We're eternally grateful for all the brilliant food on offer at London's best restaurants. But when it comes to ordering a beer to go with your grub, what's on offer is all too often a let-down. Here are five restaurants that are smashing it, dishing out a beer selection that’s as impressive as your dinner.
Nanban takes its cue from Japanese food: think ramen, curries and even burgers. Brainchild of 'Masterchef' winner Tim Anderson, the concept is modern pan-Asian and it’s heavily influenced by local produce from nearby Brixton Market. The solid beer list at Nanban comes as no real surprise, as Anderson previously dabbled in home brewing. For his restaurant, he’s collaborated with several breweries to create the perfect foil to his food. Try the Pressure Drop Nanban Kanpai, a tangy wheat IPA with yuzu, orange and grapefruit. It literally goes with everything.
Duke’s Brew & Que, De Beauvoir Town
Admittedly, this is a no-brainer. Duke’s has an unbeatable beer selection as it's the birthplace of Beavertown Brewery, who have slowly risen as a dominant force on London’s craft beer scene. The brewery has since left Duke’s for a bigger site in Tottenham Hale, but the food and the beer remain, with succulent ribs and burgers that scream out for a perfect beer match. Naturally, Beavertown flows from the taps. All of their hop-forward beers will complement the meaty mains, but you’ll never regret pairing anything from the grill with a Smog Rocket smoked porter, designed to complement charred meats and sticky sauces.
Diners come here to slurp away at a creamy style of ramen, but they can also enjoy a range of London beers on their visit, including several picks from Beavertown. They've even previously stocked an exclusive brew from Dalston brewery 40ft. For something to cut through the fatty pork belly, try a pale ale from The Kernel. All of their pales promise to showcase a good dose of hops and impart a nice bitterness that’s intensely refreshing. They pair well with rich yet delicately flavoured cuisines. Consider that unami-laden broth matched.
Som Saa, Spitalfields
Delivering creative twists on Thai cuisine, Som Saa opened to much critical fanfare. It boasts judicious helpings of chilli and flavoursome broths that are worthy of a lengthy queue. The intensity of the food necessitates the soothing, spice-extinguishing powers of a beer – so the drinks menu is strong. Try Wild Beer Co’s easy-drinking Pogo pale ale or their Fresh Pale Ale, which is brewed with only the freshest hops available at the time – this means that the recipe is in constant fluctuation, keeping your palate happy. Guaranteed to deliver some bitter hoppiness and citrus notes, this marries well with the sweet, sour and hot notes from the Thai dishes.
Lucky Chip, Dalston
Burgers and beer are a reliable pairing, and Lucky Chip’s Dalston location leaves diners spoilt for choice. A strong range is available to try alongside their mammoth burgers piled high and smothered in the type of decadent toppings that you’ve only seen in American films. Thankfully, the beer menu matches the food in boldness, with a wide selection that includes Siren Craft Brew and Manchester's Cloudwater. Try Inhaler from Magic Rock for an explosively juicy pale ale/IPA hybrid that pairs well with any burger.
Want to ditch the pesky food and go straight to the good stuff? Check out the best craft beer bars and pubs in London.