Food Notes little guide to London

I go to London occasionally to see friends and family or for work. When I have time, I love exploring new places and recommendations from fellow bloggers, travellers or Londoners. There is always so much to see and so much to do! I decided to write up a little guide for those of you who might be going soon and need ideas for where to eat and drink. I plan on updating this every so often and will only add the places that I’ve truly loved, so don’t expect to read ‘reviews’ of everything I’ve done. This article is more of a list of fantastic places that I’ve visited at one point or other! For convenience, I’ve included some of the places mentioned in my first London post.

Below you’ll find my food and drink recommendations and when I visited them! P.s. this is not an exclusive list of places to visit. London has amazing food, bar and coffee scene so this really is just scratching the surface of some of the places you can visit in this amazing city.

More food guides: Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi

Last updated: 08/04/2019

Food

Pho

Website: https://www.phocafe.co.uk/
Last Visited: November 2019;
Where: Numerous branches across London;
Food: Vietnamese;
Price range: Pho bowls around a tenner;
Reservation: we didn’t need one but we were there pretty late in the evening. Service is pretty quick though!

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Go for: The Pho! Pho was recommended to me by a friend who lives in London and we just happened to stumble to one of their restaurants near where my sister lives when we were looking for a place to eat at. They specialise, as the name suggests, in delicious bowls of Pho. You can expect to find a good selection to choose from – vegetarian, meaty, spicy, non spicy. There are also other Vietnamese dishes on the menu if Pho isn’t your thing.

Duck & Waffle

Website: https://duckandwaffle.com/
Last Visited: November 2019;
Where: Whitechapel;
Food: Modern European;
Price range: Pricey – Brunch for three with breakfast cocktails was around £90;
Reservation: Definitely needed – popular spot so book well in advance.

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Go for: Spectacular views and the brunch. Spectacular views across London from this restaurant, which is 40 floors up. We went here for breakfast but Duck & Waffle is open 24hrs so you can have lunch, dinner, cocktails etc too. While this wasn’t the best breakfast I’ve had in London, it was certainly tasty enough with the “Duck & Waffle” stealing the show on our table. Good for a more ‘special’ occasion or treat on a visit to London

Beer + Burger

Website: http://www.beerandburgerstore.com/
Last Visited: March 2019;
Branch: King’s Cross;
Food: Burgers & Tap room (and beer store!)
Price range: Burgers between £7.5 and £10, sides around £4;
Reservation: Casual, no reservation required.

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Go for: Tasty no fuss burgers and good beer. Burger + Beer, unsurprisingly, server burgers & beer. The atmosphere is very casual, the service is quick and the beer choice is a-plenty. They also have a store so you can purchase a wide selection of beers too! The ambience inside is modern and trendy – good music, neon pink and white colours. As for the food, the menu is small and very simple with only 5 burgers to choose from, but they also have a monthly special. I went for the double cheeseburger and it was really decent. However, the highlight of the meal was certainly the deep fried jalapenos which were just delicious! This is a great place for a no-fuss meal when you are in the mood for a burger.

Breddos Tacos

Website: http://breddostacos.com/
Visited: December 2018;
Branch: Soho;
Food: Lunch/Dinner, Mexican
Price range: around £50 for 2 with drinks and a tip
Reservation: recommended

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Selection of tacos at Breddos Tacos

Go for: Delicious Tacos and Mexican food. Breddos Tacos serve amazing tacos and other Mexican scran. They have two locations at the moment but also operate pop-ups occasionally. We had their lunch menu which had 8 different taco varieties, 3 x quesadillas, bowls, tostadas and sides. Dishes range from £4.5 (for a taco) to £15 for some of the bigger bowls. The food was really good and definitely worth the money. Staff are friendly and there is a lovely ambience in the place. Definitely recommend for a casual dining option when in London.

The Breakfast Club

Website: https://thebreakfastclubcafes.com/
Visited: December 2018;
Where: Numerous branches across London;
Food: Breakfast/Brunch;
Price range: Around £35 for 2 with coffees and a tip;
Reservation: recommended during the week though no reservations accepted between Friday and Sunday

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Breakfast burrito at The Breakfast Club

Go for: Tasty breakfast and brunch dishes. The Breakfast Club has a number of locations around London and they specialise in breakfast and brunch, though the restaurants are open all the way till the evening. I’m not sure what the evening menu looks like, but the breakfast menu was spot on. A decent variety of breakfasts from the more traditional to the more special. I had a breakfast burrito which was massive and I’m pretty sure would cure a hangover if I had one (I didn’t, despite the cocktail ‘tasting’ we had in The Alchemist the day before). M had the Mexican eggs benedict which were a smaller portion but still excellent. We also had a jug of Orange fresh orange juice (that’s a fantastic addition to the menu, BTW) and a coffee. The coffee was ok but it was the food that was the highlight of our visit. If you are looking for a more quirky breakfast spot, look out for The Breakfast Club.

