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A lamb offal flatbread and pork crackling at Black Axe Mangal, featuring flowery tablecloths Ola Smit

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The Top London Restaurant Standbys of 2018

The restaurants that Eater London’s staff, contributors, and friends went back to time and again

It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, contributors, rovers of the industry, critics, and professional eaters. This year, the group were asked eight questions, spanning meal of the year to biggest dining grievance. Their answers will appear throughout this week. Responses are relayed in no particular order, cut and pasted below. First up, it’s time for restaurant standbys of the year.


Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London: Although Singburi is not a new restaurant to anyone who knows anything about Thai food, or anyone who lives in or near Leytonstone, the first time I visited — at the fourth time of trying — was in the summer of this year. I’ve been back five times in the past five months. A totally unimprovable restaurant.

Koya.

Pret’s egg mayo sandwich and two packets of cheese and onion Walkers crisps is probably the lunch I ate more than any other.

And P Franco, because on the one hand it reinvents itself every six months, while remaining of the most steady, pleasurable wine bar-restaurant experiences in the city.

James Hansen, Assistant Editor, Eater London: Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles’ cold skin noodles have fuelled many a working lunch. Lyle’s, for coffee as much as food; Kêu; Esters; Diyarkabir’s lahmacun; Jashan; 40 Maltby Street; Bar Tozino; Santa Maria Ealing; Atari-ya Ealing; P. Franco; Smoking Goat.

Crayfish at Lyle’s, a London restaurant, taken on Instagram
Crayfish at Lyle’s, another 2018 restaurant standby
Lyle’s | Instagram

Anna Sulan Masing, food writer and Eater London contributor: Quality Chop House, Marksman, Bellanger (with the dog)

Jonathan Nunn, food writer and Eater London contributor: Singburi and 40 Maltby Street. Both restaurants are led by two chefs at the top of their game that just keep getting better — technically gifted, but making food that feeds the soul. Between them there’s not another blackboard in London that comes close.

Sejal Sukhadwala, food writer and Eater London contributor: The Clove Club, The Ledbury (two reliably excellent places I take every visitor to London to), Vanilla Black, Nopi, Oklava, Lyle’s, Darjeeling Express, Asher’s, Dhaba at 49, Gymkhana, Gauthier Soho, Artesian bar, and the bar of Chutney Mary which is absolutely stunning.

Broad beans and toast, little gem lettuce and asparagus at 40 Maltby Street in Bermondsey, the modern British restaurant that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city
Bermondsey’s 40 Maltby Street
Ola Smit/Eater London

Emma Hughes, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: I’ve been in a committed relationship with the bread basket at Soif on Battersea Rise since January.

George Reynolds, food writer and Eater London contributor: Basically a cut and paste job from 2017. Local — Black Axe Mangal, Trullo, Esters. East London — The Laughing Heart, Marksman, P Franco. Central — Parsons, Royal China Club, Noble Rot. But the one place I visited most — by a distance — this year was Moi An, a lunch place a stone’s throw from work that has built up a loyal following seemingly purely on word of mouth recommendations from people blown away by the freshness of the food and the amazing efficiency of the service. There might be better Vietnamese food available elsewhere in the city but at a time of day and in a part of town more commonly characterised by Pret, the depth of flavour in the soups, rice bowls and salads still feels like a godsend.

Shekha Vyas, food writer and Eater London contributor: My standbys of 2018 would still be the restaurants I’ve been going to for years. Thattukada, Singburi, and Lahori Nihari never fail to disappoint. But discovering Kate’s Cafe this year has also been joyous; it has certainly become another spot I know I can rely on for deeply comforting food.

Helen Graves, food writer at Food Stories and Eater London contributor: Theo’s Pizzeria Camberwell (best pizza in London, no contest); Bright; Quality Chop House (loving the new bar menu); Black Axe Mangal; Quo Vadis.

Pork pie at Quality Chop House, a 2018 London restaurant standby in London
A standby at a standby: Quality Chop House’s pork pie
Quality Chop Shop/Instagram

MiMi Aye, food writer, cookbook author, and Eater London contributor: I spent most of 2018 eating leftovers from recipe-testing for my next book, Mandalay. However, the few times I managed to leave the house was to go to gigs in town, so a big shout-out to Nanban and its restorative ramen as most of those gigs seemed to be at the O2 Academy. Oh and I went ‘all in’ several times at Blacklock Chops (MEEEEAAAT!)

Zeren Wilson, food writer at Bitten and Written and Eater London contributor: Arch Rivals — unexpected, playful, constant thrills in a Forest Gate arch; Sorrel — new love of Dorking, because of here; Westerns Laundry; Skewd; The River Café; Jolene; Kiln; A. Wong; Loven Pizza; Sambal Shiok.

