Cheese is a genre of food where more is more. Why have one type of cheese when you can have two? There are things like mixed grills or ratatouille that celebrate varieties of meat and vegetables respectively, but cheese is more often than not a sociable type food. It even comes on a board with a load of likeminded and occasionally smelly friends. It’s also one of those foods you get a hankering for: from a bite off a block to a sprinkling on top. Which is why we’ve put this guide together: it’s our celebration of all the great cheesy dishes in London.
Cheesy familiarity is one of the many cornerstones of Britain’s simultaneously ailing and thriving culture. Ant and Dec, dad jokes, and late night puddles of Worcestershire sauce on bubbling cheddar will bring a fond tear to the eye of any great patriot. But lest we forget the proverbial king and queen of all cheese on bread: Welsh rarebit. There’s only one place you should be going for the UK’s most famous red herring (it is neither Welsh nor has any rabbit in it) and that place is the bar at St. John.
Noodles, cheese, noodles, cheese, noodles, cheese. All those glücklich käse feels. If you’ve not had the pleasure of eating this German and Austrian classic before, then we would like to formally introduce you. Fischer’s käsespätzle meet Certified Cheese Fan. Certified Cheese Fan meet Fischer’s käsespätzle. We have a feeling you’re going to get on. A medley of grated cheese, fried onions, and squishy egg noodles, our personal highlight of eating this dish is getting our fork through the crispy top layer. For an added £1.50, you can—and should—add bacon. It’ll provide an additional crunch factor to those soft egg noodles and a solid hit of saltiness to break through all of that creamy emmentaler.
Macaroni and cheese: good. Macaroni pie: even better. The Bajan classic is a must-order from Caribbean restaurants and takeaways across the city, but Roti Joupa’s is amongst the best. Always gooey and, most importantly, always brick-like, the general rule of macaroni pie is that it should always exist like a happy hot water bottle resting inside of your stomach. Just like Roti Joupa’s. With a couple of dashes of tamarind and chilli sauce, you’ve got the perfect combination of salty, stodgy, fruity and fiery.
An essential part of the foods-that-are-90%-cheese category that you may have forgotten about is the cheesecake and while we suggest bringing that up in your next therapy session—who forgets about cheesecake?!—we’re here to fix the bigger problem. Which is not having tried these life altering cakes that are, surely, not just the best cheesecakes in Brixton but in the whole of London. They’re slow baked for 10 hours or so and topped with ridiculously delicious sounding-and-tasting flavour combinations like peanut butter pecan pie, and dulce de leche biscoff, or Maltesers and honeycomb.
Mozzarella & kashkawan flatbread
We have a slideshow of memories in our brain that always appear when we can’t sleep. It’s typically a medley of flashbacks of our most cringe moments over the years, to TikTok songs we’ve heard too many times, and always, without fail, the time we tripped up in our primary school assembly. But sometimes, on a good day, we see images of this mozzarella and kashkawan flatbread. To call this cheesy would be a huge understatement. It feels more like a love letter to mozzarella. Freshly baked flatbread, with chewy crusts and a literal pool of melted cheese, it’s salty, it's creamy, and it's the closest you’ll get to a fondue sandwich.
If there was ever a good reason to crack out the old super lactase enzyme tablets, it’s Luca’s parmesan fries. What you’re dealing with here is basically a crispy, fluffy churro for people who stan hard Italian cheeses. A Luca signature, these ‘fries’ are certified proof that the best thing you can do with a nutty, flavourful cheese is to mix it with potato, then grate yet more parmesan on top, and price it at £6.50. That way inherently greedy turophiles like ourselves can always justify popping by for another round. Genius.
Wookey-hole cheese papads
First thing’s first, Bibi’s buffalo milk paneer is fantastic. Subtle with a layer of hidden chilli underneath. But let’s not beat around the bush here. Bibi make posh Quavers. POSH QUAVERS. Of course, crisps should never be made posh. But when it happens it’s very exciting and, it turns out, also very delicious. Their wookey-hole cheese papads are giant Quavers, after all. Only they come with a herby green sauce to dunk in as well. Take note, Walkers.
The human race has found a myriad of beautiful and creative ways to mainline dairy. It’s what separates us from animals, they say. Our cheddar-loving dog tends to disagree. But arguably the greatest method us clever little cheese fanatics have found is melting it. Melting it so that we can consume it faster, hotter, and dip polite cubes of potato into it and say profound things like ‘IT’S LIKE WE’RE ON A SKI HOLIDAY, RIGHT?’. Yes, raclette is the mood and artfully jabbing La Ferme’s quality French charcuterie with metal sticks is the method. If you leave without feeling like you’re a walking block of Morbier, you’re doing it wrong.
You might associate Padella with a two hour wait and famously excellent handmade pasta, but it’s also one of the best places in London to get a big ball of the good stuff. Here they let the burrata do all the talking, because when it’s as creamy and delicious as this one is, it doesn’t need any other frills. Drizzled with a little bit of olive oil, this ridiculously light piece of cheese doesn’t need anything else. Apart from Padella's sourdough bread, of course.
The average house-price in the Isle of Mull, Scotland is £258,000. We know this because it is physically impossible to eat one of Elliot’s Isle of Mull cheese puffs without developing an intense curiosity for the source of the rich, fondant-like cheese you’re consuming. Except this merry expedition down a Google hole is driven on by an infatuation for a naughty and crunchy little mouthful of food. Highly-addictive yet gloriously simple, Elliot’s have effectively looked at a quality Scottish cheddar and thought ‘how do we make it socially acceptable to cover this in yet more cheese and sell it to the good people of Borough Market’. The answer? Deep-fry it. We salute them.
To anyone who wishes that melted cheese was bottled up and sold next to ketchup, this ones for you. The wiz sauce at this Philadelphia-inspired spot is the main reason you should come here. Their whopper of a sub is filled with shredded ribeye steak, onions and your choice of cheese, except there really is no choice, go with the homemade cheddar Wiz. P.S. they also have cheesy tater tots that you should get involved with.