Nicholas Olson

Which of London’s newest eateries is the best?

We constantly keep an eye out for the newest restaurant openings in London. We’re directing our friends and family to a few specific recent hangouts in October 2022. This week, all eyes are on KOYN, a Japanese restaurant in Mayfair that serves some of the most incredible sushi in the area.

Kensington and Pastor

In Latin, the word “pastor” implies gorging oneself. Here, there has never been a more appropriate description in the recently launched open-flame Levantine kitchen from former Palomar co-founder and chef Tomer Amedi. The dining room, located in the center of Kensington, features industrial interiors, tall ceilings, and quirky antiques. A friend’s dinner party atmosphere with friendly employees and cooks singing along to Seventies music in the open kitchen gives it a similar feel to entering.

A tapas-style menu split by sea, land, and garden combines British cuisine with Middle Eastern, Turkish, and North African influences—this fusion of old and new, tradition and innovation. As is customary in Israel, we start by breaking freshly baked warm Yemeni challah bread served with the same butter. This ritual honors the restaurant’s commitment to celebrating life on all occasions. A cold duck breast salad with ginger vinaigrette and the mint infusion is the ideal palette cleanser. The show’s stars, in our eyes, were the tender seared scallops and the silky but light Scottish wagyu beef skirt, but the supporting cast, crispy potatoes, are still on my mind. Despite our best efforts to begin the evening with all the formalities of a sit-down meal, we end the evening by diving headfirst into the Chocolate and Tahini Cremeux with our Aegean-style gold forks, and no holds barred. The silky quill of chocolate clings to our spoons, forcing us to savor every bite.

Street: Tottenham Court Road, Plaza Khao Gaeng

The most attractive dining room in London is not this one. It is above the famous Arcade Food Hall on Oxford Street, which is my recommendation for the best food hall in London. It has unflattering strip lighting, a lot of stainless steel, dark wood, and scratchy plastic tablecloths. Therefore, this dining room in London is not the nicest; nonetheless, it may be the most moving. A few fans are working hard to keep customers cool as we sit down on a scorching August day, and employees in egg-yellow aprons squeeze in between tables to serve ice-cold water. This is required since even the biggest spice aficionado’s forehead will get shiny from the heat of chef Luke Farrell’s dishes.

Before joining JKS, the London restaurant firm that owns Bao, Bibi, Hoppers, Sabor, and several other popular hangouts, Farrell lived in Thailand for 15 years. Farrell runs Plaza Khao Gaeng, Arcade Food Hall’s flagship restaurant, from his home base in Bangkok. The phrase “khao gaeng” loosely translates to “curry over rice,” This restaurant was influenced by the a la carte restaurants of Southern Thailand. Nothing on the menu has been toned down to suit delicate Western tastes. Gaeng Gati gai (chicken curry) is spicy and iridescently golden from copious amounts of turmeric, unlike gung pad stator prik gaeng Tai (tiger prawns cooked in fiery southern curry paste), which is slightly bitter. The muu hong (braised pig belly), which is rich, melty, dark, and a must-order, is one of the few meals that won’t blow your head off if you’re not a fan of a bit of spice. Have a bucket of Singha beer delivered to the table to cool off. Order two if you must; the prices are so reasonable for this area of the West End.

The Best Food Districts in London

Sarma

Soho:

Soho is a square mile in area and is bounded by Oxford Street to the north, Tottenham Court Road to the east, Shaftesbury Avenue to the south, and Regent Street to the west. Despite the recent massive redevelopment that attempted to sanitize it, Soho still has a lot of its own historical, somewhat gritty, and intriguing charm. It might be challenging to traverse due to the abundance of eateries ranging in class and quality. If you can only visit one location, choose Koya. However, many restaurants are on the list of the best of the rest, including Kiln, Brasserie Zédel, and Quo Vadis. Oh, and it would be impolite to pass by Bar Italia without stopping for an espresso, Peroni, or Gelupo without getting a cup of gelato.

