With June in London and the sun playing fair, I had a wonderful summer + I got to eat to my heart’s content. Interestingly, Islington, where we rented an apartment for 2 weeks (through Airbnb), has become quite the food hub. With Exmouth Market, Farringdon Road (Eagle, London’s first gastro pub) and St John’s Square, we were, to say the least, spoilt for choice. My favourites were:
Lyle’s occupies part of the Tea Building in London’s hip neighbourhood of Shoreditch along with Shoreditch House and Pizza East. Opened a short while ago by James Lowe, who along with Issac McHale of Clove Club and Ben Greeno of Momofuku Seiobo form The Young Turks trio of the London restaurant scene. The emphasis is on slow, honest English food, served with precision and flare. The menu for lunch is a-la-carte (set menu for dinner) with 10-12 items based on availability of fresh produce for the day, small plate style encouraging one to order a few each to share.
Lyle’s | The Tea Building, 55 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ
This Michelin starred Mayfair gem, tucked away in a cosy corner of St George Street, is a pocket friendly treat to your senses. I decided on the working lunch set menu, which at £29 (excluding tax) for 3 courses wasn’t too shabby.
Wild Honey | 12 St George Street, London W1S 2FB
× Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery is right across the road; I popped in to see the Banksy retrospective curated by Steve Lazarides (read about it here)
Moro and it’s sister concern next door, Morito, serve up great Northern African comfort food with style. We went on a sunny Saturday, and particularly liked the artichoke, pea and orange salad with feta and the seared sea-trout with cucumber chips, chilli and dill yoghurt (the dill yoghurt was welcoming on a hot day and a great accompaniment to the salted cod appetiser we had also ordered).
Moro | 34-36 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE
THE MODERN PANTRY
Great brunch spot in the fast-growing foodie district of Clerkenwell.
The Modern Pantry | 47-48 St John’s Square, London EC1V 4JJ
BONNIE GULL SEAFOOD CAFE
I wanted fish & chips, but not the soggy, crumbly variety you get at every street corner in London (well, almost every). Bonnie Gull checked a lot of the boxes; apart from appearing on the list of restaurants one had to try over the summer, it was close to home, had great reviews and served up wholesome, delicious seafood.
Bonnie Gull Seafood Cafe | 55-57 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QL
Because, Lucian Freud dined here almost every night and of course for its old-world-grand-cafe charm. I tried very hard to get a brunch reservation but only managed afternoon tea instead. Of course, the whole shebang – scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream.
The Wolseley | 160, Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB
Across the street from Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social stands its younger sister, Little Social. Little, perhaps only in size (cozy I would say, rather than small), however very very very big on taste! They also have an extensive wine menu; we tried the Puerto Fino Sherry which was very light, crisp and perfect for lunch.
Little Social | 5 Pollen Street, Mayfair, London W1S 1NE
With everyone in London rushing to Coya for their Peruvian fix, something about Ceviche, tucked away in a small pocket of Soho, sounded far more interesting. Small plate – tapas style; the Don Ceviche (seabass ceviche in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk, limo chilli, sweet potato and red onions) packed serious punch and we fought temptation to order seconds. On the vegetarian front, the beetroot salad on coriander smooth cool Peruvian potato cake was exceptional. And with a couple of pisco cocktails down, it was an afternoon very well spent!
Ceviche | 17 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 4RG
Missed out on, but on the list for the next trip (and welcome to reviews, if any):
Beach Blanket Babylon
When Mack met Cheese