Restaurants Within A Five-Minute Walk Of The Underground For When It’s Raining, AgainWhen it’s raining again and you don’t want to stray too far from the tube, try one of these spots.
You left your umbrella on the bus again, or was it at the cafe? Doesn’t matter, it’s gone into the black hole of umbrellas. And the fluffy hood on your coat that the kindly shop assistant assured you was waterproof? It’s clumping into wet tufts and dripping onto your face. Ah the joys of walking to a restaurant in the rain.
With the weather in London as unpredictable as Lidl’s middle aisle (but usually much less rewarding), these are a collection of restaurants within a five-minute walk of zone one and two tube stations, for when you want minimal exposure to the elements.
Near London Bridge
The London Bridge Bao is arguably it’s best. There’s a row of counter stools for a quick beer and a curry cheese bao. There’s a mixture of six to eight person tables at the back for groups or sharers planning to tick tofu, aubergine, and more of the must-order items from the menu. There’s even a karaoke bar downstairs if you want to murder Rock DJ while eating punchy Taiwanese fried chicken.
The Anchor & Hope is a cosy boozer with wood trimming, smoky dim lighting, and a great beer selection. The Mediterranean-influenced menu changes regularly depending on what’s in season, but there’s always good pasta and roasts on a Sunday. Keep this one up your sleeve for showboating in front of people from out of town, and post-dinner strolls along the Southbank (when it isn’t raining).
Near Tottenham Court Road
Open from early to late and constantly buzzing with catch-up conversations, Arcade Food Hall is a huge glossy space that offers shelter to anyone who finds themselves caught in the consumerism hot mess that is Oxford Street. It understands that type A adults require bookings, chic high stools with back support for their mojito-fuelled meet-ups, and emergency servings of restorative fattoush on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.
Unless you love trains and chaotic coach stations, there’s not a huge reason to visit Victoria. But a Bleecker burger, with juicy, blushing beef and soft seeded buns, is a happy find if you do wind up here. It's an in-and-out kind of place with hard stools and square wooden tables reminding you that you’re not here to linger, just to polish off a classic double cheeseburger in three bites and slurp down a malted Oreo milkshake.
Near Bond Street
Slump into a wooden booth at Sri Lankan restaurant, Hoppers, and let the orange-yellow turmeric walls of this Soho spot, with its framed pictures and lamps, warm you up. Mop up warming jaffna crab kari and coconut chutneys with the restaurant's saucer-like namesake—the hopper. Then convince yourself that another pandan and coconut negroni, plus some mutton rolls and devilled paneer, are essential before you waddle back to the station.
Near King’s Cross
Caledonian Road is one of the most understated parts of London, and Supawan, a Thai restaurant near King's Cross, doesn’t jump out at you anymore than anywhere else around here. But the food packs a punch. Chicken red curry and tom yum are invigorating, and the chicken (and prawn) stuffed crispy chicken wings are a must-order. You may as well get some duck spring rolls for the train that you keep missing.
Near Camden Town
Mr Ji is a welcoming, neighbourhood spot in Camden where you can fall face first through the door and into a plate of The O'Ji (a frisbee-ish flattened and deep-fried crispy chicken breast) before the rain soaks through to your thermals. This restaurant describes itself as a fusion of "east meets west", which translates to, "you'll want to meet the oozy, béchamel-heavy prawn-in-toast. And you'll want to meet it every day hereafter."
Near Highbury & Islington
Trullo is a restaurant where you sit down at midday and follow the lead of the couple to your left. “Two spritzes, please!”. It’s a restaurant with white, paper tablecloths because you will be getting a little bit down and dirty eating the grilled quail with aioli. The rustic, Italian food will make you feel like you’re on holiday, not in Islington during a biblical downpour.
This spot opposite Islington Green is probably smaller than the vast majority of residential kitchens in Islington, which makes it feel like you’ve gone over to someone’s minimalist house for a party. That someone cooks hearty, tasty Afghan food with things like chicken in yoghurt and fish stew, creating ample dunking opportunities for their homemade bread.
