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Tom Howells

Tom Howells

Tom Howells is a freelance food editor at Time Out. As a child, he once got locked in Carisbrooke Castle (and he's still not over it). You can follow him at @gwynforhowells.

Articles (6)

The best restaurants in London you should be booking

The best restaurants in London you should be booking

You can’t get bored of eating out in London. This city’s restaurant scene is a rich tapestry of different cuisines and flavours. From the family-run neighbourhood Thai joint that’s been around for years to the Michelin-starred grandee where you can sit at a counter and watch genius chefs at work, London’s restaurants are diverse, creative and always exciting.  Being taken care of at a restaurant is a real privilege, and as we tuck into our freshly made pasta with a glass of natural wine or fiery curry with a cold beer, it’s easy to forget about the people who cook for and serve us. That’s why we want to celebrate and shine a light on the capital’s hospitality industry with our 2022 Best Restaurants list.  On it are the places that we go back to again and again. There are old favourites like St John, with its always-excellent roast bone marrow and parsley salad, and Mandarin Kitchen, whose signature lobster egg noodles never get old. Also included are the new haunts that we’ve fallen in love with at first bite, such as Planque, a haven for wine lovers with an ever-changing menu of French food, and our surprise Number One, a certain modern West African restaurant.  Whether it’s a place with communal outdoor tables where you wolf down a taco, salsa dribbling down your arm, or a swanky fine-dining joint for a four-course dinner, everywhere on our list serves up incredible food that you won’t forget. This is your guide to eating out in the capital in 2022. Now tuck in.

The 11 best restaurants in Southampton

The 11 best restaurants in Southampton

What Southampton may lack in visual charm, it more than makes up for in food to rival its genteel neighbours in the New Forest and Winchester. Fancy an artisanal pizza? You got it! Want to sit down for pie in a diner? No probs. Always wondered what food a ‘MasterChef’ winner would serve up? Wonder no more – because Southampton has it all. For years, this city was best known as a place you pass through on your way to somewhere else (usually on a cruise or via an Isle of Wight ferry). But recent times have seen a wide array of appealing sights and things to do spring up. And we’ve noticed these brilliant Southampton restaurants pulling in ever-more visitors... from ever-further afar. So get stuck in and see what the fuss is all about yourself. Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList.

The 14 best restaurants in Southend

The 14 best restaurants in Southend

Southend in England hasn’t quite shaken its reputation as a dingy, faded seaside town—but dine at the best restaurants in Southend and you might think about that again. Essex’s finest is improving all the time, especially around the western reaches of Westcliff, Chalkwell and Leigh-on-Sea. Like Margate, it’s also attracting a wave of young families and creative types—and an ascendant food scene reflects this fresh demographic. Along with the inevitable seafood and Italian spots, there’s a new breed of vegan, cosmopolitan comfort food and ambitious seasonal places, too. And all less than an hour outta London. Start planning your next meal out now with our guide tot he best restaurants in Southend.

London's best mince pies

London's best mince pies

The mince pie. It’s the sweet festive staple you either love or hate (but you’d only hate them if you were an utter soulless Grinch, obvs). And there are a hell of a lot of them available across this town. Like Christmas geese, we’ve grown visibly doughy in our efforts to taste and rate an absolute pile of mince pies: from supermarket staples to posher pies from high street names and upmarket bakeries. These are the London mincies (yeah, we’re calling them that) worth getting your baubles in a twist over. Gaudete! RECOMMENDED: For more festive fun read our guide to Christmas in London

London's most showstopping desserts

London's most showstopping desserts

Sure, you've all heard of a cronut by now. But what about a gold-embellished eclair, a browned meringue or a croquembouche constructed out of all of the above? Feast your eyes on London's most showstopping, jaw-dropping finales, the most OTT desserts and puds in town with a full-on flavour to match that flamboyant appearance. Diabetics, look away now.

London’s best dumplings

London’s best dumplings

Loads of cultures have them and London loves them – so Time Out has munched its way around the capital’s restaurants and street food stalls to find the very best dumplings our city has to offer. In the list below, find everything from Oriental specialties to delicacies from Turkey, Poland, Georgia and beyond.   

