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London’s best British restaurants

From hearty pies to complex seasonal cooking, British cuisine has never been so widely lauded – and here’s why

By Time Out London Food & Drink |
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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.

Restaurants, British

Lupins

icon-location-pin Southwark

Bang outside Flat Iron Square, pocket-sized Lupin is in the small-plates business – and boy does it know how to deliver. Expect seasonal British flavours maxed out for colour, vibrancy and zing – all the more remarkable, given that the kitchen is no bigger than the cooking area in your average Londoner’s flat.

Restaurants, British

Lyle's

icon-location-pin Shoreditch

Dinner at Lyle’s is a leisurely affair, so kick back, take in the understated interiors, chat to the knowledgeable staff and lap up James Low’s brilliant Michelin-starred food. Formerly part of the much-fêted ‘Young Turks Collective’, the chef knows how to hit his mark when it comes to fine-tuned new-breed British cuisine.

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Restaurants, British

Mac and Wild

icon-location-pin Fitzrovia

If you’re a fan of ‘Bambi’, look away now. This cosy Fitzrovia joint has a big Scottish heart and an almost obsessive fondness for venison – although the kitchen is filled with all manner of different ingredients from the Highlands. There are over 100 wee drams on display too.

Restaurants, British

Native

icon-location-pin Seven Dials

A teeny pop-up gone permanent, Native celebrates the best of Britain’s wild and native food. An instantly adorable eatery with a free spirit, it shows off its hunter-gatherer tendencies with a menu that accommodates everything from greens, herbs and berries to six seasonal varieties of venison. ‘Wild thing’, we think we love you.

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holborn restaurants, noble rot
© Ming Tang-Evans
Restaurants, British

Noble Rot

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury

From the guys behind Noble Rot wine magazine, this wine bar/restaurant mash-up not only boasts a dazzlingly innovative wine list, but also sends out some cracking ingredients-led food – thanks to connections with the Michelin-starred Sportsman pub near Whitstable. They call it ‘franglaise’ food, but British flavours are everywhere.

Restaurants, British

Nutbourne

icon-location-pin Battersea

With Rabbit and The Shed already under their belts, the go-getting Gladwin brothers have rolled out Nutbourne – yet another faux-rustic eatery with a similarly green and pleasant feel. Top-notch seasonal ingredients from the family farm in Nutbourne, Sussex do the business, alongside wines from the namesake vineyard.

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Restaurants, British

Ormer Mayfair

icon-location-pin Mayfair

Super-sumptuous and hyper-exclusive, Ormer resides within a luxuriously appointed basement room beneath Flemings Mayfair. It’s now home to starry chef Shaun Rankin, whose food has earned him red M gongs in the past – thanks in part to his liking for British flavours and ingredients (especially seafood). Blue ribands for the service too.

Restaurants, British

Plot

icon-location-pin Tooting

It’s not quite as ‘brass monkeys’ as your average allotment, but it pays to wrap up warm when visiting this Plot on Tooting’s Broadway Market. As for box-ticking, the kitchen has it covered. British? Yes. Seasonal? Of course. Small plates? Every time. Just add clued-up service and an appealing ‘outside-inside’ ambience.

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Restaurants, British

Quo Vadis

icon-location-pin Soho

Less than ten years from its centenary, this Soho institution is a patriotic flag-waver par excellence – even though its shrunken dining room now sits cheek by jowl with Spanish big-hitter Barrafina. Homegrown flavours loom large as the kitchen gives British standards a modern makeover – don’t miss the now-famous smoked eel sarnies.  

Restaurants, British

Rabbit

icon-location-pin King’s Road

We’re rabbiting on about this spin-off from The Shed because it’s pretty damn good – even if the faux-rustic decor is a bit much (check out the tractor bonnet over the bar). The sibling owners have bucolic blood coursing through their veins, and their small-plates menu is littered with seasonal pickings.

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