Besides being the financial hub of the world, London is also a hotspot for delectable cuisines from around the world. The dining scene is hotter than ever. Big-name chains and celebrity chefs have descended to the capital. The best spots aren’t always the obvious ones. There are established places that have outlived the fad-fascinated culture in the capital. You can also throw away the white tablecloth and indulge in a compelling dining experience from new, trendy game-changers.
This guide points out some iconic kitchens that turn out with mouthwatering dishes with superb service. The review considers myriad cuisines, level of service, local and seasonal ingredients, key dining neighborhoods and developing trends in the food industry in London. Israeli plates have burnt out. Tacos and wood-fueled clay pots are no longer a reserve of the famous Soho district, that I, D Scott Carruthers enjoy. Let us look at some of the top five places you can enjoy delectable eats and excellent service.
- Bar 61 Restaurant – South London
This eatery has the best service hands down. It is conveniently located on the south end at Streatham Hill. It is a family-run eatery established in 1989. It is famous for Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines as well as Italian and French delicacies. There is a free bar area donned out in vintage décor. Add free Wi-Fi, and your wait is remarkably shorter. The Spanish theme comes through in the look, feel and taste.
You can call to reserve a seat or browse the menus and make reservations online through portals such as bar61.com and opentable.co.uk. Wait for the confirmation notice. It is convenient for the whole family including enhanced wheelchair access. Bar 61 Restaurant is the perfect spot for romantic outings, family meals, business meetings, special occasions and inexpensive delicacies.
The service is exceptional right from the door. They welcome you by name and invite you to sit at the bar. The personal touch pays off as friends of the family recommend most new diners. It is open daily for lunch through late dinner. Tapas means mouthwatering meatballs, fine cheese, fresh fish and seasonal vegetables. Enjoy prawn cocktails, Spanish omelets and salami as well as ratatouille garnished with a mix of eggplant, zucchini, and peppers.
Down a cool bottle of aged merlot to cap it off. There is a diverse menu of vegetarian options too. The restaurant has won numerous awards. This includes recognition by the Lambeth Business Awards, OpenTable, HSBC’s South London Business Awards and TripAdvisor among others. This gives you the confidence to expect a splendid dining experience.
- Hoppers – Soho
Soho is a famous cultural and culinary melting pot in London’s west end. There are plenty of traditional English eating-houses, fiery Asian havens, and authentic tapas spots. Hoppers is a Sri Lankan themed eatery. It features a cool aesthetic feel and an effortless blend of vintage and contemporary interior.
Booking is optional, and a handy text-based queue system ensures order. You can just walk in and ask for street foods. Non-reservation restaurants are trending again in London. The owners have a long history of success on the London dining scene. The staff is friendly and resourceful. They explain the ingredients and the dishes in a fun and engaging way.
The starters will get you drooling on your tablecloth. The signature bowl-shaped rice and coconut pancake are savory and chewy. It has a soft center with a medium-done egg and crunchy sides. The sauces and curries will just light you up. Dip into fresh seafood and punchy curries that feel like small explosions in your mouth. Experience the fire and kick in the black pork made with roasted spices.
Check out the available menu options at hopperslondon.com and book a reservation through tocktix.com. Hoppers is on Frith Street in Soho. It has a brand new stylish spot on St. Christopher’s Place with more delicious spicy things to eat.
- The Barbary – Convent Garden
Welcome to a small cozy eatery that draws inspiration from North Africa. It has dark Mediterranean influences such as fiery Moroccan spices and leavened bread. The Israeli plate is not yet completely out. The Barbary expresses influences from the region in terms of ingredients, cooking styles and recipes. This includes the Atlantic coast, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Middle East. If you loved the Palomar in Soho, you’re in for a pleasant surprise from this show-stopping joint.
It breaks the near monotony of high dining and classic establishments. The Barbary is high on seasonal ingredients. The specials frequently change to reflect this. Additionally, it is vegetarian-friendly and accommodates special diet requests. However, it does not encourage children under eight years. Typically, it does not take reservations, and you can expect short waits during peak periods. If cozy and open communal dining is your thing, you will hopelessly fall in love with this spot. It’s likely to stay as buzzy as opening night.
It features a horseshoe layout and an open bar and kitchen. It can sit up to a couple of dozen diners. You can confirm your special reservations through the online portals thebarbary.co.uk as well as opentable.co.uk. You can enjoy silky flame-grilled octopus, or tender and crispy chicken with traditional pillow-soft bread. Dig in for an eclectic blend of rich history, diverse culinary traditions, and a modern kitchen bar.
- Barrafina – Soho
This is another all-bells, no-reservations restaurant in Soho. It specializes in authentic Spanish cuisine. The restaurant has a great atmosphere and an assorted selection of wines. The staff is friendly and does not hold back on personal recommendations. It has outlets on Adelaide Street and Drury Lane in Convent Garden and the original house on Dean Street. Other than the location, everything else is identical.
The sleek design and marble tops come off as cool and sophisticated without losing the rackety feel. You can book parties of more than eight in advance at the private dining section of the Convent Garden outlets. It features plate glass windows that let in lots of natural light. The private dining section is cozy and flexible. Enjoy traditional Spanish family dining with the open kitchen in plain view.
The food is fantastic. Seafood is very popular here. Alternatively, grab some chicken wings with spicy flesh and crunchy-crusted skin or the day’s specials. The seasonal specials include duck and lamb’s brain. Barrafina is the brainchild of sibling restaurateurs Sam and Eddie. It has received numerous awards for culinary excellence and service. These include the Michelin Star, National Restaurant Awards as well as Observer Food Monthly magazine.
- Madame D, East End
This is owned and run by the same restaurateurs behind the highly successful Gunpowder, an Indian eatery in Spitalfields. This time, the inspiration and theme are Himalayan. The adventurous eatery draws strong influences from China, Nepal, Tibet, and India. These are infused with modern and local ingredients to amazing effect. The chefs agree that the dishes are beautifully strange. They are quick to explain the heritage behind the ingredients and cooking methods.
It features a no-frills design and minimalistic décor. The space is small and is fitted with trestle tables. The all-in-black staff is friendly and on cue like clockwork. You’d expect nothing less from such a cozy affair. Indulge in flavor-packed dishes served on custom china. Everything seems to come with a fiery curry or a sweet and sour sauce. Think beef chili puffs, pan-fried duck leg, lamb masala noodles and Kathmandu curry.
Chase the meal with fresh chili lemonade or an aged wine from the long wine list. The chefs, as well as the eatery’s name, is reported to honor resilient women who crossed the Himalayas for trade. The story of the Asian woman trader who made the journey through the mountains never gets old. The madam brought new flavors and ingredients especially spices. The main bar is for walk-ins. You can make reservations for the dining room.
London is full of exciting spots to test your gastronomic taste and tolerance. There are thousands of eateries offering diverse cuisines. Most eateries adopt the style and preferences of their owners and chefs. Like some of the best-kept secrets, you need someone to tell you where to find the best dining resorts. Eateries are adopting strong themes and drawing inspiration from cultures around the world. This guide gives you insider tips and honest reviews to get you started.