Peckham:

If there is an authentic version of Peckham, it lives somewhere in the friction, according to Jonathan Nunn, the author of Eater’s guide to Peckham. It can be found in the marketing strategies of Pakistani butchers who can describe a cow’s internal organs in Urdu, Yoruba, and Igbo; in the gray kitchens tucked between a Campari bar and London’s cheapest movie theatre, and in the apparition of Ugandan barbecue smoke near the spot where William Blake first saw his angels on Peckham Rye. It can be found in vegan Rastafari pasta, Filipino burritos, chapel wraps, and the same leafy vegetables eaten by a million people in 20 different languages. The shawarma wraps at Yada’s, the egusi soup at Yakoyo Spot, the escalope sandwich at Crossroads Cafe, and the jerk pork at JB’s Soul Food are all very delectable.

Shoreditch:

Shoreditch has evolved into East London’s Soho, which means it is now a hub of intriguing and diverse restaurants and a creative nerve center that is stylish but becoming more commercial. Eater’s loose definition of Shoreditch, which includes Spitalfields and parts of Old Street, Kingsland Road, and Spitalfields, consists of a wide range of food options for all budgets. Some notable establishments include Lyle’s, the Clove Club, Brat, and Leroy, four Michelin-starred restaurants with personalities unique enough to defy an often-staid guide’s acclaim. Smokestak is one of London’s best American-style barbecue restaurants. Kêu Deli is one of London’s finest banh mi shops.

A London Eater’s Guide

Eating poorly in this city is simpler than eating correctly since it might be challenging to know where to begin and where to go; it is crucial to understand what to try and where to acquire it. This book will help readers properly comprehend and better navigate a city where it is feasible to eat very well. It will also simplify avoiding tourist traps and moving beyond the conventional understanding of what is considered “excellent.”

Welcome to Big Smoke, one of the fascinating dining destinations in the world.

One of the great European world capitals for dining and drinking, London is a metropolis of sport, music, politics (and shady politicians), and history. Thanks to money and active, nomadic youth, London has long been one of the world’s most petite creative culinary capitals. This guide, however, is not a beginner’s dream because London’s cuisine did not improve overnight in 2010.

The city’s most intriguing modern kitchens, Michelin-starred restaurants, natural wine bars, and tiny plates are all recommended in this guide. It will list the top pubs, curries, English breakfasts, dim sum restaurants, freshest fish and chips, smoothest espressos, and creamiest ice cream.

The Best Maps of London by Eater: Where to Begin

Ebiripo at Chishuru in Brixton with celeriac, mushroom shitto, bitter leaves, and pickled oyster mushroom
At Chishuru, ebiripo is served along with celeriac, mushroom shitto, bitter leaves, and pickled oyster mushrooms. Michal Protin’s Hottest Dining Spots: One of the quickest and busiest restaurant opening cycles in the world is in London. A fascinating development in the city’s scene can be seen at Cadet, a wine bar in north London built around bottles and paté en route. Tatale, Akwasi Brenya-debut Mensa’s at the Africa Centre in Southwark is designed to become a fixture and a center for African cuisine in the city for many years. Quarter Kitchen is discreetly feeding a hungry audience in a Hackney churchyard with excellent breakfast burritos and tacos.

Consult this comprehensive list of London’s oldest (still good) restaurants for establishments with a little more experience, ones that have endured fashions and fads, shifting tastes and preferences for decades, maybe centuries.

WHAT PEOPLE EAT IN LONDON

Nando’s

The restaurant chain Nando’s has locations all over the world. It’s a Portuguese chicken restaurant that originated in South Africa but has been enthusiastically and devotedly embraced by the UK culture. I’m not entirely sure that I comprehend it, either.

A Londoner is currently attempting to eat at every Nando restaurant worldwide. Because Nando’s is so deeply embedded in our society, the term “cheeky Nando’s” has been adopted into our vocabulary. It has sparked humor, music, art, memes, and more. Prince William like Nando’s as well.

What, then, is this natural force? Flame-grilled peri-peri chicken is offered at Nando’s. Chickens are marinated in a hot sauce called peri-peri. You can choose a moderate lemon and herb marinade or have your chicken marinated in various Peri Peri spice heat levels. The chain’s bottles of several peri-based hot sauces, which guests may serve themselves, are one of its main selling points.

Greggs

Greggs began as a bakery but today focuses on the market for eating on the go. They also sell hot, savory baked products and cakes, sandwiches, and salads.

Despite their tremendous popularity, I don’t believe anyone outside the UK is familiar with them. Without understanding the pleasures of a steak bake or sausage roll, the world goes about its business in ignorance.

