1. Melt Room26 Noel St, London
2. Chick 'n' Sours390 Kingsland Rd, London
3. Blixen65A Brushfield St, London
4. Craft London1 Green Pl, London
5. Crosstown Doughnuts4 Broadwick St, London
6. On the Bab36 Wellington St, London
7. The Duck & Rice90 Berwick St, London
8. The Black Penny34 Great Queen St, London
Melt's tiny space is slinging top-shelf grilled cheese sandwiches, with ingredients like slow-cooked lamb shoulder, pastrami & porcini, and pulled pork. There's even a breakfast menu, with a full English stuffed into a sandwich.
From Carl Clarke, king of inventive London pop-ups, comes this permanent, rustic-chic Seven Dials space that specializes in carefully sourced fried chicken (from free-range, herb-fed birds), sour cocktails (pineapple & black pepper margaritas), local craft beer, and soft-serve ice cream. It's a winning lineup, to say the least. The traditional boneless, white-meat chicken tenders take comfort food to a new level via their delicate Asian flair: seaweed crack, Xian Xian spice, coriander, and sesame. On the side, order some crispy, sticky Szechuan aubergine accompanied by green slaw with ginger miso mayo.
Thankfully not selling donners, Blixen has a pan-European menu (frogs legs sit comfortably alongside squid & chorizo, and sow-cooked lamb shoulder with pistachio), served inside a pretty striking space -- there are verdant plants crawling along the rafters, and blending into the wooden fittings.
Slapped right outside the O2 in a suitably gorgeous-looking pod-like building, Craft came to us from the man behind Notting Hill's vaunted Dock Kitchen. The place looks amazing, and the food doesn't let it down, with stunning dishes like clay-baked duck and IPA-cured beef leg. Oh, and it probably has the best cocktail bar in Greenwich, too.
Crosstown makes some of the capital's finest dough treats, from classic vanilla bean-glazed numbers, to more complex rhubarb & raspberry toasted meringue donuts (seriously, they're made from toasted meringue -- and they're amazing).
Bab's Covent Garden location has all the K-classics from its Shoreditch branch, plus a few exclusives like Manuldak chicken (garlic fried chicken) and Korimari (seaweed rice rolls stuffed w/ Korean barbecue meat). Not only is it always one of our top recommended places to eat in London, but their prices cannot be beat.
From Alan Yau, the resto legend behind such spots as Wagamama, Hakkasan, and Yauatcha, is The Duck & Rice. Positioned as a "Chinese gastropub," you'll find a huge lineup of craft and German beers (dunkels, white ales, steams, etc.) as well as booze-friendly food like venison puffs and salt & pepper squid.
Nestled in a beautiful-looking Covent Garden spot, Black is ostensibly a coffee house, but promises to "bridge the gap between fast food and gourmet gastronomy," by offering fast and ready-to-go goodness like crispy duck hash, and slow-braised Black Penny beans on sourdough with goat’s curd.