Do you add hot sauce and chilli flakes to your food when you dine out? Or ask for extra-spicy ’nduja on your sourdough pizza? Could you (honestly) handle ghost peppers on your cereal? Whether you are a spice lover or not, all Londoners could do with a bit more red-hot zest in their lives. Aside from traditional curries and fiery Mexican restaurants, there are some unusual (and unexpected) combinations out there. Just make sure you order a glass of cold milk to subdue the flames afterwards.
Spicy cauliflower wings
Everyone has had hot chicken wings, but did you know that you can now try a veggie version? Roasted in paprika and deep fried in breadcrumbs, cauliflower wings might be the hottest veggie alternative to ease you into food beyond meat.
Try some cauli wings at https://randyswingbar.co.uk/
Seafood and spice? We’d usually say: absolutely not. But then we heard about Oystermen’s Buffalo oysters. Turns out the salty, vinegary taste of oysters meshes well with a strong, tangy spice, giving these molluscs a fiery edge.
Check out the oysters at oystermen.co.uk.
Spicy jackfruit wings
If cauliflower wings aren’t for you, why not try the jackfruit version? Biff’s vegan crispy fried jackfruit wings come on the bone, to make it feel even more like the real deal. The swings are hand-crafted with young green jackfruit and natural sugarcane. There’s no soy or GMO here, just pure spice and jackfruit.
Taste the wings at biffs.co.
Spicy grilled cheese
You can’t open Instagram Reels without seeing grilled cheese being pulled apart in slow motion these days. But we’ll concede that grilled cheese is worth the hype, and spicy grilled cheese is even better. Home-delivery toastie company Haus of Grilled Cheese does a hot ’n’ smoky grilled cheese sandwich made with green chillies and smoked onions.
Hot ’n’ smoky grilled cheese over here: hogc.square.site.
Spicy tomato salad
A side salad is usually a meek addition to a meal, a safe friend who make you feel less guilty about the real filth you’re about to get stuck into. But not with this spicy tomato salad. Burmese restaurant Lahpet, with locations in Shoreditch and Mayfair, does an unbelievably spicy tomato salad seasoned with coriander, shallot, peanuts and a serious whack of chilli.
Find a Lahpet location at lahpet.co.uk.
Spicy hot chocolate
Move over, pumpkin-spice latte, there’s a new drink in town. Spicy hot chocolate is done best by Shoreditch’s Dark Sugars, using luxurious extra-brute cocoa with Moroccan chilli stirred in, topped off with chocolate shavings. Yum.
Try the chilli hot chocolate at www.darksugars.co.uk.
Still searching for more spice? Only the bravest, most intense spice lovers should try these challenges. Each of the tough trials offers substantial prizes to anyone determined enough to finish them, but they are all packing some serious heat. Consider yourself warned.
If you’re bold enough, attempt one of these feats of strength:
Red Dog Saloon’s Naga Viper Wings Challenge at www.reddogsaloon.co.uk.
City Spice’s City Spice Challenge at city-spice.london.
Or, just walk into any curry house in London and ask for their hottest dish. There might not be a reward at the end of it, but you’ll leave with plenty of street cred to your name. We recommend the Bombay Burner at Cinnamon Club in Westminster, if you really want to lose your head.
Spicy chilli ice cream
After trying some savoury delights, you will inevitably find yourself craving a sweet treat. Why not round off your spicy London experience with a spicy ice cream? There’s nothing better than that sweet, cold feeling followed by a kick of heat.
Try Dishoom’s chilli ice cream at www.dishoom.com/kensington.