Listings and reviews (125)

Zoilo

Zoilo

3 out of 5 stars

Think ‘Argentine restaurant’ and you’ll probably envision a smoke-wafting asado grill, all hulking slabs of grilled cow and gallons of malbec. You do get a little bit of that at Zoilo (via the Mendoza-heavy wine list) but this Marylebone spot is more classy, clattery café-bar than manly meat joint. The food is more finicky too, with only a few recognisably rustic Argentinian staples. A skillet of melted provolone cheese was excellent (duh): slathered in oregano-laced honey and snaffled in the too-brief moment between blisteringly hot and totally congealed. A dinky, beef-stuffed empanada was a fine example of the ubiquitous street snack (a sort of superior pasty); the house chorizo – a flavourful warm sausage as opposed to the vividly paprika’d, hard-cured Spanish kind – with zesty chimichurri was merely good. Later, a grilled flank steak was a well-cooked bit of beef, but didn’t quite live up to the charred, gutsy promise of being prefixed ‘asado’ (that is, cooked over fire). But the mushroom ravioli, made Argentinian with a malbec reduction, were yielding, earthy and doused in a fontina fonduta we couldn’t get enough of. To drink: more malbec. What else? Putting your dreams of smoke-heavy Patagonian parilla party aside, Zoilo’s undeniably got, er, chops.

Volta do Mar

Volta do Mar

3 out of 5 stars

Volta do Mar – a fancy Portuguese place housed in a Georgian corner pile off the Strand and opened by a founder of once-hot tapas bar Salt Yard – translates as ‘around the sea’. It’s an apt name: this is a spot that transcends the rustic staples of caldo verde and bacalhau, instead riding Portugal’s historic trade winds across a menu dotted with pan-African, Brazilian and south Indian notes. In action, it was a bit of a mixed bag. A bitter-savoury sardine paté with charred sourdough was grand, and certainly the best of the snacks. Cured hunks of sea bream with a brûlée-style burnt sugar topping were objectively odd, though the pickled shimeji mushrooms and red peppercorns were a tingly, tangy foil. A (reassuringly pink) Iberico pork vindaloo was humdrum; but the peri peri chicken was marvellous – juicy and crisp-skinned, the volcanic sauce provided in a teeny bowl for cautious self-serving. It may not all hit the mark, but there’s enough here to make Volta do Mar one of London’s more engaging Iberian eateries.

Black Bear Burger

Black Bear Burger

4 out of 5 stars

I don’t know how many times it bears repeating, but burgers are the tardigrade (google it) of the gastro world: an evergreen, ubiquitous, artery-furring staple that simply will not die. Joining the upper echelons of London’s finest patty purveyors is Brixton’s Black Bear: the first (bare) bricks and (artfully exposed) mortar site for an itinerant street-food stall already at Shoreditch’s Boxpark and Giant Robot in Canary Wharf.  This is a joint doing burgers at their best. Let’s work backwards. The house Black Bear Burger was killer: two dry-aged patties, smashed thin and crisp-charred to maillard perfection, neatly offset with onion jam, synthetic cheese and garlic mayo. The buttermilk chicken burger, topped with zingy bread-and-butter pickles and honey-mustard mayo, served ‘dipped’ (that is, molten with chilli heat) would have been up there too, had it not been sopping with oil. Still, without cutlery it was more a practical detraction than a taste one.  But the sides… Christ, the sides. Both a pile of house chicken nuggets (fiendishly succulent chunks of breast, greaselessly battered, with buffalo and blue cheese sauces for dipping) and a plate of brisket spring rolls (the fried wonton cut lengthways to reveal a heady mulch of stripped slow-cooked beef, smoked bacon and American cheese) were truly stratospheric snacks. Add in a portion of poutine, heavy with rubbery curds and deeply flavourful gravy, and you’ve got some of the best haute-junk in town – all the better knock

