Despite Britain having a bad rep for food, living in London is one of the best places to be if you’re a foodie.
On arriving in London all those months ago, I started compiling a list of restaurants I would spot, hear about or read about and hopefully, in time I’ll tick them off one by one.
My battle, between never having quite enough money, wanting to still squeeze myself in the discontinued size 8 Leigh jeans from Topshop and loving food means I don’t get to eat out nearly as much as I’d like.
However, the past couple of weeks, I’ve managed to tick quite a few places of my culinary collective plus popped into and was pleasantly surprised by some others and here’s some thoughts if they happen to be on your list or perhaps they’ll be a new addition?
Ethiopia and food isn’t really a natural connection you’d make however it was one I experienced a few weeks back on Caledonian Road, Islington, North London. Aside from some very politically incorrect jokes made, the night was actually very enjoyable and priced very reasonably with wine, food, beer including a sharing platter and mains coming in under £50!
The meal consisted of a sour, spongy pancake like bread which acted as a plate and scooping material for a range of different dishes including a fragrant and rich beef stew, chicken curry containing a quite intimidating whole boiled egg and lots of veggie dishes too.
It’s not swanky and the tables are covered in plastic table clothes reminiscent of your aunt’s house but there’s a friendly vibe and lots of novelty Ethiopian culture bandying about to have you in the African mood.
Great place to bond since you have to really get your hands dirty and get stuck in. No really, there’s no cutlery.
I love the typo on the menu – ‘ADDIS – A Tast of Africa’. Sounds like it’s being said in an Ethiopian accent all on purpose I’m sure.
Visit their restaurant website here
La Bodega Negra
Now, I wanted this restaurant to be my favourite restaurant in London so badly. It’s Mexican, you have to walk through a sex shop to get to it and there’s no signage. The epitome of cool right? Wrong. The food was good, but not overwhelming, the decor would’ve been great if the lights were switched on but the bone I have about this place is the service. It was just bad. Not just bad actually, rude, and ruined the experience to be frank.
We went for my housemate Marky’s birthday and was impressed by the food to a certain degree, as it was delicious but frankly overpriced and not overly generous especially if you opted tacos. Luckily me and Mark 400 teamed up and got a selection which was plenty. Matt’s and Jim’s lamb look succulent but oddly didn’t come with any sides upping the price further from £39.
The place is ‘moodily’ lit but I just couldn’t see anything, including the menu. Luckily (or fire hazard risk) there were a few candles floating around. A funny anecdote of the night: Matt almost using the women’s loos because he just couldn’t see the signage on the doors for lack of lighting. It was also loud. Very.
The waiting staff only seemed attentive to our wineglasses and ordering more wine and blamed us for a mistake, dripped with sarcasm and clearly only wore vintage and All Saints judging from their muted tones (even harder to spot considering the lighting)
Visit their website, which is actually very stylish, here
This place is Indochinese; one of my favourite cuisines after travelling India last year. Exhausted from a Blasmin and Segrana adventure and being girls in the city with my friend Grace- we arrived flagging, at their restaurant in Soho.
The service was fast, friendly and the food delicious, value for money and really delicious!
The sauce that came with the dough starter was so good, and definitely opt for a combi meal deal- So worth it.
Visit their website here
Byron’s burgers a bit of a London institute with politicians famously saying it was where they opted to get their hamburgers from. despite the chain having a presence everywhere, I’d not had the Byron experience yet.
As far as burgers go, I wasn’t disappointed. Much better than Five Guys and The Breakfast Club and better value too. The portions were huge, meat juicy, milkshake thick and unctuous and the macaroni cheese the best I’ve had in London. Fries were average but service exceptional.
I’ll be back. Next Tuesday actually.
Visit their website here