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The ten hottest dishes in London restaurants

Crank up the heat with this list of hot, hot dishes, from fiery curries to spicy broths, tongue-tingling chicken to mouth-blazing kebabs

By Roopa Gulati

Are you looking for a meal that will blow your head off? We know you lot love a challenge, so we've rounded-up London's hottest dishes, from fire-engine red curries to wings that stain fingers radioactive orange. Let's get hot and bothered with ten great spicy eats served up in London restaurants.

London's hottest dishes, prawn curry at Shilpa
© Rob Greig

1. Chemmeen mulakittathu at Shilpa

Restaurants Indian Hammersmith


This prawn curry will transport you to Kerala’s balmy climes (via Hammersmith). Fiery but flavoursome, the chilli heat dial is turned up for juicy prawns cloaked in a clinging paste of gingery tomatoes spiced with popped mustard seeds. The heat begins with deceptively mild Kashmiri chilli powder (for colour) but ends with a rave of slit green chillies and a dash of sharp, tamarind-like kokum. Milder versions are available, but silent judgement will be passed on your weakness.

Spice rating: 4/5, this one is almost too hot for your aunty to handle.

London's hottest dishes, devilled mutton at Apollo Banana Leaf
© Rob Greig

2. Devilled mutton at Apollo Banana Leaf

Restaurants Brasseries Tooting


The British take on devilled dishes wouldn’t even register on most Sri Lankan palates. Although there are plenty of fire-and-brimstone choices at this popular venue, we’re particularly fond of these ginger and garlic-steeped mutton slivers, fried in a lime-drenched masala of bashed black peppercorns, crackling curry leaves, onions and a powerhouse of green chillies. Whoever thought devilled eggs were spicy must have been living on another planet.

Spice rating: 4/5, devilled food – as hot as hell.

London's hottest dishes, orange buffalo wings
© Rob Greig

3. Buffalo wings with viper sauce at Orange Buffalo

Restaurants American Brick Lane

£6 for eight

Head to this East End food truck for fried chicken wings dunked in orange-hued chilli glazes of various strengths. If you’re after the full monty, order the rip-your-head-off Viper wings, laced with nagas – some of the hottest chillies on earth. Or, if russian roulette is more your game, try the Snake in a Basket, where one Viper is chucked in among seven others. All wings come with homemade blue cheese dip and celery sticks. Don’t wear your Sunday best and bring your own bib.

Spice rating: 4.5/5, keep the tissues handy – it’s a real tear jerker.

London's hottest dishes, Yukgejang at Dotori
© Rob Greig

4. Yukgejang at Dotori

Restaurants Korean Finsbury Park


Homely Korean stew pots are punch-hot and crammed with big flavours. Sink your spoon into the marvellously garlicky broth of Dotori’s yukgejang, simmered with shredded beef brisket and a shedload of chilli-flake seasoning. The fiery intensity is taken down a peg with add-ons of wilted greens and the cool snap of beansprouts. Although Koreans love their steamy yukgejan all year round, we think it’s well suited to providing duffel-coat warmth against the vagaries of late summer and early autumn.

Spice rating: 3/5, good for bringing a rosy blush to your cheeks.

London's hottest dishes, mosob
© Rob Greig

5. Awaze quluwa at Mosob

Restaurants Eritrean Maida Vale


Eritrean cooking ticks our box for its diverse melting-pot flavours drawn from African neighbours, as well as Arabia and Italy. Chilli heat isn’t the name of the game here and dishes showcase the mellow side of spicing. We’re bowled over by the fried chunks of lamb, cooked in a robust onion-rich tomato stew. A seasoning of peppery fermented chilli paste adds depth and gentle heat. It’s served in the middle of an obliging injera (a spongy, pancake-like bread), which is great for mopping up spicy juices.

Spice rating: 2/5, laidback, easygoing warmth – with a bit of a kick.

London's hottest dishes, lamb skewers at Manchurian Legends
© Rob Greig

6. Lamb skewers at Manchurian Legends

Restaurants Chinese Chinatown

£1.50 each

North-eastern China gets its groove on with street barbecues that would blow our own plain-tasting mixed grills into orbit. Chunks of fatty, marinated lamb are skewered and turned over a fierce grill until the meat darkens, tenderises and takes on a splendidly smoky aroma. So far, so tame, but the spice action starts with a confetti-like shower of chilli flakes, toasted cumin and sesame seeds to contrast the meaty richness. Suddenly, things are looking that bit hotter.

Spice rating: 2.5/5, central heating for the soul.

London's hottest dishes, kari laksa at roti king
© Rob Greig

7. Kari laksa at Roti King

Restaurants Malaysian Euston


Malaysian laksa is the king of souped-up noodles, and this ace vegetarian offering delivers five-a-day freshness inspired by Indo-Chinese flavours. Expect a striking medley of spiced, turmeric-hued coconut broth, cut through with lemongrass and a wake-up call of bird’s eye chillies. An allotment’s worth of veg is then tipped in – daisy-fresh green beans, peppers and babycorn – padded out with golden-fried tofu, noodles and crunchy beansprouts. Chilli levels stay on the right side of strident rather than relying on kickass ferocity.

Spice rating: 3.5/5, watch out for the stealth build-up of chillies.

8. Fragrant chicken in a pile of red chillies at Barshu

Restaurants Chinese Soho


We hate to think how many tonnes of red chilli the Barshu group gets through every year. Hell, every week. They literally bathe some of their dishes in it. No one’s expected to eat all of them – you would probably die if you did. But close proximity to all those little red devils (complete with their fieriest bits, the seeds) makes this dish and many others on the Sichuanese menu an experience you won’t soon forget. Prepare to sweat heavily.

Spice rating: 5/5, by the time you're done, you'll feel like the chicken isn't the only thing lying in a pile of chillies.

London's hottest dishes, goat curry at Fish, Wings and Tings
© Rob Greig

9. Goat curry at Fish, Wings & Tings

Restaurants Caribbean Brixton


Tender goat meat, slow-cooked Trinidadian-style, doesn’t come top-loaded with chillies. It’s a corker of a curry, though, and gets its kick from a scotch-bonnet infusion, simmered with bitter gourd, green papaya, lime juice and leafy herbs rather than dried spices. The inferno-like clout comes with owner’s own-made chilli condiments on the table. Top of the scale is his saucy but lethal Ugandan yellow chilli offering, seconded by the wrath of Granny Suzy’s red chilli sauce, which delivers a volcanic rumble to this popular homespun curry.

Spice rating: 2/5, a safe bet until a splash of sauce blows your mind.

hottest dishes in London, Larb moo at Heron
© Ben Rowe

10. Larb moo at Heron

Restaurants Thai Paddington


Don’t be distracted by this Thai venue’s location in the basement of an old-school boozer – the cooking here is the real deal. We’re all a-sizzle over their splendid salad, made with fried minced pork, spiked with lime, herby-licious leaves, shallots and roasted rice. The fiery action comes via a shower of sliced bird’s eye and ground red chillies. First up, the meaty juiciness seduces, then comes the sweet-sour bit, followed by a slow clap of chilli warmth that radiates to nuclear proportion.

Spice rating: 5/5, this one will blow your red-hot cotton socks off.

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