Back when I was growing up and way into adulthood, my mother used to call me a pleasure seeker. And I have to admit this all very true. I truly believe life is for living and pleasure is to be sought out and savoured. Food is one of life’s pleasures that never fails to bring me joy. Except when my steak is over cooked – “sir this isn’t a steak, its a mis-steak”.
Steak related puns aside, food can evoke merriment on even the most dullest or stressful days. A good restaurant is the ultimate escapism from the humdrum or hectic ness of modern life. I’ve compiled a handy guide of some of my favourite places to eat in the capital and reveal my favourite dishes in each of them for your future eating pleasure….
This delightful foodie gem is hidden away in a quiet street just moments away from London’s Southbank and features a tasting menu of dreams. I was lucky enough to sample such fine Thai-tehmed dishes with a group of equally hungry friends and we did not leave disappointed.
First courses included a delightfully fragrant Thai green mango salad dotted with cashew nuts and flavoursome cherry tomatoes and tasty Malaysian chick curry puffs which were served with a cooling coriander yogurt dipping sauce.
Black pepper prawns with dehydrated pineapple were divine as were the wok fried Monkfish which arrived at the table perched on sexily sautéed bok choi and apple blossom drizzled in a Malaysian chilli sauce.
The Mamak BBQ chicken was my ultimate favourite dish of the night – perfectly cooked and served lavishly with long charred beans and a tangy pickled red onion salad. Paired with the decadent egg fried rice and this was meal that eradicated all the woes of the day.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will fall in love with the restaurants signature dessert – black sticky rice, mango sorbet and coconut milk. There is also a heavenly soy sauce caramel ice cream on the menu which reminded me of a more exotic version of salted caramel. Go with your best friends and prepare to tip generously….
This chic Southwark restaurant prides itself on fine dining inspired by the Caribbean Antilles islands. Chef Patron, Michael Hanbury has compiled a stunning menu reflecting the French, African, Spanish, Indian, Dutch and Chinese influences on the Caribbean with exquisite seafood and tapas-style dishes that prove that Caribbean food is way more than just jerk chicken and curry goat.
Each flavoursome dish is complimented by the extensive selection of rum from around the world and a plethora of exotic cocktails. The well stocked restaurant bar offers over 100 distinctive types of rum to choose from – there’s always time for a cheeky glass of Wray.
I was particularly enamoured with the Oxtail patties with Bajan hot sauce which were made with tender and perfectly seasoned meat and a flaky pastry so flaky and buttery it was hard to not order a second helping.
The grilled lamb cutlets with black bean sofrito were also worthy of their own instagram page as was the lobster Mac and cheese – a creamy Godsend of cheesy pasta topped with succulent, perfectly cooked lobster, and more cheese.
Make sure you end your meal with the Guinness punch ice cream, which arrives at the table seductively drizzled in Havana Club priced rum.
As a half Iranian person, I very rarely leave the house unless chicken is on offer, but gone are the days when a cheeky Nandos was enough to convince me to part with my plush sofa. These days I’m seeking more advanced chicken-related joy and will only settle for a good free range bird.
Such are the Chickens on offer at CoqBull – Soho’s most talked about newish eatery. The restaurant only serves birds that have been free to roam and frolic around the lush fields of Norfolk . They also spend two days soaking in a special tea brine to ensure extra succulence before being steamed, rubbed with the Coqbull signature seasoning and finished on the rotisserie.
The result is a tender, flavoursome chicken that is never dry or overcooked. I usually order the Protein Coq Plate which consists of half a free-range rotisserie chicken, roast rainbow beets, avocado, heirloom tomatoes and kale. There’s also a selection of juicy beef burgers served with all the trimmings but I am a big fan of the Smoking’ Coq chicken burger which is served lovingly smothered in smoked applewood cheese, crisp bacon, smoked bbq mayo and tobacco onions.
