It has been a year very well spent of eating, cooking and travelling to eat more. As this little blog turns one, I have been thinking about the feasts, the snacks and the boozy lunches I have enjoyed most in London over this past year and here you will find a collection of special places I know I will be returning to again and again through the next.
for Taiwanese decadence
From the people behind Bao, this upmarket celebration of Taiwanese cusine is in the most perfect and transporting cinematic setting. Come here to work your way through the reasonable priced set menu, but make sure not to miss out on some of the star dishes of taro dumplings, chicken wings and a little gem of a snack plate; peanut and watermelon syrup drenched lotus crisps that could be easily overlooked. For more on XU read my review here.
the London icon
Seeing as I guess I think of myself as been somewhat affiliated with that cringeworthy term ‘foodie,’ its a crime that this year I had only my first visit (not last, don’t worry) to the London icon that is St. John. Come here for some of the best of British cooking and a menu with a strong focus on nose to tail eating which has been championed by the iconic owner Fergus Henderson since the 90’s. Of course the St. John classics like bone marrow toast and Welsh rarebit are unmissable, but I could happily devour anything served to me in this wonderful place.
for boozy Saturday lunches
A special weekend treat is watching a early movie at the wonderfully brutalist setting of the Bloomsbury Curzon, followed by a stroll down Lambs Conduit Street (possibly the dreamiest street in London) to Noble Rot for a long boozy lunch. Come here to eat oysters, delicate slip sole and other beautiful dishes in this dark cosy restaurant and wash it down with some fabulous wine.
a cosy Italian gem
I already wrote about my love for Trullo and its trendy younger sibling Padella in my round up of the best pasta in London here, however I couldn’t not mention this wonderful place again. Head to this candlelit spot for cosy dinners of the best unpretentious Italian cooking in London and pop in to Padella for budget plates of pasta perfection.
Garden Museum Café
the perfect lunch paring to a cultured weekend
You would be a fool to overlook this place as a simple museum café. Don’t get me wrong, I love a museum cafê as much as I love a slab of Victoria sponge however the food here is truly exceptional. After a morning spent at the Tate Britten head across the river to the Garden cafe for a lovely long lunch and feast on dishes like the sassy looking quail below on a bed of creamy corn and chilli or rich roasted lamb balanced beautifully with grilled radicchio and anchovies. For more on my meals at the Garden café look here.
if only every neighbourhood were this lucky
Primeur is everything a neighbourhood restaurant should be. A casual chic treat set in a beautiful old garage, this wonderful place has been serving me a ever changing menu of simple sounding however perfect dishes such as cured Lonza, broad beans & lemon or cod with mussels and fennel sauce for years. The only problem is I wish it were my neighbourhood restaurant.
not your average pub
The Marksman and my famous quest to secure *that* brown butter tart was one of my earliest posts on this blog and is a testament to the fact I only post about the meals I have truly loved and will be repeating again and again. Over the past year this marvellous boozer has secured its place as pub of choice for Sunday roasts and mid week dinners that shall always begin with the delight that is their beef and barley bun.
Morito Hackney Road
colourful small plate magic
A stones through from The Marksman is Morito Hackney Road, a fabulous extension of the icon Moro and original Morito that are nestled on the lovely Exmouth Market. Head hear for sweet sticky colourful plates of a blend of North African, Spanish and Middle Eastern influence. For more see my full post here.
indian inspired magic
Born from two brits with a love of India, this place has quickly moved from Brixton pop up to soho restaurant. Take a seat at the open kitchen and feast on little plates of fusion like kerala fried chicken with curry leaf mayonnaise and pickled mouli, samphire pakoras with sweet date & tamarind chutney or the famous duck leg kathi roll with peanut sauce. For more on Kricket see my post here.
the experimental local
Since opening his restaurant almost a few years ago now, Magnus Reid has been serving simple but experimental plates to the lucky citizens of hackney and beyond. Come here for honest tasty cooking with unexspected combinations of ingredients which are always met with a very happy eater. Some of my favourite dishes on my visits here have been grilled corn with miso butter and nori, burrata with bottarga, grilled onions and sumac and of course the restaurants famous fried potatoes with cream fraiche and trout roe.
Hackney’s not so secret little secret
You become spoilt with having somewhere like Raw Duck on your doorstep. It is the place I eat most at in London which means I have become all too familiar with the charm of the place and the magic of its kitchen. However it only takes a plate as simple as labneh with duka and a glass of crisp white wine on a Monday night to suddenly make me realise how lucky I am to have this little gem on my doorstep. It’s also in my opinion the best brunch spot in London, and this isn’t just because they have snuck the best fried chicken in London on to said brunch menu. A more recent discovery is their newly opened Little duck in Dalston where I am quickly asserting my self as a regular also.
the can I please eat here everyday forever restaurant
I only ate here a couple of weeks ago half way through a long and dry January and I am already worried that 2018 may have peaked. What happened at Margot Henderson’s newest venture in the ICA was a meal of shear perfection. When a dinner starts with bread so good you shriek with pleasure (griddle bread with fava beans and roasted onions) you realise you are on to a winner. The bread opener was followed with pillowy salt cod croquettes, accompanied with a generous amount of aioli. Smoked pork chop was devoured down to the bone, a plate of brisket was met with demands for the source of their devine mustard and it all ended with a Buttermilk bavarois with poached rhubarb which left me wondering how soon is too soon to book my next dinner here?