You might be going through a tough time at work. You might be mourning your favourite TV show that’s been cancelled. Or you might just be a Pisces. Whatever it is that’s making you want to curl up in a ball and cry—even if it is the fact that it’s been raining for a week straight—can be improved by grabbing an umbrella, and eating at one of these spots. From a pizza with a pillowy base made to hold anything from tomato sauce to tears, to vegetarian noodles that demand a smile, here are eight restaurants where you might just crack a smile.
You Me Korean Restaurant
Someone wise once said that you can cure anything with seafood pajeon and black bean sauce noodles. Yes, that wise person is us. And yes the food at this homely Korean spot in New Malden is actually worth crying about—unlike that emotionally unavailable Hinge date who you’ve convinced yourself you’re in love with. Come for the excellent food and refuse to leave for the friendly staff who might just give you an extra big portion of noodles when they see those tears in your eyes.
Detroit Pizza London
Is there anything more comforting than a pizza so thick that it could double as a pillow? Yes, it’s a pizza with minced beef, pickles, and burger sauce. Because combining two of the most loved comfort foods actually works—well at least it does at this Spitalfields pizza spot. Detroit Pizza specialises in, you guessed it, Detroit-style pizzas, and this is the kind of meal that requires a nap after. Which is kind of perfect seeing as you have no desire whatsoever to speak to anyone in the next 2-48 hours. Get a £4 slice and eat it in silence at one of their high tables, or grab a whole pie and take it home. Whatever you go for, just know this will make you feel better.
One restaurant, one chef, one roti beef rendang that will inevitably become two when you need to double check that a roti can be this gloriously soft and flaky. This low-key Malaysian spot inside Queensway Market has everything you need to tackle even the worst of days. Come rain or shine, the tender beef rendang will provide the kind of comfort that only comes from cuddling a baby animal or spending the entire day in bed. And don’t worry about ordering the wrong thing, because at Normah’s there are no bad dishes.
Mr. Meng 孟非的面 (Mr. Meng)
When you’ve ventured through monsoon-like weather and cried on the Central line, you’ve earned a decently priced, delicious bowl of tongue-numbing noodles. Look at that glorious red shimmer. Just look at it, steaming your pores with your nose already twitching from all that chilli. Now would also be a good time to tell you that all this spicy soup goodness is under a tenner. Mr. Meng on Charing Cross Road is home to many a spicy broth ranging from seafood numbers to a chicken and matsutake mushroom broth that will make you throw that tin of Heinz cream of chicken some serious side-eye. Order a spicy noodle soup, blame the tears on the heat, and don’t leave until the rain stops.
If you feel like you’ve been in a sort of conscious, eye-open coma with a rain soundtrack for the past week, then let us suggest you double down on that feeling in a big, béchamel-heavy way by heading to Café TPT. The classic Chinatown diner offers a huge range of delicious dishes, from sweet and moist char siu pork on a bed of rice, to beef flank curry, to hot and sour soup. But the Macau-style pork chop on rice—chilli oil-fried pork strips on top of steamed rice, and covered in a coconut-flaked, curry-tasting, cheesy béchamel sauce with crunchy onion for good measure—will make you embrace the sound of rain, and remind you that there are still things to be grateful for.
photo credit: Karolina Wiercigroch
Fish, Wings & Tings
It’s grey today. Hot water’s gone mid-shampoo. Fine. Still no answer to that email. Fine, fine. Upstairs doing their 9am Riverdance routine ft. Henry the Hoover. Fine, fine, fine. The nice bread has gone mouldy. Everything. Is. Fine. Only it isn’t of course, but that’s also fine. Embrace the not-fine-ness. Get off the sofa, don an XL hoodie, and head to this Brixton spot for as much jerk chicken as you fiscally can. The leg is enormous, moist, and covered in a spiced tamarind BBQ sauce. It’s a cosy blanket of a meal, and the same goes for the curried mutton and stew oxtail.
photo credit: Jamie Lau
Sorry, but do the words ‘gooey cheese-filled bread’ do anything for you? It worked, didn’t it. What was a diabolical headspace has become a slightly less, khachapuri-filled, diabolical headspace. We’re familiar with the feeling, and that’s why Little Georgia is also near the top of the list when we’re looking for a delicious cheesy and carby lift. The Georgian spot is in Hackney and we’d recommend getting some blinis too if you’re looking for another excuse to hide from the rain.
La Mia Mamma
Your milk goes off today. You have taken that as a clear and definitive sign that you should text your ex. Why? Because it’s better than going to Sainsbury’s in this weather just for a sad bowl of cereal. Rather than relying on the expiry dates of inanimate dairy products to decide your mood, eat what is effectively a hug in the form of La Mia Mamma’s cacio e pepe. It’s cheesy, it’s peppery, and most importantly, it’s a way better idea than messaging your ex. Book a table ahead at this Chelsea spot because serving London’s best cacio e pepe makes it a pretty popular place.