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The London Hit List: The Best New Restaurants In London

We checked out these new restaurants - and loved them.

47 Spots
Launch Map
47 Spots
Launch Map
Updated November 19th, 2021

The Hit List is a guide to our favourite new food and drink experiences in London. We track new openings across the city, and then visit as many as we can. While the Hit List is by no means an exhaustive list of every good new spot, one thing you can always rely on is that we’ll only include places that we have genuinely checked out.

Our goal is for this list to be as diverse as the city itself - inclusive of a wide range of cuisines, price points, neighbourhoods, chefs and owners of all backgrounds, and the multifaceted communities within the industry. If you think we missed a great new place, we want to hear about it. Shoot us an email at london@theinfatuation.com.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor dining, takeaway and delivery, or at-home meal kits, The Hit List is here to help you find a great new spot to support. Read on to find your new favourites.


The Plimsoll

££££ 52 St Thomas's R

“Prior to becoming the Plimsoll, the pub on the corner of St Thomas’s and Plimsoll Roads was known as the Auld Triangle. It was a Finsbury Park boozer popular with Arsenal fans. A proper Irish drinking hole. Guinness was around the £3 mark and watching a game here usually involved several packets of Taytos. It was full of red shirts, red walls and red cheeks. I liked it a lot. But somehow when Four Legs (formerly of the Compton Arms’ kitchen) announced they’d bought the pub, I wasn’t worried. They had been a key part of a former Gooner drinking den that turned into a still pubbish pub serving excellent food, after all. And it’s the same with The Plimsoll. This is ostensibly a pub up front. Low-lit and loud and full of leaning hips with drinks in hand. The back is where Four Legs’ trademark floral car boot sale plates do their thing. A glorious pile of grated gouda and caesar sauce masquerading as a friseé salad. Deep-fried oysters and aioli on top of a corner-shop baguette. A chicken schnitzel topped with bhuna sauce and melted mozzarella with raita on the side. Everything tastes robust and gutsy and, moreover, fun. All things that make for an excellent menu and, incidentally, all traits you need to make an excellent pub. These guys are doing both.” - JM


American  in  Soho
££££ 49 Lexington Street

“Though Rita’s has been knocking about London for going on a decade now there’s still something decidedly youthful about it. That said, Missy Flynn and Gabe Pryce’s take on American-influenced cuisine has grown up. The days of napkin-essential fried chicken and tequila-heavy frozen Ritas in Hackney may be gone, but they’ve created something different and better on Lexington Street, in the heart of Soho. That, or we’re all just getting old. Here it’s candlelight and Roy Davis Jr playing in the background, trademark punchy cocktails alongside cream cheese and chilli water-laden gildas. The room isn’t exactly big, nor is it particularly elaborate, but what it is is comfortable. Bowls of homely clams with sugared Idaho scones and a plate of still mooing bavette with creamed greens and crispy potatoes, all to the sound of James Murphy alongside a glass of Donati Lambrusco. It’s a dash of Americana that feels completely at home in London.” - JM


££££ The Pantechnicon

“Sachi is objectively cool. It’s in a cool five-storey Nordic Japanese building with white pillars at the entrance and more foliage inside than the Belgrave Square garden down the road. The servers are laid back but attentive, helpful, but not at all pushy. And the dining room feels like a well-kept secret with plenty of light wood, bamboo, dim lighting, and corner tables that’ll automatically ensure any date will go well. The coolest thing about this place, however, isn’t the atmosphere or the building. It’s the excellent food. Top quality nigiri, perfectly crunchy lobster tempura, and tasty sushi rolls. It’s somewhere I kind of wish I could keep to myself. But that wouldn’t be very cool of me, would it?” - RS


££££ 322 - 324 Acton Mews

“If Planque had opened five years ago it would maybe, possibly, no, actually probably be the London restaurant to eat in right now. It ticks the boxes marked Hackney, funky wine list, and 2-3 small plates each that were all flavour of the month a few moons ago. Since that heyday, lots of people have got annoyed at having a nibble of this and a whiff of that for a large amount of money and have decided that perhaps the Toby Carvery approach to dining was the correct one all along. However, Planque is one of those beautiful, airy, minimalist, achingly hip, but undeniably excellent, restaurants that says otherwise. Its aesthetic is MKUltra meets Robyn music video. Its food is sort of French and sort of eccentric, so French. And its wine list is extensive and serious. So serious that one part of the restaurant and ‘wine drinker’s clubhouse’ is a glass wall into Planque’s hidden lair-cum-wine cellar. The kitchen is headed up by P. Franco alumnus Seb Myers and some of it is spectacular. Notably some luscious Jerusalem artichokes in egg yolk and a caramel tart covered in shavings of blue cheese. In a genre of restaurants that are often hard to like, Planque has all the elements that make me think it will be very easy to do so.” - JM



££££ 9 Seymour St

“Hold onto your cynicism people because I’m about to sound incredibly America’s Next Top Model, but Kol is a restaurant that has it. No matter how long I do this job, I’m never entirely sure what it is - magic culinary fairy dust, indescribable star quality, or the overwhelming sense that this restaurant was destined to feed me, here, at this exact moment in time - but whatever it is that takes a restaurant from good to fever dream, Kol has it. A warm terracotta dining room with a buzzing open kitchen, they serve a Mexican-inspired tasting menu. Hold the pretentious faff, think instead: smoky mezcal broths, slick squid paired with a rich cashew mole, and a gooseberry and pear salsa tortilla situation that will make you rue the day you ever willingly bought an Old El Paso kit. Kol is doing something new in a city that is so entirely over itself and it’s for that reason that getting a reservation here will be tricky. Persevere, hit refresh, look out for last-minute cancellations, the booking effort and heavy-duty price tag will be entirely worth it to experience a fine dining restaurant that’s confident, wildly creative, and never ever boring.” - HLB


