We can’t think of a city with a better food scene than London right now. It’s more dynamic, varied and vibrant than ever. For this reason, we’d like to post the top 6 dishes we’ve had during spring and summer this year. Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, we think it’s worth doing this genuinely difficult exercise and look back at the best dishes we’ve had in the last few months to share them with you. Hopefully you’ll like them as much as we did!
The Smokehouse, N1
Since we enjoyed Neil Rankin’s all-day diner Bad Egg, we decided to pay a visit to his first restaurant in Islington, The Smokehouse. Rankin is the owner of four of the best pubs in the city, where he uses the best produce and ingredients from very small family owned companies, and only deals with people as passionate about what they do as he is. We think that’s a solid leitmotiv, so we decided to give his flagship location a try. Of course, it didn’t disappoint. We must highlight this amazing starter: foie gras, fried egg & apple pie. It was hard to choose among all the other great appetizers, but we’re pretty sure we made the right choice. Excellent mixture of textures and simply delicious.
This Peruvian restaurant is located in the heart of Shoreditch High Street. Andean ingredients are the soul food of Peru and the Andes are home to some of the world’s most nutritious ingredients such as quinoa, maca, amaranth, purple maize and many more. Andina‘s cooks pair these with seasonal British produce achieving great results. Although we tried lots of great dishes that night such as their famous ceviches and mini pork chicharrones, one of the best was the corn cake & avocado with salsa criolla. We thought the cake was going to be similar to corn bread, but the texture was less spongy and the flavour much more intense. Highly recommended.
We were very happy when we found out about Polpetto‘s comeback in 2014. We’ve been clients of Russell Norman’s Polpo since we moved to London and we’d heard wonders about the restaurant’s previous incarnation in Dean Street. After our first visit, Polpetto instantly became one of our favourite places in London. Even though we love every single Florence Knight recipe, we’d like to outline her Westcombe ricotta, egg yolk raviolo. Outstanding. The yolk’s consistency was perfect, which made us wonder how they made it. We asked the waiter, and we must say the amount of work that went into it is truly impressive as it is an extremely delicate dish. This was a spring dish, so unfortunately it’s no longer in the menu.
Patara is the restaurant you need to visit if you’re looking for a different take on Thai food. The group own four restaurants in London, and a total of nine branches around the world in cities like Vienna, Beijing and its flagship in Bangkok. We’ve enjoyed Thai food many times in the past, but as much as we love our local Thai place (Singburi in Leytonstone) we must admit Patara’s food makes a difference. From our generous selection of servings, we’d like to highlight this delicate grilled scallop with spicy Thai mango dressing – beautifully presented, with a delicious zing from the chillies as well as fresh and meaty. One of the best bites we have this year.
Bleecker St., E1
When it comes to burgers, things get complicated. We had lots of discussions about which one was our absolute favourite. We kept changing our mind with every new discovery, until we found out about Bleecker St. This food truck started in 2012 and recently opened a permanent shop in Old Spitafields Market. Their crown jewel is the Bleecker Black: double beef patty, black pudding, cheese, onions and sauce. What makes this burger so unique is not the over-complicated mixture of fancy extras but the rare-breed, pasture-fed beef from The Butchery in Bermondsey which, by the way, you can get cooked rare, which nowadays is almost impossible in London.
Bocca di Lupo, W1
Bocca di Lupo is very special for us. It’s where we celebrated Roberto’s 30th birthday a couple of years ago, and it instantly became a reference. This vibrant Italian trattoria in Soho never disappoints. We went back a few weeks ago and we’re already dreaming of our next visit. Besides the fact that their wine list is superb, Bocca di Lupo stands out for their homemade pastas. All dishes were straight-up spectacular, but if we had to choose just one, we’d go for the orecchiette with ‘nduja, red onion & tomato. These ‘little ears’ are made from semolina dough and are one of the staple dishes in Puglia. When homemade, their cooking time is reduced to about one third, leaving the inside already moist and springy. This, combined with small chunks of spicy, spreadable pork sausage, red onion and tomato, results into a magnificent dish. As good as it gets.