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Guide

The Best Things We Ate This Week

A running list of the best dishes we’ve had recently.

27 Spots
Launch Map
27 Spots
Launch Map
Updated September 11th, 2020

London restaurants are back, baby. Well, kind of. Some of them are anyway. And the great thing about restaurants reopening is it means that with each day there are more and more things for you to eat. The bad thing about that is, after three months alone with your fridge, all those options can feel pretty overwhelming. That’s why we’re highlighting the best dishes we’ve had recently, to point you in the right direction. Not ready to eat out just yet? Don’t worry, we’ll be shouting out our favourite delivery and collection options too.

If you’ve eaten something great recently that you want to share with our team, send us an email at london@theinfatuation.com. Now, onto the dishes.

THE DISHES

Autograf

££££ 488 West Green Rd

Mix of traditional pierogies

“I do not take the change of seasons well. In summer I am Malibu Barbie, all free-love and carpe diem. Come Autumn, I am Wednesday Addams bitterly whispering “where is my stupid, stupid umbrella?’. But rejoice my fellow sunshine-grievers because I have found the cure. Autograf’s assorted traditional pierogies, that are basically slippers for the soul in XL dumpling form. Topped with caramelised onion, the chicken was my personal favourite, but the potato and cottage cheese deserve a special shout out too. They’re super comforting and an excellent way to spend six quid.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Alaesh

££££ 756 Finchley Road

Merguez lafa

Back in March, my co-workers (for reasons I won’t go into here, but mainly because they’re awesome) sent me a huge package of falafel, salad, and sauces from Balady, a kosher falafel spot in Temple Fortune. Ever since lockdown eased I’ve been meaning to stop by to try their sabich, which I’d heard great things about. However, when I finally got there late on Wednesday, I impulsively changed my plan. You see, there's just no way I can walk past merguez without eating merguez, and so I ended up to their sister restaurant a couple of doors down. I got the merguez in lafa, stuffed with hummus, salad, aubergine, pickles, beets, carrots, cauliflower, fiery chilli sauce (both red and green), tahina and amba, and ate the entire huge, pillowy wrap in about ten minutes flat, stopping just now and then to lick the oily, flame red meat juice from back of my hand, shake my head at the gloriousness of the thing, and gasp for air.

- Oliver Feldman, Senior Editor

Sticks'n'Sushi

££££ 11 Henrietta St

Kani Korokke

There are fish cakes. There are croquettes. There are clouds. And then there’s the Kani Korokke at this Covent Garden spot. Creamy, light, and unbelievably smooth - these cute little crab croquettes are a must order. And even though they come as a starter you’re going to want to end on them.

- Rianne Shlebak, Editorial Assistant

Jake Missing

La Barra

££££ 147, Eagle Yard Arch, Walworth

Dominican fried chicken

“The fried chicken at La Barra comes in three sizes, the smallest of which caused O Fortuna from Carmina Burana to play, max volume, in my head as I saw it approaching my table. What the largest would do, I do not know. What I do know is that this is the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. The batter is otherworldly-looking, swirled, jagged, golden brown crunch that’s come from another dimension, while the chicken inside remains improbably and perfectly moist. A squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of homemade chilli sauce is preferable, but you don’t even need that. The fact it comes with green plantain chips and a pile of chicharrones and bofes bigger than every portion at every London small plates restaurant put together is almost laughable. Almost. But laughter is a filling activity. And you want to you save all the room you can for chicken”.

- Jake Missing, Staff Writer

Rianne Shlebak

Beit El Zaytoun

££££
££££ 15 Barretts Green Rd

Lamb and cheese mana’esh

“Some food is so good that you crave it whilst you’re still asleep. You know what I’m talking about. You wake up planning and calculating your route. All so you can get your fix. Yes it might be an hour travel, and yes you will do it anyway. Why? Because the lamb and cheese mana’esh at this Lebanese restaurant in Acton are just that good. They’re the perfect brunch for a lazy day. Doughy, meaty, cheesy. Some might say it’s too much so early on in the day. And to those people I say: (in the nicest way possible): grow up.”

