You know those days. The ones when you’re STARVING. Like ravenous. You will eat anything and everything. Give-it-to-me-now-and-stop-talking-to-me. Those days. You get stuck. Literally. Walking towards your noodle destination you suddenly freeze, becoming completely paralysed as a cyclist dodges around you and tells you to do something with yourself. You turn 180 degrees and head towards the nearest pie. A burger glitch will almost definitely occur before you reach there. Or maybe a sandwich glitch. Or whatever. So long as it’s food.
On days like this you need something better than a quick fix. You need options. And delicious ones at that. Because, ultimately, you don’t know what you need. We do though. So on days like this, here’s where to go:
‘When in doubt head to the pub’. This is something that, for better or worse, we’ve been told for many years. And once again, it rises above other options. The Coach isn’t any old pub though. This is a pub where you can get a negroni alongside a pint of bitter, plus some of London’s finest chips, and one of its best steak tartares. This is not a normal pub, but that doesn’t mean it lacks all the normal things that make a pub great, it’s just got more. More rooms. More food. More things to like. It’s the perfect call whenever you’re suffering from indecision.
When your desire for something dirty is competing with your need for a place that’s kind of healthy, then Andina is where you should be heading. This all day Peruvian cafe has everything from artichoke to sea bass ceviche, and from braised aubergine with beans and rice to chips and chilli sauce. It has everything you could want to eat: meat, fish, vegetables, bread, rice, potato, salads, ice creams. Seriously, what more do you want?
Last night was a car crash. An unadulterated car crash. You think it was the quick drink after work that did it. The quick drink that led to seven more. You don’t know what you need, but you know it needs to be good. Maybe a bit saucy and meaty, and, possibly, leafy. This is not a Dominoes hangover. This a pay to feel good about yourself hangover. This is a debrief over a meal hangover. And possibly a drink. Trullo is where you should be doing this. A chargrilled quail, some beef shin ragu, and a mozzarella and broad bean salad will set you straight. Oh, and maybe a spritz.
There are times in life when a decision is beyond you. When you can say yes to going to the pub but there is no way you can decide what to drink. Maybe you’re tired. Maybe you’re hungover. Maybe you’re just incapable of making decisions. In those times you should head to Moro. It’s a classic London establishment where pretty much everything is guaranteed to be tasty. The restaurant’s Mediterranean influence means that pretty much everything is paired with delicious dressed vegetables of some kind, and there’s lots of charcoal grilling or wood roasting as well. If you like good food, it’s hard to go wrong.
You’re absolutely buried. Completely slammed. Properly snowed under. Not to mention starving. And now, all of a sudden, you’ve been thrown into a work lunch. ‘Just pick somewhere everybody will like’ they said. Everybody? Everybody you’ve never met? It’s hard enough to make your own mind up and now you have to choose for everyone else? Sure. Okay. You take a punt and search: kedgeree fried chicken wagyu beef. There it is. Top of the page: Ozone Coffee Roasters. From a source that you know knows: us.
When in doubt go classic. The classics are classic for a reason. Because they’re absolutely classic. Bellanger is a classic French brasserie. The room is so polished, the menu so European, you’ll probably start babbling Del Boy Frenglish as soon as you walk in. It’s ideal for when you want food options of the non-adventurous but wholly satisfying variety. Sweet onion and bacon tart, chicken schnitzel, crab and avocado salad. Mange tout, mange tout.
The eternal danger in not being able to decide what or where to eat, is eating everything, from everywhere. It’s a good thing then that London is so into this whole small plates business. Why have three courses when you can have 33? Naughty Piglets is French inspired. That's English for ‘pretty much anything goes’. So you could be ordering Korean pork belly, crab and cabbage, and a few ham croquettes as well.
When you’re hopelessly hungry we usually think of our days at home. Or the glory days, as we like to call them. Where meals were wholesome and hot, and appeared as if by magic. It’s hard to recreate that, but Rochelle at the ICA is an excellent bet if you’re looking for that hearty, and downright delicious kind of vibe. This is British cooking at its finest. Simple and tasty. Asparagus and egg. Pie and potato. Beans and tomato. No fuss and no frills. It’s fantastic. And it’s precisely what you need.
Cafés are excellent. They’re the free spirit of the eating out world. If the café was a person they’d talk about how they weren’t bound by the linear constraints of regular restaurants and cuisines, all the while sipping on an espresso and chain smoking. The only thing a café has to do, really, is make tea and coffee. Aside from that, it’s an absolute free for all. This is ideal for when you’re looking to go somewhere with options, as the Riding House Café demonstrates. Think of something you want. Bourguignon? Burger? Beef Wellington? They’ve got it.
Round two of ‘when in doubt, head to the pub’. Because one pub is never enough, is it? The Anchor and Hope is one of the best to eat in in London. Top three for sure. The food is led by seasonal ingredients so although we can’t say this or that is a must order when you’re there, it’s always very, very good. Pasta and salads are excellent, and the pub environment makes any indecision much less stressful than it would if you were somewhere a bit more proper.