50 Things You Need to Eat in London Before You Die
At the risk of beating a still-very-much-alive horse, London’s food scene is fantastic these days -- and is getting better at an astounding rate. Sadly though, you only have a finite amount of time to take it all in before you head to the big brunch in the sky (or leave town), so here are the 50 essential dishes you need to inhale before that happens…
Duck & Waffle
Since this is the signature dish, it’s a damn good thing they nailed it. Taking the humble sweet & savory mash up to new heights, it’s made even better with a side of the best view in town, and is accessible 24 hours a day.
For years people have journeyed down to the St. John Bakery on Saturday mornings with the flicker of hope they won't be sold out, and frequently met with disappointment and thoughts of “well maybe next time.” Yeah, these guys are that good. Luckily, now they’re available in other locations, but of course they’re gone pretty quick.
Beef ribs & bone marrow mash
These guys set the bar for Southern BBQ, with huge queues and tiny dining rooms when it opened a couple years back. But what kept drawing people in? Juicy beef ribs and bone marrow mash. Bone. Marrow. Mash.
Actually more like a mini brioche bun stuffed with crab, they are the palm-sized balls that people keep clamoring over, when they can peel their eyes away from the celebs trying to hide in the dining room.
When the world went batsh*t insane for the Cronut, this family bakery responded with the London edition, the Crodough. They're flaky, puffy, sweet, and loaded with flavours from custard to toffee apple to Oreo cheesecake to s’mores. Make the pilgrimage first thing in the AM to get one before they sell out (... or just order them online).
Soy chicken wings
Literally finger-lickin’ good -- you’ll have to tongue-bathe your fingers to dislodge every last droplet of that sticky, sweet, and hot soy and garlic sauce. We won’t judge if you try licking the wrapper as well.
This is the ramen dreams are made of, with a 20-hour pork bone broth loaded with silky noodles, chashu pork, and Clarence Court eggs.
All of the best bits of its Bingo Wings without having to fight for your food. Fried bits of chicken and that tangy sauce and no bones. Why has no one thought of this before?!?!
Fish & chips
Spitalfields & Camden
Having been in the F&C game since the mid 1940s, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing. Fresh, flaky, and perfectly golden, this is the real deal.
Lobster macaroni with truffle
This is a dish that holds zero punches and offers a distinct lack of apologies for being incredibly decedent. But you know what? It doesn’t have to, because it’s just that good.
Xiao long bao
These little soupy parcels of joy have burned many of tongues as over-eager eaters rush to get these in their mouths. Painful? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
This is the croque madame you never knew you were missing. Not content to just have normal ham and a regular egg (how mundane!) they’ve naturally upgraded to truffle ham and quails eggs.
It’s a Manderine! No, it's parfait! No, it's the Meat Fruit! The dish that launched a thousand Instagram pictures is still as insane as it was the time it first launched, causing confusion and theatric wonder until you get the damn thing in your mouth.
House black daal
Black, rich, and intensely flavorsome, this signature dish goes through a 24-hour process to become the beautiful thing you’ll be happily shoveling into your mouth. The only question is: to naan up or just go straight for a spoon?
Buttermilk fried chicken
As pretentious as the presentation might sound, once you get a fried morsel in your mouth you’re not going to care if the pine boughs were locally foraged or watered with virgin tears. Light, crispy, and everything you could dream of in a fried chicken. We suggest ordering in multiples.
Truffled egg toast
It has crunchy toast on the outside, is soft and fluffy on the inside, is loaded with cheese, and has runny eggs and truffle. Perfect.
Described as the “Marilyn Monroe of Breakfast,” this is how to start your day off right. The classic Benedict is just that, and consuming one in the grand style of The Wolseley will make you feel like a king.
Specially made in the Black Forest in Germany, this is the real deal. Smoky, smooth, and begging to be loaded up with excellent sauces.
Soft, juicy, rich, spicy, and unlike any lamb chop in London. We hope you brought toothpicks, because you’ll be gnawing on the bone to finish. Trust.
While it might be considered everyday eats in Spain, here people queue up for ages to get their hands on this thing. It looks simple on the outside but inside is a treat, like a Kinder Surprise… only with eggs, potato, and cheese.
Yes, an affordable, delicious lobster. Available in roll form if you’re feeling frisky.
So basic and yet, there is magic on this toast. Maybe it’s the mountain of perfectly ripe avocado highlighted by the perfect amount of lemon or the chili. Perfect.
Toasted cheese sandwich
Three types of melted cheese, five kinds of onion, and sourdough bread; there is nothing subtle about this toasty. Work your way through the madness of the crowds at the Market and be rewarded with melted, crispy gold.
Heaven and Earth
To call this just spiced black pudding and mash with apple mixed in is to do this dish a severe insult. It's better than just the sum of its parts -- heavenly is just how to describe this gorgeous mix of seasoning, texture, and flavour.
