The London Grill: Adrian Brune

We challenge our contributors to reply to ten devilishly probing questions about their London and we don’t take “Sorry Gov” for an answer. Everyone sitting in the hot seat they will face the same questions ranging from their favourite way to spend a day out in the capital to their most hated building on London’s skyline to find out what Londoners think about their city. The questions are the same but the answers vary wildly.

Since 2001, A.M. Brune has reported and written hundreds of freelance newspaper, magazine and website articles – from pitch to print – for publications, such as the New Yorker, The Guardian, Air Mail, the Spectator and others on a variety of topics, including world affairs and culture and social justice. She moved to London in 2021 after 20 years in New York. On Substack she regularly writes A Letter from London, she also be found on her website.

What’s your secret London tip?

Buy an electric bicycle. It is so much faster and easier than public transport, Uber and — am sorry, Black cabbies, who are the oracles of the city — Black cabs.

What’s your secret London place?

I love strolling down the London canals in Islington and Hackney. It’s so cool to see all the floating homes.

What’s your biggest gripe about London?

When people from other places say “wow, you live in London — must be overwhelming,” I want to reply, “People, I lived in New York City for 20 years!” London, as busy as it may be, has nothing on New York. London is civility; New York is chaos.

What’s your favourite building?

The original Twinings Tea Shop on Strand, or the Michelin House restaurant on Fulham Road. Can’t beat the Art Deco and Nouveau architecture.

What’s your most hated building?

The Tate Modern. Such an ugly building on the outside and so annoyingly confusing inside.

What’s the best view in London?

Greenwich Park.

What’s your personal London landmark?

The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. I always dreamt of playing tennis there as a kid and I am always in awe visiting every tournament.

What’s London’s best film, book or documentary?

Film: Notes on a Scandal; Book: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending; Documentary: Amy because it showed Camden in its heyday.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

Lusin, Mayfair. It’s an Armenian restaurant in the heart of “fancy” Kensington.

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?

First, brunch at a local Islington restaurant on Upper Street, where I live, then a visit to Broadway, Columbia Road or Portobello Road markets for antiques. Afterwards, I might see something at the Tate Britain if it’s rainy or walk down the Embankment, photographing pub signs around Covent Garden or Knightsbridge. I would wrap the day with an aperitivo at my local, the Angelic, and a play at the Almeida Theatre or a movie at the Castle Cinema in Hackney.

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