andrew bredon bel air

Andrew Bredon is the founder of Shoreditch foodie hot spot Bel-Air, the home of feel-good fast food which has been brightening East London’s lunch hours with the likes of black-bean falafel, buttermilk-baked chicken and broccoli and almond slaw since opening in 2015. The concept came about when Andrew vowed not to spend another cold winter in the UK, moving to California in 2009 where he jumped head first into the sun, sea and surf lifestyle. Inspired by the city’s experimental pop-ups, food trucks and healthy outdoor living, the idea of Bel-Air was soon born. Andrew quickly hopped off his sun lounger returned to London – bringing a slice of the LA life with him. We ask the Fresh Prince for his top LA picks…

 

Gjelina

The first time I went to LA I stayed with a friend I had met at Burning Man who’d recently bought a house there. At the end of her road happened to be Gjelina – I didn’t know anything about it but walked by and thought it looked pretty cool. Boy was that a good hunch. In the four weeks I stayed in the city, I must have eaten there over 20 times – the staff must’ve thought I was crazy (or half starved). Go for the simple but totally delicious braised-pork meatballs or grilled-kabocha squash with mint pesto and pomegranate. Someone needs to export that stuff to London, quick.

Black Cat

Silver Lake is the Dalston of LA, overflowing with hip coffee shops, organic grocers and enough material to satiate the entire Insta-foodie brigade. If you’ve got time, drop into Pine & Crane, Forage and Cliff’s Edge, but if you must pick just one, it’s got to be Black Cat. Laid-back and fun, don’t be fooled by the discount-mall facade – this is a super-stylish tavern with a long bar serving fab cocktails and interesting Californian food, all done in that effortlessly cool “whatever” manner, which I’ve yet to master.

Jitlada

In-the-know LA pals took me to this Thai institution. Yes, it’s in a strip mall and it might have more neon lights in the window than the whole of Las Vegas, but the food is both authentic and delicious – more importantly, my friends claim it’s Ryan Gosling’s favourite restaurant (though I’ve yet to spot him) so it must be a good’un. Be sure to book in advance as we waited 45 minutes for a table (and are still waiting for Mr Gosling).

Peninsula Hotel

My girlfriend and her band recently played Coachella which marked the end of a month-long US tour, so as a treat I booked us into the Peninsula Hotel for a night. This old-school Beverly Hills, five-diamond luxury affair is the stuff of dreams (though a nightmare for your wallet) but you don’t need to be making it rain to tuck into their legendary Sunday brunch. Think bottomless champagne and plenty of celeb spotting – though even more fun is pretending you’re one of them.

Whole Foods

No trip to LA is complete without a trip to Whole Foods – personally, I like (love) the one in Venice Beach. It sounds weird but I genuinely get goosebumps when I walk in, and not thanks to the cool section. The freshness of the produce is mind blowing, with colourful veg stacked in open fridges and a meat counter offering every cut imaginable – though for me it’s a no brainer, with slow-cooked brisket straight from their smokehouse a winner every time. I can and do spend hours there, though just a small basket of goodies may require the remortgage of your house. You have been warned.

Viceroy LA

Lots of people talk about how fake LA is, but I’ve always found locals there to be remarkably friendly and many wild nights have begun by chatting to strangers. One which stands out in particular was when I was lounging on a sun bed at the Viceroy in Santa Monica and made friends with a 50-year-old former Playboy bunny and her impossibly attractive toyboy. It was a heady night fuelled by killer cocktails and more-ish poolside tapas. Embrace the fakery, it’s totally brilliant and you never know where you might end up. The Playboy Mansion, say… What happens in LA stays in LA, right?

Gjelina

Black Cat

Jitlada

Peninsula Hotel

Whole Foods

Viceroy LA

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