Discover Portman Marylebone: Your ultimate guide to wellness in the heart of London

Experience the unique charm of Portman Marylebone, a village oasis in the heart of London
Discover Portman Marylebone: Your ultimate guide to wellness in the heart of London
July 6, 2024   |    Lara Kilner

London’s Portman Marylebone is a rare and special place indeed. Very much central, very much part of the West End, very much a mere stone’s throw from the shopping hordes of Oxford Street and, yet, essentially, a village.

A local neighbourhood that many (largely affluent) people call home – everyone from Charles Dickens and Paul McCartney have been among them over the years – it serves as a retreat from the city chaos all around. Among its rather enchanting streets are a host of wellness offerings, from wholefood cafés to apothecaries to luxury sports apparel stores. And so BALANCE went to investigate, to bring you the best way to spend your day in this central London enclave…

Daisy Green

We can all learn a thing or two about how to brunch from those Aussie folks, and the Antipodean-influenced Daisy Green does late breakfasts with bells on. The menu, inspired by the owner’s memories of long summers on the beach and cooking for the sheep shearers on their family farm in Outback Victoria, is as wholesome as it is tasty. We opted for a Healthy Start, a protein-packed feast of perfect poached eggs with avo, tomatoes, broccoli, halloumi and – most interestingly – slices of griddled celeriac that were a complete triumph, in lieu of toast. They also offer a selection of vibrant salads to top with everything from tandoori roast salmon to labneh and a beetroot and green miso dressing to drizzle over that is set to make our usual olive oil and balsamic concoction feel forever dreary. Food aside, the other great joy of Daisy Green is that a mere hop and skip from the madness of Oxford Street, you’re in a charming local neighbourhood cafe framed by purple wisteria. There are another 15 cafés in the same group across the city, but, unlike most chain offerings, each is completely unique. What links them all is their selection of fancy lamingtons, the humble Australian cake elevated to a whole new level here. Don’t mind if we do…  |  20 Seymour Street, W1H 7HX


Enter a running shop with a difference. Not only does it sell an excellent line in lux apparel, it is also a store with a community. People gather here to throw on their trainers and hit the pavements as part of the Tracksmith running club, which all started in Boston in the US – and you don’t need to be marathon material, nor a local resident, nor super affluent, to join in. Groups are put together by their expected paces and men and women from all over town gather for pre- or after work runs, often in Regents or Hyde Park, with the store being pleasingly placed between the two biggest royal green spaces. For anyone who would rather avoid the horrors of high street stores like Sports Direct for buying kit (that’ll be everyone, ever, then), Tracksmith is a tonic. All dark wood, fresh plants and great music, upstairs is a homely haven in which to peruse the goods, while downstairs is where runners come to change, refresh and toast their achievements (there’s a pinboard for photos of members celebrating their successes). Tracksmith’s summer collection has running gear inspired by African surf culture, and they sell their own brand of trainers, the carbon-plated Eliot racer shoe and the everyday Elliot Runner, made from a strong, flexible and very lightweight material called Pebax. | 25 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PW 


Directly across from the opulence of that infamous celebrity haunt Chiltern Firehouse, is anatomē, a modern apothecary whose mission is to support us with that primary pillar of wellness – sleep. They even have a sleep manifesto, promising to deliver formulations that will keep us sharper, fresher and in control, as well as feeling creative, happier and more fun. A very big yes please to all of the above. Their oils, pillow sprays, bath salts and candles focus on all manner of slumber issues, whether your unsatisfactory kip is down to being restless or stressed or suffering from an overactive mind that has you pinging wide awake at 3am to worry about that email you forgot to reply to (that’ll be us, then). The use of essential oils differs for the various afflictions – Cornish lavender for those tired in mind and body, Somali Frankincense for overthinkers, German chamomile for the tossing and turning brigade, and Japanese seaweed for light sleepers who wake annoyingly regularly. And you thought perfumes were solely to make you smell nice, right? Well, anatomē doesn’t agree. They offer a wellbeing parfum range with the purpose of making the wearer feel energised, balanced or focused, as well as a range of skincare products, including everything from an illuminating face oil to a massage brush to improve circulation. | 16 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PZ


