Industry insider’s share where they head when off-duty.
Where to Eat in London? London's best insider restaurants
Industry insider’s share where they head when off-duty.
London’s food scene has sky-rocketed in recent years, leaving its former reputation as a country of meat and two veg far behind, as new world-class restaurants and hip neighborhood spots mushroom across the city faster than you can reserve a table. It can be seriously tough to keep track, which is why we asked these industry experts where they go to eat on their days off.
Edmund Weill – Trullo
Edmund Weil is a true industry innovator, the man behind 3 of London’s most successful cocktail bars, award-winning Nightjar in Shoreditch, Oriole in Farringdon and their most recent opening, Swift in Soho.
“It’s obviously a very hard one, but I’m going to have to go with Trullo in Highbury. It encapsulates everything that I love about Italian cooking in a relaxed, unfussy atmosphere with a fantastic and reasonable wine list. Their papardelle with beef shin ragú is my favourite pasta dish of all time; their meats are always cooked to perfection, vegetables on point, and on the rare occasion that I can fit in dessert, they hit it out of the park. It’s a place where I can bring my two small kids for lunch without fearing too many disapproving glances, but also where you can bring friends for a slap up dinner to impress.”
300-302 St Paul’s Rd, Highbury East, London N1 2LH, UK
Martin Milesi – Buen Ayre & Ibérica
A native Porteño (hailing from Argentina’s atmospheric capital), Martin is the man behind London’s coolest secret restaurant, UNA, a 12 person pop-up set the St Pancreas clock tower.
“London is the capital city of the world. I love to live here because I feel like its a big Atlas where I can choose a country at random, and then go straight to a restaurant of that ethnicity.
When I am gripped by nostalgia from my country, I like to go to Buen Ayre, in Broadway Market, which is one of the hippest little streets in East London. John Rattagan was one of the first Argentine entrepreneurs who wanted to bring the traditional flavours of our country to London. You can find proper Argentine beef there, grilled to perfection, and other typical dishes like provoleta (grilled cheese in a pan), empanadas (meat pasties) and the ultimate gem, flan con dulce de leche (a sugary sweet caramel dessert that can only be experienced, not described). As a bonus track, my other favorite place is Ibérica. A Spanish gem which respects the traditional flavors from Spain, especially from Asturias. Marco Fernandéz Pardo & Nacho Manzano created an international reference, where you can truly taste the best croquettas ever. I’m not joking. I go to Ibérica at least once a month. I really feel like I’m transported through the flavours for a few hours to beautiful Spain, rather than sat in the middle of the city.”
buenayre.net/ 50 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ
www.ibericarestaurants.com/ 89 Turnmill St, London EC1M 5QU, UK
Laura Price – Padella
Laura Price is deputy editor of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which means she spends a lot of time travelling and eating her way around the world. After so many rich and heavy dishes, she usually returns home craving a simple plate of pasta.
“On a week night, you’ll often find me standing in the queue of Padella outside London’s Borough Market, peering in at the diners in the window seats. Not only is this place one of 2016’s best new restaurants in the UK capital, it’s probably one of London’s best restaurants full stop – and it’s also one of the cheapest. Homemade sourdough is ridiculously moreish; burrata with Puglian olive oil melts in the mouth and the beef shin ragu is a dish I will go back to again and again. The menu is short and very simple but every dish on it is made to perfection.”
6 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TQ
Max Graham – Barrafina
Hailing from one of Porto’s oldest port families, Max is the man behind Bar Douro, one of London’s latest foodie spots, specializing in Portuguese tapas served direct to diners from a long kitchen-bar in SE1’s trendy new Flat Iron Square, developed in partnership with Mumford & Sons.
“Barrafina is one of my favorite restaurants. I love the theatre of counter eating, the buzz of watching chefs at work in an open kitchen and the transformation of quality ingredients into delicious plates of food. I like to go on a Monday when there’s less of a queue and real enjoy the braised Ox tongue with crushed potatoes.”
http://www.barrafina.co.uk/ 6-27 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3LL, UK
Charlie Gilkes – The River Café
Restaurant and hospitality entrepreneur Charlie Gilkes is the man behind some of London’s most successful dining spots, managed under the Inception Group. These include hip pizza hangout Bunga Bunga, chic speakeasy Mr Fogg’s Tavern and Squirrel, their recently opened natural food spot in South Kensington.
“There is nowhere nicer to spend a Summer’s day than in the riverside garden of this iconic London restaurant, which gave birth to Jamie Oliver, and celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017. It has one of those menus where you want to order everything, with classic unfussy Italian food done superbly well. It perfectly balances the feel of informality with polished service.”
www.rivercafe.co.uk/ Thames Wharf, Rainville Rd, London W6 9HA
Ana Morris – E Pellici
Charismatic chef Ana Morris made many a Londoners dream come true when she launched le Coq, a trendy restaurant in Islington serving succulent roast chicken with all the trimmings, available every day of the week. Many tears were shed over its recently closure, London awaits her next opening.
“This is not so much a hidden gem as an institution that everyone must experience at least one, if not every weekend! The same Italian family have been serving the local community for over a hundred years. The vintage Art Deco interior, the East London banter and proper home cooked grub makes you want to befriend them and never leave. Perfect for an old skool full English or for a proper homemade pie with lashing of ‘army and navy’ (gravy). Expect no frills but experience true hospitality.”
epellicci.com/ 332 Bethnal Green Rd, London E2 0AG