Indian  in  Mayfair
££££ 42 N Audley Street

“They say that when you know you know. And from the first bite of crispy papad at this new Indian spot in Mayfair, I knew this was something special. It’s from the same restaurant group behind Hoppers and Gymkhana, so hopes were set to high coming here. But nothing prepared me for the flavours. From a raw orkney scallop that comes in a tangy ‘Indian lemonade’ and Lahori chicken that blew me away with its tender meat and creamy peppercorn sauce, to the pulao rice cooked in chicken broth, which would be delicious even as a stand alone dish. Although the space is small, it’s a buzzy restaurant with service that’s attentive without being obnoxious. There are also a handful of counter seats that absolutely scream date night. This is a restaurant that will impress and excite you, and show whoever you’re with that you know a thing or two about good food.”- RS

Trattoria Brutto

££££ 35-37 Greenhill Rents

“When we added Sessions Arts Club to the Hit List a month or two ago, we categorically stated that it was not a restaurant you’d want to go to for a swift lunch. Luckily, Brutto has opened nearby. Not only will this confident and lived in-feeling Florence-inspired trattoria on a side street in Farringdon make you very happy. It’s also got an almost preternatural knack for pacing. It’s able to provide what we consider the rarest of restaurant meals - a sub-one hour, three-course lunch - where every mouthful is a perfectly timed, completely stress-free joy. From an anchovy starter (served with cold butter and toasted sourdough) to a refreshingly generous portion of succulent pork and fennel sausages with lentils, and a near perfect tiramisu, this place barely puts a foot wrong. And while we can’t promise they’ll squeeze in a pasta primi or one of their 950g t-bone steaks into 60 minutes, we can guarantee that this is a place that will make you want to cancel those afternoon meetings and kick back with a round of £5 negronis. In fact, this is a place you’re going to want to plan to spend lots of time in. And in a neighbourhood already brimming with excellent restaurants, Trattoria Brutto has the makings of yet another destination, whether it’s to stop by for a drink at their all-day bar, a quick workday lunch, or even a long romantic dinner date under their soft napkin lampshade lighting.” - OJF


££££ 20 Greek Street

“Gunpowder’s original spot is one of those restaurants that I’ve somehow never been to, despite drooling over videos of their famous venison doughnut for years. So my visit to their third and newest spot was well overdue. The red leather sofas, sleek tables, and curtain leading to a hidden back room, give it a sort of old-school feel, befitting of its Soho location. And the menu which had all the classic big hitters, like the venison doughnut, and their melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops, also has some tasty new Soho exclusives. Like an ox cheek musallam puff that we wish we could order an XXL version of, and a prawn toast we can’t stop thinking about. Basically the food here is undeniably great, and whether you’ve been to the original or not, it’s an excellent new option for a meal in central.”- RS

The Cadogan Arms

Pub  in  Chelsea
££££ 298 King's Rd

“I’m as easily taken in by elaborate architectural detail as I am the flashing lights of a fruit machine, but it’s the former that had me all agape with wonder when I walked into The Cadogan Arms. Thankfully the food on offer at this jaw dropper of a refurb in Chelsea - all spruced up pub classics - knows when and where to draw the line. While you might expect the massive, cushioned armchairs and the diligent and attentive service in the eight table restaurant area out back, to spell fussy, dressed-up pub food, happily, they keep things simple and delightful. We’re talking a £17 ham, egg and chips that could easily end up being one of the top ten pub meals you ever eat, or a massive golden brown chicken kiev served with a shaved fennel salad that somehow manages to feel both reserved and slightly decadent at the same time. There’s pie, steak, and grilled fish on offer too, but whatever you do, make sure you get extra chips on the side - they’re excellent. Elsewhere, there’s a non-stop playlist of polite rock, as befitting any SW3 walk-in boozer, a menu of bar snacks that includes a 10/10 pork and sage scotch egg, excellent beer glasses, a classic prawn cocktail, and an unmissable plate of crispy lamb ribs. Also unmissable is the trifle, which is - like the prawn cocktail - 50% fantastic and 50% absolute 80s dinner party throwback.” - OJF

Bao Noodle Shop

££££ 1 Redchurch Street

“Bao are very good at opening restaurants. You know this. We know this. Everyone knows this. Even so, there’s still a slow-nod amazement I have for their Manchester United-under-Fergie-like consistency. From delivery shapeshift to noodle new opening, their formula just does not miss a beat. As ever, it’s the smaller plates that get me going the most from their recently opened Noodle Shop in Shoreditch. Crispy tripe with a dancing homemade 16 spice mix and spring onion mayo brings the proverbial party to your mouth, while a pair of Ogleshield spring rolls are as gooey and chewy as they should be. The Tainan beef noodle soup is a heartwarming bowl of slurpyness - don’t skip on the beef butter - and combined with Bao’s always-excellent interiors (this spot leans heavy on bar seating for the solo diner) it makes for one of the most surefire additions to Shoreditch in some time.” - JM

Kudu Grill

££££ 57 Nunhead Ln

“We all love slagging off the later films in a franchise. How did they get a budget for a film called A Good Day To Die Hard? Can’t they just leave Ben Stiller’s penis alone? And, why is Bridget Jones in a Thai prison? Anyway, over in Peckham, Kudu Grill is the fourth instalment from Kudu Collective, and because we’re all petty little humans, that’s around the point everyone gets bored. But, plot twist, Kudu Grill is fantastic. This time the South Africa-inspired mini-chain is focused on open-fire cooking and the results are fried pigs’ tails nibbles, whole grilled lemon soles, and a huge dry-aged t-bone steak that comes with beer-pickled onions and - whisper it - treacle bordelaise. Housed in a revamped Truman’s pub, it’s loud, it’s proud, and it’s serving some of the most uniquely satisfying food you can eat in London right now.” - HLB