Busy thoroughfares in London tend to produce a special type of transient and canteen-like restaurant. They feed, they water, they rest, they rejuvenate—and Shalamar Kebab House is a superb example. This Pakistani restaurant is an oasis of stillness, five minutes from the buzz of Whitechapel Road. Its short menu ranges from homemade samosas to chicken tikka, to curries, daal, biryani, and naans.
Near Bethnal Green
Like watching Jaws: The Revenge in a Bella Freud jumper, high-low culture is Sager + Wilde's personal brand. This cool wine bar is hunkered down in an old railway arch. Inside there are flickering candles and beautiful, vintage-looking chairs, but also the exposed curve of corrugated railway above. Nibble on crayfish and blood orange, and twirl pasta around your fork in a bar that’s both so close and so far from a soggy train station sandwich and a packet of Walkers.
Near Shoreditch High Street
When it’s raining and you can no longer feel your extremities, you want somewhere that satisfies, not stuns, and that can get you out of your bad weather funk. Smoking Goat is a Thai restaurant in Shoreditch that comes into its own for bigger groups with small plates of moreish fried chicken skins and tom yum crab.
Near Clapham Common
Bird & Tie has one focus and one focus only: Nashville-style hot chicken. Deep-fried pieces covered in a cayenne-heavy dry rub or hot oil, it’s the kind of tear-inducing spicy chicken that only a handful of places in London serve. This small spot, directly opposite Clapham Common, is best for a casual, comfortable pit stop where you can eat messily and worry about wiping your hot oil-covered hands later.
Daebak is an excellent little Korean spot where you'll find locals popping in for a takeaway spicy pork and egg bibimbap, a group ordering fried udon, and a couple sharing three different flavours of Korean fried chicken. It’s a great place to eat crispy chicken doused in a honey mustard sauce, and topped with a small mountain of thinly sliced spring onion, while waiting for the rain to pass.
Near Peckham Rye
At Yada's, a Kurdish restaurant in Peckham, glorious towers of meat,—wonders of both sight and smell—stand tall and proud in the semi-open kitchen, glistening and turning, always tempting. If you’re looking for something quick and delicious, the shawarma sandwich could well be it. But for passing showers that turn into epic thunderstorms, there's mixed meat and vegetable platters of soft lamb in fragrant pomegranate and pistachio hummus to sink into.
Rock up at this 18-seater sushi restaurant in Brixton, get drawn into the fishy smoke show happening in front of you, order some yuzu negronis, and ride out the rain. Yes the wooden wraparound counter, ceramic plates, and sleek, marble walls make Temaki seem super fancy, but the set menu of things like akami tuna, crab, salmon, otoro, prawn tempura, and BBQ eel rolls will only set you back £32.
Near Notting Hill Gate
You know where it isn’t raining? Greece. Mazi is where to go in Notting Hill to deceive yourself that you can hear the Aegean sea crashing against a sandy shoreline and not pigeons scrapping over a deflated Gail’s croissant. You’ll smell fresh fish and mint, and sit in a charming dining area where small plates of orzo and calamari will help with the delusion.
Near Sloane Square
This all-day bistro on Sloane Square looks, feels, and smells like a cafe in Paris. Ordering here is simple. Basically, if there’s an apostrophe, circumflex, or the word ‘steak’ involved then you know it’s a good bet. Will this be the best French food you’ve tried in London? Nope. But if you focus on the shiny red leather seating and the terrace outside, you can have a top time avoiding the real world.
Near Shepherd’s Bush
Seoul Bird is a pretty solid Korean fried chicken spot in Shepherd's Bush. We’re talking double-fried, soy-brined chicken pieces with a crispy exterior and your choice of housemade sauce (we’d go for the Korean BBQ). The kimchi mac and cheese is essential and their iced tea is also something you should have on the table.
Near Edgware Road
Pretty much everything about Abu Afif, an Iraqi canteen-style spot on the corner of Edgware Road, is straightforwardly solid. A plate with salad, hummus, taboon straight from the tandoor, and a pile of steaming meat is generous and tasty. The space is usually full of solo diners stuffing their faces with shawarma, friends scrolling on their phones mid-bite, and families taking a break—exactly what a rainy day calls for.