Itinerary recommendations - London
Pollen Street Social
Anyone recommend to take one out and add something else?
I'm looking to eat at the best the city has to offer. My wife is pregnant so that leaves out most Japanese (too many raw dishes) and do not want Italian or French during this visit.
I only care about the food.I'd like places that know what they are doing and have execute their food with care. Restaurants and food preparations that are unique and that I would not find in other restaurants in other cities.
I would have liked to have tried The Fat Duck or Hand and Flowers but I don't have the time.
I looked at Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs though they don't have reservation times available when I am in the city.
I want to leave the city knowing I had the best it has to offer. I don't think I will be able to return for a while so I don't want to leave with regrets of missing something.
Other considerations (that I can remember) were St John, Dinner, HKK, The Clove Club, Quilon, Rasoi, Dabbous
Good list but I think you are missing a gastropub on there - I love the harwood arms (1 Michelin star and hardly a casual pub but still very nice atmosphere and consistently excellent food). Bull and last / anchor and hope / drapers arms are other favourites
HKK is too corporate for me. Dabbous is good but not worth the booking hassle. I love the Clove Club - my favourite recent opening. sit in the bar area so you can order a la carte rather than fixed tasting menu
St. John is legendary but for me sometimes off the boil. If still keen I would go to St. John Bread and Wine which I find a little more fun
I'd be surprised if many people had Tayyabs on their "London best" list. I think you would easily find more interesting South Asian - Cafe Spice Namaste or Moti Mahal, perhaps.
You might also want to consider The Square. I agree with Harters that Cafe Namaste would be a better choice than Tayyabs (especially for atmosphere), also Quilon.
The Dairy - Modern European; get the 7 course tasting. Crispy chicken skin with mushrooms was outstanding, a brilliant interplay of textures and flavours.
Sedap or Tukdin - Penang style nyona or Malaysian.
Koya - Japanese udon place with all cooked dishes; prices have gone up, but they have specials that use a fair number of local ingredients.
Lahore Nihari- Pakistani.
Al-waha - Lebanese; caveat: haven't been in a long time.
I haven't been to Viajante but all reviews are spectacular. Having eaten in the 'lesser' Corner Room, I believe it. I was underwhelmed by Tayyabs - never went back, even though it's close - but if you're looking for a sit-down local east London experience, it would be interesting for you.
I'm really fond of La Chapelle (by Galvin) - the food is very good but the space is spectacular and the service just immaculate. It's such a treat to eat there. Makes me feel special every time.
I suspect it was a front-runner amongst the south asian offerings in that part of London and that it has now been overtaken by a goodly number of other places.
I've visited a couple of times and its really no better than a number of places in my part of the UK. I'd go again if I was in the area and needed something to eat quickly - it is a rushed experience - but that's all.
I like it - lot for a quick meal with friends but not sure it's a 'destination' restaurant when you have limited time. Gymkhana would certainly tick your boxes for very good food and being a 'hot' new place- cant think of many other openings that have got such universal praise. Expensive though..
Viajante is great. It's a cool spot because it is very casual but serves very sophisticated modernist cuisine. I believe that had they opened in Mayfair and ticked the michelin boxes (i.e., silverware, table clothes, etc) they could easily have 2 stars, but alas, being in Bethnal Green and retaining the laid-back atmosphere has kept them slightly off-piste.
I would consider somewhere like Wiltons or Rules for the English experience (or even J Sheeky). There is nothing micro, fusion, or molecular about the food, but these places do classic English cooking in a way few places can.
Alternatively, if you're into going out and partying after dinner, how about Sketch? They have 2 michelin star restaurant, and should have (depending on the night) a very lively atmosphere. Plus you can stay afterwards and party late (its a very fun place to go drinking).
Sometimes I bring guests from Vancouver to big loud places simply because the atmosphere is unlike anywhere in BC. Hakkasan maybe for Chinese has a subterranean nightclub vibe? Or even Aqua Kyoto (its japanese though, so won't be better than Vancouver), though the drinks and vibe are quite happening. These places aren't my taste but can be fun for visitors.
Damn, I had a great idea for you but as I was trying to remember that Aqua Kyoto I completely forgot. Oh well, if I remember will add. EDIT: Oh yes, how about Russian or Polish food? I'm a big fan of this place Mari Vanna, its a kind of de-facto members club for London's wealthy Russians, and is decorated like in a quasi opulent kitschy grandmothers house. Or Baltic for more Polish food? Excellent food, vodka, and fun night out. There are loads of Polish restaurants in Shepard's Bush and elsewhere, if you're interested let us know b/c we can offer more guidance. It's a cuisine you won't easily find in Vancouver.
Also, walking around Edgeware Road is fun because its very Arabic and you might find some interesting places to grab a shwarma or have a gheyloon.
BTW: I'm Anthony's good friend. Unfortunately, I'll be in London when you're here otherwise would've def met up. When you get back to Van, we should all go for some good food -- I haven't been around Vancouver and would love a culinary tour from a local.