Finish the meal off with a tasty dessert – I’m obsessed with the Kinder Bueno ice cream waffle, and don’t forget a naughty cocktail or two on the Instagram-friendly scenic rooftop den.
Located in an iconic five-storey Victorian red brick building on Lower Sloane Street, Chelsea, Sloane Place is one of those chic London hotspots that make you feel you are holidaying in the South of France. Pretty outdoor tables are perfectly positioned for alfresco cocktails with friends, or for a spot of people watching.
Once inside, teal and navy-blue furnishings, parquet flooring and bistro tables create a warm, inviting space flooded with light from floor to ceiling windows facing the street – the perfect setting for long lazy lunches.
At night, the lights dim and the restaurant is transformed into a glitzy, romantic eatery and bar where you can dine with your favourite person shrouded in candlelight. Decor and ambiance aside, this gem of a London restaurant is famous for its unpretentious yet decadent dishes that will tempt even the fussiest tastebuds.
The inviting menus are created by Executive Chef, Bernhard Mayer (formerly of The Savoy and Four Seasons, Park Lane) and Head Chef, Maryono Maryono who combine their European and South-East Asian heritage to create fusion dishes such as fluffy signature bao buns. I especially love them filled with crispy hoisin duck, pickled cabbage, scallions and creamy Japanese mayo.
The Yellowfin tuna tataki with truffle dressing and wakame is somewhat magical as is the garlic-infused seafood tagliatelle that arrives at the extravagantly adorned with native lobster, Devon crab, tiger prawns and squid.
Nestled in the heart of High Street Kensington is one of London’s best kept secrets – Romulo Cafe and Restaurant. This elegantly designed eatery is always warm and inviting, with comfortable yet chic table areas and grand Philippino artwork on the walls.
Pre-pandemic I holidayed in this beautiful part of the world for over a month and in that time savoured numerous traditional dishes – many of which I have yearned for and had many foodie fantasies about.
Luckily I discovered Romulo with its hearty selection of traditionally cooked Philipino dishes. the rich chicken abodo is a must try as is the Fillet of Sea Bass ala Plancha – a crispy fried fish served with tausi black beans.
One of my all time favourite dishes at this very special restaurant is the Tito Gregs beef and oxtail Kare Kare – a Filipino festive favourite made with British top brisket and oxtail with aubergine, bok choy and green beans stewed in a fragrant annatto and peanut sauce.
Romulo’s signature cocktails are also worthy of their own Instagram page. I adore the Pinoy Mai, a captivating combo of Don Papa Rum, Disaronno Amaretto, Grand Marnier and pineapple juice served in a flaming Tiki mug.
For Mother’s Day Romulo will also be holding a raffle whereby mums have the chance of winning an array of exciting prizes, including a three-course dinner for two, bakery products and £10 vouchers, together with complimentary cocktails, starters and desserts on their next visit.
Perfect for large gatherings with fellow foodies, this iconic Soho restaurant and bar is set over two spacious floors and features nightly live music. When I visited with a food-loving chum earlier this year we were pleased to be treated to some soulful renditions of classic UK House and Garage tracks by a very talented singer.
The food is also very good and includes a variety of tasty dishes to suit a variety of tastes. My particular favourites on the menu include a creamy burrata with roasted crown prince squash and balsamic glaze, and a very hearty Lamb shank tagging which is served perched on a a bed of quinoa adorned with apricots and almonds.
This buzzy evening party haunt is also known for its extensive choice of cocktails. The Raspberry Royale is always a pleasing choice. Made with premium Sauvelle French vodka with bittersweet grapefruit marmalade, Chambord raspberry liqueur and a fluffy vanilla meringue perched on top.
Those with a sweet tooth won’t be disappointed. The coconut pana cotta draped in passion fruit puree and a coconut crumb will transport you to the Far East and the warm Valrhona chocolate fondant served with a hearty scoop of salted caramel ice cream will ensure your meal ends on a true foodie high.