A London Food Guide – The Best Places To Eat!
London is one of the top ranked cities in the world for fine dining, holding over 70 Michelin stars, so it comes as no surprise that the standard of food in this wonderful city is outstanding. But you don’t have to sell a lung to afford the best grub in London, there are plenty of great restaurants, cafés, street food stalls and markets to get you salivating.
So, if you’re in the nation’s capital with the intention of loosening your belts and settling in for a few days of top-nosh, let me share with you some amazing restaurants and the best street food you will ever encounter.
Brunch in London
First things first, start your day at the botanical paradise of the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings Restaurant (the B&H to locals). Hallelujah to Pinterest for this amazing find – a holiday for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Like some wealthy old country estate which has gone to seed you can take your tea in the garden room amongst the flora or find a comfy low arm-chair with worn blooming prints in the cosy restaurant area. Such a beautiful restaurant, a perfect setting for breakfast, and bustling with cheeriness from the attentive staff and happy punters alike.
The menu for brunch is fairly substantial and all impecably prepared. Booking is essential, this kind of high quality food in pretty surroundings is always going to be a winner with locals and visitors alike. Find more information on their website. So, how do you like your eggs?
Alternatively, if you prefer swank over crittal conservatory’s, check out one of the four Granger & Co.’s in Notting Hill, Kings Cross, Clerkenwell and Chelsea as another top choice for brunch in London.
Food Markets of London
Street food in London wonderfully represents the enormous diversity of cultures you find yourself rubbing shoulders with in this liquorice allsorts of a metropolis. Cuisines from countries you’ve never even heard of and dishes that you can’t even pronounce. That said – you don’t need to speak Uzbekistanian to eat Uzbekistanian.
Most people have heard of Greenwich, Camden or Borough Markets, in fact, most people have been, but don’t forget the little guys. Leather Lane has been around 400 years and has a royal history – the wager of a bad debt made by destitute King Charles II. Enveloped by Little Italy and once a place for artists and instrument makers, these days you will be spoilt for choice when you come for lunch. Or Broadway Market, rumoured to have inspired the set of Eastenders, is a foodie-heaven frequented by local hipsters and fashionista’s. Or Berwick Street Market – just around the corner from Oxford Circus, you’re bound to be passing at some point so take a left turn and pick up some tasty morsels. Street food is becoming a lot more sophisticated but ultimately offers you the opportunity to sample some unusual dishes and unique flavours – my particular favourite are the sea urchins on Borough Market.
Curry In London
Well obviously I would direct you to Brick Lane in Shoreditch if it’s a traditional Indian restaurant you’re hankering after – a good curry and naan with a pinch of bad-attitude waiters and a parting after-eight as standard, and I know you won’t be disappointed. This is the area where Bangladeshi’s immigrated to last century and brought their curry recipes with them so if it’s authentic Indian you’re after, Brick Lane is where you need to be for the most amazing curries.
However, there is an alternative option – curry with a twist, if you like – that will also blow your socks off : Dishoom. Dishoom is a modern take on the old Iranian cafe’s of Bombay. Not many exist still today, but back when Iranian’s escaped persecution in their own land, they crossed borders and Bombay in particular became home to these peculiar Irani-style cafe’s where both lawyer and lay person ate their meals together.
It really doesn’t get much better than Dishoom. From the minute you enter one of their establishment in Covent Garden, Shoreditch or Kensington your nose sends out party invites to various other body members seducing you with scents of cardamom and clove, cassia and cumin. The welcome is warm and the jovial atmosphere in very well groomed surroundings makes it the perfect spot to enjoy an evening with friends – I can’t recommend it highly enough!
The calamari small plate and the Chicken Ruby, mopped up with a Roomali Roti won’t disappoint. Wash it down with a mango and fennel seed lassi and jobs a good’un.
Reservations are taken for breakfast and lunch, but if there are less than 6 of you at Dinner you can’t book and may have to wait a short while. Get their opening times on their website.
Posh Picnics From The Best London Deli
If you’re hankering for a picnic but feel like cheese and ham sandwiches just don’t make the grain then find yourselves an Ottolenghi Deli and pick up some of their amazing salads and even more amazing cakes and pastries. As if they didn’t look good enough anyway, they’re even healthy too, it’s pure clean eating – although maybe not all the cakes. There are 6 establishments across London, including Belgravia, Islington and Spitalfields, to purchase your posh picnic.
Michelin Food In London – Dinner by Heston
So, I’ve shared some London food gems with you my friends, and all places I wouldn’t hesitate to take my most critical of foodie-friends (who shall remain nameless, but you know the type – never compliment your cooking, always name-drop their latest extravagant nosh-up, call the chefs by their Christian names). Well, if you need a retort then book yourselves a table at Heston’s at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. ‘Dinner‘ ranks number 7 in the Worlds Best Restaurants this year and it’s really easy to see why. The menu is inspired by the History of British cuisine – contemporary takes on old recipes which show that our obsession with food is not just a modern marvel. Every mouthful will leave you humming with delight and wonderment at how something can taste so good, and that’s just the bread they bring you to nibble on as you wait on the ultimate dining experience! You may well be surrounded by rich Chinese business men and their bag-laiden teenage daughters, only here to pick up their new horse-hair Manolos, but Dinner doesn’t request that you own half a football club. Of course it’s high-end and you probably want to dress up but the staff are gracious and don’t differentiate, there are still many diners there for special occasions who wouldn’t ordinarily be so lavish and this is much respected.
A 3 course lunch from their set lunch menu costs £40 (available Monday – Friday) and the á la carte considerably more, but I promise you it’s worth every penny. This is the seventh best restaurant in the world!
In the middle of Marylebone is the cosiest of gastro-pubs. Renowned for its amazing full English breakfast, after you’ve spent the evening in one of their contemporary styled rooms. So if you like to stay in acommodation with an excellent restaurant for your evening meal then you will not be disappointed with The Grazing Goat : a British menu with all the local favourites and classic meals. The rooms are cosy and welcoming, as are the staff – the perfect place to chill out after a busy day in this foodie city.
So go on, book your London foodie break and don’t forget to drop me a comment, have you eaten anywhere great in London? Got a favourite London food market? I’d love to know!
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