When one tires of another day, another Pret sandwich, SOULi is a most excellent place to head for a quick, yet restorative, refuel. A buzzy café with a real neighbourhood feel, the lunch menu changes daily, each time dishing out a proper food hug, with choices ranging from harissa-spiced roots and chickpeas with couscous, to butternut squash and red lentil soups. Burratina or feta and kale salads are washed down with fresh juices and apple and ginger shots, but the biggest draw is SOULi’s coffee and tea offerings. It is the only place in town with coffee from Sant’ Eustachio, an iconic café that has been serving espressos to the good people of Rome since 1938, and one of a mere few eateries in London serving the Mariage Frères teas from a brand that has been serving Parisians from their tea house since 1854. | 17 George Street, W1U 3QN

Townhouse Nails

Amid the shisha bars and Lebanese mezze restaurants of Edgware Road, is the Marylebone outpost of this ever-expanding luxury nail bar. A decidedly elevated experience compared to our usual mani, Townhouse Nails is a slick operation with all the credentials a good wellness-observant person needs – for starters, the polishes are all free of toxic chemicals and there’s a full vegan range on offer. Tech is central – we self-check in on arrival and there’s no more of the old flicking through colour swatch sticks or perusing the shelves of paints, instead choosing colours with a swipe of the ipad. The mani itself nurtures our unkempt and shamefully neglected nails (truly remarkable how much difference a spot of cuticle care makes), before an impeccable finish with gel that stays perfect for over two weeks afterwards (plus, if it becomes anything less than perfect in the first week, they will fix it for free). | 120 Edgware Road, W2 2EA


This Pakistani restaurant, nestled amidst the gastropubs and boutiques of New Quebec Street, is that rare place that manages to feel both special and laid back-casual all at the same time.  Both the food and the sumptuous decor are a large cut above your typical curry house – just ask the esteemed and eclectic clientele, who include the Malaysian prime minister, the owner of Fulham FC, the actor and podcaster Jameela Jamil, the boxer Amir Khan and, wait for it, only David Hasslehoff. And if the Hoff recommends a restaurant, we listen. Chef-owner Riz Dar does this for love not money, and it shows. His menu is full of cherished dishes taught by his mum and dad, and there’s a great selection of comforting, wholesome choices on his menu, including a very decent smattering of vegan dishes. Riz is planning to start cooking masterclasses (at the request of Jameela and her musician partner James Blake) and started with us, taking us into his small-but-perfectly-formed kitchen to demonstrate his sweet and zesty mango salad, his creamy, divine dal makhani, and the best fluffy garlic and peshawari naans we’ve eaten in all our curry-loving days. The dal is one of four on Riz’s menu, including a vegan Lahori chunai, his signature dish with chickpeas, onion, ginger and chana masala. Protein-rich pulses aside, Riz also elevates okra, aubergine and spinach dishes to worthy main course levels. | 25 New Quebec Street, W1H 7SF


A summer like no other: Celebrate 10 years of Marylebone’s Summer in the Square

Summer in the Square is back and bigger than ever, celebrating its 10th anniversary with a lineup that promises something for everyone. Here’s what you can look forward to:

– Nobu Portman Square Takes the Spotlight
On 10 and 11 July, experience the culinary excellence of Nobu Catering, offering their renowned Japanese-Peruvian dishes al fresco in Portman Square Garden.

– Live screenings of Wimbledon and Paris 2024 Olympic Games
Enjoy live screenings of Wimbledon from 8-15 July and the Paris 2024 Olympics from 7-11 August.
Whether you’re a tennis enthusiast or an Olympic supporter, this is the perfect way to watch your favourite sports in a beautiful outdoor setting.

– The return of the Wellness Den
Check out a variety of sustainable activities and workshops:Lunchtime yoga and Pilates sessions

  • Boxing classes from BXR London
  • Craft workshops, including vegan lip balm making and eco-resin sculpture creation
  • Kids activities such as bug hotel building and kids yoga
  • Tasting sessions and pop-up smoothie bars to refresh and rejuvenate

– A feast for the senses
Indulge in a variety of culinary delights from some of Marylebone’s best eateries.

This year’s event promises to be a feast for the senses, combining the best of wellness, sport, and gastronomy. Check out the full schedule.


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