Sushi  in  Brixton
££££ 12 Market Row

“Whether it’s a late night chicken nugget delivery, or a waiter balancing plates of pasta making a beeline for your table, it’s always exciting to know that there’s food on the way. And that anticipation is significantly heightened when you can see that food being prepared, step-by-step, right in front of you. That’s what makes a meal at this new Brixton counter-only spot a very exciting experience. This intimate 18 seater is all marble, concrete, and hand rolls. A single room where everyone has a front row seat, it feels like you’ve been invited to an exclusive dinner party hosted by Pavlov. You’ll wait, patiently, for that scoop of golden rice to be flattened on a sheet of seaweed, layered with sliced onion, and carefully placed with fish, and once you’ve polished off your first salmon temaki, you’ll want to start it all over again.” - RS

Jake Missing

Café Cecilia

££££ 32 Andrews Rd

“There was a moment, as I ummed and ahhed between ordering rabbit pasta or steak and chips at Café Cecilia, when I remembered, with the help of some warm and understanding words, as well as a white port and tonic, that you should always follow your gut. My gut told me the onglet with peppercorn sauce and chips. Just as it had told me to come back to the new daytime London Fields restaurant for lunch having had a black pudding breakfast there the same morning. On both occasions my gut was correct. Despite its location in a slick new build and its cool marble white interior, there’s an unmistakeable warmth about Café Cecilia. It’s in the fizzing green peppercorn sauce, it’s in the present and always-pleasant staff, and it’s in a menu that leads with Guinness bread and butter. Before opening his own place, head chef Max Rocha had stints at the River Cafe as well as St. John Bread and Wine, while manager Kate Towers came from Rochelle Canteen. But even without that kind of CV your gut will more than likely tell you to spend all morning, day and, when it eventually opens for dinner, night here.” - JM

Bibo Dani García

SpanishTapas  in  Shoreditch
££££ 45 Curtain Road

“I am a strong believer that all Londoners need restaurants like Bibo in their lives. Otherwise where are we meant to take all of our emotional baggage and rocketing cortisol levels for a mojito? A buzzing tapas spot with its own in-house DJ and big birthday-ready booths, Bibo is the rarest of good-times restaurant - the kind that actually makes good food. This place is great at taking a classic crowd-pleaser and dressing it up in its Friday night glad rags. Think gooey little croquetas with a high-end Jabugo jamon ibérico hat, chorizo served on soft brioche buns with a quail egg to accessorise, and a perfectly cooked tortilla decorated with artsy squiggles of brava sauce. You should get involved in all of the above, but whatever you do, don’t skip the paella section of the menu. They’re served in huge pans with a layer of rice no thicker than your finger and once you’ve oohed and ahhed over the tableside lobster carving dramatics, you’ll eat it whilst also hoping it never ends. Because Bibo is a party restaurant where you come for the boujie cocktail content but stay for the excellent food.“- HLB

Sessions Arts Club

££££ 24 Clerkenwell Green

“There are some restaurants you use for a swift lunch or a snappy dinner. Sessions Arts Club is not one of those restaurants. From the moment you step through the discrete doorway on Clerkenwell Green, into the rickety lift that delivers you to the most elaborately exquisite ‘new’ dining room in London, you’ll know that this is a place you want to take your time in. You’re going to want at least two old fashioneds before even looking at the menu. You’re going to want to spend a while taking in the artfully-distressed Regency splendour of this landmark building while also spying on your fellow diners to see what they’re eating. And then you’re going to want to enjoy the fact that it’s going to be hard to put a foot wrong here. From the millefeulle-esque eel, potato, crème fraîche and roe that’ll have you nodding with approval, to the riesling-laced clams, to the panisse, everything here - including the warm service - is like the room itself. Simple, elegant, and, in the case of the chocolate tart, fairly beautiful.” - OJF


££££ 36 James St

“There are some things you don’t know you need until you use them once. Like Amazon Prime, or a Shiba Inu with a watermelon helmet. And I didn’t know how much I needed a salted caramel French toast at 9pm, until Crome opened. This new all-day spot on James Street specialises in French toast. And by that I mean the menu is literally just French toast, both savoury and sweet. And it’s the place you won’t know you need until you’re walking around Oxford Street after dinner looking for a sit-down dessert. The space is small but mighty, with sofa seating and neon signs, and towers of French toast. And yes, it’s all very Instagrammable, but it’s also more than that. The thick slices of toast are fried in butter while maintaining a perfectly fluffy centre, and are topped with things like caramelised banana and biscoff spread, or stuffed with Nutella and topped with brownie pieces and caramel popcorn. Yes, it’s OTT, and yes, it’s delicious.”- RS

Bodega Rita's

££££ 91 Cowcross St

“Every life is filled with spells of repetitive eating and drinking. Some of them are celebratory, like a restaurant you can’t get enough of. Some of them gluttonous, like a biscuit spread that demands to be spooned daily. And others are straight tragic, like the period of unemployment when I ate bean and cheese toasties and drank a litre of chocolate milk daily. Something about Bodega Rita’s reminded of that last period in the best possible way. A feeling of completely misguided ascendancy came over me as I wiped tantalising au jus-dipped beef from my mouth and chugged at their hair-raisingly good chipotle chocolate milk. When sandwiches have as much going on as these ones do, I’d hope they jog something in everyone. But even if they don’t, it will more than likely spell a new period of repetitive eating: right here, in Farringdon, at Bodega Rita’s newest (and best) incarnation.” - JM

