Insider guide to London: Ria Zmitrowicz

Ria Zmitrowicz ©jessybooncowler
Ria in M1lk in Balham – picture by Jessy Boon Cowler
This week’s London guide Ria is both incredibly sweet and incredibly driven. She’s not afraid to take a risk and follow her dreams – which is how she became an actress and ended up moving to London in one fell swoop.

“I got into acting by seeing a flyer at school for the National Youth Theatre so applied for an audition and caught the train up to London with a friend,” she explains over a cup of tea at her favourite brunch joint in Balham. “I never thought I’d actually get in because I was so young and inexperienced, I just thought it would be a fun day up in London! So I was ecstatic when I received the letter saying I had been accepted.”

Ria Zmitrowicz ©jessybooncowler
Ria in M1lk – picture by Jessy Boon Cowler
Ria’s passion for acting has since translated into a string of roles in popular TV shows over the past couple of years, including Whitechapel, Casualty, The Midnight Beast and Youngers for E4 for which she has just finished filming a second series due to air in the UK later this year. She’s also in the current series of Mr Selfridge, and will be appearing in a one-off drama Night Shift alongside Daniel Mays and Ashley Walters this spring on Sky Arts.

As well as being well on the way to forging a hugely successful career, Ria has a wicked sense of humour and does one of the best Deptford accents you’ll ever hear from a non-London native.

Ria Zmitrowicz ©jessybooncowler
Ria in M1lk – picture by Jessy Boon Cowler
Ria in M1lk - picture by Jessy Boon Cowler
Ria in M1lk – picture by Jessy Boon Cowler

My favourite place for brunch is M1lk in Balham. They do an amazing gluten free dish called ‘sweet Maria’ which is halloumi cheese, tomatoes, smashed avocado and optional bacon on a sweet corn fritter, with an amazing sauce that’s spicy in flavour but not in actual hotness so won’t blow your head off! And a slice of lime to drizzle over it. They always seem to have great specials as well.

Curzon Soho
Curzon Soho – image via Curzon Cinemas

Curzon Soho is my favourite cinema as it always has the best films on that aren’t recognised by the main stream cinemas.  I saw The Selfish Giant and The Beasts of the Southern Wild there – they were both phenomenal and probably wouldn’t have heard of them otherwise. Also the cafe up stairs does really yummy cake.

burger and lobster soho
Burger and Lobster
If I’m feeling flush (or more likely it’s a special occasion) Burger and Lobster on Dean Street is a great place for dinner. You can get either a burger or lobster with chips and salad for £20. I’ve never actually tried the burger but I recommend the lobster! Nice cocktails too.

The Bush Theatre - picture by Alex Williams
The Bush Theatre – picture by Alex Williams

I love the Bush Theatre in Shepherds Bush. It’s situated inside the old library which gives it a really welcoming feel. The shows are always of such high quality but never seem to cost more than £20. (And they are always doing deals – I think I once saw a show for a fiver!) The staff are always really friendly too.

New Row Coffee
New Row Coffee

My favourite coffee shop has to be New Row. They do proper coffee. It’s not huge so not the sort of place people sit with laptops or go to kill time which is what I like about it. It’s constantly busy with people popping in to pick up their take-away caffeine fix. And they make fresh almond milk every morning.

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