Phone apps to guide punters to food, drink and shops in Fitzrovia

Wheel of Om Nom — Fitzrovia food and drink app, by Leagas Delaney London; iPhone.

Love Fitzrovia — Food, drink and shopping, loyalty app, by Apps4 Ltd; iPhone and Android.

Screenshot of iPhone app.

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Spoilt for choice in where to eat and drink in Fitzrovia? Stuck in a rut going to the same place day after day and eating the same thing for lunch again and again? Just stressed out by too much decision-making? The Wheel of Om Nom is a nifty little app that will make helpful suggestions as to where you can go at the spin of a wheel from a mini-directory of around 30 independent eating places in Fitzrovia.

Screenshot of map.

The Wheel of Om Nom will guide you to independent sources of food and drink.

There will be some names you will recognise — the Riding House Cafe and the Newman Arms for example — but there are plenty more to discover ranging from cafes, pubs and restaurants to fish and chips and food from around the world. Given the calibre of the places that I already know on this app – like the properly Greek deli/restaurant The Life Goddess and coffee alchemists Store Street Espresso (both on Store Street and both highly recommended) the Wheel of Om Nom has encouraged me to explore the options slightly further afield from my immediate neighbourhood and I am chuffed to have discovered that the Scandinavian Kitchen is much nearer than I thought and is every bit as good as I was told it was going to be.

Download the app free from iTunes and it couldn’t be simpler. Just spin the wheel (which makes a satisfying whooshy noise) and up comes a suggestion of where to go. One click gets you a photo of the shopfront, a short description of what they have to offer, the address with a link to an excellent map of the location and a phone number.

It’s not perfect, it would be useful if there was an indication of the price level and links to websites (where they exist) if you want to know more/see menus. It would be helpful if there was a link to a list of all the places featured as it is very irritating to have to spin the wheel lots of times if you want to find somewhere again that you liked the look of in a previous spin. And it crashes if you spin the wheel too many times. I was told it features discounts and special offers but I couldn’t find any the last time I used it. But it’s good fun – and a brilliant introduction to places that deserved to be discovered.

The Wheel of Om Nom was created by independent communications agency Leagas Delaney and the businesses don’t pay to be featured. The name? Om Nom is the sound we make when eating — apparently.

Screen shot of Love Fitzrovia.

Love Fitzrovia is a loyalty consumer app.

Love Fitzrovia is an app designed to promote local businesses with directories under the headings “eat Fitzrovia”, “art Fitzrovia” and “shop Fitzrovia” and a section with offers. There is also a section for loyalty cards but I couldn’t fathom how to operate this — which gives the app an air of being rather unloved by its creators (it was commissioned by The Fitzrovia Partnership Business Improvement District, who take a levy from bigger businesses in the area to promote Fitzrovia).

The Wheel of Om Nom has similar aims (sticking to food and drinks from mostly independent businesses whilst Love Fitzrovia also lists Burger King and O2 etc.). But the Wheel has a quirky element of charm lacking in Love Fitzrovia.

Love Fitzrovia has some good offers buried in its infrastructure — 15% off the bill at the excellent Warren Street Japanese cafe Mushu, 10% off wine and 5% off spirits at The Soho Wine Supply, 10% off at London Graphic Centre — but it is rather joyless getting to them.

The three directories run A-Z which is useful when you are looking for details of a particular place but means you get over-familiar with those at the beginning of the alphabet and rarely scroll right to the end, especially since if you look up somewhere you are returned to the top of the directory when you navigate back.

You get a short description of the establishment (written by the business itself) contact details, links to a map and — here it goes one step better than the Wheel of Om Nom — one click to access their website, if they have one.

If the business you look up has an offer you can access it from their directory page but if you are just looking for offers there is a separate section which lists them all.

Sign up and it asks for your email address, which is a bit annoying (although they haven’t troubled my inbox, so why bother?). Worth downloading (free from iTunes)? I suppose so. But not for long if it doesn’t get some attention from its creators.

Download Wheel of Om Nom and Love Fitzrovia.

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