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Restaurant Picks for June Trip to London

Hi all --

I'll be in London for 4 days in June and have spent the past few weeks coming up with a list of restaurants to check out. I've come up with my list based on Time Out London, GOOP, Yelp and some Chowhound UK trolling.

I would love it if you'd take a look at my picks below and let me know if anything is a waste of time (or money), if I should bump up anything on my "back up" list or if certain places are best visited at lunch or dinner.

I'm visiting from Toronto so we have a lot of "multi-cultural" foods. I'm an adventurous eater who has no problems with offal etc. I'm hoping to get my share of British cuisine and sampling some other standouts.

The one thing I'm missing are good bakeries or chocolate/candy shops where I can pick up some treats!

Here's my list

LUNCH
Fish Club
Hache
Arbutus
Bocca di Lupo

DINNER
Dishoom
Moro
North Sea Fish
Pizza East

BACKUPS
Hereford Road
La Famiglia
Made In Italy
Taqueria
Cha Cha Moon

Thanks!

WON
http://whatsonmyplate.net

-----
Hereford Road
3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

Bocca di Lupo
12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB

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  1. i think you should troll chowhound some more. if you're after indian food, for example, you'll do much better with lunch at quilon or the bombay brasserie (weekends only) than you will at dishoom.

    and you haven't got st.john on your list!

    2 Replies
    1. re: howler

      Thanks for weighing in. I'll definitely look at the other Indian options.

      I considered St John initially because everyone RAVES about it. However, looking at the sample menu at their site didn't excite me whatsoever.

      WON

      1. re: wontonfm

        Their pared-down style of menu writing isn't particularly enticing, imo, but what's on the plate is a lot better!

    2. Dishoom is a fun place, but I'd stick with it for lunch rather than dinner. And I'd avoid their naan, which almost everyone thinks is not the best, including me. If you'd like some of the wonderful Indian food here, Quilon, as howler pointed out is very good as are Amaya, Cinnamon Club (not everyone's favorite, but I enjoyed it), Benares etc.

      P.S. I still miss Maury. :-)

      -----
      Quilon
      41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

      The Cinnamon Club
      The Old Westminster Library, 30-32 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU, GB

      1. Your list is very eclectic! I'm a bit puzzled about some of the choices, I will admit. Hache for example, is just a small chain burger restaurant. There are more interesting places to go if you have limited time. Fish Club is in Battersea - are you going to be in the area anyway? I'm not convinced it merits a special trip. Similarly with Pizza East.

        I would move Dishoom onto your lunch list, as Zuriga says, and possibly Hereford Road. I would also consider the Bull & Last, which is an excellent gastropub in Hampstead. I personally prefer Wild Honey to Arbutus (they are run by the same people) but both are a good choice. If you want to be adventurous, consider heading out to Bethnal Green to Viajante or The Corner Room (check this board for details) for Mendes' experimental food. If St John is too much for you, have a look at St John Bread and Wine or even Henderson's new place, which is very centrally located near Leicester Square.

        -----
        Hereford Road
        3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

        St Johns Restaurant
        24 Sir Thomas Street, Liverpool L1 6JB, GB

        1. For treats, it's worth a trip to Laudree in covent garden for the delicious macarons, if you're a fan. William Curley (http://www.williamcurley.co.uk/engine...) or Paul A Young (http://www.paulayoung.co.uk/shops/) would be my picks for posh chocolates

          2 Replies
          1. re: uniqueusername

            I think the Pierre Hermes macarons at Selfridge's are also delicious. There's also a Laduree shop in the Burlington Arcade near Piccadilly if that's more convenient.

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            Laduree
            Burlington Arcade, London, Greater London W1J 0, GB

            1. re: zuriga1

              Thanks! Pierre Herme and Laduree were already on my list (love them from my Paris days). Will have to investigate the chocolate shops.