Daisy Meager, food writer and Eater London contributor: For dependable comfort, Jen Cafe’s dumplings, Monty’s Deli’s salt beef rueben or Sông Quê Café’s pho are hard to beat. Towards the tail end of the week at the start of the year, you’d find me at Bad Sports on Hackney Road (RIP) followed by Towpath Café in summer and autumn Sunday lunches at Bright.

Angela Hui, food writer and Eater London contributor: Dumpling Shack, Joy Luck, My Neighbours The Dumplings, Seoul Bakery, Baozi Inn, Misato, Roti King. (Just realised that these are all east Asian I’m totally not biased.)

Roti canai at Roti King, reopened in Euston
Roti King’s most stood-by dish: roti canai
Ola Smit/Eater London

Leila Latif, Eater London contributor: Yashin, Kricket White City, Portland, Oliveto, P. Franco, Bibendum oyster bar, Barrafina Covent Garden, Tayyabs, Dishoom King’s Cross,­ and Max’s Sandwich Shop.

Quality Chop House

94 Farringdon Rd, London, Greater London EC1R 3EA +44 20 3490 6228 Visit Website

Portland

113 Great Portland Street, , England W1W 6QQ 020 7436 3261 Visit Website

Sunday

169 Hemingford Road, , England N1 1 020 7607 3868

Sông Quê Café

134 Kingsland Road, , England E2 8DY 020 7613 3222 Visit Website

Tayyabs

83-89 Fieldgate Street, , England E1 1JU 020 7247 9543 Visit Website

Black Axe Mangal

156 Canonbury Road, , England N1 2UP Visit Website

The Clove Club

380 Old Street, , England EC1V 9LT 020 7729 6496 Visit Website

My Neighbours the Dumplings

165 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 8EQ 020 3327 1556 Visit Website

Royal China Club

40-42 Baker Street, , England W1U 7AJ 020 7486 3898 Visit Website

Gymkhana

42 Albemarle Street, , England W1S 4JH 020 3011 5900 Visit Website

Quo Vadis

26-29 Dean Street, , England W1D 3LL 020 7437 9585 Visit Website

Blacklock

24 Great Windmill St, London, Greater London W1D 7LG +44 7841 754858 Visit Website

Kricket

12 Denman Street, , W1D 7HH Visit Website

Baozi Inn

25 Newport Court, , England WC2H 7JS 020 7287 6877 Visit Website

Barrafina

43 Drury Lane, , England WC2B 5AJ Visit Website

Jen Cafe

4-8 Newport Place, , England WC2H 7JP 07587 500959

The Laughing Heart

277 Hackney Road, , England E2 8NA 020 7686 9535 Visit Website

Nanban

426 Coldharbour Lane, , England SW9 8LF 020 7346 0098 Visit Website

Trullo

Saint Paul's Road, , England N1 2LH 020 7226 2733 Visit Website

P Franco

107 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 0NP 020 8533 4660 Visit Website

Roti King

40 Doric Way, , England NW1 1LH 020 7387 2518 Visit Website

Bad Sports

184 Hackney Road, London, E2 7QL Visit Website

Gauthier Soho

21 Romilly Street, , England W1D 5AF 020 7494 3111 Visit Website

The Ledbury

127 Ledbury Road, , England W11 2AQ 020 7792 9090 Visit Website

40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, , England SE1 3PA 020 8076 9517 Visit Website

Darjeeling Express

2a Garrick Street, , England WC2E 9BH 020 7836 8888 Visit Website

Atari-ya

595 High Road, , England N12 0DY 020 8446 6669 Visit Website

Jashan

19 Turnpike Lane, London, Greater London N8 0EP +44 20 8340 9880 Visit Website

Bar Tozino

Maltby Street, , England SE1 3PA Visit Website

Soif

27 Battersea Rise, , England SW11 1HG 020 7223 1112 Visit Website

Towpath Café

42 De Beauvoir Crescent, , England N1 5SB Visit Website

Esters

55 Kynaston Road, , England N16 0EB Visit Website

Bibendum

81 Fulham Rd, London, Greater London SW3 6RD +44 20 7590 1189 Visit Website

Marksman

254 Hackney Rd, London, Greater London E2 7SJ +44 20 7739 7393 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website

Nopi

21-22 Warwick Street, , England W1B 5NE 020 7494 9584 Visit Website

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ

Xi’an Biang Biang Noodles

62 Wentworth Street, London, Greater London E1 7AL Visit Website

Oklava

74 Luke St, , England EC2A 4PY 020 7729 3032 Visit Website

Dishoom

12 Upper St Martin's Lane, , England WC2H 9FB 020 7420 9320 Visit Website

Santa Maria

11 Bond Street, , England W5 5AP 020 8840 4998 Visit Website

Bright

1 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL 020 3095 9407 Visit Website

Parsons

39 Endell Street, , England WC2H 9BA 020 3422 0221 Visit Website

Singburi

593 High Road Leytonstone, , England E11 4PA 020 8281 4801

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