O’ver St James’s

O’ver St James’s

3 out of 5 stars

Back in 2016, the original O’Ver brought a dash of airy south Italian elegance to Borough. This sequel, located in the slickly soulless St James’s Market development just off Haymarket, is a tad fancier: all granite, midcentury furnishings, brass fittings and so on. It’s both handsome and homogenous. Likewise the menu, with its meticulous but muted takes on trattoria classics and Campanian snacks. A platter of Neapolitan street food was a masterclass in frying, but only a ball of macaroni and mozzarella really landed. O’Ver’s USP is its Mediterranean-seawater-laced dough. Silly, yes, but the rosemary-flecked focaccia and cinque formaggi pizza were fab, and certainly more engaging than a bowl of fussilio pasta in a mundane sauce of Tuscan sausage, porcini and Italian toms. Three courses plus wine (mercifully downsold by our charming waitress) came to £120, which is understandable for the locale but lunacy for the kind of food you can find done better at neighbourhood joints and pizzerias all over the city. But if that doesn’t bother you – and you fancy something a tad more luxe than Franco Manca – O’ver’s a very sufficiente spot.

Wild Honey St James

Wild Honey St James

3 out of 5 stars

The woe was palpable when Mayfair’s longstanding Wild Honey shuttered last winter. But chef Anthony Demetre quickly regrouped. Now located in the Sofitel St James hotel, WH version 2.0 has eschewed its previously clubby confines for something airier: lofty ceilings with spindly chandeliers, room-length leather banquettes in teal and tan, and a kidney-stained marble bar. It’s an attractive spot. As with the first iteration, the food is good but flawed. A promisingly bizarre sounding cacio e pepe rigatoni with fried chicken wings was grindingly salty, while the rolled rabbit saddle with bunny cottage pie – a rehashed hit from WH1 – suffered more slapdash seasoning. Still, the ‘slow-cooked piece of beef’ was decent – it had the plentiful taste and texture of a thick hunk of onglet – while the signature honeycomb ice cream that followed was blinding. I recall WH1 once being described as ‘affordable fine dining’. No longer: three courses plus a snack for two, a lower-end malbec and a couple of snifters was £200, which isn’t remotely cheap. Still, Demetre is a chef’s chef, the room’s dreamy and in the pantheon of pricy modern Euro spots in central you could eat far worse. 

Wahlburgers

Wahlburgers

3 out of 5 stars

Bang opposite Covent Garden station, Wahlburgers is the first UK outpost of a chain owned by the Wahlbergs: gym-swollen actor Mark and his exponentially less famous brothers Donnie (of New Kids on the Block) and chef Paul. The food, though mostly served tepid, isn’t bad. The two smashed patties of a house double cheeseburger were full-flavoured and the ‘Wahl’ sauce tangy (though there wasn’t enough of it). Better was the Super Melt: a half-pound burger between Warburtons-style sliced white, slathered in American mustard. Unrefined to a fault but undeniably moreish. A bacon mac and cheese was simultaneously awful and grand in a wet, out-of-the-box Kraft dinner kind of way. But the place is an atmosphere vacuum – a grim approximation of a US sports bar flecked in Bostonian green (which, over here, looks like a Shake Shack knock-off), decked out with screens showing videos of Mark and his pallid bros talking about goat’s cheese, or their mum, or something. It was also empty at peak time on a Friday evening. Still, for serviceable junk food spitting distance from a major tourist tube, with delightful staff to boot, Wahlburgers is basically fine.

Baba G's Bhangra Burger

Baba G's Bhangra Burger

Please note, Baba G's Bhangra Burger has now closed. Time Out Food editors, JANUARY 2020.  Indian-style patty purveyor Baba G’s has been kicking around in stall and pop-up form for years, but the street food favourite gained a bit of well-deserved press buzz after winning the BBC’s ‘Million Dollar Menu’ early in 2019. The result of its seed investment prize is this, a permanent bare-bricks’n’mortar hub in Camden Market.  The canny menu stretches out a few flavours across myriad dishes. Behold, the saag paneer ‘pachos’: a hefty platter of mini-poppadoms, covered in tamarind chutney, raita, earthy stewed greens and teeny cubes of fried tikka paneer cheese. Genius stuff, and more interesting to eat than the saag paneer burger, which saw all the same ingredients in a bun, with a whole bhaji plonked on top. More satisfying was the signature lamb jalfrezi burger: all the same toppings, this time without cheese, but with a smattering of sweltering chilli heat. Chicken tikka ‘nuggets’ turned out to be boned-out legs, well seasoned and perfectly fried. In a world of perfunctory patties, Baba G’s is a fresh new take on the evergreen, seemingly unimprovable, staple.

