Yeah, greasy spoons are great – but our national cuisine is about way more than fry-ups, bangers and mash and even (whisper it) fish and chips. London is a veritable goldmine of national culinary treasures: from 220-year-old aristo joints and top-hatted doormen to smoked eel sandwich-slinging brasseries and modern British steakhouses, we’ve rounded up 42 eateries that will make you come over all weirdly patriotic.
High-end cuisine, new bistronomy… call it what you will, the food at this pared-back City restaurant pushes plenty of envelopes in its pursuit of gustatory satisfaction. Seasonal British ingredients take centre stage as the kitchen presents a cavalcade of masterful compositions that will have your Instagram account in overdrive. Ooh-aah!
Proper British pie and mash served in one of Covent Garden Market’s subterranean arches might seem an odd fit for this tourist-trap neighbourhood, but Battersea Pie pulls it off. Gold stars all round for its stylish caff vibe (white tiles, marble tables), exemplary food and, above all, bargain prices.
Surely the grandest and most glamorous of Jason Atherton’s Midas-touch restaurants, Berners Tavern is a real humdinger with its vast baroque-style dining room, portrait-lined walls and show-stopping pork-pie trolley. The kitchen gives seasonal British ingredients an on-trend workout, and the results are often sublime – although you should brace yourself for a punishing bill.
It’s nostalgia a-go-go at this quintessentially British offshoot of Adam Byatt’s Trinity – enamel pie dishes, jars of homemade preserves and specials scrawled on rolls of brown paper. Not surprisingly, Britannia rules on the menu too – faggots, toad-in-the-hole, Lancashire hotpot, rhubarb crumble. Deservedly popular.
It’s almost too cool – and too affordable – for the sharp-suited expense-account crowd, but this trendy take on a British chop house is still a cut above when it comes to deliciously crusted, smoky meats. Herb-flecked flatbreads are on hand to soak up the juices, while jazzy cocktails provide a boozy kick.
The only way is ‘excess’ at this outrageously outlandish spot – a luxe shoo-in for champagne-fuelled Gatsby-style fun. Patriotic Brits should soak up the roaring twenties vibe while cherry-picking comfort classics from the Anglo-Russian menu – fish pie, beef wellington and eton mess taste even better with some iced vodka shots.
A cockle-warming offshoot of the Bonnie Gull group, this dinky beauty comprises a counter out front and a locker-sized bolthole with tables out back. Come here for fastidiously fresh and ding-ding delicious small plates, grilled fish and other maritime treats from old Blighty. Close your eyes and smell that sea air.
Everything about the Clove Club screams ‘look at me’, from the austere dining room in Shoreditch’s old Town Hall to the intentionally avant-garde cooking and the tasting menu – a masterpiece of contemporary aspirations in nine courses. It’s British yet esoteric, accessible yet obscure, and it delivers absolutely ravishing flavours. Michelin star? Of course!
Promising regal hospitality and impeccable cooking in romantically lit surroundings, Richard Corrigan’s Mayfair gaff piles on the luxury – and positively whiffs of old money. As a proud Irishman, the chef loves his fish and his game, although he lets rip in every department. Wine is also a big deal here – so indulge.
Don’t be fooled by the recycled furniture, Robin Gill’s Dairy is no run-of-the-mill neighbourhood joint. It may look rough-hewn, but the food is on another level – a succession of beautifully crafted rustic plates showing a level of finesse that would be the envy of many top-end Japanese restaurants. Modest, affordable and brilliant.
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