- Rianne Shlebak, Editorial Assistant

il Pampero

££££ 20 Chesham Pl

The complimentary bread

“Free bread is like Jonathan Rhys Meyers, dangerous and irresistible. I will consume almost any free food item that you put down in front of me, but when the complimentary bread from Italian spot Il Pampero was especially good. It was soft on the inside, crisp and flaky on the outside, with just the right amount of dough bounce. Thank you for lining my stomach in style.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Jake Missing

St Mawes Bakery

££££ 9 Marine Parade

Steak pasty

“Like any true abrasive Londoner, I spent the bank holiday weekend in another county, eating local food, drinking local ales, being given the stink eye. The lucky destination this time was St. Mawes, a Sylvanian Families-sized village with a pasty shop right on the harbour, conveniently opposite the pub. I’ve had the steak pasty from the St. Mawes Bakery quite a few times over quite a few years, and it’s an always welcome paperweight for my stomach. The pastry sweats butter, the steak is chunky and pink, and the heavily peppered mix of mushy potatoes and onions (along with occasional rogue carrot) is the ideal partner to a pint of Tribute”.

- Jake Missing, Staff Writer

Heidi Lauth Beasley

One Love Kitchen

££££ 9A Crouch Hill

Jerk chicken wrap

“Lockdown has been an absolute dream for snacking. Lunch? Not so much. There’s minimal incentive to leave the office (your bed) and in the WFH time warp, 12pm quickly becomes 4pm. But this wrap is the best lunch I’ve had since March. You get a serious portion of tender jerk chicken, but the real revelation here is the wrap itself. Despite being packed full of salad, hot jerk chicken, and garlic mayo, it wasn’t soggy in the slightest. A serious winner that will keep you full until dinner. Or your next snack.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Heidi Lauth Beasley

Pastaio

££££
PastaItalian  in  Soho
££££ 19 Ganton St

Watermelon, yellow tomato, feta, chilli, and mint salad

“People might tell you that watermelon is a fruit. I’m no pomologist - yes, that’s a real job - but I disagree. Primarily, watermelon is a state of mind. I’m talking flip-flops and sangria and shamefully napping on lilos. And despite being smack bang in the centre of Soho, Pastaio’s watermelon, feta, and chilli dish put me straight into that pass-me-another-cocktail state of mind. Combine with the prosecco slushie for peak vacation feels.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Rianne Shlebak

Hoppers - St. Christopher's Place

££££
££££ 77 Wigmore Street

Lamb kothu roti

“I’ve always known that I have a weakness for carb-y dishes. Specifically carbs from the bread side of the family. So it’s no surprise that I love roti. And it’s even less of a surprise that I’m still thinking about this lamb kothu roti I had on Tuesday. It’s cooked in some sort of delicious gravy, and mixed with pieces of lamb and onions, and after a single taste the mood changed very quickly from: “sure everyone, take a spoonful, sharing is caring”, to me caring only about how much of it I can fit in my mouth. All worth it.”

- Rianne Shlebak, Editorial Assistant

Heidi Lauth Beasley

Tavolino Bar & Kitchen

££££ 2 More London Riverside

Bucatini ‘cacio e pepe’’

“Those three little words that every human longs to hear. Cacio e Pepe. The people behind handmade pasta spot Bancone have just opened a new all-day Italian restaurant called Tavolino. Or as I like to call it, My New Home. The sauce was super thick, just the way I like it, and there was a proper al dente bite to the bucatini. My breath stank of pepper and it was glorious.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Heidi Lauth Beasley

Tavolino Bar & Kitchen

££££ 2 More London Riverside

Tagliatelle, spicy nduja, and pork ragu

“If you think I went to Tavolino and just had one pasta, you are sadly mistaken. I have two hands and easy access to two forks. The result: Shoveling this tagliatelle in my mouth between bites of bucatini. The spicy nduja in the pork ragu sneaks up on you and then shouts ‘SURPRISE, I AM BETTER THAN 99% OF LONDON’S OTHER RAGU PASTAS’. Honestly, some of the best multi-tasking I’ve ever done.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Oliver Feldman

The Queen of Sheba

££££ 12 Fortess Rd

Awaze ti’bs

“The awaze ti’bs at Queen of Sheba isn’t just one of the best things I’ve eaten this week, it’s immediately become a go-to in my personal repertoire of favourite things to eat in London. Full stop. In the years to come, I won’t sit around, joylessly wondering where to go to satisfy one of my indistinct cravings for spice and flavour. I’ll just head directly to this friendly neighbourhood Ethiopian restaurant in Kentish Town. Once there, I’ll slowly, deliberately, scoop away at this gloriously generous portion of rich and tangy pan-fried lamb, onions, and peppers with spongy injera until I can’t eat any more. Then I’ll eat a little more. And then, finally, I’ll accept their offer to pack it all up for later.”