Cin Cin

££££ 21 Foley Street London W1W 6DS

“Pasta is sometimes dismissed as the ‘watching a Ben Stiller film’ of restaurant dining. How bad can it be? Pleasant nice little penne never hurt anyone. You’ll smile, you’ll be satisfied, and ultimately you probably won’t remember it in two weeks time, right? No. Absolutely not. I cannot and will not approve this theory because of the simple fact that London is home to places like Cin Cin. This Italian restaurant in Fitzrovia is a Brighton import that serves a bigoli with such perfect al dente bite that I have officially added ‘stop eating mediocre pasta’ to my five-year life plan. And it comes in a Venetian duck ragu that is so deliciously rich you won’t even be mad that it set you back £17. Outside of epiphany carbs, Cin Cin is also home to some big-price, big-summer-energy fishy mains and satisfying little Italian small plate classics. Ideal for date night and aperitivo-fuelled four-hour catch-ups, their dining room is a truly lovely place to be, but if the sun is shining, it’s going to be hard to beat their quintessentially London pavement seating. Affogato and limoncello shots encouraged.” - HLB

Humble Chicken

Japanese  in  Soho
££££ 54 Frith Street

“My patience for novelty-feeling restaurants is George Constanza-like at best. But every now and again one catches me unawares and, before I know it, I’m several pints deep on the kool aid of a shiny new spot. Which brings me to Humble Chicken - a new yakitori bar on Frith Street that sent my Constanza-sense tingling. Not because yakitori is novelty, but because yakitori in Soho sounds like it has the potential to be superficial tourist and tosser fodder. Well, I was wrong. Because, let me tell you, none of the dishes from the sea or the soil made me angry that day my friends. In fact, the yakitori was better than some I’ve eaten in Tokyo. The man behind the flames is Angelo Sato, who’s worked with Clare Smyth and trained at Eleven Madison Park. Clearly, this fine dining training has worked a treat because the stuff come off of sticks here is pretty faultless. Every part of the chicken is accounted for and, offal aside, it’s the bits that sound like part injury-prone footballer or 1920s porno that you want to order: soft knee and cartilage, inner thigh, achilles, and skin are particular delights. Each chicken part is paired with a different topping or marinade - from spicy miso to yuzu kosho ponzu - and, combined with the ice cold Asahi on tap it doesn’t feel like anything novelty is going on here, just a no-brainer of a restaurant.” - JM

Molly's Cafe

British  in  Hoxton
££££ 1 Geffrye St

“The spectrum of emotions a restaurant can conjure in me is concerningly broad. It includes (and is not limited to): ecstasy, despair, amazement, melancholy, confusion, fury, intrigue and, when Peking duck is on the menu, faint arousal. None of these are my favourite restaurant feeling though. Not even that last one. No, my favourite feeling is complete, unadulterated, comfort. To be comfortable in a space where lots of other people - family people, hungover people, excited people, romantic people, solitary people, sultry people - are sitting and smiling and enjoying a rudely rich ice cream sandwich in total contentment. It’s easier said than done, but Molly’s Cafe has made it feel effortless. There are a few reasons for this, I think. The first is that it’s an all-day affair. All-day places are more likely to be intrinsically lovely if done well. As good for a bacon sandwich as they are for a mid-afternoon negroni - what’s not to love? The second reason is that it’s part of the Anchor & Hope family, which is the equivalent of Olympic doping in new restaurant terms. And the third reason is that it’s connected to the Museum of the Home (formerly the Geffrye) in Hoxton, so comfort feels like a geographical requirement. Also, the chips. They make very good chippy-like chips. What this adds up to is somewhere I’ve immediately rebooked. Not because it’s ‘comfortable’ in the Uberfication way of things - like table service in pubs, or avocados to your door. But because Molly’s Cafe is a comforting place. Which is what eating, drinking and restaurants are all about. For me, anyway.” - JM

Giulia Verdinelli


££££ 56 James Street

“The phrase ‘unprecedented times’ has been thrown around a lot over the past year but this, beloved readers, is truly an unprecedented moment. For the first time, we’re putting somewhere on the Hit List™ for a second time. Many, many months ago, one of my colleagues described this roast chicken delivery operation from the team behind Patty and Bun as ‘the best takeaway I’ve ever eaten’. And now in a truly delightful plot twist, Sidechick has opened a bricks and mortar restaurant in Marylebone.

Their IRL situation not only has the same juicy, perfectly roasted chicken available - our personal favourite is the zatar roast - but they’ve also upped their game with a long list of natural wines, intimate little two-person booths, and sides I will happily write poetry about. If you have any ideas for what would rhyme with ‘smokey aubergine and pecorino’, please do let me know. Perfect for date night, lowkey birthdays, and saying ‘god, I love crispy potatoes’ out loud, I have a feeling this place will quickly become every Londoners go-to chicken and chill spot.” - HLB


££££ 157 Westbourne Grove

“Although 2019 feels something like a fossilised memory to me, the before time to now’s after, my meals at Endo at the Rotunda are still as clear as day. Not just because the sushi was sensational and the setting felt totally unique, but because my dinner was mostly eaten from the palm of a stranger’s hand. No Purell involved, thankfully. Anyway sushi master Endo Kazutoshi recently opened another restaurant in Notting Hill in the shape of Sumi. It’s a little less exclusive, a little more affordable (in relative terms) but the sushi isn’t lacking at all. Of all the excellent fish eaten, hamachi (yellowtail) and hotate (scallop) stood out - the latter virtually melting away the instant it touches your tongue. Temaki hand rolls were also a winner combined with some sun trap seating out front. It felt part Notting Hill and part The Hills. The scene and the clientele certainly certainly fit both of these brackets - think lots of recent holidays to Portugal and small dogs with an interest in wagyu - and although service isn’t as slick as the Rotunda, if you’re after high quality sushi then Sumi is an instant must-visit.“ - JM

