Visit London Blog » Eating Out Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 21 Jul 2014 13:05:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top 5 Dude Food Restaurants in London Thu, 06 Feb 2014 10:00:25 +0000 Honest Burgers

Whether it’s melt-in-the-mouth ribs, meaty burgers, juicy steaks or hot dogs smothered with all kinds of toppings, London has sunk its teeth into ‘dude food’ in recent years; and it shows no sign of slowing with new eateries opening across the capital on a monthly basis.

But why has London got down and dirty with this trend – surely BBQ-sauce-soaked sleeves and greasy fingers are not the main draw? Burger mini-chain Honest Burgers co-founder Tom Barton says: “I think the demand for good quality and good value food has been a significant movement across London. Not just with ‘dude food’ but right across the board.” He adds: “London has embraced how amazing simple dishes can be when created using quality ingredients.”

Honest Burgers Kings Cross

Honest Burgers have shot to prominence since the opening of their first restaurant in Brixton Village in 2011. With increased popularity came new openings in Soho, Camden, Portobello and most recently at King’s Cross, which opened in December.

So what’s the secret? “I think the demand for good-quality burger restaurants will continue to get stronger and stronger,” Tom notes. “There’s no room for a bad burger in London anymore.”

With a multitude of options to digest, here are our top five dude food eateries:

Honest Burgers for burgers

Now on their fifth venture, Honest Burgers’ rise has been epic. Of their new King’s Cross opening, Tom says: “We’ve tried to keep the same formula that we started with in our first restaurant in Brixton – the core menu is exactly the same but we have added some more side orders. The focus on these was to revive old English classics with an Honest twist, for example: mini beer battered sausages and homemade curry sauce and the humble pork scratching.”

The recipe is simple: they use British-sourced meat served on a toasted bun with four choices (Beef, Classic, Honest or Chicken), served alongside moreish rosemary-salt chips and other sides such as beetroot and apple coleslaw.

Hawksmoor for steaksHawksmoor Seven Dials

Hawksmoor has spread out from its first venture in Spitalfields to locations in Guildhall, Seven Dials (Covent Garden) and Air Street (Piccadilly); the owners have also recently opened Foxlow, a more low-key eatery in Clerkenwell. Known for locally sourced meat, killer cocktails and stylish interiors, Hawksmoor is a place for meat-eaters who like their steaks charcoal-cooked to perfection. If that’s not enough, savour some hearty sides such as triple-cooked chips, macaroni cheese and bone marrow gravy.

Pitt Cue Co for ribs

The queue says it all. There’s no secret to Pitt Cue Co’s popularity: its succulent and smoky ribs, so tender they fall apart at the sight of a fork – coupled with the fact there are only 30 seats at this intimate restaurant – keep hungry foodies lined up around the block. Tom says he’s a “big fan” of this place and it’s easy to see why; it’s a real dude food joint with meat (not just ribs) served in cowboy-style trays and sides such as beans and slaw. There’s no reservation system, so get in early to secure a spot.

Tramshed for chickenTramshed: Photo by: Danny Elwes

Damien Hirst’s installation of a cow and chicken gives some clues away as to what’s on offer at Mark Hix’s convivial Tramshed restaurant. The menu at this Shoreditch venue is simple: share seasonal starters and then opt for either chicken or steak. The chicken, reared in rural Lancashire, is roasted and served bolt upright, accompanied by the likes of wild garlic sauce, chips and scrumpy fried onions.

Bubbledogs for hot dogs

Hot dogs have followed burgers as a major food trend in London, with the likes of Kensington griller Dirty Bones opening its doors in January. Bubbledogs was among the first on the scene and it continues to attract foodies for its marriage of deliciously indulgent all-beef, all-pork or vegetarian hot dogs with a champagne list as long as a Cumberland sausage.

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We asked world-famous, London-based chef, restaurateur and TV personality Gordon Ramsay to share his London Story. Watch the video above.

During our interview Gordon mentioned more of his favourite London things and experiences and we’ve used this to populate our homepage for 16-19 Jan 2014

Experience London the way Gordon does with his five top tips on what to see and do in London.

Albert Bridge

The Grade II-listed Albert Bridge over the River Thames was built in 1873, connecting Chelsea to the north with Battersea to the south. The bridge is sometimes known as “the trembling lady” in reference to the effect caused when large numbers of people walk across it, and indeed there are even signs warning troops to break step when crossing (although since the nearby Chelsea Barracks closed in 2008, the bridge is no longer regularly used by soldiers). An extensive, multi-million pound refurbishment in recent years included the installation of thousands of LED lights that illuminate the bridge at night. As Gordon Ramsay rightfully opines, Albert Bridge: “Looks stunning during the day and at night is picturesque.”

