My Top 10 London Eats of 2017
Updated: Jul 29, 2018
London is undoubtedly a culinary melting pot; turn any corner and you'll be faced with ample options for food. With restaurants, pop-ups and markets springing up all over the shop, it becomes difficult to choose. Last year I reluctantly, and I like to think heroically, self nominated myself to try as many of these as my waistband and wallet could handle. So before I get too swept up in eating my way through this year, here are my top 10 London eats of 2017...
(1) Dishoom - Kings X/Covent Garden/Shoreditch
When I think Indian, I think of a dirty hangover takeaway; bog standard heavy curries and oily starters that are amazing in all their cholesterol-filled glory. Because of this ignorant take on what in truth I know to be a hugely diverse cuisine, I would rarely ever think about Indian food for a meal out. But the mixture of high quality cooking and what they describe as a 'faded elegance' of this Bombay cafe-style restaurant has changed all of that. Dishoom, and its tastebud-tantalising offering, is a testament to the queues that seem to always be forming outside its doors.
(2) Ugly Dumpling - Soho
'A dumpling a day keeps depression at bay'....or so the masterminds behind Soho's Ugly Dumpling believe. Building on a highly successful street food market business, UD cooks up homemade dishes which combine Western ingredients into Asian home recipes and specialises in, you guessed it, dumplings! Every single bite was perfection but it would be criminal not to mention the contemporary favourite that was their lamb, harissa and yoghurt dumpling.
(3) Freak Scene - Clerkenwell
At the time of my visit, this was a 3-month Japanese pop-up in Farringdon headed up by famous Nobu-known chef Scott Hallsworth. Every single plate from the tapas-style menu was full of fantastic flavours but definite favourites were the miso-grilled aubergine with caramelised walnuts and the chilli crab and avocado wontons - delicious! Rumour has it they are now seeking support on Kickstarter to make the restaurant a permanent fixture, so watch out London!
(4) Flavour Bastard - Soho
It should go without saying that 'Flavour Bastard' is a brilliant name; impactful and brash, it's not one you're likely to forget any time soon! And the bastardised plates that this deceivingly-large Soho haunt serves up are exactly what you'd expect from the tin. The concept was simple: there are no starters or mains, just small tapas style plates laced with so many different flavours that whilst your mouth was salivating, your brain was trying to figure out what the hell was going on...in a great way!
(5) Cookhouse Joe - Soho
Cookhouse Joe is a sumptuous rotisserie chicken joint with Middle Eastern flare and flavours. In the countless times I have been, I have not once been disappointed by their food and would actually kill for the pureed garlic dip.
THIS JUST IN - their sister Italian restaurant, Soho Joe, is now back...with a vengeance. #pizzastyle
(6) Anderson & Co - Peckham
I'm not sure what was more pleasing, the taste of Anderson & Co's food or its presentation. But what I do know is that I must have been sensually moaning just that little bit too much as the table beside us insisted on knowing what from the menu was causing the commotion. I like to think it was a little bit like the infamous 'When Harry Met Sally' orgasm scene. And FYI, it was their red pepper and sweet potato hash with poached eggs and chorizo...thank me later.
(7) The Dumpling Shack - Spitalfields Market
Dumplings again?! Don't start. Get yourselves down to Dumpling Shack pronto and let your tastebuds revel in what I can only describe as the amazing love child of fluffy bao buns and pan-fried potstickers: the shengjianbao! The flavour of the filling and broth are collectively fantastic and oh so moreish, whilst the soft steamed tops with the crispy fried bottoms makes for an incredibly addictive texture.
(8) The Beef Steaks - Maltby St Market
The most tender rare butchers steak I have ever had the pleasure of eating! Served over not fried, not double fried, but TRIPLE FRIED chips with a choice of smothering chimichurri, horseradish or peppercorn sauces; the only thing that makes this Maltby St market staple better is the bearded lumberjack-like men serving it up. Mmm!
(9) The Wilmington - Clerkenwell
Would I even still be British if I didn't have at least one Sunday Roast on here?! Probably not. The Wilmington in Clerkenwell ticks every roast dinner box: it's big; it's delicious; and it's got enough gravy to swim in. Case closed.
(10) Gokyuzu - Green Lanes, Manor House
I have always only ordered the large or jumbo sharing platter from this now-infamous Turkish restaurant on Green Lanes. Enough to feed the 5000 and then some, you are served a mountain of meat cuts atop mounds of tomato bulgar wheat and fluffy lemon rice. Add to that the never emptying bowls of fresh warm bread, salad and cacuk and Gokyuzu is not for the faint of heart. Wear elasticated trousers.
And that's that; now watch out London...New Year, larger me!