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Sep 23, 2010 07:04 AM

Goodbye London - All my favorites

Hi everyone,

I am sad to report that I have left London now for good (although I'm sure I'll be back to visit). If any London chowhounds are back in America, let me know, and I'll bring you to all my favorite places!

In the meantime, I have compiled a list of all my favorite places I ate in London this past year. All of these places are spots I returned to, or at least would have liked to return to if I had had time. Definitely not a complete list of all the good food I had in London, but I think I covered a lot of my favorites, many of which are discussed at length elsewhere on this board.

As can be seen, I like Asian food quite a bit, so there's a big emphasis on that.

Enjoy! Thanks to all the London hounds for the recommendations and help over this past year, and it was really nice to meet so many of you!

Keep in touch

Dave MP

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  1. Chinese

    Local Friends - Hunan - Golder's Green. This restaurant has two separate menus, and if you are non-Asian, you will probably have to ask specifically for the Hunan menu. Order off of this ONLY - don't bother with the other menu at all. Favorite things: pigs ears, braised pork w/ pickled vegetables, smoked pork w/ preserved cucumber, eggplant w/ string beans, dumplings, stir fried cabbage, cabbage w/ garlic and bean noodles......but really, pretty much anything from the Hunan menu. The staff are very helpful and nice too, and it's not very expensive.

    Chili Cool - Sichuan - Near Russell Square - Pretty decent Sichuan food, only ate here twice, but I'd recommend it. They also do hot pot which i haven't tried. Dan Dan Mian is pretty good, though not fantastic...but still the best I had in London. Also remember good eggplant, and good water-boiled fish.

    No 10 - Sichuan - Earl's Court - Another good Sichuan place, had one really nice meal here. Worth checking out.

    Golden Day - Hunan - Chinatown - Just ate here for the first time last week, but overall really good. We had Grandma's tofu w/ pork, smoked pork w/ preserved vegetables, cold sliced beef, and pickled cucumbers. All really good, and overall an extensive Hunan menu. A bit pricier due to location, but definitely worthwhile and just as good as Local Friends.

    Noodle Bar - Shanxi Noodles - Chinatown/Leicester Square - This place is a hole-in-the wall just outside the Cranbourn St. The front has a steam-table with crappy takeaway food. Ignore this, and go inside to find hand pulled noodles and knife shaved noodles. Lots of soup options, which are pretty good, but I prefer the Beef Stew w/ noodles DRY version, which is super good. Knife shaved noodles aren't on the menu, you must ask for these (dao xiao mian). You can get substitute them anywhere you could get hand-pulled.

    Silk Road - Uighur/Xinjiang - Camberwell - This place is great, went several times. Always very cheap. Favorites include: dumplings (especially lamb, beef and fried dumplings), Pan-fried noodles, noodles w/ lamb and cabbage, homestyle cabbage, eggplant, lamb kebabs, da pan ji (big plate, or middle plate, chicken). We also tried the special chicken (£26, required 1 day advance order), which was delicious, but I actually prefer the big plate chicken. Get the belt noodles w/ the big plate chicken.


    Le Chamarel - Turnpike Lane - great hole-in-the wall Mauritian place. Lots of tasty curries, especially prawn and fish curries. Great dholl poori and cardamom spiced sweets make for excellent snacks. Really friendly family running it.

    Mauritius Paradise - Wood Green (Inside the Shopping City, in the older market area) - Only tried the dholl poori here, but it was great, and different from the version at Le Chamarel. Worth checking out if you are near Wood Green.


    Sedap - Old Street - Overall, my favorite restaurant in London, and pretty much appropriate for any occasion (at least for me). I came here on dates, brought my family, brought classmates, brought the entire tenor section of my choir, brought friends who had lived in Malaysia as well as friends who had never tried Malaysian food before - everyone always liked it. Over the course of the year, food has always been excellent. Best to stick w/ Malaysian items, favorites include: satay, roti canai, fried tofu, coconut curry (with prawn or fish), tumis curry (with prawn or shrimp - curry tumis fish was my #1 favorite dish there), Penang Char Kway Teow (fried noodles), and the desserts!! Their Nyonya Kuih is fantastic....don't ever skip dessert. The food here is Nyonya food, here's a link to an article about Nyonya food:

    Malaysia Hall Canteen - A great place, which I unfortunately didn't discover till the end of my time in London. The address is: 30-34 Queensborough Terrace, Bayswater, London, W2 3ST.....technically, you have to be Malaysian to go here, or at least accompanied by a Malaysian, but in practice they don't seem to care, and in fact the staff are always very friendly and helpful and can answer questions about the food. There are dishes displayed on the counter, and you can choose dishes to go with rice. There are also dishes you can order, such as roti canai and various noodles and soup. The teh tarik (sweet milk tea) is excellent here too. Everything is super cheap since it is subsidized by the Malaysian government. It's also spicy, as it's catered to mostly Malaysians who are used to the heat.