Brick Lane

“Whenever we’re returning from a long journey, the first thing we do is go out for a curry. I’ve been to India but I find curries in Brick Lane better; it’s that good.” This is Gordon Ramsay’s glowing recommendation for the area of London that is famous for its Indian, Bangledeshi and Pakistani curry houses. Stretching from Bethnal Green Road to the north, through Spitalfields and onto Whitechapel High Street in the south, this bustling East London street includes more restaurants than you could ever dream of visiting in one lifetime (including Sheba, the Best UK Curry House in Cobra’s 2013 curry guide). Decision making is often down to which curry house has the most persuasive staff member and best special deals as you saunter along the one-kilometre-stretch of Brick Lane.

Borough Market

Borough Market’s gourmet food market consists of up to 70 stalls and stands that open from Thursday to Saturday. Producers from all over the country bring a range of fresh produce to the market, including fish, meats, vegetables, ciders, cheeses, breads, coffees, cakes and patisseries; while other stalls specialise in produce imported from abroad. The market’s proximity to London’s newest icon The Shard, and the popular tourist area of Southbank, give it “must see” status on any London visitor’s itinerary.

Boris Bikes

The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme – known playfully as Boris Bikes – stretches across Central London from Shepherd’s Bush (and the Westfield London Shopping Mall) in West London, to East India DLR station in East London. The network extends as far south as Oval Cricket Ground and as far north as the Stable Markets in Camden. Since the bikes’ introduction in 2010, more than 24 million journeys have been made, averaging 18 to 28 minutes. Further extensions to the cycling scheme are planned for Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth, Kensington & Chelsea, and Wandsworth, which should prove welcome news to Gordon Ramsay, who lives and works in these key areas. Gordon says the scheme, “has transformed London, given it so much more flow. What an exciting thing to do when you’re coming to London for the first time: see this beautiful city on a bike, the wind rushing through your hair.”

Vingt-Quatre, now known as VQ

Vingt-Quatre is French for 24, so as the name suggests, this café-restaurant on the Fulham Road in west London is open 24 hours a day. Gordon Ramsay’s “secret place for an amazing fry up” offers a mixed menu of traditional restaurant food (mainly served before midnight) and dishes that can be ordered at any time of the day or night. Beans on toast at 2am? No problem. Burgers at seven in the morning? But, of course. The food here, in Gordon’s eyes, is “to die for”, and has recently proved popular enough to convince the owners to open a second 24-hour VQ Bloomsbury near Tottenham Court Road Tube station.

You’ll discover more stories and enter a competition to win a fantastic stay in London at #TheLondonStory

What would you recommend to visitors to London?

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Latvia in London: The London Latvian House Fri, 02 Mar 2012 10:21:20 +0000

Karoline Zobens-East is a third generation British Latvian whose grandparents moved to Yorkshire after the Second World War. She co-founded We spoke to Karoline about the Latvian community in London:

I was born in London but from birth have been heavily involved in the Latvian community both in London and England. Although not an EU migrant myself, I interact daily with people who have moved to London from Latvia recently.

The Latvian Community in London

It’s difficult to know the exact number of Latvians living in London, but recent figures suggest the number could be around 20,000. The community itself is much smaller and we can usually expect around 200 people at a large scale event inLondon.

The community is very active with a choir, a traditional dance group, a school and various other organisations and groups. The community actively organises all sorts of events from theatre productions, music concerts and karaoke evenings, to Independence Day celebrations and more formal, traditional celebrations.

The London Latvian House

The London Latvian House is the beating heart of the Latvian community in London: Latvian people, food, drink, music, and atmosphere. It’s the only place in London you will feel the traditions of Latvia at any time of the year.

When the Latvian House was originally bought by the Latvian Welfare Fund (back in the 1950s) its purpose was to be the central meeting point for Latvians in London so they could feel at home away from home.

Nothing much has changed since then. It gives all Latvians in London and the UK a place to stay, to meet friends (there’s a bar in the basement) and to hold all sorts of events.

The choir, dance group and school all use the Latvian house for their rehearsals and classes and the hall provides a perfect space for a small scale concert.

The Latvian bar is a place where Latvians can enjoy Latvian music, food, beer and sports on a regular basis. There are always Latvian beers available to buy, as well as stronger drinks, and on Fridays and Saturdays it’s possible to eat a traditional Latvian supper cooked by Latvian chefs. Every evening ends up in the favourite Latvian pastime – song!