Tayyabs

Tayyabs

3 out of 5 stars

Pity the ‘proper’ Londoner who’s never been to Tayyabs. Apart from a recent-ish capitulation to table bookings, Whitechapel’s evergreen institution of a Punjabi curry house is one of the great stalwarts of the city’s food scene; its sizzling mounds of lamb chops one of its defining dishes. That said, the food is good, rather than great. We hammered through a table-full of standards and house classics. Delicately flavoured cubes of paneer, cooked in the tandoor, had a light, marshmallowy bite; while a karahi tarka dhal, festooned with crisp onions, was soupy and comforting. Best of all was the house signature ‘dry meat’: a pan of hyper-fragrant slow-cooked lamb, humming with long-rendered fat and a harmonious heft of indeterminate spices. Glorious stuff, and best mopped up with papery paratha or chewy pillows of keema naan. But other dishes were more underwhelming. Pakora were mealy and tepid; and the feted lamb chops, while still violently frizzling, felt a little anaemic and undersized. Still, it’s an atmospherically hectic spot, the staff are still reliably aloof and you’ll pay pennies for insurmountably gargantuan portions. Long may it live on.

Provisioners

Provisioners

3 out of 5 stars

An attractive spot near Tower Bridge, Provisioners has clearly had a lot of attention (and cash) thrown at it. A sea of terrazzo, velveteen upholstery and balmy pastels, this look would have been truly natty a few years back, even if it feels a little algorithmic in 2019. It’s ultimately still rather lovely. As was a fair whack of the modern European menu. ‘Hot brie balls’ might sound outrageous, but you can’t argue with fried cheese, especially when there’s a peppy gooseberry dip in which to dunk it. A haddock and leek risotto was mild but warmly nourishing; likewise the culurgiones – a kind of Sardinian pasta pillow, filled with potato and pecorino, though these also came with a heady dousing of truffley melted butter. But the larger plates erred on clumsy. ‘Duck, duck & duck’ – pink breast, a squirt of liver parfait and a crisp little pie of leg meat – was impressively constructed but rich to a fault; while a hunk of eight-hour lamb shoulder was as flavourless as the portion was gargantuan. But it’s important not to forget that Tower Bridge Road isn’t exactly flush with fine eating, which makes Provisioners a perfectly acceptable bolthole for those who can’t face the schlep to Bermondsey or London Bridge.

Hawksmoor Guildhall

Hawksmoor Guildhall

4 out of 5 stars

Hawksmoor: you either love it or you’ve never been. Any outlet of Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s preternaturally marvellous, meat-centric micro-chain could be pegged as London’s best restaurant on a good day. This City branch is no different. Fine, it’s not the greatest space, occupying an expansive, low-ceilinged box of a basement room. But aesthetically, it’s much like the rest of ’em: ‘Mad Men’-style low lighting; a forest’s worth of wooden panelling; studded leather in muscular, muted tones. Eating-wise, everything’s brilliant. There were puffy yorkshires with potted beef, cool with bovine fat and doused in onion-thick gravy. Inevitably lighter was the crab on toast, a mound of delicate white meat ballasted to a slice of good sourdough with a hefty slick of mayo. The monkfish is grotesque in life but resplendent in death – here evidenced by a whacking slab of full-flavoured tail meat, imbued with the pervasive smokiness that comes from being grilled over charcoal. We swerved the steaks proper for a rib eye sandwich, the meat’s ferrous hum given a few funky top notes with graceburn (a kind of soft cow’s cheese) and some anchovy hollandaise. For sides, there were fries cooked in beef dripping (tasting eerily, brilliantly, akin to old-school McDonald’s chips) and an iron ramekin of faultless mac ’n’ cheese. Order both. What with all the hardcore carb and protein loading, Hawksmoor’s puddings are oft overlooked. This is folly: even veggies should make a beeline here for their en

