After a whole lot of hide-and-seek moments with moon sightings, it’s finally Eid. You made it. And you know what that calls for? A big blow-out meal with your nearest and dearest. Whether that’s your family, your flat mates, or everyone who you said you’d make plans with ‘after Ramadan’, these are six great restaurants to have your first meal back.
We know, we know. You’ve spent many an Eid here before. But this year isn’t like the others. This year, everyone’s just grateful to eat somewhere that isn’t their dining room (read: bed) - and there’s nothing we’d be more grateful for than a mixed platter at this stalwart Turkish spot. This mini-chain has spots dotted around north east London, but the one we’d go for on this occasion is their Chingford location. It’s got a huge outdoor seating area, and is perfect for a family gathering. The menu’s got something for everybody, but the thing you really won’t want to miss is the sarma kuzu beyti. They’re walk-in only, so there’s no need for a booking.
If a month of no morning coffee has got you more in the mood for brunch, you should head to Bake Street in Hackney. Best known for its brilliant weekend brunch menu that has become the stuff of legend, people travel far and wide to get an 11am Nashville-style hot fried chicken sandwich, or a Maenam-style black pepper bun. Birria consommé, with chunks of meat and an inexplicably deep restorative power, is chugged by the cup. Lamb birria tacos - so rich, so soft, and just a little cheesy - taste like they’ve been slow cooked to D’Angelo, and the migas con potatos (with crispy potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheese crisp, salsa) are there for those who need their weekend egg fix. The meat is all halal, and they have an outdoor set-up which, if you have a little bit of patience, you can get with no reservation.
What if I’ve made the wrong choice? Why did the server’s left eye twitch when I ordered that? Did I lock the front door before I left? Yes, food envy can have you questioning everything. But you can relax, because we haven’t met a dish at this Sri Lankan restaurant that we didn’t like. Everything is excellent, from the dosas to the lamb shank buriani, to the biggest prawns you will probably ever lay eyes on. Plus, the food is designed for groups, which means your food envy can take a day off. They’ve got locations in King’s Cross, Soho, and Marylebone - all with outdoor seating - so take your pick depending on where you can get a reservation. But if it’s a big group, we’d go for their Soho spot.
Nothing says ‘we’re celebrating’ like a table full of bamboo steamers. Does this place do the best dim sum in London? We think so. Now strap in, because here comes our order. You’re going to want the prawn and chive dumplings, the prawn cheung fun, the sesame prawn rolls, and some more prawn cheung fun. Around this point you’ll consider the prawn dumplings and then think, well that’s a lot of prawn. Ignore that voice. Go ahead and lean into the seafood offerings and please note, the Royal China classic cheung fun is essential.
The food here is an innovative take on traditional Indian dishes - your spicy rasam soup, for example, comes in a shot glass, and your keema mince is packed into an incredible little crunchy ‘doughnut’. This little no reservations place in Tower Bridge now takes reservations for outdoor dining, so you can book tables for up to six people - but hurry, it’s a popular spot.
This all-day restaurant in Park Royal is making some seriously good Middle Eastern food. It’s a great place to enjoy a relaxed Lebanese brunch in their outdoor area, with meat and cheese manakeesh, halloumi, and zait w zaatar all on the menu until 3pm. We’d opt for a selection of the manakeesh, some mezze, and some fattoush salad on the side. It also stays open till late when you can get shawarmas and wrap platters. They paused their brunch service during Ramadan, so call ahead and book to avoid disappointment.