Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2009

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  • To save 30% on the new 'Time Out Eating & Drinking 2010' guide, just visit the Time Out shop

    Best New Restaurant | Best New Italian | Best New Cheap Eats | Best New Gastropub | Best New Bar | Best New Local Restaurant | Best New Café | Best New Design | Best Spanish Restaurant | Best Spanish Wine List

    Best New Local Restaurant


    • Photo for WINNER:The Exhibition Rooms

      WINNER:The Exhibition Rooms

      Westow Hill, Crystal Palace, SE19 1TX

      This is the kind of place that would brighten up any neighbourhood. Inspired by the Great Exhibition that propelled Crystal Palace into the history books, the restaurant is an impressive homage to the era with Victorian-esque details. Swooping mirrored metal arches, glittering chandeliers and vintage-style furniture sets it apart from your bog-standard ‘local’, there is a high-walled back garden and the sultry boudoir-like bar downstairs offers intimate nooks for post-meal libations. The kitchen is keen to prove that it’s got high ambitions, but at the same time keeps the dishes free of faff. Roast poussin with pak choi, shiitake mushrooms and sweet and sour sauce is deftly executed, while other nods to Asian flavours are educated rather than random – Cornish crab with green papaya and mango salad was jazzed up with a zingy Thai nam jim dressing, while a tender pork belly dish had hints of Japanese katsu about it. We rounded off with simple but effective desserts of poached peaches in elderflower syrup, and peach and champagne sorbet, proving there’s elegance in their repertoire, too. With Sunday seafood and roast specials, and gourmet burger nights, there’s something to suit everyone here. Read more

  • RUNNER UP: Fish & Grill

    48-50 South End, Croydon, CR0 1DP

    As a Croydon local, chef-proprietor Malcolm John has done much to improve the area’s culinary offerings, putting it firmly on the map of travelling food lovers. His first French outfit in the neighbourhood, Le Cassoulet, won the Best Local Restaurant category of the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2008; now he’s opened this sophisticated fish specialist on South Croydon’s restaurant row. It serves top-quality fish (plus steaks and burgers) in dishes ranging from oysters au naturel and simple grills of whole fish cooked on the bone to the likes of market coconut fish stew. Read more

  • RUNNER UP: Garufa

    104 Highbury Park, Highbury, N5 2XE

    The first Argentinian restaurant in Highbury doesn’t forsake the steaks and sausages that have made this cuisine so popular in London, but aims to offer a broader snapshot of the cooking from that part of the world. Owned by Alberto Abbate of Battersea’s Santa Maria del Sur, it’s a cosy and friendly spot with sepia-tinted photos of old Buenos Aires lining its bare-brick walls. Read more

  • RUNNER UP: St James'

    4 Topsfield Parade, Middle Lane, Crouch End, N8 8PR

    A bold attempt to bring fine dining to Crouch End, St James’ is an offshoot of a successful Hertfordshire restaurant. We love the clean-lined white dining room at rear where head chefs Simon Trussell and Roger Tiam Chung Fook aren’t afraid to dabble with East-West ideas, serving, for example, roast venison with curried apple and sultanas and a star-anise-spiked redcurrant jus. It's just reopened after a quick refurb, too Read more

To save 30% on the new 'Time Out Eating & Drinking 2010' guide, just visit the Time Out shop Best New Restaurant | Best New Italian | Best New Cheap Eats | Best New Gastropub | Best New Bar | Best New Local Restaurant | Best New Café | Best New Design | Best Spanish Restaurant | Best Spanish Wine List

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