Thunderbird Fried Chicken

Thunderbird Fried Chicken

Please note, Thunderbird Fried Chicken's Brixton branch has now closed. Its other joints in Charing Cross, Canary Wharf and The O2 are still open. Time Out Food editors, FEBRUARY 2020.  A clattery, two-floor spot in Brixton Market, Thunderbird may look like your garden-variety chicken joint, but its owners have a more polished backstory than you might think. The mothercluckers behind this smashing spot (a permanent version of the Thunderbird stalls at street-food establishments Dinerama and Giant Robot) won the ‘Best Buffalo Wings’ prize at Wingfest in 2015 and as such, they have a stellar reputation for serving some of the best bird in town. Expectations were high, but Thunderbird delivered. A tray of wings with crisp, papery skin came with a sticky barbecue sauce that beautifully melded sweet, sour and smoke. Then a basic Thunderbun chicken burger saw more of that finely seasoned, crisply coated bird as well as iceberg, pickles and a delicious mayo-style sauce. Better still? The Meltdown burger. Its light scattering of jalapeños and charred pepper aioli were good, but the inclusion of melty, miso-infused synthetic cheese was genius: a stupidly delicious umami blanket that’s a prime example of Thunderbird’s ability to put subtle, inventive twists on relatively simple dude-food staples.The only misstep to note was the wings slathered in salted caramel sauce: undersalted, truly cloying and orange-laced (why?!). Service was perfectly affable (though this is an order-at-the-coun

Lost Boys Pizza (Camden)

Lost Boys Pizza (Camden)

3 out of 5 stars

Yes, Lost Boys is a vampire-themed pizza restaurant that does black, charcoal-infused pies. Yes, it takes almost all its cues from the eponymous bloodsucking ’80s classic. Yes, it’s in the dining wilderness between Euston and Mornington Crescent. But no, it’s not as immensely soul-draining as all that sounds. This is as much down to some extremely affable staff and cheap malbec on the drinks list as it is the pizzas, which are merely quite good. London is a town flush with dream dough: from pillowy Neapolitan cornicione, to thin, chewy, tyre-sized New York pies. These are neither. But while the bases were bereft of bite, the toppings were decent, especially on the Pops to Go (generously strewn with teeny broccoli florets, good sausage and shaved parmesan) and the Coffin Dodger (a vegan number covered in rocket, artichoke, mushrooms and the plant-lover’s secret mega-ingredient, nutritional yeast). Big bonus points, too, for the genius house-made chilli pineapple relish: a killer mix of fire and tang. Lost Boys Pizza isn’t going to top any of the capital’s best-of lists, but it fills a gap in this section of NW1, and is undoubtedly better than the tacky bust I’d feared. So: who’s the sucker now?

News (175)

London’s oldest fish ‘n’ chip shop is dishing up chips for 10p a portion

London’s oldest fish ‘n’ chip shop is dishing up chips for 10p a portion

Covent Garden’s Rock & Sole Plaice is a bonafide institution (as well as being the best-named chippy in town – quite something in a pun-heavy field). It’s been dishing up some of the city’s most-loved fried fare from its Endell Street shop since 1871, two World Wars and modish food fads be damned.  Current owners the Ziyeddin family have been at the helm for 35 years. To celebrate this arbitrary birthday, they’ll be selling portions of chips for 10p next Wednesday May 17 and Thursday May 18. Ten British pence! That’s less than half a Freddo! Quite absurd. Oh yeah, and they claim their ‘jockey’s whips’ are the biggest in the country, and make a point of frying them in peanut oil but y’know, basically free chips is the point here, people. Head down any time from 11.30am-10.30pm to pick up a steaming, vinegar soaked packet. You’re quite welcome.  This city ain't just built on Rock & Sole, y'know. Eat up our list of London’s best fish and chip shops.

