Where To Eat When You’re Sick Of Being Told To Share 2-3 Plates Each

Sometimes you just want your own plate of food.
Where To Eat When You’re Sick Of Being Told To Share 2-3 Plates Each image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Some small plate restaurants’ menus are like T&Cs. Someone takes you through them, explains how they work, and by the end of the spiel, you’re fairly certain you’ve signed up to an edible ponzi scheme. The thing is, small plates are great if you’re into sharing lots of things or eating tiny amounts and pretending you’re a Borrower. But they can add up fast or trigger passive-aggressive dividing of a burrata ball into five—and sometimes you just really want your own plate of food.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCasual Weeknight DinnerCatching Up With MatesDining SoloLunchVegetarians
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This casual Vietnamese restaurant in Deptford covers all bases with its menu—bún and phở, baby back ribs, and vegan specials—and all of them are better than anywhere else. It gets super popular on weekends so make sure you book ahead but, trust us, it’s worth it when you’ve got a plate of smoky and spicy baby back ribs in front of you. Friday night catch-ups over crisp beers, packed gỏi cuốn, and crunchy bánh xèo tôm thįt will become regular occurrences.

Whether you’re at the Dalston or Harringay location of Umut 2000, you should be doing exactly the same thing: ordering an enormous platter of lamb ribs. Fresh from the ocakbasi, fat sizzling and meat perfectly pink and tender, these ribs are one of London’s great go-tos. Served with buttery rice and the always-welcome hospitality of warm bread and salad at London’s classic Turkish restaurants, a meal here never leaves anyone wanting.

Of Wong Kei’s many dishes (and there are hundreds), a few stand out at this classic Cantonese spot. The wonton soup with noodles, plus a healthy spoonful of homemade chilli oil, is a longtime favourite, as is the mixed roast meat on rice. It’s by no means the best roast meat in Chinatown but when your head is throbbing and your bank balance is low, it’s always welcome. In the world of cash-only, fill-your-boots London meals, this place is always #1.

The Ethiopian favourite in Camberwell has excellent options for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike. Warming shuro wot (roasted and blended chickpeas in a hot berbere sauce) and awaze tibs (lamb chunks marinated in peppers and berbere sauce) are regular orders from our side. But whatever combination you get, you’re bound to enjoy tearing and scooping with their excellent injera. It’s a roomy, casual space, just as good for a few mates as it is for a low-key date or a solo dinner.

Burnt is hunkered under Leyton Midland Road station, which feels appropriate because the way we attack these BBQ platters demands privacy. The meat is halal and is priced per 100g, and the lamb and smoky, soft discs of beef sausage should definitely be on your silver tray. So should sides that’ll put your Lactaid to the test: mac and cheese, creamy potato salad, and chicken salt fries. But you could come here for the burger alone. It’s a double smashpatty and so juicy that by the final bite, the bottom bun is all but disintegrated.

photo credit: Koray Firat



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Everything at Carlotta is big: the booths, the diva energy, and the Italian dishes. Dolce & Gabbana-esque bowls come heaving with caesar salad and delicious wedding cake. Our favourite pasta at this Marylebone spot—the fettuccine alfredo al tartufo—is served by a waiter who takes on the role of Rafiki and spoons the pasta skyward from a large pan. You could go all Lady and the Tramp and share it, but we’ve taken down plenty of these bowls solo. The food is pretty average but it’s a fun spot for the more-is-more experience.

OK, the best way to have a meal at Queen Of Sheba is to share. But the sharing platter at this Yemeni spot in Paddington will feed 10 hungry people. It involves half a lamb (the tender, slow-cooked type) and what feels like never-ending mandi, a spicy, yellow-ish rice. Inside, it's old-school and simple, and you’re here for excellent food, not a multi-sensory experience or interiors inspiration. Forget cutlery and pull apart the laham madfoon (lamb shank) with your hands or even better, eat it with the buttery ratab bread. 

In our books, sharing the flaky roti at this Malaysian spot in Queensway is a crime. And of all Normah’s delightful dishes, the one that sends us into perfect content silence—and convinces us that it’s not the end of the world if our white trousers get stained—is the roti beef rendang. It arrives in a small bowl, filled to the brim with a thick beef stew, topped with crispy onion, and two pieces of lightly charred roti. The braised curry is wholesome and comforting—and should under no circumstances be shared.

Trap Kitchen, an American soul food-inspired spot in Camden, understands that the best kind of meals require a pair of throwaway gloves. Order the Cajun-heavy seafood bucket—it looks like a challenge, feels like a challenge, and will probably require a two-hour nap after finishing. The star of the show is the XXL lobster tails that are so meaty and so perfectly juicy that we think about them at least four times a day. It’s a popular place, with a cult following on social media, so book ahead and come with an empty stomach and a willingness to get messy.

One of the safest ways to guarantee your own portion is to head to a tasting menu restaurant. But often they don’t come cheap. Enter Casa Fofò. It’s a casual Hackney restaurant that serves eight or so courses for under £70. The food changes daily and is at times experimental, drawing inspiration from all over the world, but is always guaranteed to be good. Best of all is that this place caters to dietary requirements, so call ahead and everyone can have their own food.

Whether you’re sitting at the bar or hunkered down at the table, you’re going to be happy with the food that’s put in front of you at Trattoria Brutto. The Tuscan-influenced spot in Farringdon has a load of rich and hearty secondi dishes that are very much made for your eyes and mouth only. The Tuscan beef and peppercorn stew with a slice or two of St. John sourdough is a brown bowl of goodness that’s made for spooning, and the same goes for plump pork and fennel sausages with lentils and mustard.

Etles’ mix of sizzling skewers, freshly baked naan, hand-pulled noodles, and plump dumplings are an always-enticing lineup. The star of the menu from this warm Uyghur spot in Walthamstow is undoubtedly the large plate chicken—an enormous platter of springy, belt noodles topped with a heartily spiced chicken stew. It’s sloppy and spicy, generous and moreish. A dish that’s made for everyone and, as Etles always guarantees, ensures no one goes hungry.

Noble Rot is one of our favourite restaurants in London, and its incredible-value three-course set lunch menu is just one of the reasons. The others are pretty much everything about the place, from the wine, to the service, to the room. But not least because of the food, ranging from its peerless bread to its superbly cooked European classics like roast brill, middlewhite pork loin, and caponata.

The City outpost of Koya is a killer spot for a meal that involves a bowl of steaming curry atsu-atsu and your face. Other people are of course welcome, but the beauty of a meal at Koya is that a bowl of udon and broth is meant for you and just you. Of course we’d recommend sharing the evening-only tonkatsu as well, but if you’re looking for a solo counter dinner with a bowl of goodness, this is the place.

You’re about as likely to have the menu explained to you in Sweetings as you are to find a gel in one of the dishes. That stuff is reserved for the hair of its clientele. Sweetings, in the City, is the oldest of old-school British restaurants. And if you know anything about City boys and girls, then you know they don’t like to share. Don’t let that put you off though. It’s an institution to be experienced by everyone. Not least for some fish pie and sticky toffee pudding.

Yada’s, a Kurdish restaurant on Rye Lane, has two big glistening shawarmas on the go at all times, but their menu is evenly split between meat, vegetarian, and vegan options. The chicken qozi is fantastic. It shimmers with honey and lemon and the potatoes absorb all the fats and flavours to evolve into an entirely new kind of brick-like carbohydrate. The vegan mezze is also excellent, full of crunchy falafel, a smattering of herbs, pistachio hummus and dalooja, and hajeri bread.

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