Taberna do Mercado
Unit 3, Central Kitchens, Old Spitalfields Market
+44 (0) 207 375 0649
When all the top chefs in London (Tom Aikens, Claude Bosi and Angela Hartnett) all name Taberna do Mercado as their favourite London restaurant you know you’re onto a good thing. Having refined traditional Portuguese dishes and transforming them into simple, exquisite tapas there isn’t much on the menu that you won’t want to order.
Head for lunch for their famed pork sandwich with paprika paste butter in the stripped down, simple surroundings of Nuno Mendes and head chef Antonio Galapito’s Spitalfieds location which is open 7 days a week. Or head there of an evening with friends to share runner bean fritters, lamb sweetbread stew, acorn-fed pig loin and ratte potato sides with crispy kale, egg and almonds.
The service is exceptional and the regional wines are excellently chosen. Not to be missed.
49 Frith Street
The tastes and smells of Sri Lanka come to Soho with this hotly anticipated offering from the same team behind Gymkhana. A ‘hopper’ is a bowl-shaped pancake made from fermented rice and coconut milk that happens to be the healthy, light alternative tool to shovel curry into one’s mouth, waving goodbye to the days of bloat-inducing naan bread with a fried egg broken in when cooking adding extra deliciousness to this Sri Lankan crêpe.
The humble tiled decor teems with pot plants has no need to impress when the food is this good; lamb, fish and red pumpkin karis are enjoyed with lashings of coconut and tomato chutneysand caramelised onion seeni sambol or work through the tasty short eats of hot buttered devilled shrimps, duck roti or cashew and ash plaintain fries.
There’s nothing here that won’t wow your tastebuds making sure to finish with their milk hopper laced with kithul treacle, jaggery and durian ice-cream. Continuing the Soho trend of no reservations shouldn’t deter you from a visit. Food is fast and furious and you can wait with a crisp Sri Lankan beer.
127 Ledbury Road
+44 (0) 207 792 9090
Brett Graham stamped his mark on Notting Hill when he opened The Ledbury leaving the surrounding restaurants quivering in its wake. Even with the kudos of 2 Michelin stars, this is without question the prettiest food you ever did see. Thank god it’s not all swamped in indistinguishable foams; instead presenting pigeon confit and not-to-be-missed banana and chocolate malt tart.
The sign of a sympathetic chef? The excellent vegetarian tasting menu resulting in sighs of relief from the green-juice crowd who can enjoy similar perks to their carnivorous friends.
Perfect for corporate dinners with the need to impress or dazzle your potential Father-in-Law with dinner here when asking for her hand. Old school but we like it.
Imagine the finest of dining in the most relaxed environment. Trust good old East London to make one feel at home when you’re donning your gastronomic hat. Welcome to Lyle’s which shows no sign of abating for a foodie destination since their opening in 2014 keeping themselves Shoreditch-friendly with a white-wash throughout and simple wooden chairs to keep the hipsters happy.
It’s fair to say the food is not for the faint-hearted what with the set menu dinner choices leaving nowhere to hide for those hoping to order a plate of pasta and make a swift exit. Instead you’ll settle in for a £44 set menu of 4 courses (a vegetarian choice is available to avoid the lamb tongue) and see what the chefs rustle up. Lunch is a more relaxed affair but expect oysters with gooseberry to start, smoked eel with beetroot and pheasant thighs with yoghurt to share with their excellent grilled mussels.
Don’t expect a cheeky side of fries either. But if you’re over in East London and want a gastronomic surprise for your lunch, head here. They also welcome guest chefs each month from all over the world and have even been known to throw a pizza party.
10 Shepherd Market
+44 (0) 203 302 1661
A traditional wood grill in the heart of Mayfair is exactly what this part of London has been crying out for what with all the with no reservation burger joints nearby. It’s sometimes a relief just to be able to book a table although Kitty Fisher’s more than delivers on a traditional menu with a modern twist. Salt cod croquettes to start followed by duck with Tokyo turnips and rhubarb showcases their exceptional cooking well. This is seasonality at its best.
Located in the buzzy Shepherds Market area round the corner from Mayfair this is one for early preparations with David Cameron amongst others clamouring to get in the door. Their chef, Tomas Parry, won ‘Breakthrough Chef of the Year’ at the Food & Travel Awards 2015 so expect some of the finest food you’ve had all year and be sure to take your camera. You may run into some celebs…
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