Yay, January is over and the blues have definitely been blown away by the great day that is PAYDAY….whoop!! Though it is still as cold as ever, it’s time to cheer up and get out and about to visit some of my kinda places in London.
I have an ongoing LOOOONG list of restaurants, bars, markets etc that I plan on going to, and am constantly adding to it. But I also have a list, just as long, of places that are my kinda of places – you could call them my long list of go to places. I have some listed on my phone, on my Google maps, in my head, in my inbox….. so I thought it was about time I shared these with you and have them saved in one place.
Listed below you’ll find my go to markets, restaurants, bars, pubs and of course, hot on the food scene at the moment, pop ups and street food.
Check back when you can as I will continually, and inevitably, make changes to this list over time, adding new additions and discoveries I have made in my home city!
Check out my map to see where these little gems are located around London.
This is definitely the place you want to go to if you want freshly roasted coffee as Caravan has their own roaster on site in their basement – check it out! A wonderful spot to watch the crowds wander through Exmouth market and share some gorgeous plates with friends.
Fresh juices and a darn right good choice of brunch options, all very simple but tasty. Oh, and decent portions! I tend to always go for the chicken and avocado salad with walnuts and pesto dressing (and some chips)! If you want to get back on it, hang about as it turns into a bar come night time and then you can move onto The Nest if you fancy a dance with the kids of Dalston!
Float on the canal (the outside seating is simply set up on wooden pallets – you’re safe, don’t worry) as you look on at the Olympic Stadium. Chow down on some homemade baked beans with your English breakfast – you must try them!
Right at the start of the many BYOB Vietnamese restaurants that grace Kingsland Road, I have been going to this place with my Mama for over 10 years, maybe even more. Go for the rare beef salad, the papaya salad and the grilled pork…oh, and the sweet potato cake, steamed rolls and the crispy pancake! YUM! If you want a quieter setting then head to Hai Ha on Mare Street, run by the same owners of Loong Kee.
I struggle not to go to this family run Vietnamese café every day when I am at work. You have to be there before midday if you want to avoid the queues, though it is definitely worth the wait if you do have to queue. They have a few seats if you can’t wait to get back to the office before tucking into your phở or báhn mi.
All rounder (lush food, drink and space)
Wonderful place to get a seat outside in the height of a UK ‘heatwave’, but just as great a setting indoors in the old railway arches. The bartenders are just as talented as the chefs, whipping up cocktails such as Lady Thyme – sip on it slowly! Team a cocktail with some ceviche, if it is on the menu, and you won’t want to leave.
This restaurant has been a permanent resident of Mare Street for just over a year now, after a stint at Birthdays, and it always rocks my belly (yep, my belly is my world) on every visit. I am completely obsessed with this place that merges Asian, Creole and deep South flavours. Go go go and definitely try something on the specials menu!!
I’m in love with this place. Definitely not a place to go when funds are running low or if you are looking to have a meal, but definitely one to frequent if you want to have a few glasses of tremendous wine in a small cosy setting.
Yes, they do serve testicles but I’ve never be brave enough to try them. But the one thing I have over and over again are the lamb chops. Oh boy, they are good!! And as with many an ockabasi, you’ll be fighting over the chargrilled onions served in pomegranate juice – be fast to get your share of the portion as you won’t want to share this.
I tease my boss at work that this is his ‘date’ place as he takes any newbie to office here, unless they are veggie then this place is a no go. There is no menu – you start with a dressed green salad with walnuts, steak (to however you like it cooked) with a secret sauce and frites. And then when you think you are done, you are offered a second serving! A couple scattered around London.
Bring on the meat sweats!! From pork ribs, to beef ribs to big fat oozily juicy burgers…not forgetting the deep fried pickles. My favourite!!!
You need not order anything else but the lamb chops. And make that one portion for yourself as you won’t want to share these Punjabi spiced beauties.
Argentinian rib eye and sirloin steak, sausage, black pudding and provolone cheese all merged together on a hot plate – dreamy!!! Or you could just order a good quality piece of Argentinian steak.
I was beyond happy when I lived in Newington Green and had this green grocer on my doorstep. I would literally spend a good hour in there, especially on delivery day. With a few more branches now scattered around North and East London, I still go back to the original one when I am in the neighbourhood as it covers 2 shop fronts, therefore having a wider selection of fine produce.
Naughty but nice
We all claim to have the best local fish and chip shop, but this one really is one the of the best ‘traditional’ ones I know of, and it is not even my local anymore.
I can’t claim to have discovered this place but I am real happy to have been introduced to it – thanks Lady Jade! Not many people know about this tasty Argentinian tapas restaurant that lays a few roads behind Selfridges. I promise that you won’t be disappointed by any dish but a few you should order are the chimichurri beef burger, caramelized pork belly, ‘Asado’ flank steak and the provoleta with almonds and oregano honey – DIVINE!
If you get there at the right time (not sure when that it is) you can avoid queuing and be up on the rooftop, either wrapping yourself up in a blanket on the decking or inside the glassed restaurant. Try the pistou soup from the bar menu, it’s is pretty fab. Oh, and The Boundary Restaurant in the basement is definitely a great place to try if you fancy going for some modern French cuisine and a more formal setting.
Yep, believe the hype people! Sushi Samba deserves the hype and for a good reason. You may have to book 2 or 3 months in advance to get a table, but that will be distant memory once you are supping on a kaffirinha and gorging on moqueca mista and the pure blooded wagu beef. And then there is the view to go with it……
Anywhere that serves plantains has my heart, and one of the breakfast options here at The Modern Pantry has it! Grilled Chorizo, slow roasted tomatoes and plantain fritters – YESSSSSS!! The grilled cornbread and chorizo is another great brunch dish.
All I can say is that when sake and sashimi are teamed together I am in heaven!!!! The quail is my sister’s favourite which I think they have stopped doing…so instead try the baby back ribs. They have another located in Canary Wharf if you’re ever in the ‘hood.
Another place that steals my heart with it’s plantain, feta, sweet potato and pea shoot tortilla ( unfortunately no longer on the menu). Amazing sharing plates, along with a super crab burger on the brunch menu.
Cheap and cheerful
My Old Place
This is place is nothing fancy inside and you may miss it since there is no sign outside. You would never think this place would be able to perfect serving tasty and high quality dishes with such an extensive menu. Be brave and try the chicken feet or the trotters with Szechuan pepper.
I wouldn’t really classify this as a pub, or what I should really say is, you wouldn’t expect to get this superb kind of food here. An explanation of the dishes that I have had would just not do the place justice. You just have to go and check it out for yourself!
Don’t be afraid to let that burger juice drip down your chin, onto your hands and then lick your hands…everyone in there is in the same boat and there is no shame in it! You just have worry about what burger you are going to order as they are all so bloody temptingly good!