- Oliver Feldman, Senior Editor

Jake Missing

The Drapers Arms

££££ 44 Barnsbury St

Tea smoked salmon, pickled cucumber, dill, crème fraiche & soda bread

“I come from a family of sharers. More food than feelings, but often both around the dinner table. Entrées with a side of empathy. When we go out to eat it’s a bite for a bite. Each course is treated like a Strictly Come Dancing contestant awaiting its score from the judges, and the other night, at The Drapers Arms, it was my Mum’s salmon that did the sexiest dance. As a natural-born martyr, she made everyone up a bite before having one herself - a rip of soda bread, a dollop of crème fraiche, a wedge of silky smoked salmon, and a dilly pickle for good measure. It waltzed into my mouth. The judges were unanimous: a perfect 10 for the tea smoked salmon.”

- Jake Missing, Staff Writer

Oliver Feldman

Bright

££££
££££ 1 Westgate Street

Mortadella sandwich

“As of 11am on the morning of Friday, 14 August, there are no official FCO advisories that prohibit going to Italy. However I don’t feel all that great about unnecessary travel this year. Maybe that’s why the mortadella sandwich at Bright was such a revelation. Paired with an Americano or two, this springy, ham-filled focaccia is a wholly transportive experience. If I’d closed my eyes, I could easily have been in Bologna. Probably. Either way, along with the rest of Bright’s bar menu, it makes their London Fields terrace one of the best spots in town for an aperitivo.”

- Oliver Feldman, Senior Editor

Oliver Feldman

Kiss The Koala

££££ priory

Friarielli hash

“A pile of bite-sized potato chunks, mixed with sautéed friarielli, and topped off with a fried duck egg. It’s something I could probably - on a very, very good day - muster a passable version of at home. However, this was the first proper plate of food I’ve had in (or just outside) a restaurant since early March. And it was glorious. Don’t let that sound like I’m downplaying it though. Kiss The Koala is a newish café and brunch spot near Alexandra Palace and they hit the sweet-spot of salty, soft, and crunchy Sunday morning eating for me with this. (n.b. the portion of buttermilk fried chicken in the picture above is totally optional, though also advisable.)”

- Oliver Feldman, Senior Editor

Jake Missing

Quo Vadis

££££
British  in  Soho
££££ 26-29 Dean St

Tomato salad

“The phrase ‘too hot to eat’ isn’t one I really understand. Nobody is ever too hot to eat, you’re just too hot to eat certain things. Maybe it’s because of our climate. We know the cold months better than the hot. So when a 30-odd degree-er comes around, everyone panics. What do we eat? Chilled baked beans? An ice cube dipped in gravy? Sod it, let’s just drink instead. Or, alternatively, eat and drink. Outside. On Frith Street. At Quo Vadis. With a cold beer or a glass of something crispy. All you need then is a plate of sweet tomatoes bathing in oil, topped with finely chopped red onion, and a healthy turn of salt and pepper. It, with bread, is all I want this summer.”

- Jake Missing, Staff Writer

Heidi Lauth Beasley

Madame Pigg

££££ 480 Kingsland Road

Tempura courgette flower, ricotta, and blackberries

“What you have here is what I, a seasoned professional, like to call a shit tonne of textures. Am I this generation’s AA Gill? Definitely. But in all seriousness, this dish is summer on a plate. There’s plenty of crunch and creaminess, and the sharpness from the blackberries will remind you that, yes, you absolutely should have another glass of wine.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

MAP Maison

££££ 321 Kingsland Road

Quetzacoalt cocktail

We ran (walked) in from the rain (it wasn’t raining), desperately in search of sanctuary, safety and maybe, like, a cosmo or something. In a classic game of ‘guess where might still be open’ I came across Map Maison on the Kingsland Road and had a series of excellent cocktails. The gin-heavy Columbia Road cocktail is super fresh, but this tequila number was my favourite. Newsflash: fig liqueur is excellent with fresh lemon and pomegranate.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Monmouth Coffee The Borough

££££
££££ 2 Park Street, London SE1 9AB, Southwark

Iced filter coffee

“I’m an aspiring coffee nerd. There. I’ve said it. And I really don’t care if you’re not okay with it. I’ve got all the gear: a grinder, scales, one of those gooseneck kettles, elaborate glassware that I spend half my life trying to keep clean… and I have all of this because last autumn I got hooked on the iced coffee at Walden Woods in Kyoto. It was an instant top five* and I’ve been trying to recreate it ever since. Sadly, even the life-changing ice-making technique of Infatuation NYC Senior Staff Writer and resident cocktail expert, Bryan Kim, plus the unusual abundance of time 2020 has offered up hasn’t helped me get it right. Monmouth’s iced filter coffee however nails it. It might just be the best tasting, most nuanced cup of coffee I’ve ever had in London, and I’m not just saying that because Thursday was my first coffee outing since early March.”