In addition to all this there is also a Latvian library in the house which is open a few days a week which has a vast collection of Latvian books.

I think the Latvian House will also provide Latvians in London a place to come and watch Latvians competing in the Olympic Games. I expect the men’s BMX races to of particular interest, as the current Olympic champion happens to be a Latvian!

Where to Sample Latvian Culture

Apart from the Latvian House and specific events organised by the community, I don’t believe there are any other places in London where you can experience Latvian culture.

However, Latvian produce is available at most Polish and Lithuanian shops so it’s always possible to find a Latvian delight for your dinner!

Setting Up

I set up around two years ago, with a friend who moved to England from Latvia. Apart from a couple of websites and newspapers, we felt there was a lack of information about Latvian communities in the UK, and for Latvians who have recently moved to the UK.

We have information designed to help Latvians settle into life in the UK, as well as news about and for Latvians living in the UK. Here they can find travel, education, work and emergency information. Our main audience is Latvians living in the UK, therefore, most of the website is in Latvian.

Is there anywhere else you can experience Latvian culture in London? Tell us in the comments below.

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Vietnam in London: Vietnamese Restaurants Thu, 23 Feb 2012 14:19:20 +0000

Thanks to the influx of Vietnamese migrants towards the end of the Vietnam war in the 1970s, London’s Vietnamese dining is as good as it gets.

A classic bowl of Vietnamese noodle-soup (Pho) is the place to start.  This flavoursome rice-noodle broth is the staple diet for most of the nation. Filled with the fresh aromas of ginger, lemongrass and spice, it’s served with a side plate of garnishes and you add in fresh herbs, bean sprouts and chilli to your liking.

It certainly beats a chicken tikka masala or fish and chips, (both contenders for Britain’s national dish), in my opinion.

To sample great Vietnamese food in London, begin in Shoreditch on Kingsland Road, where you can take your pick from numerous, inexpensive eateries.

Favourites include Song Que (make sure you try their spicy soft shell crab), and Old Street’s trendy Cay Tre around the corner for fabulous grilled fish and peanut-based broths.

Neighbourhood local Namo in Bethnal Green village, offers a lovely environment and top quality food and there’s now a second outlet Hop Namo in Shoreditch’s shipping-container shopping mall – Box Park.

If you’re after a Vietnamese feed in the West End, a second Cay Tre has now opened on Dean Street in Soho and it’s equally as popular as the original so make sure you pre-book. Due to being in the centre of town, prices are slightly higher but the food is just as good and they offer a menu of classic dishes and regional Vietnamese specialities.

For more central Vietnamese dining, look out for the Pho chain with outlets on Great Titchfield Street, Clerkenwell and Soho. No guesses what’s on the menu here!

If you want to sample more upmarket Vietnamese dining, take a trip to Bam Bou, by Charlotte Street. Housed in a beautiful wooden-floored townhouse, the three-floored restaurant offers upmarket Chinese, Thai and French Vietnamese cooking.

Vietnam’s French influences have culminated in national street snack – the Vietnamese baguette (Bánh mì) made up of fresh bread, your choice of marinated meat, pickled carrots, chilli and lashings of coriander. You’ll see many mobile baguette shops being wheeled through the streets of Vietnam.

Recently, Bánh mì shops have been popping up in London. Try Viet Baguette by Goodge Street, or, one of the originals – the Bánh mì 11 baguette stall on Broadway Market open every Saturday.

Read Jo Aspin’s blog for more foodie inspiration

Where else can you find Vietnamese culture in London?

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Estonia in London: Verru Restaurant Tue, 14 Feb 2012 10:30:12 +0000

Writer Thom Wheeler, author of One Steppe Beyond: Across Russia in a VW Campervan, tells us where to find a taste of Estonia in our World in London challenge:

My first introduction to Estonia was working in a timber yard in Pärnu. Since then I have watched this alluring Baltic country blossom into a tourist favourite, emerging with purpose from beneath the Soviet shadows.

Estonia is one of Europe’s smaller countries, with a population of 1.34 million people. It’s therefore no surprise that the nation will only be represented in a handful of events at the Olympics later this year (the men’s Discus and the women’s 50m rifle shooting to name a couple).

It’s also not surprising that there’s only one top-class Estonian chef practising his art in London: Andrei Lesment opened Verru restaurant in the heart of Marylebone village early last year. Until that time, gastronomy was just another discipline in which Estonia was under-represented in the capital.

