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May 8, 2009 02:41 PM

My London Restaurant Plans (so far)

Thanks to the hounds for advice so far.

I'll be in London for 7 nights in June. So far I've got the following on my list:

Ba Shan before theatre at the Haymarket

I have two concerts at Royal Festival Hall. Definitely RSJ before one and maybe Canteen before the other (otherwise not planning on trad English food, so that might be a good bet for convenience).

Planning to do the Borough Market, Tate Modern & Globe on Friday afternoon and will probably do lunch at Tas Pide (I'm a pide nut).

May do an afternoon around Whitechapel and check out Gram Bangla & Brick Lane Beigel.

I have the following Indian restaurants on my list (my main focus)

Definite: Thattukada, Hyderabadi Spice & Ma Goa. Despite mixed reviews I'd like to do either Rasa Travancore or the original Rasa, but Stoke Newington really does seem a pain to get to by public transport. I guess one transfers to the 73 bus from a tube station?

Anything in particular I'm missing, given my plans and interests? As I mentioned in my Regional Indian thread, I'm not interested in "standard" Indian menus.

I'm staying at Holiday Inn Express at North End Road and Lillie Road (West Brompton/West Kensington/Earl's Court area). Anything worthwhile nearby in case I'm really exhausted the day I arrive?

Thanks, all.

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  1. In the Earl's Court area there's Addie's Thai which I haven't been to but is apparently quite good. Or for Iranian food you've got Alounak which is decent but not amazing. And limster recommends No 10 Chinese Restaurant, also in Earl's Court.

    1. while i'm a huge fan of no 10, there's always wu liang ye in new york which frankly has a broader menu and genius in the kitchen. and i'd shuck up 20 quid for lunch and go get the keralan veg thali at quilon (buckingham gate). warning: its a good deal only at lunch!

      i'd recommend taiwan village - the chef is ex hunan and if you let him, he'll prepare a ton of dishes from what he bought at the market that day (ie, same idea as hunan). the meals i've had have ranged from good to sublime - but you MUST leave yourself in the chefs hand. as a bonus, its right at the intersection of north end and lille road - if i remember right, i park my car in the holiday inn garage whenever i eat at taiwan village.

      finally, mohsen: glorious, lovingly cooked iranian on warwick road. the daily specials are to die for as are the saffron flavoured chicken kebabs etc. i'd certainly skip ma goa in favour of mohsen - and this is coming from an indian.

      6 Replies
      1. re: howler

        Wow, that Taiwan Village rec could really come in handy. Talk about convenient. Moshen, too.

        I'll consider Quilon for a splurge lunch. Are they fussy about dress?

        I have kvelled about Wu Liang Ye many times. Howler, have I seen you occasionally on the NY boards? Or maybe SF Bay Area Indian threads.

        With two possible day trips, I still have twelve meals (not including breakfast) on my London dance card.

        1. re: Peter Cherches

          you may have seen me on the ny boards from about '98 to about 2001 - i moved to london from manhattan in mid 2000. wu liang ye used to be my n'hood chinese.

          you shouldn't miss mohsen. and you shouldn't miss the lebanese/middle eastern scene here which is far superior to new york. for instance, a cheap but unbelievably delish option is green valley, a lebanese food hall on upper berkeley street (marble arch). get the lahme bajin (or maybe the manooshin, but NOT the cheese pizza), wander over to the sweets section and get the clotted cream served between fried vermicelli or even the ice cream. finish up with coffee and you'll have spent less than 10 quid.

          you can be as casual as you like at quilon. my only gripe with the thali is that it could be more filling, but perhaps i'm just being greedy. it is impeccable veg cooking, very hard to find in london.
          another fab lunch option is el pirata de tapas on westbourne grove for spanish tapas - i promise you that wont eat this well under a tenner anywhere in london. the tortilla is to die for, and if you never ever had the experience of pata negra ham, here's your chance.

          i don't know your budget, but you should certainly try out some of the schmancier places - perhaps for lunch, as you can get some amazing deals.

          1. re: howler

            Ditto the Mohsen and the Lebanese recs. Worth mentioning again are Ishbilla and Alwaha (among the my favourites).

            I should put in a word for the Penang-Nyona curries and the kueh (small dessert-ey cakes) at Sedap, since their rendition is excellent and the cuisine is pretty hard to find (it's Malaysian, but specific to the city of Penang, and I've never seen stuff like that in the US, let alone of this quality, even in the Penang chain in the US).

            If Chinese is on the agenda, in general, I find the average standard for Cantonese quite high, so that might be a better cuisine to look for. Goldmine in Bayswater is excellent for roast meats (cha siu/glazed pork, siu yok/crispy skin pork belly - my fave, and roast duck).

            1. re: limster

              Does sedap do kueh dadar? I love them.

            2. re: howler

              I have to thank Howler again. Just back from El Pirata. The lunch seems like a great deal, but I did dinner. Luckily they did a half order of pata negra. The seared sea scallops with artichoke & bacon was absolutely amazing. To tell the truth, though they make their "runny" tortillas to order I actually prefer the firmer, more common style.