Shoryu Ramen

Website: https://www.shoryuramen.com/
Last Visited: November 2018;
Where: Numerous branches across London;
Food: Lunch/Dinner, Japanese/Ramen;
Price range: Around £13 for a ramen bowl
Reservation: Recommended

Go for: Ramen and Japanese food. I’ve tried a few ramen places in London and Shoryu Ramen is simply the best. I haven’t had anything to top their ramen yet and I can’t recommend them high enough on the sublime taste of their Japanese food. Proper tonkatsu ramen made with slow-cooked pork bones with a variety of toppings to satisfy every taste. They also have vegetarian/vegan options available and a good number of sides to go with the ramen. Shoryu Ramen is always a solid choice when I visit London.

Franco Manca

Website: https://www.francomanca.co.uk/
Last Visited: November 2018;
Where: Numerous branches across London;
Food: Lunch/Dinner, Pizza;
Price range: £5-£10 for pizza;
Reservation: No reservations.

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Salami special at Franco Manca

Go for: Fast service, tasty pizza and low prices. This is a straightforward entry – puffy and soft sourdough pizzas done really well. With over 30 branches all over London, it’s quite a popular pizza spot with Londoners. The pizza is inexpensive and the ingredients are good. It’s perfect for a no-fuss meal out in London and the price is unbeatable in the expensive food scene in the capital.

The Rum Kitchen

Website: https://www.therumkitchen.com/
Last Visited: June 2019;
Branch: Brixton;
Food: Jamaican;
Price range: Around £20pp food + a drink;
Reservation: recommended for peak times.

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Go for: Pre-gig Jamaican food. I stumbled upon The Rum Kitchen while looking for ideas on where to eat around Brixton. Me and two friends headed up there for a meal before a gig at the O2 Brixton and we were very pleasantly surprised. The service was a bit slow to begin with, but this was quickly forgiven because of the delicious food we were served. We had the Jerk BBQ wings, the Proper Jerk and Jerk Bowl (from the Jerk BBQ), and the curry mutton patties. The dishes came with Jamaican Rice & Beans, and the house slaw. May I just say… The Rum Kitchen’s House Slaw was the best coleslaw I’ve eaten and it complemented the spicy food so well! We also helped ourselves to quite a lot of the house BBQ jerk hot sauce, which was delicious too. For the cocktail lovers, they also have a happy hour in the evenings. Nice spot for food around Brixton.

 

Drinks

The Alchemist

Website: https://thealchemist.uk.com
Visited: December 2018;
Branch: Bevis Marks, London;
Style: Cocktail bar;
Price range: Cocktails from around £8;
Reservations: recommended for peak times.

Go for: Pretty stunning and tasty cocktails. It’s not hard to get cocktail happy at The Alchemist. They have a really good cocktail menu with many delicious sounding cocktails. To add to that, their cocktails are inventive and definitely involve some appropriate amount of Alchemy. You will be delighted in watching them being made and drinking them afterwards. We spent a few very entertaining hours drinking cocktails and watching them being made. A fantastic night time spot (it’s open during the day) and you will rest assured that you will not disappointed in this trendy cocktail bar.

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Key Lime Pie at The Alchemist

Tonight Josephine

Website: http://www.tonightjosephine.co.uk/
Last visited: November 2018;
Location: Waterloo;
Style: Cocktail Bar;
Price range: Cocktails start from £10, happy hour between 5-7pm;
Reservations: recommended.

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Go for: Delicious cocktails and especially their Happy Hour (5-7pm). My sister took me to Tonight Josephine back in February and we’ve made a point of visiting the cocktail bar a couple of times since. It’s just a fantastic place, from the interior to the girl power vibes. All in neon pink and white it has a really good atmosphere. The cocktails are amazing too, needless to say. Very decent variety of traditional cocktails and more inventive cocktails, each tasting just delicious. Doesn’t have the cocktail theatre of The Alchemist, but it’s definitely worth your buck in deliciousness. I’m also never not amazed by just how good the bar staff are. Of course, you’d expect them to be great at making cocktails, but I’ve never seen anything like that. Not only do they remember and make several orders at one time but also remember every cocktail on the menu and make them impeccable every single time. I can’t even remember my breakfast most days, so I honestly am amazed by the precision of these human beings!

The Bletchley

Website: https://www.thebletchley.co.uk/
Last visited: February 2018;
Location: Chelsea;
Style: Immersive Cocktail Experience Bar;
Price range: ~£30 pp;
Booking: required.