The menu at Verru reflects Lesment’s Estonian roots, offering dishes that fuse Baltic and Scandinavian flavours. As he explained to me:

“Estonia throughout history has been influenced by many countries… we have been invaded… a lot. It was these influences, so strong in shaping my homeland, that I wanted to bring together when defining Estonian cuisine and the restaurant in London.”

For me, you can’t beat the rustic delights and fairytale charm of Tallinn’s old town, however, if you want to sample the flavours of the Baltics without going anywhere near a budget airline, Verru is a good choice.

Thom continues to travel, write and teach in the former Soviet countries. Find out more at

It might be a struggle, but does anyone know any other examples of Estonian culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Nepal in London: Nepalese Restaurants Tue, 10 Jan 2012 10:32:42 +0000

Freelance writer Jennifer Barclay is the author of  The Traveller’s Friend: A Miscellany of Wit and Wisom, and Meeting Mr Kim: Or How I Went to Korea and Learned to Love Kimchi. After giving us her expert tips on South Korea in London, here are her highlights for Nepalese cuisine in London:

Namaste! Did you know that the current coach of the Nepali national football team (as of January 2012) is an Englishman named Graham Roberts, who once played for Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur? Or that Prince Harry wants to climb Nepal’s most famous landmark, Everest, in 2012?!

Nepal, situated in the Himalayas, surrounded by China and India, is home to the highest point on Earth, Mount Everest as well as a whopping 27 million people. Gurkhas, soldiers from Nepal, served with the British Army. According to the Nepalese Association, otherwise colourfully known as Himalayan Yeti, 50,000 Nepalis live in the UK.

So it stands to reason that you can find some fine Nepalese cuisine in London. I am much taken with the names of some Nepali restaurants listed outside the capital – how can you resist the Yak and Yeti in Truro – or even better, the Yak Yeti Yak in Bath? But within London, for great food, a welcoming atmosphere and excellent value, it’s hard to beat Munal on the Putney/Barnes border on the Upper Richmond Road; Gurkhas Diner in Balham; or The Great Nepalese near Euston station, a family business since 1982 and also a firm favourite.

Nepalese cuisine is all about blending herbs and spices, and specialities include “momos” or dumplings (one of the most popular food staples in Nepal as well as Tibet and Bhutan) served with hot tomato chutney, lentil pancakes, mutton curry, potatoes with cumin, and plenty of dishes made with ginger, garlic, green herbs and fresh hot chillies. Then there’s black dal, made from lentils grown in Kathmandu; dal bhat, or lentils and rice, is the Nepalese national dish – perfect for sustaining energy when climbing mountains!

The celebration of Nepalese New Year falls in April, and other major festivals like Dashain and Dipawali around October. If you’re looking for musical and other events, first stop should be the website of Nepali Samaj UK, a community website for Nepalese people in the UK. Other information can be found on the website of the Britain-Nepal Society and the Nepalese Association UK, which runs language classes and dance workshops, and encourages people of all communities to participate in its activities.

Read more of Jennifer’s adventures at or via Twitter @SummersdaleGO

Where else can you Nepalese culture in London?

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The Rib Room Bar and Restaurant Mon, 19 Dec 2011 12:00:51 +0000

The famous Rib Room at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel is celebrating its 50th year, having built up a reputation as one of the top restaurants to enjoy a steak in London.

I recently had dinner at the iconic and newly refurbished restaurant.

We began our evening with indulgent champagne cocktails. We were then seated at a table in one of the restaurant’s three private dining areas, surrounded by art by Feliks Topolski.

The British menu offered all kinds of steak as well as other dishes such as whole roast Suffolk partridge and black truffle roasted Cotswold whole chicken.  I had the Orkney scallops accompanied by butternut squash and apple-glazed bacon for starters, which made a delicious combination. 

I also had the famous roast rib of Casterbridge Aberdeen angus which was cooked to perfection.

Our waitress was attentive and experienced, helping us to select wine to complement the dishes we had ordered.

I highly recommend The Rib Room for an elegant evening with delicious food and wine. If you end up too full to move then why not book yourself in to one of the hotel’s suites for the night!

Aly was a guest of Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel

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Dinner at The Door Oyster Bar & Grill Thu, 29 Sep 2011 15:39:24 +0000

The Door Oyster Bar & Grill is a new addition to the City’s dining scene. Situated just a few minutes’ walk from Bank Tube station, The Door offers a meaty menu in decadent surroundings. Madelene and I visited for dinner:


“As the name suggests, the restaurant’s main specialities are oysters and grilled meat.