              WON

              -----
              Laduree
              Burlington Arcade, London, Greater London W1J 0, GB

          2. Say no to Hereford Road. I have been twice and neither time impressed. St. John is very good, if you are an adventurous eater. William Curley chocolates are wonderful.

            -----
            Hereford Road
            3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

            St. John
            26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY, GB

            3 Replies
            1. re: erincharles

              I would replace it with Harwood Arms or Bull & Last.

              1. re: erincharles

                Perhaps I am in a minority, but I like Hereford Road. I like the combinations, the portion sizes and the friendly staff. It's near my London office so I always visit when I'm over. I would put it on a par in style with St John Bread and Wine.

                Harwood Arms is good but I'm not sure why it generates such a rabid following here - having been a couple of times, and enjoyed it, I wouldn't cross London again for it. And if that's what you need for a michelin star, then lots of other places should feel shortchanged. That said, looking at the OPs list, I would probably put a more gastropub venue on it as it is a particularly London style of dining

                -----
                Hereford Road
                3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

                1. re: mr_gimlet

                  We trekked across London to eat at Harwood Arms, and I feel it was worth the trip. As promised, the food featured fresh, seasonal ingredients, and both my husband and I enjoyed our fish main courses; he loved his sea bream, and I thought my poached cod with cauliflower and mushrooms was even better, with a good mix of flavors and textures. Service was also notable in a positive way: casual, knowledgeable, and friendly all at once.

                  We also made a point of seeking out Indian food while in London. For dinner, we went to Moti Mahal as we were intrigued by the vegetarian tasting menu. It turned out to be flavorful, varied, and interesting. I'd describe it as more elegant than spicy (I was concerned at first that the flavors would be too timid), although the sampling we had of the main courses lead me to believe that these are spicier than the starters. We ate Indian food for lunch on another day, choosing Delhi Grill, a very casual spot at Chapel Market in Islington. I'd recommend this one, too.

                  -----
                  Moti Mahal
                  45 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA, GB

              2. If you want good Indian, then go to Amaya. As far as I know, it is the only Indian with a Michelin star. Superb food in a tapas style so you can try lots and lots of things. I don't even bother with other Indian restaurants anymore, it is Amaya or bust.

                Made In Italy? Don't waste your time. Bocca di Lupo is GORGEOUS food. Moro is brilliant.

                Pizza East is really good, IMHO, Franco Manca is better pizza, but lacks ambiance. With pizza, I don't care about the ambience, just perfect organic buffalo mozzarella cheese, san marzano tomato sauce and perfect sourdough crust.

                For chocolate, go to L'artisan du Chocolat (several locations). Their sea salted caramel ice cream and sea salted caramel chocolates AND their two varieties of nougat covered in chocolate (one with honey, one with fig and walnut) are all to die for.

                -----
                Bocca di Lupo
                12 Archer St, London, England W1D 7, GB

                9 Replies
                1. re: LisaSpencer

                  I ate at Bocca di Luppo the other night and really loved it. Be warned we had to eat at the bar, there are only a very few tables but the food was from all over Italy and delicious. It's a very casual and fun place. Lunch might be the smarter way to go than dinner if you prefer more formal settings for the evening. I started with the " crudita di mare" a trio of sea bream (wonderful!)' red prawn (super fresh but the least favorite of what was basically an almost perfect trio ) and the scallops that might have been still wriggling and were my closely tied favorite to the bream. Served with rosemary oil and lemon. Just excellent! My SO had the small plate of the tortiglioni all'Amatriciana. This was served with pig cheek bacon that looked too fatty for my taste and my SO's but were we wrong and the percorino was just perfect with it. We ate a few other dishes . All of which we enjoyed and one of which the staff tried to talk us out of in the context of what we were ordering. It was the Luganega, and it was good but better as a middle tasting dish than as what we ate last. This are area is insanely busy. We were amazed at the lines of people hanging outside so many bars and restaurants.