- Oliver Feldman, Senior Editor

*”in case you’re interested, the others include an iced almond-macadamia milk latte from Go Get ’Em Tiger in LA, a very hot petrol station coffee somewhere in Oregon on a very cold morning in October 2016, and, a little closer to home, the nitro at Climpson’s.”

Jake Missing

Pollo Feliz

££££ 13-23 Westgate St

Quesadillas

“The other day I was feeling a bit blue, and that tends to lead me to eating something beige. Walking home and maybe subconsciously, but probably not, my brain took me to Pollo Feliz in Netil Market. Having just eaten a bagel (note: beige), I wasn’t that hungry but also, I can always eat. Their quesadillas are just beans and cheese. Gooey and soft, packed between handmade wheat-flour, pork-fat tortillas. They’re simultaneously rich and light, and I’d eaten both before I crossed the road”.

- Jake Missing, Staff Writer

Mac And Wild

££££
British  in  City
££££ 9A Devonshire Square

Deep-fried Mars Bar sundae

“I have a confession - I don’t know why Hot Priest never magically appears when I say this - I had never eaten a deep-fried Mars bar before my recent trip to Mac and Wild. There, I said it. But happily for me, but not my arteries, I am going to be eating a lot more if they all taste this good. I have a suspicion the sheer glory of this dessert was also down to the ice cream and whisky-infused toffee sauce. All in all, a sweet treat for the ages.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Rianne Shlebak

Coya London

££££
Peruvian  in  Mayfair
££££ 118 Piccadilly

Crab, tuna, and salmon tacos

“London is home to a lot of things: double-decker buses, overly confident pigeons, and people who pretend they don’t watch Love Island. But decent tacos isn’t one of them, which is why I was so excited about the tacos at Peruvian spot Coya. I had the tuna, crab, and salmon. The crab tacos are the tell-you-I-love-you-on-the-first-date kind of good, but the tuna and salmon are also pretty great. Just get them all.”

- Rianne Shlebak, Editorial Assistant

Jake Missing

The Good Egg

££££ 93 Church St

Lox & cream cheese bagel

“A few years ago, I tried to get takeaway from The Good Egg. They didn’t offer this, so I was rejected, but a stranger in the queue told me I smelled nice. Location aside, this story isn’t at all related to the lox and cream cheese Montreal bagel I had the other day. Less a slice of pastrami-smoked trout so much as a wedge hacked off, the bagel had some solid schmear going on, and a very welcome handful of capers. The sesame Montreal bagel, said to be denser, was the perfect vehicle.”

- Jake Missing, Staff Writer

Heidi Lauth Beasley

OMBRA

££££ 1 Vyner St

The park picnic for two

“Look, I rarely picnic. If I’ve learnt anything from the picnics of my youth it’s that grass stains suck and the only creature on planet Earth that has the same determination and inner strength as Beyoncé is the common ant. Well, rejoice my fellow picnic pessimists, because Ombra’s park picnic for two has made the whole thing pretty lovely. For 25 quid, you get focaccia, salami, burrata, and more - but the DIY sandwich situation is the real winner of the lot.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

Rianne Shlebak

Mamasons

££££ 32 Newport Court

The bilog

“Hi my name is Rianne, and I’m an ice-cream addict. So much so that I decided the perfect time to try this Filipino spot, that I’d been wanting to visit for months, was on a rainy Sunday. I ordered a bilog (a milk bun filled with ice-cream) and went with the Milo flavour (yes, the chocolate powder). It was basically like eating a pancake filled with ice-cream, what’s not to like?”

- Rianne Shlebak, Editorial Assistant

Heidi Lauth Beasley

Xi'an Impression

££££
Chinese  in  Highbury
££££ 117 Benwell Rd

Beef biang biang noodles

“If I was playing a game of word association and someone said ‘soulmate’, my instant, brain-snap reaction would be shouting ‘liangpi noodles’. You see, we are very much an item, me and Xi’an’s traditional coldskin. But this week I went rogue and ordered the hand-pulled biang biang noodles instead. They travelled well, the noodles were just the right amount of chewy, and the beef smelt so good that my flatmate pulled the old meerkat air-sniff move when they arrived. Officially my mistress.”

- Heidi Lauth Beasley, Staff Writer

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