Kebabs

The kebab is yet another dish that Londoners enjoy. Kebabs are a staple in our culture and are consumed from lunch through dinner. Every civilization has some form of “drinking food.” This meal is paired with alcohol, eaten following a night out, or eaten in the morning to combat the inevitable hangover.

In London, the kebab is the meal you pick up on your way home from a night out. Most kebab businesses stay open well into the night, long after many other options have closed. So, after a night at the bar, please stop by the kebab shop to taste our culture (coated in chili sauce)!

Food in London

NOT YOUR AVERAGE MEAL IN LONDON

Many guides have been produced on what to eat while visiting London, covering everything from Sunday roast and Yorkshire pudding to the “ultimate traditional British treat,” sticky toffee pudding. However, I believe that most of these articles are deceptive for individuals who wish to eat like a native.

Even though many of the items on the list are eaten and are reasonable, we don’t typically eat them in London. They will be occasional delights for the majority of people.

Liquor, pie, and mash

Take the famous pie, mash, and liquor first. These eateries are vanishing fast. There are fewer now, and they are disappearing from the streets.

Even at their peak, East London was the only place to find a pie and mash shop. Most Londoners don’t eat traditional pie, mash, and booze. Many Londoners have never even attempted to taste it!

Breakfast in English, full

Another illustration is the renowned fry-up, sometimes known as the full English breakfast. Describe the fry-up. This substantial portion of fried proteins and carbohydrates will make your doctor cry and your funeral director grin broadly.

A fry-up typically includes sausages, bacon rashers, fried eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, some fried potato, baked beans, and grilled tomato, so we can pretend it’s a little bit nutritious, though can vary.

Are fry-ups a thing in London? Yes, and it’s well-liked! But the truth is, it’s not something that people typically eat. It’s a seldom treat. Most people do not consume this kind of food daily or even weekly. Within a year, you would either be dead or buy your clothes from a tent store.

Following Tea

For those who don’t know, it’s a lunchtime tower of cakes, sandwiches, and scones delivered with a pot of tea. I’m sorry to bust your bubble. Most of us are not eating it, for those who are familiar.

Although it may be a uniquely British tradition, it is more of a tourist attraction or a once-in-a-while special treat for most of us. I have only ever eaten this once in my entire life, to give you some context and perspective.

How London Became One of the World’s Best Food Cities

In the 1980s, no Londoner would have dared call the city a top culinary destination, and I should know since I was there. There were sporadic bright spots, such as fine-dining landmarks like the still-open Le Gavroche, but regular Brits would not have frequently entered through its green baize-lined doors. No, London in the 1980s was a metropolis of fish and chip shops or Berni Inn steakhouses serving the same old mushy peas.

But three decades later, it’s hardly recognizable: London is undoubtedly one of the most crucial restaurant towns in the world, and it is home to a host of big-name chefs who is redefining food. The Clove Cub’s Isaac McHale, Story’s Tom Sellers, and Ollie Dabbous’ four-year-old restaurant, whose seats are reserved four months in advance (any cancellations are filled with a modern twist—via its Twitter feed), are among the Noma alums. However, how did the eating scene in London change so significantly in less than 30 years?

London’s First Naked Restaurant, Bunyadi, Has Opened

Harden believed that Quaglino’s re-opening, in which the famous Art Deco restaurant received a radical makeover with the help of former interior design master Terence Conran, was even more significant (and was even name-checked in Ab Fab). In addition to defining the modern London restaurant, Conran’s emphasis on seamless service, plenty (bottomless bread baskets were a trademark), and unabashed splendor made Quaglino’s Q-shaped ashtrays the preferred, eh, souvenir of 1990s London. Together, this unexpected pairing of eateries developed a model for approachable, media-friendly cuisine that has been imitated by most of London’s best chefs.

London’s Top Small Restaurant

The new generation of cooks has also contributed to social media’s evolution. Instead of competitors, millennial kitchen sergeants like Dabbous or Isaac McHale are now allies or even buddies. It starkly contrasts the early years of excellent Britannia cuisine, when Gordon Ramsay made headlines for snatching Marco Pierre White’s restaurant reservation book in the late 1990s to boost his business. These friendly chefs understand the value of cooperating rather than competing to increase the reputation of British cuisine and London’s dining scene on a more prominent international stage.