                  Kate

                  1. re: LisaSpencer

                    "If you want good Indian, then go to Amaya. As far as I know, it is the only Indian with a Michelin star" - not correct. Five of the twenty four London Indian restaurants in the UK Michelin guide have stars. Thet are Benares, Amaya, Rasoi, Tamarind and Quilon. That said Michelin isn't very good at Indian, although they do list Indian Zing.

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                    Quilon
                    41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

                    1. re: PhilD

                      When it comes to Indian I'm not necessarily looking for "fancy" Indian. More into traditional Indian foods at reasonable prices.

                      Any recommendations?

                      WON

                      1. re: wontonfm

                        traditional which? gujarati, punjabi, bengali, tamilian, keralan etc

                        1. re: howler

                          I'm not too up on my Indian regional cooking. When i say "traditional" i guess I mean straightforward vs. more of a fusion treatment with other types of foods.

                          Thanks!

                          1. re: howler

                            Come on howler, that's not too helpful! A lot of people (i.e. most) will not be familiar with the regional cuisines.

                            Wontonfm I would try Moti Mahal, or Chowki in the West End, I've always enjoyed both.

                            -----
                            Moti Mahal
                            45 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA, GB

                            1. re: pj26

                              Howler, condescendingly unhelpful? Surely not

                              1. re: ManInTransit

                                usually annoyed that people put together a thousand different cuisines as one 'indian'. yes. but condescending? really?

                              2. re: pj26

                                if you see my very first reply on this thread, i specified 'traditional' indian restaurants. because the op repeated the request, i naturally assumed it was for regional cuisines.

                      2. Thanks everyone for the help! Here's where I ended up eating...

                        LUNCHES
                        Fish Club - good but nothing special and not worth a trip.
                        Arbutus - FANTASTIC lunch. I head the pig's head salad and duck with cherries and walnuts. Both were great.
                        Ottolenghi - This was a random pick but was good despite feeling a little pricey for what it was. I also ate a lot of breakfasts there and loved the pastries.
                        Borough Market - I had the chorizo sandwich which i loved and a duck confit sandwhich that was ok. I was sad that the famed cheese sandwich isn't there on fridays.

                        DINNERS
                        Pizza East - good pizza but the crust was a bit chewy and soggy for my tastes.
                        St John Bread and Wine - because of Chowhound peer pressure i decided to pay a visit. I had braised slip soles and eton mess and was pretty happy. In retrospect I wish that I'd ordered a bit more adventurously.
                        North Sea Fish - LOVED the fish and chips here! Also loved the tartar sauce and mushy peas. A definite highlight.
                        Hereford Road - Another great meal. Started with potted crab, followed with roasted pork belly and finished gooseberry eton mess and a cherry almond tart. Potted crab was simple and a great starter. Pork belly was perfectly cooked and had a lot of flavour. The Eton mess was just OK and the tart was good but nothing to write home about.
                        Dishoom - Despite the consensus on the board we ended up here because we had to meet people around Leceister Square. The meal was good but not amazing although the calamari was surprisingly lovely. I had the biryani and grilled prawns and wasn't blown away.

                        I also had my fill of macarons from Laduree and Pierre Herme which I know from living and visiting Paris.

                        Thanks again for the tips and I've posted photos etc on the b-log.

                        WON
                        htp://whatsonmyplate.net

                        -----
                        Laduree
                        Burlington Arcade, London, Greater London W1J 0, GB

                        Hereford Road
                        3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: wontonfm

                          The famed cheese sandwich has been banished and is now found under some railway arches in Bermondsey.

                          http://www.kappacasein.com/

                          1. re: MonkeyC

                            Good to know! I feel significantly less disappointed now!

                            WON

                          2. re: wontonfm

                            Thanks for posting your trip report. Nice to see what another Toronto Chowhound enjoyed, I'm hoping to try Arbutus, Ottolenghi, possibly Hereford Road.

                            -----
                            Hereford Road
                            3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB