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Oct 8, 2013 03:34 AM

Places I've enjoyed recently [London]

Hawksmoor Air Street: Very well marbled bone-in sirloin cooked over charcoal, deliciously seared crust with very flavourful meat. If I ever had any preference for corn-fed beef, I've now completely converted to grass-fed. Mashed potatoes were on the firm side, so possibly whipped to toughen up the glutens, and served with a bit of thin gravy which is a nice touch, creamed spinach similarly good. The absolute best sticky toffee pudding in London from what I've tried; possibly steamed before serving, but not overly glutinous.

Pizza East (both Shoreditch and Portobello): My favorite pizza in London. Not an authentic Neapolitan type pie (which seem to be the standard at the minute). It has a chewy crust, a crispy base, and holds up well to toppings, (unlike Franco Manca et al which turn into a soggy mess). Starter of chicken livers with polenta is terrific, as is the bib lettuce salad (all salads are good, actually). Most similar to American style pizza I've found in London, though sadly not nearly as good as what is available in Pepe's in New Haven Connecticut.

Electric Diner: Hadn't been since the refurb, looks basically like Pizza East and all other Soho House group restaurants -- deliberately ratty and so NEW YORK! Some of the best chips I've had recently (my favorites are at Hix in Selfridges, and Tartine in Knightsbridge), and the home-made bolgona sandwich was quite good -- kind of a gross American classic done well -- not sure I'd order again but a good sandwich nevertheless.

Iberica Spanish Restaurant: Hadn't been for years as am seldom nearby and tend to eat Spanish at Dehesa/Fernandez Wells/Salt Yard type places. More choices than the standard Spanish menu offered at most places (i.e., Brindisa) and everything we ordered was terrific. Patatas Bravas were very crispy and light, as were cod fritters. Corn fritter with cheese & egg was a slightly unexpected but delicious preparation (i.e., cheese & egg 'sauce' on top of fried thin corn taco-like fritter). Slow cooked chicken with rice was absolutely delicious - a very large black chicken thigh on a bed of what tasted like spanish risotto.

Mari Vanna: Went with a group of friends after having already eaten 2 dinners, but was enticed to eat more. Delectable sturgeon, best perogi and polmeny i've eaten in London recently, truly outstanding herring in shuba coat (i.e., fur coat, basically herring covered with beets, apple, mayo, etc). Beef stroganoff was dry, though sauce was rich and flavourful -- using filet in a stew is bad idea.

Figured I'd mention a few places that aren't talked about that often here. This board tends to favour a few places and only recommend super top places -- the aforementioned spots are great restaurants for a casual supper and highly recommended for tourists who want a fun London experience.

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  1. To add:

    Fish and Chips at the Admiral Codrington in Knightsbridge. Excellent crispy batter on fresh and firm haddock. Chips way too 'hand-cut' for my taste, i.e., at least 1" by 1", so not really chips by any normal standard.

    Shake Shack: American fast food chain. Very delicious smoky hot-dog, certainly the best in London, on a soft bun. Crinkle cut fries are my favorite so obviously enjoy these. Hamburger salty but, in my opinion, perfect fast-food burger; greasy but not overwhelmingly so like Meat Liquor.

    4 Replies
    1. re: brokentelephone

      Agreed - 1" x 1" fried potatoes are the ubiquitous abomination that is called the "fat chip". They should have no place on the plate

      1. re: brokentelephone

        Bone Daddies Ramen: Not the worlds best ramen; way too rich in both broth and toppings (the chicken ramen comes with 'cock scratchings', i.e., deep fried chicken skin). Entirely unnecessary level of fat left in the broth. Noodles are probably handmade but are similar to factory made, i.e., firm but not bite. Chicken kaarage is good, not mindblowing, but very few pieces of seasoned dark meat are ever bad. Only option for the pork-adverse in London so will continue to frequent.

        1. re: brokentelephone

          Totally agree with you that Bone Daddies' broth is unnecessarily thick at the expense of flavor. Frankly, I don't understand the appeal at all.

          IMO Shoryu is far and away the best ramen place in London (my rankings: Shoryu, Tonkotsu, Ittenbari, Bone Daddies, Yugo, Mitsukoshi, but I only ever go to Shoryu now). The broth is rich for flavor, not just to be rich as at BD.

          1. re: dcfly1

            My aversion to Shoryu is that, as I don't eat pork, the only non-pork on offer is a vegetable broth and frankly, if Bone Daddies is far too rich, Shoryu veggie stock is far too tepid. Certainly the best noodles in town by a inaka mile.

      2. "Beef stroganoff was dry, though sauce was rich and flavourful -- using filet in a stew is bad idea." - sounds like poor execution as beef stroganoff is classically made with fillet and is exceptional when done well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: PhilD

          Sorry -- I meant stewing filet is a bad idea. Obvs stroganoff requires filet, but sauteed not cooked in the sauce.