Imad's Syrian Kitchen

Syrian  in  Soho
££££ Kingly Court, Carnaby Street

“Some restaurants make you feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else. Some make you feel like you never want to leave London. And Imad’s Syrian Kitchen is one of those rare restaurants that made me feel both at once. With its concise menu of small and large plates (all under £15), this warm and inviting spot, located on the top floor of Carnaby Street’s Kingly Court, is serving up some really excellent Syrian dishes. Namely, some of the best baba ghanouj I’ve eaten at a restaurant, a grilled okra dish that pushed okra up in my own personal vegetable ranking system, and a tender and perfectly spiced lamb shoulder which would get me back to Oxford Circus in a heartbeat. Excellent meat aside, this place has an intimate feel to it, and along with the great service, that’s enough to let you know that you’ve found a new great little place.” - RS

Café Deco

££££ Store Street

“There are restaurants you want to be in for special occasions, others you save for your beloved, and some that you simply want to age decrepitly and drunkly in. Café Deco is all of the above. Small but perfectly formed, much like the food it serves, there is little not to love about what Anna Tobias (of Rochelle Canteen and River Cafe kitchens) and the 40 Maltby Street team has done here. The menu may be short, 12 dishes or so, but the time you spend here won’t be. Pork crackling with apple sauce, eggs and mayo with a single anchovy perched on top, and ham - a glorious plate of ham! - were all things that we gobbled as swiftly as a deer. Until said deer turned up in the shape of a bowl of venison stew and mash. Truly the most luxurious of baby food, though everything was paired with something from the brilliant, wandering, low-intervention adult-only wine list. Set in the hushed surroundings around UCL this unconventionally conventional café, restaurant, shop and soon-to-be wine bar hybrid feels right. So much so that perhaps Bloomsbury will have another blue plaque here in the future. One that could read ‘Jake Missing, Glutton, Keeled over here’ but more likely and fittingly, ‘Anna Tobias, Chef, Made people happy here’.” - JM

The Red Duck

Chinese  in  Balham
££££ 1 Ramsden Road

“Some restaurants become your friend. You know, those cool, casual places you return to time and time again, to the point where they’re a regular cast member in all of your stories. You eat there, you date there, and after one too many bevs on a Tuesday night, you’d actually quite happily sleep there. A couple of bites into The Red Duck’s sweet, super tender char siu pork, I knew that this place is going to be one of my best mates in restaurant form. The atmosphere is laid back, the service is friendly, the intimate front terrace screams date night, and on top of all that, the food here is so good that you’ll be mass-broadcasting messages like ‘omg this duck, so good, Daffy could never’ in your WhatsApp chats. A couple minutes walk from Balham station, the menu is all about Chinese classics like Sichuan dumplings, bang bang chicken, and their signature crispy aromatic duck. Hot tip: you should order all of the above and throw in a round of braised glass noodles too just for good measure. In the spirit of some of my other ride-or-die best friends, this place also makes a mean negroni, with an honourable mention to the rhubarb spritz. Come with your favourite friends, come with your partner, just know that I have a feeling that you’ll be coming back.” - HLB

Caitlin Isola

Cue Point

BritishBBQAfghan  in  Chiswick
££££ The Chiswick Pavilion

“Picture this: a cricket field, benches, sofas, brisket, lamb barbacoa, buffalo chicken wings. Happiness. And now picture you, sitting in the sunshine, eating a platter with all of that, plus more. Cue Point, a British Afghan catering company, turned nationwide delivery guardian angel over lockdown, have set up shop in The Chiswick Pavilion and are serving up some of the best slow cooked meats you’ll find in London. Their new spot is all outdoors, and the huge space seats up to 200 people. As well as that they’ve got a drive-thru BBQ situation on the weekends, which means if you pre-order (the day before) you can pick up some of their 16-hour oak smoked brisket and eat it in the comfort of your car. Will I be back for more of their excellent brisket buns and hush puppies? I’m not even going to try to make a smart joke about it - the answer is yes.” - RS

Dimsum & Duck

££££ 124 King's Cross Road

“It’s a safe of glistening roasted ducks rather than a phoenix that’s risen from the ashes of a much-loved banh mi spot in King’s Cross. Where baguettes were once filled, meats are roasted and dumplings are handmade and, let me tell you, if you were a Viet Baguette aficionado then Dim Sum & Duck will ease your pain. There’s no point beating around the bush here: this is the best all-round Cantonese I’ve eaten in London. The dumplings, from xiaolongbao to cheung fun are superb. A trio of delicate glass wrapper prawn and chive dumplings and a foursome of bathing pork balls have taken permanent residence in a very important part of my brain: the part that looks like a merry-go-round and has different delicious foods manically turning 24/7. Other things are brilliant too. These things include, but are not limited to: the beef ho fun, the warm service, the morning glory in preserved bean curd with a whack of garlic, and the fact it’s BYOB with an offy bang opposite. One thing to know is that it’s not exactly roomy, but, frankly, I will be making room to be here at least once a month.” - JM

