My Favourite Places: Victoria Wellington from Sojo Kitchen
Foodie? Vintage lover? Victoria Wellington of Sojo Kitchen caterers hears ya. Here are a few of her favourite places.
Whizzing around the country to check out various fabulous locations is all in a day’s work for Victoria Wellington, founder of catering company, Sojo Kitchen. So we thought the Marlow native would be perfect to tap up for her favourite spots, both local and further afield. Desperate to know where to find exquisite goat’s cheese? Victoria’s your gal. As well as all things foodie, she’s pretty hot on vintage finds too. Quick, she’s not looking – let’s have a snoop in her contacts book….
I’ve been coming to this bar since I was a teenager and it’s been interesting to see how the current owner Antosh Samek has transformed it. He’s young, inventive and always putting on events – cinema nights, quiz nights, amazing parties on bank holidays, Ibiza parties in the summer, DJ sets from big-names such as Norman Jay. I like the fact that it appeals to a range of ages, so you get a really fun, mixed crowd.
I stumbled across this amazing place one day when we were out driving in the sunshine and looking for a nice pub garden to have lunch in. It’s in the Michelin guide, they do fantastic French food and I love the fact that they serve you properly when you sit in the quiet, pretty garden. There’s no going to the bar to order and you get linen napkins – I like that detail! It’s a special spot – a good date night choice.
My fiancé Oliver’s parents have a holiday home near Weymouth and when we visit I always pop to Bridport market. It’s every Saturday with a full-blown vintage section once a month. I absolutely love trawling for second-hand finds – or ‘tat’ as Oliver calls it. My best ever buy here was an amazing navy Mulberry saddle bag for £40 – I couldn’t believe my luck I buy lots here for the events we cater – cute bowls, vintage cut-glass candlesticks and so on. It’s so much cheaper, and less picked over, than similar markets in London or the home counties.
While we’re by the seaside, a mention for my favourite restaurant down there. Mark Hix’s seafood place is on the cliff overlooking Lyme Regis and the Jurassic coast. It’s nice to sit outside and take in the views, and they’ll bring you blankets if it gets chilly. There’s a crazy golf course next door so my daughter and her friends will hang out there while we enjoy a glass of wine.
I have really fond memories of going there as a little girl, with my mum and siblings. I was fascinated by the fish pond, loved rolling down the hills and enjoyed seeing all the leaves turn bright red and orange in autumn. Now, I take my 12-year-old daughter, who is a big fan of the maze. My brother worked there as a chef for a while so it’s somewhere we’ve eaten a lot as a family. Oh, and the spa is lovely. It’s a good all-rounder – you can have a different day there each time you go. It’s my happy place.
You wouldn’t know this was here – it’s a tiny, dark shopfront on Brewer Street. And it’s so small inside you have to say ‘Excuse me’ every time you try to move. But the seafood is just incredible. Oliver and I have a tradition of going once a year, just before Christmas. We do our present shopping, then come here for a bottle of fizz and huge seafood platter. It’s very special.
This stylish vintage furniture shop, in a 17th century tythe barn, is an Aladdin’s cave. I love upcycling old pieces and get my Annie Sloan chalk paint from here. I’ve also previously bought some cute office drawers and vintage glass bottles, and currently have my eye on a dining room table. It’s also right by Emmett’s Farm Shop, so you can grab fruit, veg and meat while you’re up there, or, at Halloween, visit their pumpkin grotto.
I’m spending a lot of time here at the moment because it’s where we’re getting married in December. The next estate along from Cliveden, it’s the most beautiful privately-owned house that looks Georgian but is actually older, set in 100 acres of parkland. You can book it for events and celebrations, and it’s a popular filming location. Quartet and The Golden Compass were both shot here, along with one of George Clooney’s Nespresso ads and Johnny Depp and Tom Hardy are in the guest book. They have all the relevant posters in the ladies’ loos. We’re having our wedding breakfast in the breath-taking ballroom.
Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, London
I discovered this little parade of incredible food shops when I was looking for some unusual goat’s curd for an event and whizzed up to Bayley & Sage to nab some. It’s an amazing deli, – and, bonus, you can park just outside for free for half an hour – and there’s also greengrocers, a butcher and various other independent shops and cafés. The common is also nearby so there’s enough to make a day of it.
This is Tom Kerridge’s pub with a local feel. It’s much more informal than The Hand & Flowers and you can’t book, you just turn up. Even if you get there at 10pm, they’ll still feed you. I like sitting at the bar, watching the chefs in action and asking them to talk through the dishes. Although the cooking is amazing, it’s super relaxed – they have TV screen for sport – and you don’t have to dress up. They do the most amazing smoked vodka Bloody Mary, which I love a bit too much.
I love the annual vintage car boot sale set in the gorgeous grounds of this stately home – the last one I went to I came home laden down with some scales, Victorian bottles and lovely candlesticks. It’s a cut above your usual car boot. They do lots of cool event here through the year and I’d also recommend the tour of the house, where the Stonor family still live – it’s absolutely beautiful.