“I had the lobster salad starter which was very light and set me in good stead for the large amount of meat I was about to consume.  For my main course, I sampled the Wagyu beef – which is a breed of cattle known for its marbled appearance and tenderness, and it didn’t disappoint: a beautiful steak which melted with every bite.  I asked whether the steak needed mustard and the waiter passionately stated “don’t kill it twice,” so sans-mustard it was!

“There was a good selection of side dishes, including creamed spinach which was simply delicious.  We had to share a dessert as we were both too full to go it alone, but managed to consume a dark chocolate mousse with a light orange biscuit and accompanying dessert wine.”


“I took the seafood option at The Door, and tried my first oysters as a pre-starter, which can be ordered and enjoyed at the bar with a glass of champagne if you’re not staying for dinner.

“The waiter brought over a huge oyster-shaped dish filled with ice and three varieties of oysters to sample: Mourne Rock, Kumomoto and Blackwater wild. Each oyster was bigger and tasted stronger than the one before. They were accompanied by a vinegary dressing and the salty sharp flavour really was the taste of the sea (which a friend told me is how good oysters should be).

“Next up was a starter of soft, pan-seared scallops , followed by a rich lobster and truffle risotto, beautifully speckled with little chunks of lobster in each mouthful. It was too rich to finish it all, but delicious all the same.

“The service was excellent and our friendly waiter was happy to advise on the wine list, choice of steak and provide a bit of encouragement when we debated whether to have a dessert!

“The Door Oyster Bar & Grill is a great place for a romantic meal or if you’re treating yourself to a cheeky glass of champagne. With the top steak priced at £42, this is a place I would have to reserve for a special occasion, although there are cheaper options on the menu too.”

The Door Oyster Bar & Grill, 33 Cornhill, EC3V 3ND

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Morocco in London: Moroccan Garden at Meza Thu, 11 Aug 2011 09:00:47 +0000

Spice up your summer with a visit to the Moroccan Garden at Meza Bar & Grill in Soho.

The restaurant is offering both the taste and feel of Marrakech to visitors this month, as it has transformed its atrium into a Bedouin tent serving Moroccan-style mezze.

Enjoy dishes including marinated lamb and merguez kebabs; nut tabbouleh and saffron yoghurt; and harisa aubergines, while taking in the colours and scents of the Middle East.

Moroccan Garden at Meza until 31 Aug 2011

Where else can you find Moroccan culture in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Chef Paul Merrett’s Foodie Gems in London Fri, 29 Jul 2011 09:00:20 +0000

Any self-respecting food-lover will be heading to the Foodies Festival in Battersea Park this weekend to taste and buy delicious locally-sourced food and drink. Chef Paul Merrett gives us his London foodie highlights to celebrate.

Foodie Festival, 29-31 July
“I am unveiling a giant edible art installation, by Seriously® Strong Cheddar, on the first day of the Foodies Festival.  Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch – passers by at the festival will be able to enjoy a taste of the World’s Largest Ploughman’s record attempt as it will be broken down into 1,000 personal ploughman’s platters for spectators to enjoy and share the intense taste experience.”

Inamo in Wardour Street
“OK, this is really my kid’s favourite restaurant. The tables are simply big computer screens and you each have a mouse and click on what you fancy. You can watch a web cam of the kitchen, change your virtual tablecloth and even play electronic battle ships. Inamo would leave my dad feeling very old! The only downside is that you have little say in what other people order. The last time we went, a bowl of seared scallops turned up after dessert – I was about to explain the mistake when my son sheepishly admitted he’d placed a sneaky order!”

The Princess Victoria in Acton
“I have been lucky to have employed many a talented sous chef (second in command) over the years and The Princess Victoria is owned by one of them. James Mclean and his team have done great things at this fantastic gastro pub. I’m proud to see him do so well.”

Charlotte’s Place in Ealing
Charlotte’s Place is a real local restaurant. Great food, sensibly priced and an excellent celler too. This is where we go to celebrate birthdays!”

The Brilliant in Southall
“How could a restaurant with this name be anything other than brilliant! Southall is where you go when you want a real curry and The Brilliant do it every time. Definitely try the biriyani.”

The Victoria, near Richmond Park
The Victoria is situated close to Richmond Park, we are a restaurant, pub and a hotel. Next time you are in West London and feeling peckish make sure you pop in and try us out – I’m in the kitchen most days so do say hello!

Foodies Festival, Battersea Park, 29-31 July 2011. Book tickets

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