Mr Ji

Taiwanese  in  Soho
££££ 72 Old Compton Street

“For all of one generation’s ‘not-the-same-as-in-my-day’ moans to another’s ‘it-was-never-any-good-even-in-my-day’ retorts, Soho is still capable of producing excellent restaurants doing interesting (and by that I mean not homogenous) things. Mr Ji is the best example of that right now. The Taiwanese restaurant on Old Compton Street screams cocktails thanks to its neon-lit close quarters bar space. It also screams chicken, not at you as you decline a third rice martini, but via its poultry-focused menu. The PSC (poached soy chicken) is the standout dish, so moist that your hands may turn prune-ish just looking at it, while the deep-fried hearts and breast are also essential. A cubic take on prawn toast, filled with a prawn and béchamel mixture before having parmesan rained over it, feels like the work of TATA Eatery (fomerly in the kitchen at Tayer and Elementary), who helped owner Samuel Haim develop the menu. It’s an exciting addition to Soho right now, but I’m even more excited to see what comes out of the kitchen in the future.”- JM

ET Food Voyage

Birria Taco

££££ Ventures Hotel

“Whilst I love a restaurant with hanging foliage and more chandeliers than that Selling Sunset mansion that still hasn’t been sold, those things are not quite enough to get me back somewhere again and again. A tiny takeaway kitchen under a hotel with zero chandeliers and just three excellent dishes on the menu however and I’ll be there twice in a week. And this spot on Sussex Gardens is only open weekends. The theme of the menu is birria - a Mexican-inspired stew made with slow cooked lamb - and the lamb here is the kind you can get a meaty whiff of by just walking past. While there’s birria ramen and nachos as well, the star of the show here are the birria tacos. Meaty, cheesy, and so good that three might not be enough, these tacos are excellent. And the enjoyment isn’t lessened at all by having to eat them on a park bench a couple of roads down. In fact, paired with the consommé, it’s the perfect warming meal for the British weather.” - RS


££££ Netil Market

“It’s great when people get it. What ‘it’ is always tends to be pretty nebulous but hugely important, and in the case of Pockets - a little falafel stall in London Fields - they get it. They get that a pitta needs to be layered. A crisp still-hot falafel, cabbage salad, hummus, zhoug, a drizzle of amba, tahini. Repeat. No one thing is hidden, no one perfect bite combining the falafel, the sauces, the tart crunch of cabbage and the hit of (essential) pickled chilli is rationed. It’s the full shebang 100% of the time. But before they even started layering everything into their soft, pillow-y pockets, I asked “what’s that?” nodding towards a crispy wedge waiting to be slipped on top at the end. “It’s a deep-fried potato” was the response. Safe to say, they get it.” - JM


££££ 100 Mount St

“Hideaway is the kind of chandelier-clad café that makes you want to get rich through cryptocurrencies even though you thought Bitcoin was some kind of Pokemon until six months ago. True story. But this thinking stems from the fact that Hideaway, much like its glorious fine dining big sister restaurant Hide, is pricey. Importantly, it’s also entirely worth every single pound you spend. The eclairs are rich, the croque madame is a soft, crispy cheese fest, and the pizzas come topped with quality things like truffle and wild thyme. The £18 lobster roll is the real star of the show at this Mayfair café though. It’s a rich, sweet hefty lunch that I ate in Green Park with a big fat smile on my face. The specialist coffee is also excellent, like the kind of excellent where you take one sip and consider buying a second one to prevent any caffeine attachment issues arising. And then there’s the wines from Hedonism, the caviar and black truffle by the till, and out front, the boujiest waffle station the world has ever seen. It’s fine dining dressed down in its trackies, ready for a good time at the park. Basically, every single thing about this place is fantastic.”- HLB


££££ 83 Kentish Town Rd

“There’s always room for exciting new food in London but, more than anything, there’s always room for an exciting new sandwich. Put it on a plate and there may be pause. Put it between two slices and it’s down the pie hole immediately. This occurred to me at Panadera - an impeccable Filipino bakery in Kentish Town from the Mamasons people - watching customers look at the sandwich board, hesitate over the corned beef hash sando before, I’ve decided, thinking ‘fuck it, it’s a sandwich’. And what a sandwich it is. It’s soft and crunchy, thanks to the deep fried corned beef patty, with lovely little chunks of potato flecked throughout. There’s sweetness from the pandesal - Filipino milk bread - combined with a tart sauce, a wipe of mayo, and a bit of lettuce that’s there for moral support. You can expect to queue for it, but don’t expect to be disappointed.” - JM

Cafe Bao

££££ 4 Pancras Square

“I’ll let you in on a little Infatuation London secret. Come and peak behind the curtain of my little food-obsessed brain. Despite the fluffiest, delicious baked goods, I didn’t know whether to give Café Bao the high accolade of Best New Restaurant purely down to the fact that Bao already has several excellent restaurants across London. But - and it’s a big but - Café Bao in King’s Cross is different from their other spots. For starters, it isn’t the savoury bao that takes centre-stage here, it’s the sweet stuff. Think white chocolate bao packed full of peach red bean, molten festive specials, and our personal favourite, the salted egg custard sad face bao. If you’re an eternal fan of their signature pork bao, don’t panic, because they’re still serving all the classics, as well as additions like their take on a pizza slice and a certified genius steamed dough sausage roll. The space is warm but still that distinctive brand of Bao cool, and I loaded up on a couple of classic bao, plenty of the baked goods, and enjoyed them down by the canal in the sunshine. A top game plan even if I do say so myself.” - HLB


££££ 274 High Rd

“There are things you eat that are just lovely background noise to whatever else you’re doing - a bowl of pesto pasta whilst you watch TV, a fresh fruit salad you nibble on whilst you’re in a meeting. And then there are those foods that demand your full attention. Chuku’s, a bright and cheerful little Nigerian tapas spot near Seven Sisters station in Tottenham, is doing DIY wraps packed full of tender meat, big flavours, and sauces that are so good they’ll make you stop whatever else you’re doing and say something ridiculous like ‘would it be weird if I married this wrap?’. The honey suya sauce is a simultaneous blast of spice and sweetness, whilst their house salad comes covered in the zestiest of zesty drizzles. Mix them together inside a soft wrap with plenty of fluffy jollof quinoa and you’ve got one of the best things you can eat in London right now. Plus, they’re delivering nationwide.”- HLB

