While I’ve been in London I’ve done a lot of ‘stuff’. But when people ask me ‘what’ – all I can come up with in terms of regular features is ‘I go to wagamama a lot’ (katsu curry and ginger chicken udon are my poison in case you’re wondering).
Surely that can’t be it? No. As well as spending all my money on taxis (see my recent post) I have definitely managed to successfully fritt away a good wadge of cash in restaurants. Below is actually the damaging evidence. Seven years of restaurant cards saved in a box of tricks.
I’m not the most sophisticated foodie around – I would rather go to Five Guys than the Four Seasons (for real) – but to take you through the montage of my favourites (and a few others I’d recommend), here are my top places:
Mid week meeting friends – central (advisable to book)
- Byron (everywhere now)- I am totally in favour of the national expansion of this burger chain. If it takes over the world that is fine by me. I genuinely think this place is very classy (maybe because I am not very classy) but the food is also a bit like having a cuddle. You leave feeling that everything is going to be ok
- Busaba Ethai (two on Wardour street – try not to mix them up when meeting friends, I did...) I know this is pretty unfaithful given my previous gushing re. Wagamama being the highlight of my life, but I actually prefer this Cantonese restaurant- maybe its because of the spa-like incense and mood-lighting, but it just has a nice vibe. (And there is no reason for me to feel adulterous as they were founded by the same guy, Alan Yau – legend).
- Pix (Soho)- lots of fun. Spanish tapas on sticks. Novelty provides justification for buying too many sticks.
- Ping Pong (everywhere) I love this place for meeting friends for drinks – as I am incapable of drinking without eating. Ping Pong does great cocktails in a social atmosphere, but you can keep ordering as much food as you want. I’ve made the mistake of feeling that it must be healthy as it isn’t traditional British cuisine – even though they have one dim sum which is basically a sausage roll.
- Bills-(Leicester Square and seemingly everywhere now). Easy place to meet and quite a wide menu. Including Scotch eggs. Amazing
- Bubbledogs – (Fitzrovia) basically just an excuse to eat hotdogs and champagne and pretend there is no tomorrow
- Le Pain Quotdien (South Bank) – Easy, light, French food – a nice place for feeling slightly ‘good’ and probably drinking some kind of ‘cordial’ or ‘herbal tea’ instead of wine
- Wahaca (Covent Garden and lots more central) – Everyone is doing ‘street food now’ but Wahaca was arguably one of the first with its great Mexican sharers by former ‘Masterchef’ winner
Celebrations (definitely book)
- Hakkasan – (Mayfair & Tott Court Road) some of the best Asian food I’ve had in London and super flash, special restaurant, for feeling super flash and special
- Tom’s Kitchen – (South Ken, Somerset House & Canary Wharf) one of my favourite places to go with family. Seemingly simple food but with a wow factor. I prefer the South Ken restaurant – bustling kitchen but in easy, chilled environment.
- Asia De Cuba (Leicester Square) Another great Asian restaurant – I went with work and had to hold back from going totally ‘Twilight’ in my fixation with devouring the sharing platters
- Kettners – (Soho) has a lovely fresh menu, great atmosphere and avant-garde style. Nice mid-range price option.
- Burger and Lobster – (Soho) very ‘fashionable’ at one stage. I am not fashionable enough to know if this is still the case. But this a nice destination restaurant with good food (just don’t go with a vegetarian – I did and it was a litttttle bit limited for her)
- Mint Leaf – (Piccadilly)great twist on traditional Indian with quite a cool, trendy restaurant environment. Basically I mean they have a DJ.
Hungry now. Going to make some dinner which won’t compare….