    Roti Joupa - Trinidadian - Clapham North - Really good Trinidadian food, right next to Clapham North tube. Very friendly people, who are happy to explain things. Roti are great, but for me the real highlight is the doubles! Really good, and really spicy if you don't specifically ask for mild.

    D's Roti Hut - Guyanese - Brixton (inside Brixton Village Market) - Really delicious curries (especially vegetarian ones) which change daily. A platter of a few dishes, with roti and salad, costs about 5 or 6 quid. Very casual, best to go here on busy market days (Friday and Saturday). Very friendly service here too.


    Koya - Soho - Almost exclusively udon noodles, this place is excellent. Really good quality food for reasonable prices....and very popular.


    Thattukada - Keralan - East Ham - Very good and cheap Keralan food. Favorite things include: appam, roti, fried fish, coconut prawn curry. But everything is really great. They have set vegetarian meals for very cheap, available all day (even though on the menu it says "lunch special"

    Ananda Bhavan - South Indian/Dosa - East Ham - Good outpost of this chain, very cheap prices, all-vegetarian. Mixed utthapam is my favorite there, but also good (and huge) dosas, and good idli.

    Various Street Stalls: Gujarati, Bombay snacks.......see: 2 blocks north of the East Ham tube station, there are often street stands selling pani puri and other Indian snacks. Definitely worth checking out if they are there. However, I'm not sure how permanent these will be.

    Jashan - Pan-Indian - Turnpike Lane - This was my local Indian place, and they had a very nice menu with several less-common dishes. Overall, quality was quite high.

    Paradise Takeaway Restaurant - Turnpike Lane - Good seekh kebab wraps, for very cheap. Various steam table items too, which seem less attractive. I mainly went here for quick lunches or snacks.

    Mooli - Soho - More like Indian fusion, this place sells cheap "mooli" wraps, which consist of various ingredients wrapped in a chapati. Very nice people running the place, and a good value for a quick bite to eat in Soho. Order at the counter, and sit at the table or takeaway.


    Chung Viet - Deptford - In a pretty random neighborhood, but some really good food. Worth the trip for the pho, which is the best I tried in London. Also nice fresh spring rolls and lotus root salad. I think there are some other Vietnamese places in this neighborhood too, which could be worth exploring, including Quan Viet, which I have heard is great but never got to try.

    Viet Grill - Kingsland Road (Shoreditch) - This was a trendy place, and a bit pricey, but I thought the food was pretty good, especially the various grilled fish dishes. Top highlight here was the "oven baked mackerel" wrapped in banana leaves.


    Hala - Green Lanes (Harringay) - My favorite local Turkish place. Great gözleme (especially the spinach ones), lahmacun, and a fantastic cold mixed mezze plate. Imam bayildi is good too. Any meat dishes come with tons of free bread, dips, salad, tea....which makes this place affordable. However, I found the grilled meats to be the weak point here....not as good as the other items. The exception is the Yogurt Adana Kebab, which is my favorite here. Grilled meatballs, baked w/ tomato sauce over pita bread, and topped w/ yogurt. Ultimate comfort food, takes a while to arrive at the table, but worth the wait.

    Antepliler - Green Lanes (Harringay) - Another local Turkish spot, also very popular. Good oven-baked things (like lahmacun) and good cig kofte (raw meat). I have a feeling the grilled meat might be nicer here than at Hala, but I can't remember for sure.

    Cigkoftem - Green Lanes (Harringay) - There's another branch in Stoke Newington too. This is a Turkish chain with cig kofte, which is traditionally made w/ raw meat, but these versions are vegetarian (fake-raw-meat). The "meat' is served in a wrap w/ various fresh veggies. Nice snack or light meal.


    Gilak - Archway - Specializing in food from Gilak, in Northwest Iran, the favorite things I tried here were torshi kabab (which is lamb marinaded w/ pomegranate and walnuts) and baghala ghatogh, which is a vegetarian bean stew served with pickled garlic. Everything else we tried was nice too. I ate here on my last night in London, but would certainly return.


    Sable D'Or Patisserie - Crouch End - I really like the pastries here. You can sit down and have tea/coffee/light meals as well....but pastries (like croissants and danishes) are much cheaper if you do take-away.

    Dunn's Bakery - Crouch End - Nice bakery, good sausage rolls and good bread. A good choice for a "classic" English bakery.

    Monmouth Coffee - Monmouth St, Seven Dials - I really enjoyed the coffees here, and there were nice pastries as well. It gets a lot of hype, but I think it's worthy - also, the coffee beans are expensive but good.