Video: you can now eat a 16-foot-long Chinese noodle

Video: you can now eat a 16-foot-long Chinese noodle

Yup, you read that right. Murger Hanhan – a Mayfair Chinese specialising in the fiery regional food of Shan Xi province – is doing a 16ft noodle. One dish: one gargantuan hand-pulled noodle. Simple. I’ll explain: each morning, Murger Hanhan’s chefs make fresh noodle dough from wheat flour, salt and water. This is stretched to a length of eight feet, then split to make it double the length. It’s then boiled and served in a biangbiang style with braised pork, tomato and egg sauce, spring onions and chilli oil; veggie without the pork and either with the tomato sauce or chilli oil; or cold with sesame sauce. It’s all related to Chinese New Year (which starts today and last for two weeks), when it’s traditional to eat ‘lucky’ foods. Noodles typically symbolise longevity in China – so the longer the noodle, the happier and healthier life is supposed to be. Murger Hanhan’s giant noodles, they explain, ‘demonstrate the maximum potential for any long noodle dish and not being cut at any stage also signifies there is no break in your happiness, health and longevity’. Lovely stuff, and you can see it all in the video above. Murger Hanhan can be found at 8a Sackville St, W1S 3DF. London’s got loads of excellent regional Chinese restaurants. These are the best. Want more hot news like this? Then sign up to Time Out, fool.  

A vegan kebab joint is coming to Camden Town

A vegan kebab joint is coming to Camden Town

Veganism: currently the reigning food fad in London – and a welcome one at that. With a plethora of top restaurants revealing plant-based menus and animal-product-free street food becoming ubiquitous around the city, the green tide keeps on rising. The next high water mark? Vegan kebab merchant What the Pitta! is set to open its third permanent branch on March 9, in the resurgent foodie hotspot of Camden Town. Already a fixture at Croydon and Shoreditch Boxparks, WTP!’s vegan doner kebabs substitute mystery meat with non-GM seasoned soya that’s marinated in Middle Eastern spices, grilled and whacked into handmade flatbreads with houmous and tzatziki. Lovely stuff. But there’s more! The menu at this new spot also features meat-free Turkish pizza, couscous salads and baklava. Between WTP!, Club Mexicana at Kerb and the newfangled N1C branch of Temple of Seitan, Camden’s set to become an unlikely mecca for vegan junk food. 2018, eh?  What the Pitta! is opening on Friday March 9 at 89-91 Bayham St, NW1 0AG. Feeling green? Here’s our pick of the best vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in London. Want more edible news? Then sign up to Time Out.

It’s Deliveroo’s birthday and it’s giving out 5,000 free Hummingbird cupcakes

It’s Deliveroo’s birthday and it’s giving out 5,000 free Hummingbird cupcakes

I think we can all admit that Deliveroo has made ordering hangover-soothing takeaways an inordinately easier and more delicious experience. So it’s only right and proper to acknowledge the food delivery company’s fifth birthday. In a sugary show of selflessness, Deliveroo is celebrating by giving away 5,000 Hummingbird Bakery teal velvet cupcakes across London this Friday. These snazzy little morsels will be available from 4.30pm-5pm at Soho Square, Liverpool Street Station, King’s Cross Station, Waterloo Station and King’s Road. That’s it. No ordering involved: just turn up and snaffle. Happy birthday to them (and us). Want to have your cake and eat it? Here’s our guide to some of London’s best bakes. Want more delicious news like this? Then sign up to Time Out. 

A cool foodie canteen has just opened in Hammersmith

A cool foodie canteen has just opened in Hammersmith

River Café, some lovely Antipodean coffee shops and a few great Middle and Far Eastern spots aside, Hammersmith is not what one could call an evergreen gastronomic go-to. Which is why it’s both delightful and surprising that Feast Canteen has opened. Housed in the old Kings Mall food court, Feast Canteen is a slick 350-seater operation, featuring concessions from reliable street and dude food purveyors like increasingly-ubiquitous-but-still-good burger spot Patty & Bun, taco kings Breddos, Vietnamese joint Salvation in Noodles, molto bene pizza people Made of Dough and, a new one to us, rice paper roll makers Sinchow. What’s more, it’s open seven days a week, and takeaway is available – a lifeline to local office worker types. Can’t even be arsed to leave the house? Deliveroo will be schlepping grub from Feast Canteen around W6 – a boon in anyone’s books.  Feast Canteen can be found at Kings Mall, King St, W6 9HW. It’s open Monday-Friday 9am-8pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-8pm. This all sort of counts as street food, right? Right. Here’s the best in London. Want more edible news? Then sign up to Time Out.

