Fresh from the UK’s first lockdown, now closed again, these are the London restaurants, old and new, you really need to be eating in – when they reopen again. From dumplings to crudités, skinny chops to waffles, give this a read if you’re hungry…
If you’re after that sweet, salty, sugary explosion of flavour you often get with Chinese cooking then Baozilnn London Bridge will be right up your street. The menu is vast with faves like salt and pepper squid, veg spring rolls and sirloin steak in black pepper sauce but it’s the dumplings that take this place above the rest. Their traditional jiaozi served with vinegar or chilli sauce are hard to beat.
How often does this happen? A restaurant closes for good, a global pandemic ensues and then after a 5 month London lockdown said restaurant decides to reopen. So 2020. At least one good news story has come out of all this then with the reopening of Bellanger. Owners, Corbin and King, say they missed the mark with their Islington-based offering so after a little spruce up, the doors have reopened and the menu is more varied and affordable, influenced by their own Brasserie Zédel. Don’t worry, you’ll still find the tart flambees and excellent service. Good to have you back!
Phillip Warren butchers supply Blacklock with their top notch chops and it’s worth going for the ‘All in’ which gets you pre chop bites, beef, lamb and pork skinny chops atop grilled flatbread, to let those meat juices soak in, and two sides for just £20 per person. Consistency and value (along with good vibes) are what you’ll find here including a white chocolate cheesecake which is mighty-fine.
Bob Bob Ricard
There’a a new chef at the helm of Soho stalwart Bob Bob Ricard. Tom Peters is cooking the comforting menu of British / Russian classics from chicken kiev to truffle vareniki but there’s a new treat in store: Waffle & Bellini Hour. Between 11am and 12pm Friday-Sunday you can enjoy the most exquisite waffles topped with seasonal berries or crispy bacon generously drizzled with maple syrup. We opt for the fancy version with truffle and a glass of Moet to wash it down. Bliss!
CUT at 45 Park Lane
To the steak-loving readers of this blog: CUT at 45 Park Lane needs to be on your radar. On the menu you’ll find the finest quality Japanese A5 wagyu and Australian wagyu alongside USDA prime beef and, of course, the best from the south west of England in Hereford. New executive chef Jamie Shears, ex 45 Jermyn St., has big plans for the menu with talk of sourcing British wagyu. For the warmer nights (sunshine, where are you?!) they even hove a small, secret terrace.
A Fairfax sandwich from Eggslut is the perfect hangover cure I’ve valiantly found out for you. Sandwiched between a BreadAhead brioche bun you’ll find soft scrambled eggs (cage free, of course) topped with chives, a slice of mild, melted cheddar cheese, caramelised onions and Sriracha mayo. You can get your own at their new shop in Fitzrovia or their first London opening on Portobello Road.
For views of London with the best Peking duck the city has to offer you need to visit Hutong on the 43rd floor of the Shard. That glorious duck is marinated for 24 hours then hung to dry before being roasted in an authentic duck oven. It comes in two servings, first thick slices of breast with some separate pieces of that insanely crisp skin alongside pancakes and plum sauce, then, the leg meat finely diced with plenty of red onion and crisp lettuce leaves for scooping it all up. Are you drooling yet?
This Michelin star restaurant in St James’s Market, run by friends Jeremy (chef) and Iré (FoH), has always been known for its exciting sub-Saharan West African cooking alongside a soundtrack of hiphop. Sure, it’s a cool spot for supper but the food is the real star here like smoked Jollof rice with aged sheep kebab and a comforting crab custard topped with Wiltshire Truffles.
Unfussy food is often the hardest to pull off but if anyone can do it, Stevie Parle can. He’s the ex River Café chef who now owns Pastaio, Rotorino, Craft London and Palatino alongside this, Joy, in Portobello. It takes back the space occupied by his former restaurant Dock Kitchen (the site has been left vacant since DK closed) and its small open kitchen and chic dining room are beautiful. A menu highlight is a plate of crudités with veg from Canterbury-based, The Goods Shed, accompanied by a bold cod’s roe dip. What a joy.
Maria’s Market Café
Borough Market’s much loved Maria is a real character – get chatting to her and you’ll be there for hours. Her bubble and squeak is SO good, the potatoes are boiled and then fried so you’ll get chunks of crispy tatties that’ll make your mouth water. She uses sausages from Ginger Pig, also in the market, and she even does fried bread, that’s hard to find these days. Proper fried bread too, dunked in a frier. Hands down, the best fry up around.
In this COVID-era, neighbourhood goodie Sam’s Riverside has gone all out to make you feel as safe and secure as possible. The staff are wearing masks and visors, screens have gone up to separate tables, guests receive temperature checks on arrival, menus are on QR codes and the floor is clearly marked with arrows to allow for social distancing. It’s very impressive. Most importantly though, the food is totally banging. Whether it’s fresh crevettes and homemade mayo or a grilled HG Walter sirloin steak or one of their frozen pies available for home-cooking from their new shop and deli, Sam’s Larder.
The big draw at this new restaurant tucked away just off the King’s Road, Chelsea is their terrace. It’s a lovely spot to tuck into chef Olivia Burt’s food – you’ll recognise her from this year’s Masterchef: The Professionals. The snacks menu alone is worth the visit – sourdough crumpet with Cornish crab and potted shrimp, crispy prawns served with Sriracha emulsion and Westcombe cheddar doughnuts washed down with a glass of Whispering Angel on a balmy weeknight is pure bliss.