Salt beef bagel
Known by late-night and early morning party kids out east for years, this beast of a bagel is way more then just boozy fodder. This ring of doughy joy is one of the best in the world, and then they take it over the top with so much salt beef and mustard.
Seven Samurai lobster roll
No longer is lobster solely a treat to the ridiculously wealthy. Now the masses have come to know, love, and happily afford lobster rolls at small spots across town with the Seven Samurai as the crown jewel. It's loaded with cucumber, white cabbage, pickled ginger, spring onions, and togarashi spice, but the tail still shines through.
Whether or not Hawksmoor has the best steaks in town (and it probably does), the experience here is so much more than just the amazing beef. Just ask the cocktail you’re going to wash this down with.
Octopus can either be amazing or horrendous, with a very fine line separating the two. Scott’s plate of paper-thin tentacle cross sections is leaps and bounds across that line and securely in a place of greatness.
While the rest of the menu at BDL changes frequently, this Jacob Kenedy original is a constant. The few times it has been swapped out, the guest outcry brought it back pretty quickly for fear of an outside revolt. It's walking that balance between salty (pecorino) and sweet (pomegranate), but has that drop of decadence (truffle), so it's a showstopper.
At first you think it’s just mood lighting and then you realize... that’s beef fat, not wax. And the fresh bread sitting next to it is going to soak up every melted drop.
English breakfast udon
It's the lovechild of your mouth's favorites: udon noodles and a full English breakfast. Fat noodles, a fried egg, bacon, and shiitake mushrooms show the way to have breakfast all day while warming your way through with perfect broth.
Spinach, Parmesan & soft egg pizzette
Loaded with spinach and cheese, the egg is begging to dip folded corners of crispy pizzette into. Wash it down with a Negroni.
The Ari Gold
This is how burgers are supposed to be: simple, cooked to perfection, smothered in cheese (and of course you added bacon), and so juicy it’s dripping.
It’s crazy to think these amazing pizzas started life out of the back of a tiny van on Berwick St. PP now has a couple brick & mortars around, and its pizzas are still outstanding, with this classic 'nduja remaining the menu favourite.
Bone marrow and parsley
St. John was the pioneer of nose-to-tail cooking, and this is the standout dish. It's soft, rich, and melts in your mouth, so good luck ordering just one.
The Full Monty
A proper full English should be all-inclusive, from the black pudding to the mushrooms, both sausage AND bacon, beans, eggs, and all the tomatoes. It's named after that first meal of the day, so it’s no surprise these folks do it justice.
Taking the humble service station snack to new levels of greatness, these are not the Scotch eggs you remember. Scotchtails has upgraded the components, bringing this round ball of greatness to the modern era.
A Sunday roast
Spot-on meat, massive yorkies, and all the fixings in a revamped (but still charming) pub. This is how it should be every Sunday.
Bulgogi beef burrito
Korrito is bringing a little Seoul to Boxpark -- kimchi, marinades, and some heavy spices make this far from an ordinary lunch.
Somewhere between a creme brulee, a soufflé, and a custard, this dish is creamy with a good amount of cheese mixed through. We dare you to not finger-clean the dish to get every last dollop.
Dip & Flip Burger
Battersea & Wimbledon
This is so much more than just a burger. It's a meaty, cheesy, gravy-y invitation to get messy with and receives the full approval of the staff/your taste buds.
Light, yet filling, these are the most authentic buns you’ll find this side of Taiwan.
Mint stracciatella gelato
We all know the classic mint-chip ice cream, and trust us, this is so far beyond that. Fresh with flakes of dark bittersweet chocolate throughout, this will knock your tongue’s socks off.
A Prairie Oyster
Technically a drink, but balancing on that line -- this is essentially a mini snack. It's like a Bloody Mary in literally bite-sized form, so there is simply nothing else like it.
This tiny and rather reclusive sushi den has some of the best Japanese eats in London, if not most of Europe. If you’re lucky enough to get a rezzie, be wise and order an omakase, placing your mouth blindly into its chefs' very capable hands.
Kobe beef ishiyaki
This 1kg beast of a dish is served with a hot stone, so you can cook it at the table to your exact liking. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most, and worth every penny.
Plats de fruits de mer
With ridiculously fresh seafood and a particular love for Champagne, this where to go when you’re after some top-shelf crustaceans.
The Classic Melt
There is very little better in life than a really good cheese toastie: the crisp caramelization of sourdough bread and the ooze of perfectly melted cheese (not running, but warm and gooey). A bite is a time machine of nostalgia bringing you back to the easy days when everything tasted this good.
SoHo & Old Street
This is gateway ceviche. The first bite seems innocent, but you instantly know this could turn into a full-blown obsession. Fresh sea bass w/ sweet potato chunks and its signature tiger’s milk makes this simple dish a dangerous temptation.
Spicy crab croquette
Spicy, with a soft texture, the crab here comes through light and true. This is how all croquettes should be, but unfortunately rarely are.
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