When I used to visit London as a child, food here was dismal. In fact, I gained 5 kg in the first year of University because the food was so bland, it resulted in my eating two dinners! Once in the canteen to fill up and a second late night supper of cup noodles for “flavour.” Luckily, my second time around in the UK for postgraduate studies, the food here is SO much better. I’ve never been considered a foodie in Singapore but all I hear here is (from polite friends) “Gosh you’re a food connoisseur” or (from less polite friends) “You’re picky.” 😛 There are soooo many good restaurants in London now, I’d love to try them all but alas, not possible on a budget! So I was curious about where “locals” eat. Not British locals, but where, say, a French person would go for French food or a Sri Lankan would go for Sri Lankan. So I decided to consult my friends & fellow bloggers and here’s where they recommend! 🙂
Note: my Sri Lankan bestie used to go to a place near Victoria but has since defected to Hoppers in Soho after it opened. (I went with her- it’s good!)
My Thai friends, on the other hand, brought me to Heron, a Thai dive in the basement of a pub near Edgeware Road tube. Looks bit dodgy but the food is soooo authentic. (My Dad lived in Thailand for over 20 years with me spending many summers there and it totally reminded me of the food I ate in Bangkok!) Sadly the chef moved so we were without a place to go to for a bit, but he’s now reopened in Hammersmith!
Korean buddies, on the other hand, took me to Jingogae in New Malden. It was so good, I can no longer eat at the Korean restaurants in central London which I used to visit!! If New Malden’s too far of a trek for you, Gogi near Swiss Cottage comes almost as close 🙂
Lucie from (who also runs the amazing design store Flamingosaurus Rex in Edinburgh!) says that Red Sun at Marylebone (2A New Quebec Street) is the place to go for her native Shanghainese cuisine. They even customised the dumplings to suit her vegetarian taste! 🙂
Kshama recommends Dishoom, Kings Cross for Indian food or Chutney Mary, St James for fine dining.
Verdict: I’d been to Dishoom before- it is very popular with my Indian friends actually!- and the food was good but not enough to make me put up with the horrendous queues. Not to mention the terrible acoustics at the Covent Garden branch. I could barely hear my friends and left with a headache!
Chloe Borderick suggests St. Moritz, Soho for Swiss food, especially the fondue and cordon bleu.
Tina Jul, an American blogger, recommends 5 guys for cheeseburgers and milkshakes
Verdict: Would you believe my first time there was this year? It’s opposite Drink Shop Do I stopped by to refuel before my first mermaid crown workshop in July. And mmmmm the burgers are good! I’d just had MacDonalds the day before and the difference in the quality of the meat and burger is really noticeable!
Mermaid crowns!! Contact me at whereverhapiness(at)gmail(dot)com if you want to make these for a hen party, or any party really 🙂
Eulanda Osaglede says the fried plantain at The Provincial (29 Market Row, Brixton) reminds her of the Latin American food from home.
Sadly I’ve not been to even one place on her list!! Will have to work harder this year!
Last but not least, where does a Singaporean (me) eat? Well, it depends! For ayam penyet and beef rendang, I go to Japindo in Bermondsey (used to be Warung Padang and although the quality of the food has deteriorated since its dubious rebranding, it’s still the best I’ve had this side of the world :)) For freshly made roti prata, Roti King in Euston (avoid the beef rendang there though- it’s dry!!! Much better over at Rasa Sayang if you’re looking for somewhere central- that’s in Chinatown) Nasi lemak would definitely be the Malaysian embassy canteen!