Best For: Calamari
I was actually first told about Busaba Eathi by my manager at L’Oreal when I first moved down to London, with the instruction ‘you HAVE to get the calamari!’
Busaba Eathi is a small Thai chain which I believe is only available in London at the moment and is like a more stylish Wagamamas. I really rate it and always take any out-of-town friends there for an affordable yet tasty dinner. I can definitely recommend the Pad Thai, the duck and the coconut rice! I’m not the biggest fan of calamari as I often find it too ‘squidgy’ or greasy but I have to say, the calamari at Busaba Eathi totally converted me. It is available as a starter and comes in a gorgeous dressing that I need to find a recipe for! It is not overly deep-fried and doesn’t come in a greasy batter at all. A definite must-try if you go.
Best For: Brunch
My first experience of Bill’s was visiting their cute restaurant in Brighton many years ago. I was a student and opted for the cheapest breakfast at the time which was soft-boiled eggs and soldiers and even this was presented so well – chunky, soft, buttery bread, two big organic eggs and cute little piles of salt and pepper.
Bill’s has gone from strength to strength and now I see their sign all over London! It is easy to see why they have done so well when their food is so good and reasonably priced, especially their amazing breakfast/brunch menu. This is hands-down my favourite place in London to go for brunch, even (dare I say it) better than The Breakfast Club! I always go for the smoked salmon/poached eggs on toast and they have always given me a good portion of fresh smoked salmon , poached eggs cooked to perfection and big slices of buttery bread! My boyfriend goes for the full English and is always satisfied too.
Best For: Burgers and Salads
I should begin by saying that I am yet to try an Honest Burger which is getting so much love at the moment. Nonetheless, I really don’t think you can beat Byron for a good dinner! This is another chain that has been growing from strength to strength and have even branched out to Manchester now. As well as amazingly tasty burgers, their salads are such good value too – I often opt for the Classic Cobb Salad and get moaned at by my peers, until it arrives and they see what a huge bowl of glorious chicken, avocado, egg, bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato it is! Plus, the skin-on-chips are totally delish.
Best For: Sunday Roast
Often in London, Sunday roasts are overpriced and a little disappointing. Not so with The Cutty Sark Tavern in Greenwich! Just a short walk along the river from the old naval colleges, the tavern is a charming rustic pub with two levels; the downstairs is a little pub (which allows dogs!), whilst the second floor is a lovely wooden restaurant which you have to book in advance for. A Sunday roast here typically costs between £12-£16 depending on the meat but are totally worth the spend. Last time we visited, I had the chicken whilst the boyfriend had the beef. Both were hearty, warming and filling – I found the beef very slightly fatty for my taste but my boyfriend was completely sold. Plus, you can walk it off with a walk around the gorgeous Greenwich park afterwards!
Best For: Steak
I’m not usually a steak/red meat kinda gal but even I can’t get enough of the steaks at Gaucho! The global chain specialise in quality, Argentine cuts of beef which really are the best I’ve tasted in London. Before your meal begins, a member of staff will come over with a board of uncooked steak and explain the different cuts to you – I didn’t realise there were more than just ‘sirloin’ or ‘rump’! The environment is fabulous too, with low lighting, glossy black walls, cow-hide seats and very good staff. My favourite is the restaurant overlooking Tower Bridge. Oh, and the red wine is pretty lush too…
Best For: The Parents or a Date
I feel that Brown’s is a fail-safe place to take the parents or a date for a meal that is somewhere in between casual and fancy. With plenty of choice on the menu, quality food, reasonable prices and a mahogany/gold décor, as well as restaurants across the country, I definitely think it is a winner. My personal favourite is the Brown’s Sharing Platter which comes with chicken, hummous/dips, calamari, amazing homemade sausage rolls, prawns and more – what’s not to love!
Do you have any restaurant recommendations in London? I would love to hear them!