The 100 best dishes in London: Barbecue and grill dishes

Looking for meaty grilled eats? These are the best dishes straight off the BBQ and served in London restaurants

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Kebabs at Antepliler

Antep is a town famous throughout Turkey for its excellent cooking, particularly kebabs and baklava. This Upper Street venture does justice to its namesake, and the dishes remain true to the flavours of south-eastern Anatolia. The diced lamb filled with spiced butter is rich and tender, while the sogan kebabs – ground lamb with chargrilled shallots topped with pomegranate sauce – have the pleasingly sour-sweet flavours you can find along the Silk Road from Anatolia to Central Asia.

  1. 139 Upper Street, N1 1PQ
  2. Price: From £9.50
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BBQ-spiced crispy pigs’ ears at Duck & Waffle

These are more a snack than a dish, but oh, what a snack they are. Arriving in a little brown paper bag (and, as Fraulein Maria taught us – ALL of our favourite things come in brown paper packages), complete with a little red wax seal, what you get is a tumble of long, deep-fried piggy strips, with a warmly spiced barbecue flavour and plenty of crunch. Think pork scratchings, only much, much better. The fact that you can munch on them at any time of day or night, all the while gazing out at the breathtaking skyline views, is a big bonus.

  1. 40th Floor, 110 Bishopsgate, (Heron Tower), EC2N 4AY
  2. Price: £5, snack bag
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Pork ribs at Duke's Brew & Que

These sticky ribs are the closest thing you’ll find to the perfect rib outside of the American Deep South. Prepared in an imported wood smoker – which gives the meat an intense smokiness – the juicy ribs are covered in a sweet sticky glaze and nicely charred. We can’t think of them without salivating. To offset the density of the meat, the ribs come with creamy coleslaw and tangy pickles. Messy fingerlickin’ guaranteed!

  1. 33 Downham Road, N1 5AA
  2. Price: From £10.95
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Chilli lamb skewers at Manchurian Legends

Pieces of marinated lamb are skewered and fiercely grilled until the juicy fat goes nice and crisp, then judiciously sprinkled with a flurry of salt, cumin seeds and spicy dried red chilli flakes. There are also chicken wings, tofu and beef skewers at this north-eastern Chinese restaurant, but the lamb comes out on top: it’s the kind of dish you could eat piles of, soothed by an ice-cold Tsingtao beer.

  1. 16 Lisle Street, WC2H 7BE
  2. Price: £1.50 per skewer
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Beyti kofte at Mangal Ocakbasi

Most of the grilled skewers on the menu at this busy backstreet Turkish restaurant are great, but the beyti is our favourite for its delicious simplicity. It’s not much more than a kebab of minced lamb, chilli, parsley and garlic, but the skill of the always-occupied barbecue chef and the intense smoky heat of the coals elevate it to something truly special. Some fine Turkish bread and a basic salad is all you need as accompaniment.

  1. 10, Arcola Street, E8 2DJ
  2. Price: £10.50
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Pulled pork at Pitt Cue Co

The peripatetic Pitt Cue Co truck parked up at the South Bank in 2011, spawning a permanent site since in Soho since, making it easier to try some of the best pulled pork in town. The strands of slow-cooked, sweet, smoky meat, partnered with sharp coleslaw and chilli sauce, were perhaps more evocatively tasty when eaten out of a waxed tub from a van, but the dish is still mighty fine.

  1. 1 Newburgh Street, W1F 7RB
  2. Price: £11.50 (includes sides)
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Chicken satay at Satay House

This simple family-run restaurant has been offering the full roll-call of traditional Malaysian cooking since 1973. The satays form only a tiny part of the menu, but if there’s one venue in which to enjoy this over-exposed buffet staple, it’s here. Half a dozen skewers of tender, chargrilled meat are served with pieces of cucumber, ketupat (pressed rice, cut into cubes) and a thick peanut sauce that has just the right amount of kick. Gobble it down with moreish pieces of roti (flatbread) for a street-style feast.

  1. 13 Sale Place, W2 1PX
  2. Price: £6.60
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Chargrilled quail at Song Que

The pho (noodle soup) at this longstanding Kingsland Road Vietnamese is a staple, but those in the know also order the quail. Service can be perfunctory, queues and crowds are common. But wait patiently at the paper-clad table for the arrival of the blackened, spicy, butterflied bird, served with a sharp citrus dip, and you’ll be won over instantly.

  1. 134 Kingsland Road, E2 8DY
  2. Price: £6.80
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Lamb chops at Tayyabs

Chefs have been sending out peerless Punjabi grills at this busy restaurant for over 40 years, and the food is still as good as ever. Go at the weekend or for lunch to avoid the often boisterous crowds and wait for a table; once you get one, make sure that a plate of these smoky, sticky, spicy, gingery, charred and fiery chops is the first thing you order.

  1. 83-89 Fieldgate Street, E1 1JU
  2. Price: Four for £6.30
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Veal chop at Zucca

This was one of the first dishes we had at Sam Harris’s Bermondsey Italian restaurant, and we still order it every time we visit. A bone-on veal chop is slapped on to a blistering hot grill until it has grill marks. It arrives simply adorned with lemon and spinach, which is all it needs; perfectly seasoned, the flesh is rosy pink and each chew releases a mouthful of flavoursome juices. As with the best of Italian cookery, the beauty of this dish is its simplicity.

  1. 184 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ
  2. Price: £18.95
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