We received an email recently from one of our sister publications requesting a recommendation for the one restaurant or food market to visit in London. ‘Just one?!?’, we spluttered. Then we started scratching our heads and asking ourselves how we could possibly pinpoint one venue to represent the breadth of our city’s gastronomic offering for tourists.
It would be a difficult task in any city, but it’s made particularly challenging here because diversity is a big part of what makes London’s food scene so special. Few cities in the world offer world-renowned temples to gustatory pleasure such as Le Gavroche or The Ledbury mere miles away from street food start-ups making waves via social media (Le Bun and Big Apple Hot Dogs, we’re looking at you), with almost every price range and cuisine in-between – from Korean cafés to Turkish hookah lounges (here’s hoping that last one doesn’t get mangled in translation).
In the end, we recommended Brixton Market over the more obvious Borough, both for its buzz and the fact that visitors can squeeze in more than one eating experience by doing a bit of restaurant-hopping. We bigged up Brasserie Zédel as a near-perfect example of a modern London (though not British) restaurant – it’s polished while remaining down-to-earth and accessible, both in terms of getting a table and paying for your meal – and it has a great cocktail bar to boot. And, of course, we had to point people to somewhere with show-stopping views – perhaps Duck & Waffle for an early-bird breakfast, or Aqua Shard for a cheeky late-night cocktail.
We know that every visitor to the capital has different tastes and expectations. But with such a difficult brief, we did our best. What would you do? What’s your ultimate London restaurant?
Have you heard that you can have a seven-course meal in a tube carriage?
By Nicola Arencibia