Minimalistic decore of St John Smithfield surprisingly matches its' cuisine. When it was opened in 1994 by Fergus Henderson, the restaurant completely turned upside down ideas about English food and brought its' previous fame back. It's hard to imagine now what English cuisine would look like without this Michelin magic.
Here, only the best produce is used, prepared exclusively in Great Britain, and only seasonal ingredients, made simply, ideally and without hustle.
Salads are especially good, fоr example, with lamb's tongue, stale bread and green sauce. The service is excellent, too. Your server will tell you about each dish in all the details. If you realize you cannot afford main courses (prices from £14 to £24), you can try appetizers at the bar, with many choices written on the blackboard (prices up to £8–9).
After the tremendous success of St John, the younger brother of the restaurant has opened - St. John Bread and Wine on Spitalfields. French wine is sold there at unlicensed prices, as well as bread to takeaway. By the way, that is the bread they serve with butter at The Drapers Arms.
One person dinner £35–40 with wine.
The Corner Room
A trendy restaurant inside the boutique hotel Bethal Green Town Hall offers splendid cuisine, reasonable prices and a beautiful interior. The Corner Room is literally a secret room: you would have to ask the portier for directions not to get lost on your way there. The cuisine is ideal, not only will you get pleased with it, but also experience all innovations of modern cooking, at very reasonable prices: appetizers - £8, entrees - £14, dessert - £5. The restaurant is the younger sister of the Michelin rated Viajante, which is on the ground floor of the same building, and is very popular in East London. The Chef, Portuguese Nuno Mendez, came up with the menu and the concept of The Corner Room. The mixture of styles and textures is his trademark. He skillfully flips traditional ideas about Japanese, South African, Tai or Portuguese cuisines.
To skip the lines, I recommend arriving there before 8 pm. It's safer to order expensive wine, since Argentinian, the cheapest one, could be a little heavy.
Carrying the same name as the owner Mark Hix, this restaurant offers the best, the most stylish and seasonal British cuisine. At first glance the prices look a little high, but they are justified by the exclusive use of fresh local produce. Hix himself is a real star. If there's a special occasion, he is being requested to cook. Mark has been interested in anything that has to do with cooking since childhood. When in school he was making kitchen utensils, and now he is a blogger for the “Independent”, publishing new recipes regularly. His cook books (about eight of them) serve as a mainstay for any restaurant in London, specializing in English cuisine.
The New Taayabs
They say, The New Tayyabs serves the best tandoori curry in London. Even if you come on Monday, you cannot escape the line, but you can speed up the process if you have an attractive female next to you. Everything about the restaurant is good, especially the prices. Definitely try the kebab mix, lamb chops, the hot tortilla, and the yogurt drink lassi. Vegetarians also have room to roam: among the different kinds of curry there are definitely some vegetarian ones, for example, with eggplant. The staff works very quickly and skillfully, but will try to get rid of you fast as well, even if you are not done with you food yet, since there's a huge line outside. The restaurant only accepts cash. You can bring wine or any other alcohol with you, since they don't have a liquor license.
Barra Fina is the place to visit if you are craving some fantastic spanish tapas and cocktails. Like many London restaurants, they don't take reservations, but you will definitely be treated with Spanish sparkling (Cava) and small appetizers (Para Pica). The restaurant has a twin Fino, a less fun and more serious copy of Barra Fina. In both places I usually order Sardines a la Piancha, Razor Clams, if they are on the menu, and Spanish Morcilla Iberica.
Dinner for one: £15–35 (depending on the amount of tapas you have ordered)
A chain restaurant, famous for its mouth-watering dishes and nice design. The Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi has chosen Mediterranean cuisine and everything about it as his theme. His recipes could be described as being simple and succinct, but with sensuality. I use Yotam's cookbook quite often when I cook for my vegetarian friends at home.The Chef's specialties are characterized by clean and strong flavors. I recommend eggplant with pomegranate and yoghurt sauce, sea scallops with butternut squash, or the salads with halloumi cheese, duck and shrimp. Cold appetizers and salads are always placed neatly on the counter, and are a good takeaway choice. Ottolenghi is also famous for his desserts and pastries.
It is in Meat Liquor where you get perfect juicy burgers, like the ones I am used to ordering in California. I always order french fries with cheese and chili in addition to onion rings and a burger. There is an endless variety of cocktails. They don't take reservations, so make sure to get your drinks before getting into a long line. The most fun is on Fridays, especially if you are with a large group of friends.
One person dinner: £20–30 with cocktails.
The Drapers Arms
A gastropub with a garden in the luxury district of London, Islington. I have been working here for over two years and I am very proud of our menu, service and friendly atmosphere. There aren't that many gastropubs in London that keep their brand fresh and remain popular, exploring and developing seasonal English cuisine. We prepare food from sorrel and nettles, seafood and fowl. Here's a favorite story about the pub: the owner's friend is a hunter, who often brings fresh rabbits, we cook them for him, and also add them on the menu for everyone. One of my branded recipes was born out of this tradition – deep fried rabbit, exactly like KFC chicken. The Drapers Arms is located next to Essex Road and trendy Upper Street, where we go to chill after a double shift. We also host the best Sunday get togethers, the Sunday Roast. It is a very important English tradition: to come to the pub on Sundays with your family and friends and eat a whole roasted chicken. For dessert you can have a traditional English pudding. One of the most popular – sticky toffee pudding.
A stylish restaurant and bar next to Vyner Street, famous for its' art galleries. It was opened by fashion designers Pablo Flack and David Waddington. The best day to come is the first Thursday of the month, when gallery visitors celebrate the openings of new exhibitions at the bar on the first floor of Bistroteque. If you want to dine, reservations are necessary. The cuisine is not exactly brilliant, but the restaurant has been extremely popular since its' opening eight years ago, and is considered one of 50 best places to eat in London. Bistrotheque was recently renovated by local designers from the House of Hackney. The décor became more eclectic. Besides food and drinks, you can hang out with artists and designers, and even watch a cabaret in a separate room.