Soul singer Mica Paris has had a long career of successful albums and hit singles, including My One Temptation and I Never Felt Like This Before, and was awarded an MBE in 2020 for services to music. She is also a city girl through and through, born in Islington, brought up in Brockley and now living in central London. She talks to us about sourcing the best Italian ingredients in the capital, her wellness haven and where she likes to dance.
My London Glossary
I’ve lived in west London for many years. High Street Kensington and Notting Hill are my favourite areas because of all of the great secondhand shops and I always take a wander down Portobello Market. My best friend Lisa Butcher has a good secret spot in Regent’s Park where we take our dogs – my Bichon Frise Dali and Lisa’s Doberman Daphne – and put the world to rights. It’s our chill space. The Japanese Kyoto Garden in Holland Park is also special to me. I’ve lived all over London – I was born in Islington and grew up in Brockley – and my favourite memories are my dad taking us to Bayswater to see the art along the railings by Hyde Park. Back then going to the West End was such a treat. Dad would take us to a Chinese restaurant, and it was like ‘wow’. Most people I was growing up around in south London had never been to the West End, so I’d come back and tell them all about it.
I’ve been going to Italian restaurant Essenza on Kensington Park Road since my daughter was at school and now, she’s married and I’m a grandmother. Stefano, the owner, knows me, and I know the menu exactly. They make the most amazing pasta with truffle. Daphne’s, the iconic Italian restaurant on Draycott Avenue in South Kensington is another favourite. I stick to what I know.
There’s an amazing butcher in Holland Park called C Lidgate where the wagyu steak is the one. Then I’ll go to La Piccola round the corner. A good deli is important to me. I buy their truffle honey, pecorino, truffle paste, handmade pasta and extra pressed virgin olive oil. That and the Jamaican food is another reason I love west London. I head to Shepherd’s Bush market for my plantain, yam and callaloo – the kids want their ackee and saltfish at the weekend. I find all my homeware around Lots Road in Chelsea, where the antiques shops are. I don’t buy music anymore as I get so much sent to me, but Red Records in Brixton was my go-to.
My favourite designers are Rifat Ozbek, Joe Casely-Hayford and my number one is Azzedine Alaïa, the king of body con. He designed so well for women’s bodies. I wore one of his dresses on my Whisper A Prayer album cover and I’ve still got it. But generally, I don’t have a lot of clothes. I’m quite minimalist, so I give them away to Oxfam. I also recently curated a collection in the Oxfam x Bay Garnett pop-up shop in Selfridges to raise money for the charity’s work to beat poverty around the world. I was around when King’s Road was the road, Carnaby Street too. Vivienne Westwood was there, John Galliano had a little shop, and he would make my suits for me in his office upstairs, and Ozwald Boateng was in a tiny room up Westbourne Park Avenue. This is how old I am.
KX in Chelsea – honestly, that place is my life. I’ve been going for 18 years and it’s an absolute haven. I do a workout or a Pilates class, steam and sauna. I get my facials and nails done there and the massages… Oh my word, Slav the masseuse is great. There’s also a beautiful restaurant. I get worried talking about it that too many people will go there, but it’s like going on holiday in the middle of a busy city. My hairdresser Terry Jacques is around the corner in Beauchamp Place. He’s been doing my hair since I was a teenager, that’s how long I’ve known him, and he’s done every album cover of mine.
I’m often in central London so I spend a lot of time at Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone and I love IT London on Dover Street in Mayfair. It’s an amazing Michelin-starred Italian restaurant with an unusual menu and a wicked nightclub if you want to do the club thing, which I often do. I’m a big-time Soho House person, my favourite is Electric House on Portobello Road. Sunday lunches there are the best and the kids love it, there’s a real family vibe. I don’t drink, so I’ll order a Virgin Picante (Seedlip Garden, citrus, agave and chilli). Oh my, that chilli will blow your head off.
I like the Serpentine Galleries a lot and I adore the Tate. I’ve taken the kids and grandkids to the Science Museum and the British Museum – I’m a huge history nut. London has some brilliant music venues like the Royal Albert Hall and Wigmore Hall, but my favourite is Shepherd’s Bush Empire – it’s close to where I live and the sound is amazing My heart is in smaller venues, the last gig I saw was Rag’n’Bone Man at the London Palladium. I like the opera every now and again, and my most recent theatre visit was to see Beverley Knight in The Drifters Girl at The Garrick.