Introducing No Place Like Home, our new summer interview series, which explores the relationship between people, place and food. First in the series is Pandora Symes, Founder of Rooted London, and all round good egg. Here we chat to Pandora about London, lunch and love:

Pandora, why do you love your home town?


You never fail to experience something new, on a daily basis, in London. You could be waiting for a train and hear a young soul artist singing her heart out, or cycling to work and see a masterpiece of graffiti underneath a bridge. It’s a constant stimulus for creativity. I’m so lucky to live here.

Describe how you see your home town in 3 words:

Wonderfully hectic. Sorry that’s 2 words but rules are there to be broken.

Where do you like to work out in London?


I recently discovered BLOK yoga, a beautiful space next door to my kitchen and office space in Clapton. Victoria Park is my favourite place to go running and Hotpod Yoga always serves me for a good sweaty yoga session.  I’ll always head to Indaba for a good Iyengar class and 1Rebel for a shock to the system, in a good way.

Where do you like to go for shopping in London?

I’m not much of a shopper and tend to buy things as and when I see them. I love the offering at Rev En Vert, a sustainable fashion website but when I’m looking for a wander, I’ll always head to Liberty; it always feels like such a treat. I’m an East London girl and so Redchurch Street is always an easy option. My favourite shop is Aesop and The Basics Store.

Where do you go for street food?


Borough Market is such a great place to discover foodie gems. Broadway Market is my home so I’ll head there on a Saturday once a month to grab some good brunch ingredients to cook back at home. I always find street food best abroad though; it’s the best way to taste local food.

What would you change about London?

I’d create more food co-operatives and farmers markets. It’s expected that eating more plants is expensive but it shouldn’t be and it isn’t. If we had more local fruit and veg shops selling locally farmed food, we could eat a more seasonal palette.  That and more affordable housing.

What’s your favourite part of London? Where did you grow up?


I’ve grown up in East London for most of my life and I recently bought my own safe haven near Victoria Park. My flat is genuinely one of my favourite places in London. It’s great to have somewhere to call home after a long day of catering, deliveries, cooking, teaching and meetings.

What’s your favourite park in London?

Victoria Park is just a power walk away from my home and I adore running, cycling or walking through it every day either on my way to the kitchen or office, or just to take time out with the Pooch. He’s just as much a fan as I am.

Describe your perfect Sunday in London:


I’d wake up slowly and make myself a big old carrot cake smoothie and get back in bed with the fam. Then I’d get my yoga on, before taking Pooch for a walk in the park. It’s so important to me that I get these first few hours to reset. We’d go for relaxed brunch at the Pavilion with friends and spend ages chatting away in the sunshine.  Ideal days are always sunny. After brunch we’d wander through a market and then onto a pub for a big lunch. If there’s a chilled Beaujolais in the fridge, I’m in.  In the evening, we’d go to a gig and in an ideal world it would be Nils Frahm back at the Roundhouse. 

For casual drinks, I like to go to:


In summer I’ll be drinking in the park or The Spurstowe Arms and come winter, you’ll find me at Behind this Wall. In fact, you’ll find me at The Spurstowe all year round.

For dinner, I like to go to:


Primeur in Islington or the new terrace at Oval Space.

Photo Credit: Primeur Islington

For brunch, I like to go to:


Raw Duck in Hackney! You’ll often mind me here after Sunday morning yoga tucking into their divine Harissa eggs.  Or the Pavilion in Victoria Park – their hoppers are just incredible.

Photo Credit: Raw Duck Hackney

If you didn’t live in London, where would you like to live?


Right now, it would have to be Ibiza! There’s just something about living by the ocean that mesmerizes me and the island has so much energy.  Watch this space for a ROOTED RETREAT next year…

Homepage photo credit: Izzy Croker for the Curious Pear