Culturalist Touria El Glaoui’s guide to Covent Garden

Words by
Sphere Life
Photography by
Victoria Birkinshaw

16th June 2020

The Founding Director of the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair discusses her go-to places in the heart of London’s West End, from restaurants to galleries

Touria El Glaoui was born and raised in Morocco, completing her education in New York before relocating to London. 


16 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP

I always head here when I am missing the Moroccan food of my childhood. The Barbary serves amazing North African food in the relative calm of Neal’s Yard.


4–6 Russell Street, WC2B 5HZ 

This restaurant offers delicious French bistro food and sits right next to our offices at Somerset House, so the 1-54 team head here for celebratory lunches. It is also a favourite when we need some calm during the Fair in early October.


Strand, WC2R 1LA 

Not only does the London edition of 1-54 take over three wings of the historical building in October, but Somerset House has an amazing programme of exhibitions all year round, as well as a great creative community that is pushing the boundaries of art in all its forms. 

180 The Strand

180 Strand, WC2R 1EA

For incredible art exhibitions and installations on a huge scale that make use of pioneering technology, The Store X in 180 The Strand is the place to go. I always make an effort to visit its exhibitions.


27 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EU

Eating and drinking ethically are important to me, so Monmouth Coffee is my go-to before I sit down to
work. I also buy its ground coffee so I can enjoy it on the weekends, too.



66-68 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HG

This South-African chain not only serves great peri-peri chicken, but also has the largest collection of Southern African art in the world hung across all its restaurant walls, so the team and I have always been fans.



Floral Court, WC2E 8JD

I like to come here for a bit of wholesome shopping and gift buying.



Bow Street, WC2E 9DD

The renovated façade is glorious, but I must admit I miss Yinka Shonibare’s Globe Head Ballerina, which was there for five years. I recommend the Recitals at Lunch for a fun break in the middle of the day.