This is a collection of my address book, places I visit or have visited regularly. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do (have).
- Barrafina (www.barrafina.co.uk) – Do you know Cal Pep in Barcelona? No?! Shame on you! Inform yourself! Anyway, this is a take on that place. Bar stool seating, watching the kitchen prepare your tapas, no reservation policy, food so fresh it warrants a slap! Have the grilled shrimp with garlic and make sure to suck all that juice out the heads, it’s not gross – that is where all the flavour is at! 54 Frith Street, London W1D 4SL. +44 (0)20 7813 8016.
- Brindisa (http://www.brindisa.com/restaurants/tapas-brindisa) – These guys started out as Spanish food purveyors and now have a number of places. I go to the restaurant in Borough Market. They have a breakfast plate of eggs, jamon and potatoes that is pricey at £11.95 but when you taste it, you will understand that good things are worth paying for. Corner of Borough Market, London Bridge.
- Dinnings – Great Japanese restaurant. Apparently the chef worked at Nobu. It’s a basement place, don’t expect great décor or comfy seats – this is bare bones bare walls. You are here for the food – which is so good. Order the Taro Taro crab chips, the sea bass with ponzu and the agedashi tofu (yes, tofu – I am not a tofu person but this is good stuff!). 22 Harcourt Street, London. +44 (0)20 7723 0666.
- Harwood Arms (www.harwoodarms.com) – The head chef here is uber talented, I know, I worked with him. He will serve you up British seasonal food and at the end of the meal, have you wishing you could eat everything all over again! Much harder to get a table there now that he has a Michelin star. 27 Walham Grove, London SW6 1QR.
- Koya (www.koya.co.uk)
- La Fromagerie (www.lafromagerie.co.uk) – Oh the cheese! Love this place! Love the dark wood benches, the tiny decorative stuffed goats, the wine rack but what I love the most is the cheese plate. Perfectly matured wedges fanned out in the order you should eat them. This is the kind of shop I would love to own! 2-6 Moxon Street, Marylebone, London W1U 4EW. +44 (0)20 7935 0341.
- Lucky 7 (www.lucky7london.co.uk) – The burger joint. It’s loud, if you are fewer then 6 – you have to share a booth, it feels like you are back in the 50’s but hands down, the best burger in London. Don’t cheat yourself by going to Gourmet burgers or some other chain. If you are going to indulge – do it with these mignon burgers, get a side of fries (extra), maybe some guacamole and a plastic tumbler of soda. 127 Westbourne Park Road, London W2 5QL. +44 (0)20 7727 6771.
- Melrose and Morgan (www.melroseandmorgan.com) – The British deli I used to work for. Top seasonal ingredients, prepared carefully in the cleanest kitchens you can imagine (I know, I used to be in charge of obtaining the food hygiene certificates). So many good things here – English pies (fish, chicken and cottage), beautiful salads, tubs of biscuits, at Christmas (Yule logs), delicious soups and stews! Love it and miss it every day!
- Monmouth Coffee (www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk) – The line at Borough market on a Saturday will shock you. It can’t be that good?! Oh but it is…
- Nopi – All day dining room by Yotam Ottolenghi.
- Ottolenghi (www.ottolenghi.co.uk) – This place doesn’t even need an introduction. The owner, Yotam, has two books a regular column in the Guardian and a deli counter to swoon over. Careful! It’s not cheap! 63 Ledbury Road, London W11 2AD. +44 (0)20 7727 1121.
- Pitt Cue (www.pittcue.co.uk)
- Princi (www.princi.co.uk) – Italian self-service place in Soho. Huge selection, funny Italian staff, good value! 135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UT. +44 (0)20 7478 8888.
- Raoul’s (www.raoulsgourmet.com) – My old brunch venue. I used to go almost every Sunday. They have extremely yellow eggs, the waiters are great – they deserve an award for being so patient with all the trustafarians of St. Johns Wood and Maida Vale that boss them around). I always get the eggs Benedict, or sometimes the French toast with a side of fruit and Greek yoghurt. Located in Maida Vale and a more modern place in Notting Hill.
- Spuntino(www.spuntino.co.uk) – American small bites from the guys behind Polpo and Polpito. 61 Rupert Street, Soho.
- The Modern Pantry (www.themodernpantry.co.uk) – New Zealender Anna Hansen really cooks up a fusion storm here. The gorgeous restaurant decoration helps you enjoy the food even more. Great place for brunch as well. 47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ. +44 (0)20 7553 9210.
- Yauatcha (www.yauatcha.com) – Posh dim sum place, Alan Yau concept, interior decoration by Christian Liagre, staff that are better looking than you but hands down, best dim sum in London. Not cheap either, but go and order well. 15-17 Broadwick Street, Soho, London W1F 0DL. +44 (0)20 7494 8888.
And check out the list of London Eats from my friend here.