    Federation Coffee - Brixton Village Market - Very similar to Ritual Coffee in San Francisco, this place is run by New Zealanders and they make good coffee....and sometimes some nice pastries/cookies as well.

    Yasar Halim - My local bakery in Green Lanes, has good breads and some other interesting Greek/Cypriot/Turkish pastries and desserts. The pilavuna are very good - cheesy and sweet bread rolls. I think the baklava isn't bad either, although my Turkish friends insist that it's not good at all, and Antepliler's is much much better. Yasar Halim on Green Lanes is smaller than the other location, which is in Palmer's Green.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Dave MP

      Thanks for the list, Dave. I can see it on my screen. You really have done yourself proud with trying so many different spots. The old saying by T. Wolfe isn't true.... you CAN go home again. :-)

      1. re: Dave MP

        Take care, Dave. Great list too. This post is pretty much a who's who of good cheaper ethnic eats with a few other spots tossed in.

        1. re: Dave MP

          I've added this to "My Chow" to keep for my next London trip! Thanks DMP.

          1. re: Dave MP

            Hi Dave, Joanie who used to be on the Boston board here. Heading over in a month for the first time in 8 years. Sedap sounds great, is Old Street in the east part of the city? Will be staying around Hammersmith but am happy to ride the tube altho my friend kind of insists on taking the bus. And I know you're all about the Asian food, but do you have any recs for a great pub, fun and well priced? Or a slightly nicer medium priced dinner out with British or continental food? Thanks.

            1. re: Joanie

              Sedap is definitely worth the's on the East side of London, but not too far East. It's actually more Central, since the location of the restaurant is between Holborn and Old Street (but closer to Old Street). Definitely not a big trek, still in Zone 1, etc. Really worthwhile, since I think it's better than any Malaysian food I've tried in the United States.

              In terms of British/pub recs, I'm afraid I'm the wrong person to ask. I went to some nice pubs, and ate some decent food at some, but nothing was really so memorable to me that I kept track of it, or had the desire to return to places. I think this is more a matter of my personal taste though, since I know there are great British and continental restaurants, and great pubs.

              Hope this helps, sorry I don't know more!

              Dave MP

              1. re: Joanie

                It's very close and if you did that trip by bus it would take absolutely forever. Why does he/she want to bus it?

                For a really classic pub (interior wise) with a not so classic customer base (it's very posh and won't be showing up in an episode of Eastenders anytime soon) then give The White Horse on Parsons Green in Fulham a shot. Jim Leff called it the best pub in the UK which might be a long shot, but they have my favorite beer list of any place in London (including a lot of American microbrews.) They also store all of their beers perfectly and their food is pretty good as well.

                1. re: JFores

                  She's got claustrophobia issues, and doesn't really like going "into town" anyway, so I may be on my own for this. Or if some of you are up for a Malaysian lunch/dinner, let me know (joanie at wmbr dot org). On the other hand, Parsons Green is more in her part of town and may be the answer. I also had a great meal at Anglesea Arms last visit and might return.

                  Have come across a few other interesting sounding places besides Harwood which was discussed in another thread, Shakespeare's Head and Bumble's. Maybe I should post a new topic for this tho.

                  1. re: Joanie

                    You could also take a taxi, or a combination of bus and taxi, and then it might not be too bad to get from Hammersmith to Sedap.

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      TBH just TFL it. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a bus from Hammersmith all the way to Liverpool St and at that point there's plenty of buses.

            2. bon voyage.

              fyi, there is no list - it looks like it might have been deleted for some odd reason.

              1 Reply
              1. re: howler

                Did you read the second posting after the original one? That's the list. It wasn't deleted.

              2. Thanks so much for the list - a lot of my faves are on there and some I haven't tried and will try now - well done you for listing the less fashionable areas - the board is great this way as the usual reviewers only seem to do central north london places

                1. Thanks for finding many of these cool places, and for dispelling the myth that the best Vietnamese food is on Kingsland Rd.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: limster

                    No problem. And thank YOU for bringing me for my first meal at Sedap, which would become my favorite London restaurant!

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      your post triggered a visit to sedap for me. i took a malaysian friend who was blown away by the quality of food and how close it was to the stuff she grew up eating. favourite dishes were the two curries you mentionned. thanks dave.

                      1. re: abby d

                        Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I hope you also saved room for dessert!

                  2. Are you going back to SF, Dave MP? If so, London's loss is the Bay Area's gain ;-)

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: klyeoh

                      I'm actually heading back to Boston, at least for the time being....excited to get back to reading/posting on Chowhound in the place where I began 9 years ago!

                      1. re: Dave MP

                        Looking forward to your posts from Boston then. I started off with SF Bay Area board, before moving on to the Greater Asia board - now China/South-East Asia..

                        1. re: klyeoh

                          Thanks! I look forward to reading yours as well!