice so much! Once you think you've finished they bring the second half of your steak and the rest of your fries - my eyes popped out off my head. I took James from My Dad Wrote a Porno for his birthday one year - he didn't know what to do with himself. File under, indulgent.’
Where do you go on your days off?
Columbia Road Flower Market - I do my radio show at the weekends so I don't usually get to go but if I'm ever off and in the city that is my first port of call. I cycle down there, buy lots of peonies and have something delicious at Lily Vanilli's.
Where do you go when funds are running low?
Roti King - when funds are low, high and in between. This has to be one of the best meals in London.
If money was no object, which London building would you buy?
I'll have John Soane's house please.
Listen to Alice’s Finery playlist:
Photography by Jack Johnstone