Get half-price food at awesome fish joint Hook

Get half-price food at awesome fish joint Hook

We’re big fans of Camden fish joint Hook (we gave it a full five stars in 2014). So we were suitably distraught when it shut up shop last December for a refit (booo) then equally elated with the news that it’s just reopened (wooo!). Not only that, but it’s now expanded its menu from the superlative fish and chips it made a name with (think exotic riffs on the old classics, from Cuban ‘sazon completa’ panko-crumbed to Guinness-and-squid-ink-tempura battered fish), with fresh bites such as a poached and blow-torched sea trout salad, modish tacos, popcorn cockles, piri piri squash and so on. Plus seaweed salted chips.  Even better than that, Hook’s celebrating reopening by offering 50 percent off food at lunch and dinner from today until this Saturday (February 24). Off you pop. Hook can be found at 63 Parkway, NW1 7PP.  Fish + chips = maximum mouth-based synchronicity. Here’s our list of London’s best chippies. Want more delicious news like this? Then sign up to Time Out. 

Video: The Scotch Egg Challenge is back

Video: The Scotch Egg Challenge is back

Gluttons, crack out your diaries, flick to Wednesday February 21 and get scribbling, for the Scotch Egg Challenge returns to London. The remit is simple: a bevy of ace chefs (most London-based, but including a few out-of-towners) fashion their finest scotch egg, a winner is picked by an illustrious panel of judges and the attending crowd of egg-citable plebs go wild for samples.  This year, it’ll be held at The Canonbury pub in Islington. Hosting duty goes to food writer Joe Warwick, and the judging panel includes The Guardian types Bob Granleese and Felicity Cloake, journo Lisa Markwell and Restaurant magazine head honcho Stefan Chomka. They’ll be snaffling scotchies from a bewilderingly good list of contestants, including – breathe in – Temper’s Neil Rankin, Holborn Dining Room’s Calum Franklin, The Dairy’s/Counter Culture’s Robin Gill, Smoking Goat’s Ben Chapman, Nanban’s Tim Anderson, Rambla’s Victor Garvey and 2017 winner Gina Hopkins (formerly of The Draper’s Arms, who are repped this year by Nick Gibson), plus many more. Attendance is free – but for those worried about the availability of free samples, there’ll be an online charity auction for VIP tickets in due time. Either way, see you down the front. Good line up, ’eh? Many of these joints are on our list of London’s best restaurants, too.  Get more lip-smacking news like this by signing up to Time Out.  

St John just opened a pop-up bakery at Old Street tube station

St John just opened a pop-up bakery at Old Street tube station

Whoah now: for the next three weeks, awesome bakery (and offshoot of meaty nose-to-tail pioneer St John) St John Bread & Wine will be popping up at Old Street tube station. The bread-centric stall will be selling SJ’s super sourdough, outstanding doughnuts (the custard version is a stone-cold classic) and other pastry-based titbits from 7am-7pm daily until March 2. Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver’s clattery Farringdon space is perhaps the definitive British restaurant (in London or otherwise) and its bakery offshoots (Bread & Wine in Spitalfields and a dedicated unit on Bermondsey’s Druid Street) have done for bread and doughnuts what their original joint did for offal and gutsy seasonal cookery. In short: stop reading, get to Old Street, get stuffed.  Nuts for ’nuts? Here are some more awesome doughnuts for you. Get more stuff like this by signing up to Time Out.

