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Sabor, Heddon St
Photograph: Rob Greig

The five best London entries from this year's National Restaurant Awards

Your guide to the very best of the very best

Written by
Ed Cunningham
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Just because this year’s National Restaurant Awards grabbed headlines for the impressive performance of so many restaurants up north, doesn’t mean that London’s finest have been slipping. Oh no. No, no, no. There are still plenty of London institutions on the list.

Every year since 2007, the Awards have ranked the best 100 restaurants in the UK via the votes of 200 chefs, restauranteurs and food writers. But who needs that many experts when you’ve got Time Out’s very own food and drink, Angela Hui?

Sorting the most delicious from the also-delicious-but-not-as-delicious, here’s Angela's top five London entries in this year’s National Restaurant Awards.

Sabor

Founded in 2018 by Nieves Barragan, the ex-head chef at Covent Garden tapas joint Barrafina, the Michelin-starred Sabor is an experience in itself.

‘Sit at the counter, watch the chefs do their magic and gorge on Andalusian tapas,’ says Angela. Look out for the signature camarones – baby prawns with crisp paprika egg.

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35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR (Sabor website)

A. Wong

A. Wong’s titular chef/owner Andrew Wong not only reached 8th in the Awards’ overall ranking but came out top as Chef of the Year. Surprise, surprise, his two-Michelin-star dim sum is unmissable.

‘Delectable dim sum made with years and years of incredible craftsmanship,’ says Angela. ‘The aromatic duck egg custard bun that looks like a tangerine is a must.’

70 Wilton Rd, SW1V 1DE (A. Wong Website)

40 Maltby Street

Long and narrow under the bare-brick arches of the Gergovie Wines warehouse in Bermondsey, the small plates of 40 Maltby Street teem with imaginative cooking. Changing with the seasons, it’s ‘the best blackboard menu in London,’ Angela says. Blackboards matter, people.  

40 Maltby St (duh), SE1 3PA 40 Maltby Street website

Noble Rot Soho

A ‘dark, moody wine bar with an excellent seasonal menu,’ the oaky, leathery, painting-adorned luxury of Soho's Noble Rot reeks of character. Noble Rot also won the Awards’ Wine List of the Year – so its drinks are as reputable as its nosh. ‘The real winner is the bargain lunch,’ says Angela. ‘£18 for two courses or £22 for three courses. Order the smoked trout, cucumber on soda bread or ham hock and chicken terrine with a glass of Emidio Pepe. Soon enough, you’ll be a Rotter convert.’

2 Greek St, W1D 4NB Noble Rot Soho website

St. John

‘St. John put London food on the map,’ explains Angela. ‘Nose to tail eating. Roast bone marrow and parsley salad, smoked eel and horseradish, grilled lamb hearts.’

St. John has been leading London’s innovations in fine dining for over three decades, schooling the chefs that pass through its ranks on minimising food waste. But resourcefulness aside, the food speaks for itself. ‘Madeleines. Always finish with madeleines,’ says Angela. Got that?

26 St. John St, EC1M 4AY (St. John website)

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