Jake Missing

From The Ashes BBQ

BBQ  in  Hackney Wick
££££ Unit 19

“London, for all its park form during the summer months - the disposable tin, the burnt sausages, the suspect chicken - is not a BBQ city. At least, not in the cuisine sense. So I was pretty happy when a friend told me about a little hatch around the corner from him in Hackney Wick doing “a buff pork bun and some doughnuts that sound a bit fucked”. His words, it turns out, were 100% accurate. Some of the things at From The Ashes are indeed fucked, in the best possible way. The smoked pork bun, complete with crispy bits, chunky bits, melt-in-your-mouth bits, pickles, and both smoked sriracha marmite and smoked garlic mayo, is lovely. The burnt end beans, positively chuggable. A special of fore rib and chimichurri, pink and juicy and something that isn’t meant to be eaten with your hands, but absolutely should be. As for the doughnut, I can’t comment as they’d run out. Which tells me I’ll be back.” - JM

Trap Kitchen

AmericanSeafood  in  Balham
££££ 76 Bedford Hill

“Although the whole rise-of-the-pyjamas situation meant that Instagram thirst traps were more of a pre-pandemic thing, some didn’t get the memo. Namely, this Balham spot specialising in hearty seafood platters. Post after post of sizzling prawns, buttery lobster, and snow crab on Trap Kitchen’s hugely popular IG page should be tempting enough to get anyone over to south west London. When I did, it was the meaty lobster tails, spicy mac and cheese, and ever-so-sweet Spanish rice, that made it one of the best places I’ve tried all year. And they’re the reason you should definitely have this place on your list. In the before times, it was a sit down spot, with sofa chairs and a cocktail bar, but due to government regulations it’s become a takeaway only operation, with customers invited to call ahead or head to the takeaway window to place an order and wait. Which you should. It’s tasty, messy, and once you’ve tried it, it’ll be something you crave at least once a week.”

- Rianne Shlebak, Editorial Assistant


££££ Unit 9 Market Row

“The only thing stopping me from demanding that 2020 is removed from my brain is the memory of my evening at Chishuru. That, and maybe one particularly cute corgi sighting on Tooting Common. The rest, take it. But on the memorable night I went to West African spot, Chishuru, I not only drank wine and enjoyed some lovely, carefree chatter about cauliflower with the chef across the tiny open kitchen, but I ate some of the best food I’ve ever had. Not this month, or this year, but ever. From a whacking great piece of goat shoulder covered in green sauce, to the small dollop of pumpkin seed pesto that comes on top of the ekuru, everything here is packed full of big flavours. If that wasn’t enough, their groundnut soup has altered the way I see peanuts forever. It’s not just a nut guys, it’s a spicy texture party waiting to happen, especially when combined with some perfectly charred cauliflower. This Brixton space is small and cosy, but trust me, the food served here is a big deal.”- HLB

Giulia Verdinelli

Noodle & Beer

££££ 31 Bell Ln

“There are multiple reasons as to why I quickly fell in love with Noodle & Beer. The first was before I even ate at this Chongqing noodle and Sichuan spot in Spitalfields. It was their name. It spoke to me both personally and profoundly. The second, third, fourth, and all the rest were very much food-related. Their thick (perhaps even worthy of two cs) tian-shui mian udon was unlike any udon I’d had or have had since: full of bite and sitting in a slurpable pool of a sweet, nutty, and Sichuan pepper-filled sauce. The other thing was the lang-ya tu dou, their handmade crinkle cut chips wok-fried in chilli oil with onion and pepper. Also their gong-bao and their niu-rou mian beef noodle soup. The service was memorably excellent both in regular and ‘new normal’ terms, and, via Instagram, I see that they throw in little Louis Vuitton smelly samples into their takeaway bags. That’s brilliant. I think I might just love everything about it, really.” - JM

Giulia Verdinelli

La Chingada Mexican Food

££££ 206 Lower Road

“London isn’t lacking when it comes to tacos, but it is lacking when it comes to good tacos. There are a few places that are trying to remedy that: Sonora Taqueria is one of them and La Chingada is another. The tiny fluoro taqueria in Surrey Quays is my idea of a messy, saucy, and altogether cheesy heaven. Perching on the pavement outside La Chingada with a suadero taco in one hand, a beer in another, and a trail of chipotle sauce around me, is one of my favourite eating memories of recent times. Sure you could eat their tacos and towering tortas at home, but it’s much better and much more fun in situ.” - JM

Lateef Okunnu

Party Store Pizza

AmericanPizza  in  Clapham
££££ 15 Lendal Terrace

“Many times over the last year or so, I’ve thought to myself: if all were right with the world, there would be a deep-dish pizza spot in London serving thick, saucy, cheesy pizzas with crispy crusts. And they would do thoughtful things like offer a selection of sauces to dip those crusts in. They might even have some halal fried chicken on the menu, because they’ll know that in a perfect world, you always have some fried chicken alongside your excellent 10x14inch Detroit-style pizza. Well, even though all is definitely not right with the world, this spot in Brixton’s Market House is doing all these things. Most importantly, it’s doing them right. From the focaccia-like texture, the crispy cheese-covered crusts, and the rivers of tomato sauce, the pizzas at this place are some of the best I’ve had in London.” - RS