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Go for: A more unusual and immersive cocktail experience. The Bletchley is a bar based on Bletchley Park (where Alan Turing led a team of codebreakers to break the Enigma code during the 2nd world war – if this doesn’t mean anything to you then I recommend you watch The Imitation Game). I can probably write a whole post on The Bletchley on its own but I don’t want to spoil the charm of going there without much prior knowledge. All I will say for now is that it is a fantastic experience, you will have to do some work (i.e. some codebreaking) and you will be rewarded with personalised cocktails throughout the evening. It’s probably one of my favourite cocktail experiences so far!


Last updated 28 December 2018. Do post up your recommendations for where you’ve eaten and visited in London! I’d love to read them and get some more ideas for future trips.

~Em

Sea Bream tacos with mango & lime salsa (Bonus taco recipe!)

I have a really big love for Mexican food. Fajitas make a regular appearance in our menu at home and it’s one of my favourite foods to eat out. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with more taco style recipes and pairing them up with fish and fresh salsa. The Swordfish tacos I posted on the blog a while back were a hit at home and these Sea Bream tacos didn’t fail to impress either! This time, however, I went to make my own homemade tacos.

A bit of background before I go onto the recipes. When we went to London in December, Michael and I paid a visit to Breddos Tacos (check out my London food guide for more info)  in Soho and really loved the food there. So much so, that Michael sneakily bought me their cookbook, which I promptly received for Christmas. At our annual NYE pot luck party, my friend Brian decided to treat everyone with tacos for his contribution and brought a brand new taco press which he then left to me to keep (yes, I have awesome friends). It didn’t take long for me to put the two new presents to use, and very soon after I made the delicious Bream Taco recipe below (thanks Olive magazine) and used the Breddos Tacos book for simple corn tortilla recipe for the tacos. You’ll find both below with a slight modification to the taco recipe to make a smaller number of tacos.

Sea Bream tacos with mango & lime salsa

Serves 2 | Overall Time 40 minutes + marinading |
A little effort | Dairy Free

Fish Taco 2

You’ll need:

  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced;
  • Demerara sugar 1½ tbsp;
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced;
  • small handful coriander, finely chopped;
  • ¼ chilli, finely chopped;
  • 1-2 tbsp seasoned flour;
  • sunflower oil;
  • 2 large sea bream fillets (about 200g in total) skinned and cut into 3cm pieces);
  • 6 corn soft tacos (follow recipe below or buy ready made from a Spanish deli).

For the salsa

  • ½ ripe avocado, finely chopped;
  • ½ small ripe mango , finely chopped;
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander;
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced

First make the marinade: mix together the onion, a good pinch of salt, sugar, lime juice and zest, coriander and chilli.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan, dust the pieces of fish in the seasoned flour and fry for about 45 seconds on each side until golden. Remove and put on kitchen towel. While the fish is still warm, put in a non-metal dish so that it is tightly packed. Pour over the onion marinade and spread it out over the fish. Cool, cover and chill for a couple of hours.

Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6. Thirty minutes before serving, mix all the salsa ingredients together and season.

If you are using shop bought soft tacos, warm them up now, or cook the tacos after you’ve rested the dough. Top them with bream and onion mixture, salsa and finish with garnishes of your choice (coriander, pickled jalapenos, guacamole…)

Original recipe from Olive magazine, available online here.

Bonus recipe: Breddos Tacos Corn Tortillas

Makes 6-10 tacos | Prep 5 minutes + 30 min Resting | Cook 10 mins
A little effort| Dairy and Gluten-free

Tip: You can make the tacos without a taco press, but it does help!

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You’ll need:

  • 80g masa harina (I used Maseca, available from Lupe Pintos and other specialised Delis);
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt;
  • 50ml hot water + a little extra;
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil.

Mix the masa harina and salt in a bowl and stir in the water slowly whilst mixing the dough with your hand. Add the oil and knead to form a smooth dough. If the dough is too wet, add some more masa harina and if it feels flaky and dry, add some more water. Leave to rest at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 – 10 equal-sized balls.

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Cut a freezer bag in half or two pieces of baking paper to create two square sections and place onto a hard surface or on the bottom of your tortilla press. Add a ball of masa then place the other freezer bag/baking paper square over the top of the dough. Either push your hand down firmly on the dough or use a rolling pin to create a 12-15cm circular tortilla, or if you are using a taco press, press down using the crank lever. Remove the plastic squares and set the tortilla aside. Repeat, separating each pressed tortilla with a square of baking (parchment) paper.

Heat a heavy-based pan and add the tortillas – cook 1 minute on each side, or until they soufflé slightly, and for 30 seconds further on each side to add a bit more colour, if you wish. Remove after a minute or 2 and wrap in a tea (dish) towel to keep warm.

Original recipe from the Breddos Tacos cookbook, or online available from Cooked.com.au.