London is a foodie’s heaven, with every dinner being better then the last, there is no way that you can fit everything you want into one trip. I have been building a list of my favourite restaurants over my past few trips there, and have tried to split up my London posts to avoid an information overload. I hope to constantly update my posts every time I visit to ensure they stay relevant. So, keep an eye on this post.
This one is not for the faint hearted. StreetXO London is Chef Dabiz Munoz’s first London based restaurant. It is located in the heart of London’s Mayfair and it re-defines fine dining. Chef Dabiz Munoz started his career in Madrid opening StreetXO Madrid, and DiverXO, Madrid’s only three Michelin starred restaurant. StreetXO’s dishes are designed to share and take inspiration from European, Asian and South American cuisines
So, wow. This place is like no where I have ever eaten before, and I assume you will be the same. Come with an open mind as both their food and drinks menus are seriously whacky. Although their menu sounds so wrong, they some how make it taste so right.
Recommendations: We went had the ‘Degustation Tasting Menu’, which included a range of sharing dishes. Some places that have tasting menus give such small ‘tastes’ you barely realise you are eating. These portions were a nice size which meant you got a good feel for each dish.
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): Degustation Tasting Menu = £70pp
The Ivy Soho Brasserie
The Ivy Brasserie serves modern British dishes, in its contemporary and funky soho restaurant. The restaurant’s bar, outdoor terrace and expansive dining area is filled with colour, and is oh-so glam. They even have a live DJ every Friday and Saturday from 7pm and on weekends during brunch until close.
The atmosphere in The Ivy Soho is hard to beat, there is a constant buzz. Especially around Christmas time when we were there. The menu has a huge selection, perfect for fuzzy eaters as there is something for everyone. The food was really good, it wasn’t jaw-dropping, but for the atmosphere, price and location, you quickly forget you aren’t eating in a Michelin starred restaurant.
Recommendations: Starter: Steak Tartare, Atlantic Sea Scallops, Mains: Crab Linguine was good, but unlikely I would get it again.
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £25pp
Flesh & Buns
Covent Garden, London
Flesh & Buns is the creation of chef Ross Shonhan. Who states he is driven by a desire to deliver memorable, standout Japanese-inspired food. He first opened Bone Daddies Ramen Bar in 2012, followed by Flesh and Buns in 2013. The restaurants combine original Japanese dishes with Ross’ unique twist, resulting in incredible food and drink, served to an old school rock soundtrack.
Flesh & Buns was my first experience with steamed bao buns (popular in Northern China, Taiwan and Southern Japan). Wowee, they were just as amazingly fluffy and doughy as they look in pictures, which perfectly contrasted against the salty and sticky meat. You have the option of a variety of meats, seafoods and vegetables that you can use to fill your buns. It is quite pricey, so might be good to share a few bits with a group. The bench style seating plan makes for the perfect restaurant to visit with a group, that is if you can get a table.
Recommendations: Crispy Piglet Belly (Flesh and Buns), they recommend 2 buns per person, we got three each. There was plenty of meat to fill 6 buns.
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £20pp
Eating anywhere in Soho is always going to have a bit of a buzz about it. Dozo is both authentic and modern at the same time, describing itself as one of London’s few Japanese fine dining restaurants. I would go back just for the zashiki-style seating arrangements. Traditionally, this comprised of low tables with the guests sitting on the floor, in Dozo there is a space beneath the table where your legs can swing.
I had my first Ramen in Dovo, it was AMAZING. I have nothing to compare it to, but I don’t know how much better it could get. The sushi was also so fresh, and there were some unique rolls on the menu. The sushi was very expensive, but if you share it with something like ramen or a bento box it works out much cheaper.
Recommendations: Spicy Beef Ramen, Soft shell crab hand roll
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £30pp
Covent Garden, London & many more locations
After the owners spending some time in Mexico, they decided to bring the vibrancy and freshness of real Mexican food back to the UK. They are passionate about providing the best quality food that is, where possible, locally sourced, to provide its customers with both a healthy and hearty meal.
It had been a while since I had been to Wahaca, and I had obviously forgotten how good it was. Wahaca has a fun atmosphere, and they are usually in quite cool locations, such as the one near the London eye (pictured above). The menu is comprised of 5 different sections; Nibbles, Street Food, Set Menus, Salads & Bowls, and Bigger Plates. We got 3 small plates and one Bigger Plate between the two of us. The quantity was perfect, but next time will get all small plates, they were all so different and had so much flavour.
Tip: Pay your bill through their app if you are in a hurry
Recommendations: Pork Pibil Quesadilla, Mexican Grilled Corn, and Buttermilk Chicken Baja Tacos (all small plates)
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £15pp
Clapham Old Town
Robin Gill and his wife Sarah, opened The Dairy back in 2013. Since then they have opened Sorella, and Counter Culture, neighbouring The Dairy in Clapham Old town. Robin Gill installed beehives and grow boxes on the roof of the restaurant, the freshness is felt through the whole menu.
The Dairy takes the food from a fine dining experience, and peels away all of the bullshit to leave it’s customers with a relaxed atmosphere, yet a sophisticated combination of flavours. Despite being based in Clapham – a bit outside the city centre, it is an absolute must for food enthusiasts. While the tasting menu may seem expensive, you get your money’s worth in terms of the quality of the food, and the amount of courses and snacks in between. We had the most amazing time at the Dairy, and words just don’t do the place enough justice, you will have to try it for yourself.
Recommendations: Tasting Menu 100%
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £48
Ugly Dumpling combines Western ingredients and Asian home recipes to send it’s visitors into dumpling heaven.
The Carnaby location makes The Ugly Dumpling the perfect spot for a ‘post-shopping’ bite to eat. Both the atmosphere and the food were very casual. The portions were small which allowed us to try nearly everything on it’s weird, but wonderful menu. The perfect place for a sharing-style meal.
Recommendations: Tasting Menu 100%
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £6 per portion – 3/4 portions p/p
MNKY HSE [Monkey House] – is a contemporary Latin American restaurant and bar hidden at 10 Dover Street. The Latin-American cuisine is re-imagined by Head Chef Mark Morrans in a bold and indulging sharing menu.
MNKY HSE should be at the top of every foodies London hit list. Not only is the food incredible, but if you’re lucky you might be rubbing shoulders with some celebrities. The food was incredible, every dish being nicer than the next. While the flavour combinations are sophisticated, the dishes are casual, similar to tapas. MNKY HSE is one of the most exclusive places I have ever been. Booking is definitely required. You won’t miss it with the giant Monkey at the door. The underground restaurant is kitted out with a DJ booth, turning into a club after hours. It is well worth sticking around to watch the space transform. It doesn’t come cheap, but it is well worth the trip on a special occasion, or if you are feeling in a ‘treat yourself’ mood.
Recommendations: Hamachi Tiradito, Chilean Seabass, Crunchy Tuna Tartare Tacos
Rough price p/p (excluding drinks): £100
That’s all for now,
What’s your favourite restaurant in London, would love to hear from you so I can add it to my ‘to eat’ list for my next trip.
The Girl on the Go xx