Nic Crilly-Hargrave


££££ 56 James Street

“Chains get a bad rep because of places like Frankie & Benny’s and people like me who are unable to let go of a grudge against a £15 portion of crap meatballs and spaghetti over a decade ago. But there are plenty of good chains in the world, one being Patty & Bun. Their latest venture is Sidechick, a roast chicken delivery service that is the best takeaway I’ve ever eaten. Moist and crispy-skinned roast chicken is an easy win when done well, and it’s done well here. Very well. The za’atar, lemon, garlic, and honey marinade is my favourite, and paired with crispy potatoes, salads, or smoky aubergine with labneh, it’s a downright delicious dinner.” - JM


££££ 21 Berners St

“Akoko was the one of the last meals I had sitting inside a restaurant before whatever version of hell we’re living in now. Back in that part of late-2020, meals were weirdly, confusingly, and coldly described as ‘substantial’, but the tasting menu I had at this slick West African spot in Fitzrovia was something that erred on sensational. Their takes on boli and epa (plantain and groundnut) and miyan taushe (pumpkin soup) make me particularly wistful for better and more lobster-in-soup-filled times, but it’s the giddy excitement I felt at Akoko that I miss most. The excitement of eating former Masterchef contestant William Chilila’s food (because yes, I am a sad and avid watcher), of a bit of theatre in a restaurant that doesn’t feel stiff and, more than anything, the excitement that very few tasting menu restaurants in London are playing with these ingredients. It’s fine, but more importantly fun, dining.” - JM

Dom’s Subs

££££ 262 Hackney Road

“Dom’s has been on my personal hit list from the day it opened on the Hackney Road. I’ve followed the trail of breadcrumbs these guys have been leaving from their sandwich escapades at Visions Canteen and Lanark Coffee like a toddler with a lust for bread. So when I started seeing pictures on Instagram of home baked semolina rolls, absolutely heaving with everything from cold cuts to Thai ground chicken, it was something close to love at first sight. I’d say there’s little to say that I haven’t said already, but somehow I, or someone I know, keeps finding words. Some recent highlights include: “I think I dislocated my jaw in happiness”, “I had a sandwich for breakfast but I still want Dom’s for lunch, and “I love the sub, but I love the nap more”. Never has the phrase ‘gotta get that bread’ been more relevant. Especially as they’re opening a new location in the City.” - JM

Napoli Gang


“I would like to preface this by saying that my adoration cannot and will not be bought through stickers. Unless they are very, very good stickers like the ones that come as part of any Napoli Gang delivery. What can I say, the way to my heart is through my arts and crafts drawer. But importantly, it’s also through my stomach. This delivery service from the people behind loud and proud trattorias Circolo Popolare and Gloria, are bringing excellent pizzas, pastas, and - chef kiss - bottles of limoncello directly to your door. On top of all the gloriously silly XXL desserts and a lasagne I like to elegantly eat straight from its metal container as part of my ‘self-care routine’, they’ve also somehow managed to turn food delivery into an instant party. Yes, you get fun stickers but you also get a party playlist that can quickly stop any rubbish mood in its tracks. Even if you feel like the epitome of Eeyore mid-gloom fest, I challenge you to not have a good night accompanied by a little nduja pizza and a whole lot of the Napoli Gang’s party spirit.” - HLB

Jake Missing

Fen Hand Pulled Noodles

££££ Spitalfield Market

“I don’t really subscribe to the whole ‘food as fuel’ thing. Unsurprising really, as a prerequisite for this job is to think about pak choi in the same way a hormonal teenager thinks about... well, everything. With that said, there are still some meals, often on-the-go, where I’m like ‘that’ll do’. Fill-a-holers. It’s what I (thoughtlessly) thought as I walked by Fen in Spitalfields Market, before soon realising I was chewing on some of the best noodles I’d eaten in London. It’s not that I didn’t think Fen would be good. I just didn’t think it would be this good. Their take on big plate chicken - bouncy belt noodles laying in a slippery bath of Szechuan chilli oil with slowly stewed chicken, potatoes, and peppers on top - is fantastic. And it’s the best big-plate-but-not-big-plate-chicken (it’s a one person portion) I’ve had. I probably should’ve known better - Fen is from the same people as Dumpling Shack, after all - but it’s a nice reminder that high expectations can always be exceeded.” - JM

Jake Missing

The Clarence Tavern

££££ 102 Stoke Newington Church St

“The Clarence is another gastropub from a lineage of excellent London gastropubs. Older siblings the Anchor & Hope and the Canton Arms are two of the most consistently delicious pubs around that still maintain a feeling of comforting pub-ishness. There’s no danger of seeing a mini shopping basket full of chips here. Anyway, The Clarence on Stoke Newington Church Street is their latest venture that somehow feels like it’s been making fried pumpkin, roast brill, and slow-cooked lamb shoulder with dauphinoise forever and ever. Simultaneously relaxed and delicious, it manages to make lots of effort seem effortless, and it’s instantly one of my new back-pocket favourites.” - JM

Jamie Lau


££££ 12 Stoney St

“Elliots was never a bad restaurant. In fact, it was always a very good restaurant, home to a winning burger and some Isle Of Mull cheese puffs that might as well have been called Fuck Me, These Are Fantastic. But when this class act reopened after the first lockdown they set up a terrace under one of the big arches in Borough Market and an al fresco star was born. Never has feeling like you’re on holiday also felt so quintessentially London. Sharing seafood to the hum of Stoney Street chatter, sipping natural wine with the smell of ale in the air, and fighting over the last spoonful of limoncello sorbet as the sun sets. Come winter, they put up a heated gazebo and carried on serving their legendary cheese puffs and things that taste fantastic with peppercorn butter. Long live Ell Fresco.” - HLB



The Best Things We Ate This Week

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