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Noble Rot chicken
Photograph: Noble Rot

Best dishes of 2020: London chefs reveal the tastiest things they ate this year

Fine dining, meal kits, takeaways and desserts – this is what London’s top cooks dined on in 2020

Kate Lloyd

The best food eaten in 2020? Probably not anything any of us norms rustled up in deep lockdown. Instead – to find out – we asked some of our favourite London chefs to reveal the tastiest thing they ate in the capital this year. The result is a bucket list of amazing dishes to make your way through over the next few months. 

1. Unagi meal kit, Makes Miso Hungry 

Photograph: Makes Miso Hungry
Photograph: Makes Miso Hungry

‘Yoko, who makes these amazing Japanese meal boxes, isn’t a trained chef, she just has a passion to deliver the very best. It’s all about the attention to detail. Yoko personally goes to New Covent Garden Market to hand-select the fruit and vegetables, she picks the sansho leaves from her family garden, she works directly with fishermen at Billingsgate to get the very best fish. Easily the best “cook at home” box I’ve eaten – those “chefs” better watch out.’ Sven-Hanson Britt, Homestead in London City Island

2. Roast chicken, morels and vin jaune, Noble Rot (pictured above)

The best non-lockdown meal would probably have to be the chicken I had at the new Noble Rot in Soho – it was WILD. When you leave a restaurant and wake up the next day thinking about their roast chicken you know they’re doing something very right! A very healthy portion for two with leftovers. The sauce was so good we asked for seconds!’ Holly Chaves, Wine & Rind

3. Lobster and wagyu fat, Frog by Adam Handling

'My best dish of the year? That’s a hard one. I would probably say lobster and wagyu fat by Adam Handling was mega. Adam is a buddy of mine and one hell of a chef.’ James Cochran, 12:51

4. Luto meal kits, Luto

‘We auctioned off a vintage restaurant sign at Top Cuvée (starting bid was one Capri Sun) and Mary eventually won the bid in exchange for one of her Luto Diner kits. Super-fresh tasty Filipino food, really stand-out stuff like pork adobo and chilled squash ginataang. We will be seeing a lot more of them next year I’m sure.’ Will Blank, Top Cuvée

5. Eggplant sambal and arepa with bergamot labneh, Scully

Photograph: Thomas Alexander
Photograph: Thomas Alexander

‘A simple dish, yet very complex in flavour: the pairing of all these ingredients from different parts of the world is just a stroke of genius. I had this at the restaurantt but it’s available as a DIY kit as well.’ Marwa Alkhalaf, Nutshell

6. Hazelnut pain au chocolat, Miel Bakery

Photograph: Miel Bakery
Photograph: Miel Bakery

‘One of the best-looking breakfast pastries I’ve eaten. Despite not being a breakfast person it’s hard to avoid Miel on my morning cycle into Soho! Shaheen and her team do some of the best bread and pastries you can find outside Paris. When you do make the trip, make sure you pick up a half dozen or so caneles, chocolate tarts and cookies. Thank me later.’ Karan Gokani, Hoppers

7. Houmous with fish tagine, amba tahini, dill and harissa oil, Shuk/Erev

‘Shuk is an Israeli market stall in Borough market serving warm pita and salads. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings they turn into Erev, an outdoor restaurant serving Israeli-inspired dishes. Absolutely everything they serve is delicious but my favourites are the beetroot, horseradish, orange and dill; the smoky aubergine, tomato, labne, mint and toasted pumpkin seeds; and the houmous with fish tagine, amba tahini, dill and harissa oil. It’s the best houmous in town and all the flavours are vibrant and super-fresh.’ Jun Tanaka, The Ninth

8. Bubble sundae, Tsujiri

Photograph: Tsujiri
Photograph: Tsujiri

‘The most exciting dish has to be the bubble sundae from Tsujiri in Chinatown. They’re still open even in these times. It’s the addictive combination of cornflakes and cream-matcha soft-serve that keeps me going back.’ Joshua Owens-Baigler, Angelina

9. Baby chicken tandoori, Dastaan

‘Dastaan on the Kingston Road was recommended to me a while ago but I never got round to going. I discovered they did takeaway in lockdown and it was a no-brainer. The baby chicken tandoori is so moist and flavoursome and it’s from two ex-Gymkhana chefs.’ Mark Kempson, W8 and Wild Radish

10. The bacon butter burger meal kit, Burger and Beyond

Photograph: Burger & Beyond
Photograph: Burger & Beyond

‘It’s brilliant. It’s really simple. I learned easy tricks on how to cook burgers from doing it and, most of all, it tasted absolutely incredible. I’ve ordered it twice already! I think I saw it on Instagram. I’d always wanted to eat at the restaurant but never got round to it, so this was a good chance to taste what they do.’ Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, Decimo

11. Langoustine, The Connaught

‘Earlier this year, before all this madness, I had the pleasure of enjoying the most superb langoustine dish from the wonderful Helen Darroze at The Connaught. It was out of this world: buttery langoustine flesh marinated in ponzu with delicate peppery radish – divine! Classy, and carefully executed, as is Helene’s way. It will stand out in my mind for years to come.’ Tom Aikens, Muse

12. Braised pork bao, Rice Error by Bao

Photograph: Rice Error
Photograph: Rice Error

‘My girlfriend and I have been religiously having one Deliveroo a week as a Sunday-night treat. We’ve been trying all different types of cuisine and this little beauty came out on top for me. The braised pork came with soy-pickled cucumber, soy egg yolk, spring onions and chi shang rice. I also ordered a side of Taiwanese fried chicken and hot sauce. The pork was beautiful and soft, the rice was perfectly sticky and the chicken wings were packed full of flavour. I was also really impressed by the packaging of the food: it came in a wooden sliding box which looked very smart. Highly recommended!’ James Toth, Cornerstone

13. Rump steak, thyme butter and onion fritter with pumpkin & rollright gratin, 40 Maltby Street

'It was one of the first sit down meals I had after the first lockdown. Everything about this dish reminds me of the amazing feelings of dining out after all that time, being looked after by wonderful people. The rump was sliced thinly and grilled, served with thyme butter that was so deep and delicious. Simple, ultimate comfort.' Erchen Chang, BAO

14. Pizza in the post kit, Pizza Pilgrims

'I just remember thinking:'wow!' I’d seen it on a Jamie Oliver lockdown show a few weeks before and thought nothing of it at the time, but it’s incredibly intuitive and I really admired how Pizza Pilgrims were one of the first to take a giant leap into the unknown ‘meal kits’ world. While washing up after I remember thinking to myself about applying the same method to cooking kababs in a domestic oven. Before I knew it we were ready to launch our own.' Kian Samyani, Berenjak

 Read our editors’ list of the 100 best dishes in London

 We asked chefs to reveal their favourite cornershops of 2020

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