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London Bistro/Nose to tail/ brasserie/pubs/tapas

Im going to London in the first week of june. The only thing Im sure of is to eat at St,John. I`m interested in value for the money, but quality dining.

Before arriving London we will be dining at The Waterside Inn for dinner, and Hinds Head for lunch rhe next day. But in London I would like to eat at places with a more low key profile. I`ve been checking out; Arbutus, Wild Honey, Les Deaux Salons, The green man and the french horn, Terroirs, Bull and Last, Cambio de Tercio..

I would have be glad to have some advice from you in these categories..


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  1. I'd exchange Les Deux Salons for Bistro Bruno Loubet - much better food at the latter. I was disappointed in what we got served last time I took a visiting relative to Deux Salons, plus it can be quite noisy.

    1. Try Hereford Road for similar cooking to St John, but at a slightly lower price point. I had fried calf's brain there once and it was just slightly too disturbing for me to finish it (I'm a neuroscientist...), but everything there is cooked really well. I haven't been to St John restaurant, but been to St John Bread & Wine and Hereford Road just seemed much more comfortable/low key in terms of ambience and surroundings.

      1. How about The Shed, which we loved when we visited in December? Definitely nose-to-tail, definitely high quality, British food in tapas-type offerings. Decor is a bit "cute" but food was great, and so was the service.


        Highly recommend the Lamb Chips with harissa if they are on, as well as the roasted root vegetable salad with tahini-honey dressing and dukkah.

        1. I'm sure you're aware of this Jorn but you won't want to eat at more than one of Wild Honey/Arbutus/Les Deux Salons as they are from the same group.

          The Green Man and French Horn and Terroirs are also run by the same people. They aren't too similar but again the diversity in London means it's probably not worth going to both.

          Bull and last is great.

          Hereford Road is a good suggestions, you could try Brasserie Chavot which has just opened, or Balthazar.

          Other similar places are: Draper's Arms pub, Anchor and Hope, Great Queen Street.

          Tapas, my favourites in rough order: Opera Tavern, Barrafina, Donostia, Brindisa, Jose.

          1. I had an ok-ish meal at Green Man and French Horn last week - my expectations were very high as their sister restaurant Brawn is currently one of my favourites, but apart from some excellent whitebait, found the rest of the meal to be pretty good but not great. If you can, try to get to Brawn in East London.

            Out of Arbutus, Wild Honey, Les Deux Salons, I would go for Arbutus, it has a slightly 'lighter touch' than the other two. Hereford Rd is a good suggestion, had an excellent lunch there last year and is very good value. And as always, second the recommendations for Anchor and Hope and Great Queen St for a more pub type meal

            1. Thanks so much for all advices. Now I`ve got a few more on my list.

              I also wanted to visit a market while in London (I will arrive on a saturday evening and leave on a thursday morning), both Borough Market and Maltby Street seems to be closed those days. Do you have any suggestion for others I should visit, or other food destinations (wineshops,beers etc).

              2 Replies
              1. re: jorn77

                Depending on where you're staying the Sampler South Kensington or Islington has about 90 wines on Sampling at any one time including often first growths and equivalents.

                1. re: ManInTransit

                  They also do a cheese/charcuterie/baguette plate to nibble on while trying wine. Can make for a great afternoon.

              2. I would second (third?) the Hereford Road recommendation. I think it's as good as any of the competing nose-to-tail places, but significantly cheaper. We chose it for a guest's birthday and were really impressed.

                I'd aim for Brawn over Terroirs, but it will probably depend where you are. you do combine Brawn with a Sunday morning visit to the colombia road flower markets.

                40 Maltby Street is the wine bar/bistro at the Maltby Street markets, but now opens Wednesday night. It's one of my favourite places for simple, produce driven anglo french cooking. It's not all that offal-focussed, but otherwise quite similar to what you'd find on gastopub menus and very keenly priced, and some unusual wines by the glass.

                1. We were a little disappointed in Arbutus this week, not the least reason was the high noise level making conversation with our friends impossible. The food was priced very reasonably with portions of a commensurate size, allowing for a comfortable three course experience, and the food was good, but not impressive.

                  Geale's for fish and chips in Notting Hill is always on our list and was as good now as it was 15 years ago. It is also conveniently located just near the Notting Hill tube stop. I must attach a picture...:)

                  We enjoyed a very nice lunch at St. John's and have been to Bread and Wine on a prior trip, which was better, probably because of the seasonal offerings at the time. We were hoping for more of the tender ox-tail, but were satisfied with the marrow, grey mullet, guinea fowl tureen and tripe.

                  Where did you end up eating, jorn? Definitely plan for Borough Market next trip, we headed there first on arrival on a Saturday.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Lambowner

                    see my trip report.. But I will say, if your in London; go to Hedone.. Fantastic, the best in London?