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All the Food, Guides, Features & News

Where To Eat In London

Breakfast


Caravan, Bankside & Other Locations


Caravan, with six sites now across London, never seems to falter when it comes to breakfast and brunch, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a menu that involves so much difficultly in deciding what to order We've always loved the jalapeno cornbread with fried eggs, but on this visit the kimchi pancake with one of the best bacon chops we've ever tasted was in a tie for favourite plate.



Their sweet dishes are just as interesting and bursting with flavour - case in point, the vanilla pancakes with lemon curd cream cheese, bay leaf and lemongrass poached pear, and pumpkin seed and sumac praline. Opened by three New Zealanders in 2010, it's relaxed, spacious and eternally consistent.



Eataly, Bishopsgate


Giant foot Italian food hall Eataly opened next to Liverpool Street station in April 2021, after being originally founded in Alba, Italy in 2010. It opens from 07:00 - 23:00 on weekdays (from 09:00 on weekends), and has an impressive café and patisserie on the ground floor, with fresh pasta, pizza and bread counters further back. To get from one to the other you'll walk through the tunnel like "sweet spot", featuring every Italian chocolate and sweet you could dream up.



In the café we loved the apricot croissants, clearly made in house with plenty of butter and the delicate mandarina cake. We really wanted an excuse to dive into the jars of rhum baba but it was early. Coffee (from Illy) was not good, and the cannoli would have been better if they were filled on the spot, but it's a bright, central breakfast spot with loads of options to choose from. Pizza slices were crisp and generous too, but pricy at almost £10 a slice.



Eataly stocks over 5,000 Italian food products and 2,000 wines over 4,000 square metres and two floors, including mozzarella made in house, fruit and vegetables from high end suppliers to the restaurant stars Natoora, and pasta shapes you've probably never seen or even heard of. It's hard to imagine anything Italian they won't have in here.



Bakeries


Jolene, Shoreditch


Sweet little corner bakery Jolene morphed out of the original bakery and restaurant in Stoke Newington, and it's been a runaway success in Shoreditch with regular queues snaking down the street and a scramble for the limited bench seating outside. Get there post 11:00 and prepare to see the place all but ransacked. Expect Pain Suisse, filled focaccia and daily specials, and just grab whatever you can.



Bread Ahead, Borough Market


One of London's most famous bakeries and cookery schools, Bread Ahead makes everything you'd expect a bakery to, but they can't shake their reputation for the city's best doughnuts. They have different flavours every week, but chocolate, vanilla, jam and honeycomb are there day after day. The main bakery stand is in Borough Market, but the doughnuts can be found around the corner at the bakery on Cathedral Street.



St. JOHN, Bermonsey & Borough


Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver's St. JOHN is a name synonymous with London. The Farringdon restaurant has seen many of the city's best chefs come up through the ranks before going out on their own, their Shoreditch 'Bread and Wine' restaurant is what small plate dreams are made of, and their bakery's doughnuts have long given Bread Ahead (above) a run for their money.



Find their bakery arch on Druid Street near London Bridge from Friday - Sunday, or their seven-day bakery and wine shop in Borough. Both serve those freshly baked, jam and vanilla stuffed doughnuts, and don't leave without an Eccles cake.


Little Bread Pedlar, Bermondsey


A Saturday morning stroll and eating fest around Bermondsey's food markets, food arches and food-heaving industrial estates is a Londoner right of passage, and Little Bread Pedlar should be top of your list. If a more perfect almond croissant exists we haven't tried it, the pain au raisin will immediately demote most others you've tried to "inedible", and the 'cheesy thing' is an extraordinary thing.



Grab a bagful and cross the road to Monmouth coffee, in an arch off St James' Street, to enjoy a flat white in a ceramic cup, perched at a counter or sitting on a wall. Don't forget to get some beans to go.



Lunch & Dinner


Normah's, Queensway


We first heard about Malaysian Normah's in Queensway via Eater's 38 Essential Restaurants list, and if you ever get the chance to eat there, drop everything in your calendar to make it happen.



Owner Normah Abd Hamid is cooking food you will still be thinking about years later - her Nasi Lemak beef rendang is made with fresh coconuts, not milk, her prawn laksa tingles with heat and brightness, her roti is so flaky you'll wonder if you're seeing things.



You could fly to Kuala Lumpar and not find food as good as this (although if this happens you didn't do your research properly), and a return flight to Gatwick is so much cheaper. We're strongly considering flying in and out on the same day to eat it again...



Master Wei, Holborn


If you only had a day in London, Master Wei in Holborn (or sister restaurant Xian Impression in Highbury) is worth giving a precious meal over to. You won't find more jaw-dropping hand-pulled biang biang noodles anywhere. Thick and chewy, they're said to have originated in the Xian region by workers who lacked the time to make thinner noodles.



The traditional Xi'an Liangpi coldskin noodles are made by washing wheat flour to produce a starchy water, that's then dried and cut into springy noodles, while the remaining solids (wheat gluten or seitan) are chopped and served on top with cucumber, beansprouts and chilli oil sauce. The whole thing is cold, and once you've had it, you'll want it again and again.



We also love the tangy potato sliver salad, smacked cucumber and the Xian 'burgers', but you can't make a bad choice here.



Manteca, Shoreditch


Big flavours and unapologetic ingredient combinations are the name of the game at Manteca in Shoreditch. They call it "nose to tail" and "Italian-inspired", and a glass case of cured (from their in-house salumeria) meats greets you en route to the toilet. The drinks list is extensive and interesting but you could spend a whole lot of cash very quickly if you get stuck into Amaro Sharpeners before and cocktails after.



The small plates are where the fun is, and don't even consider skipping the pig skin ragu with crispy skin and parmesan, or the beef battuta (like an Italian tartare) with egg yolk and chicory.



Hand-rolled pastas are worth stalling over too, with the tonnarelli brown crab cacio e pepe, and the fazzoletti with duck ragu, duck fat and pangrattato two of their best. Whatever you order for dessert, be sure to follow it with their beef fat fudge.



Padella, Shoreditch & London Bridge


Padella at Borough Market (and now Shoreditch) has long been known for heart-breakingly long queues, and some of the best (and best value) pasta in the British Isles. Sadly prices have risen steeply since our last visit so it's no longer a lunch or dinner to throw a little at and get a lot in return, but the consistency remains remarkable, with every delicious plate of freshly made pasta tasting the same every time.



The pici cacio e pepe will be one of the best examples (if not the best) you've ever tried, same for the pumpkin and ricotta ravioli with sage butter, and the fettucine with British nduja, mascarpone and lemon has been on the menu from the start for good reason.



The wines are on tap, the staff are laid back, and the newer Shoreditch location seems to be marginally less slammed than the original. You can also book tables in Shoreditch, whereas the other remains a queue-ing only zone.

Bao, Borough Market & Other Locations


Another box to tick on the London restaurant bucket list, and an always reliable source of some of the best food around is Bao, with six locations around the city. They made it big on their namesake, with beef shortrib, curry cheese and prawn shia all options, aswell as a deep-fried option with cold-amoked aubergine, but the Yu Shiang boiled eggs and 40-day aged beef with Taipei butter rice must also be eaten when you're there.


La Chingada


Take the overground to Surrey Quays or the Jubilee Line to Canada Water and you'll find some of the best tacos in the city at La Chingada. We think it used to be a greasy spoon, and apart from the lifesized Mexican figure welcoming you out front and some murals on the walls, we don't think much has changed when it comes to the decor.



The corn tortillas for their tacos are freshly made and organic, fresh meat is delivered daily, and all vegetables are organic too. The Tacos al Pastor with spit-roasted pork and pineapple are a prime example of the cult Mexican dish, the chorizo is a surprising winner too, and we hear the beef Suadero is one of their best but they didn't have it on when we visited. The salsas take it to Mexico city levels, but go lightly or your mouth will need a while to recover.



Cheese & Dessert


Pick & Cheese, Covent Garden


London has a cheese conveyor belt and we can barely sleep with the jealousy. Pick & Cheese (part of The Cheese Bar group) in Covent Garden has up to 30 different plates moving around the restaurant, featuring all British cheeses paired with an accompaniment, and a few plates of cured meat.



If you love cheese like we love cheese, this is a trip, and even some of the most eyebrow-raising combinations (like St. Ella goat's cheese with rose Turkish delight) hit its mark.



There are also off-belt options like cheese toasties and a Port and Stilton ice-cream affogato, and desserts like a whipped rosary goat's cheese doughnut, and a yoghurt, lemon and honey cheesecake. See our Instagram Reel here.



Udderlicious, Covent Garden & Other Locations


Londoner's are spoilt for ice-cream 12 months of the year, with Soho a hive of choice, but in Covent Garden Udderlicious has them queuing up for made in store flavours like espresso & chocolate biscotti (amazing), custard cream, and a Bourbon sour sorbet. Customers can vote on the flavours they'd like to see in store from a compendium of options, and it's a cute place to dive in for a quick scoop away from the throngs outside.



Milk Train, Covent Garden


The most Instagram-worthy ice-cream in London can be found at the side of Covent Garden market, in a whimsical looking place called Milk Train.



Their claim is fame is bringing "the first candy floss cone to the UK", and it's so clever, so effective, and so expensive (we paid £14 for two sundae cones with one candyfloss add on). Children (and big children) will love it, and after you tear off the candyfloss and throw it in the bin the ice-cream and add-ons are very, very good.



Accommodation


London hotel and guest house prices are nothing short of insane - we genuinely can't understand who is paying this amount of money to stay in them. It feels like they have (honestly) doubled since before Covid, so expect to feel disheartened once you hop on booking apps. However, we felt like we found a bargain at The Mitre in Greenwich, whose rooms above the old English pub downstairs have recently been renovated.



It's equal walking distance to the national rail (8 minutes to London Bridge) or the DLR (20 minutes to Bank in the city), and it was quiet, clean and very comfortable. Greenwich is also a lovely place to base yourself, and you can even take a boat into central London. Looking at January, we found a double room from Friday - Sunday for €284 on booking.com, which trust us, is a major bargain.

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