There’s a pop-up avocado restaurant coming to Covent Garden

There’s a pop-up avocado restaurant coming to Covent Garden

Ah, the avocado. Catnip to millennials; green gold to clickbait-savvy financial journos; inescapable by brunchers across the capital. There is no food that evokes the past three years quite so well. It’s shocking that there isn’t one already, but a dedicated avocado restaurant – dubbed Avobar – is coming to London. Before that appears, the peeps behind it have launched an avocado-centric pop-up just off Covent Garden, also called Avobar. And it sounds rather good. It’s a daytime affair, operating from Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-5pm starting next Thursday February 22 (there’s a soft opening this weekend, too, but it’s already fully booked. Soz!). The menu will transcend your standard slowly browning avocado on sourdough, featuring things like sweet potato toast with smashed avo and coconut labneh, poké bowls, a vegan green bowl, shakshuka and avocado hotcakes can be expected. Wholesome, right? Right. The Avobar pop-up can be found at 18 Floral St, WC2E 9DS. Bookings can be made at the Avobar website. If you’re reading this you probably like brunch. Here are the places doing London’s best. Want more utterly essential London news like this? Then sign up to Time Out, got it?

Video: meet the east London joint that made vegan food cool

Video: meet the east London joint that made vegan food cool

Vegan food is having more than a moment in London. You can barely move for decent restaurants plugging plant-based menus, from kick-ass high-end joints like Nama and Essence, to upstart spots like vegan fried chicken pioneers Temple of Hackney or Club Mexicana (now settled in at the Spread Eagle pub). Cook Daily’s one of the best of ‘em: an unpretentious international vegan café in Shoreditch Boxpark, doing low-cost, high-flavour Southeast Asian-inspired bowls rammed with rainbow veg and slathered in banging ‘high grade’ sauces. Whet your appetite with our video introduction to King Cook’s delicious domain above. Cult Eats is a ’thing’ we’re doing now, ya hear? Check out our previous micro-profile on awesome Ealing/Fitzrovia pizza place Santa Maria. Want more plant-based grub? Check our list of London’s best vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. Get more delicious stuff delivered straight to your inbox when you sign up to Time Out.   

Is the ‘best kebab house in the world’ coming to Covent Garden?

Is the ‘best kebab house in the world’ coming to Covent Garden?

Er, possibly. We’re big fans of mash-up Middle Eastern/Asian kebab joint Le Bab here at Time Out – so of course we were thrilled to hear that the folks behind it, Stephen Tozer and Ed Brunet, are opening a new spot in Covent Garden this spring, dubbed Maison Bab. Not only that, they’re aiming to make it ‘one of the best kebab houses in the world’ – an extremely ambitious remit given the competition in London alone. Gotta give ’em points for enthusiasm, though. The new pad is being headed up by Le Bab head chef Manu Canales Garces (who used to work at Michel Roux Jr’s two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche) and will, says Tozer, be dishing up ‘something punchier, bolder, and more surprising’ than the fare at Le Bab. By which he means sourdough flatbreads topped with things like onglet steak and peppercorn mayo, or slow-grilled celeriac shish with carrot purée. Fancy! Maison Bab will be located at Mercers Walk, Covent Garden, and is due to open this spring. Maison Bab’s babs will all cost £10 or under. Here are some more sweet cheap eats around Covent Garden. Want more lovely news like this? Then sign up to Time Out.

Get £1 tacos at this mega Mexican

Get £1 tacos at this mega Mexican

Tacos are ten-a-penny these days (not literally, we wish, etc), but humble old Benito’s Hat remains a reliable purveyor of deliciously filling Tex-Mex grub. Next Tuesday (February 13) sees the release of their second cookbook, ’Everyone Loves Tacos‘. And to celebrate/prove that fact, they’ll be dishing up £1 tacos at all their sites (bar King’s Cross) after 5pm on the very same day. Here’s the deal: £1 gets you one taco (you choose the filling, from sautéed veg with guac to super-slow braised pork, beef brisket barbecoa and more), but you can order as many as you like. That’s it. Stuff your face with multiple tacos for minimal cash. Mucho gracias to that. Mexican food is alive and kicking in the capital. Here’s our list of London’s best. Make sure you hear about more delicious offers like this by signing up to Time Out.