          2. re: howler

            Taiwan Village looks awesome...some friends have recently recommended Hunan as well, so this is really timely for me.

          3. It's not that bad getting to Stoke Newington altho' yes, it's not on the tube. The fact that it's not on the tube is a big reason why the neighbourhood has retained its charm! You can get a 73 or 476 bus from Angel (Northern line tube) which is the closest tube stop or you can take an overground train (i.e. commuter train) from Liverpool Street to Stoke Newington station. Either print out a map or buy an "A to Z(ed)" when you get here. You can also pick up the 476 at Euston or Kings Cross and the 73 goes all the way to Victoria via Kings Cross, Euston & Tottenham Court Road. The buses are better these days with computerised annoucements of stops - the 476 I prefer as it's a double decker and you can usually get a seat and perhaps the driver might actually tell you what stop to get off at - the 73 is a "bendy" bus and they are not all that user-friendly.

            When at the Tate Modern do have a drink up in the restaurant as the view is fantastic.

            If you're coming from NYC I'm not sure why you'd bother with Brick Lane Beigel!!! Unless it's 2AM and you are stumbling drunk 'round Brick Lane.....

            2 Replies
            1. re: themags

              I might not eat the whole beigel--but want to see how the London idea of a bagel compares. Even in NY it's hard to get a great bagel--I always tell people it's much easier to find a good Montreal bagel in Montreal than a good New York bagel in NY.

              1. re: Peter Cherches

                Don't waste your time at Brick Lane Beigel. I'm an ex-NYorker and I have yet to have a good bagel in the London area. The salt beef on bagel at Selfridge's is more expensive but tastes better. The only half decent bagels I've had were from Carmelli's bakery in Golder's Green. I've solved my cravings by learning to bake my own. Bubbe would be proud.

                I don't know if The Cinnamon Club would interest you. It's not 'traditional' Indian and the setting is lovely.

                At the Borough Market, lunch at Brindisi's tapas place is excellent but it's a small restaurant and one needs to eat early or queue up later on.

                I'll be in NY this coming week. If you have any 'must try' places, I'd appreciate a hint, although most of our nights are already booked. I've been gone 5 years and so much changes.

            2. Peter - I know this isn't Indian/Chinese but your hotel is quite close to one of London's better gastro pubs, The Harwood Arms ( It specialises in game, and the cooking is really good, especially the scotch eggs that are served as a bar snack or starter. You probably need to book a table, you could walk there but it is probably better to grab a cab, it won't cost much.

              12 Replies
              1. re: PhilD

                Thanks. Harwood Arms looks quite an easy walk to me based on the map. My choice of Canteen is based on my need for a pre-concert place at or near Southbank Centre.

                1. re: Peter Cherches

                  For pre-theatre at the Southbank, I really like RSJ, which is a French restaurant on Coin St. Good traditional French cooking, and a great wine list specialising in the Loire region.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Yes--that was in my original list. Thanks for the confirmation.

                    1. re: Peter Cherches

                      Sorry - didn't realise you'd already decided on RSJ. If you're here for one of their winetastings, they're great fun.

                  2. re: Peter Cherches

                    scratch canteen. that's all.

                    oh, and you could do a lot worse than a window table at Skylon, which is in the festival hall. make sure you book the restaurant and not the grill if you can. just better and more comfortable.

                    1. re: batfink23

                      I will agree with batfink here (!!!).

                      I've been to Canteen and it is expensive for what it is. Pay only a few £'s more for a much better seat, view, and food on the otherside of the Festival Hall at Skylon.

                      There is currently a pre/post theatre offer on Top Table for Skylon - 2 courses and a glass of wine for £24.50. Seeing as how you'll pay in upwards of £10 for a main meal at Canteen, Skylon is a much better value.

                      1. re: nanette

                        Thanks. As of now the Top Table offer is only on until May 31. Will see if it's extended.

                        1. re: Peter Cherches

                          Its a D&D place - this is always on offer.

                          the thing is with a lot of toptable "offers" they are not really offers per se. the post/pre theatre thing is a staple of nearly all london restaurants of standing.

                          1. re: batfink23

                            It's just advertising for the restaurants a lot of the time, but they are helpful for people who might not know about certain time-specific deals etc.

                                1. re: DollyDagger

                                  not quite, a separate company that bought the majority of the old conran group. though there is still much speculation over what bits are actually owned by whom, and what bits are just subject to operate only leases.

                  3. You've got good Filipino places in NYC, but if you want to eat in Earl's Court, the very porky pancit bihon at Lutong Pinoy is a more than decent bet.

                    The White Horse in Parson's Green close by to your hotel (~1 mile) is an excellent pub and totally worth a leisurely meal.

                    As you know, London is big and diverse, and would be great treasure hunting for a chowhound like yourself, so do reserve a couple of meals for exploration -- we could also benefit from your adventures!