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Five Restaurants to Try this Weekend

An old izakaya in Islington, a pizzeria in Clapham, and a contender for London’s coolest restaurant in Canonbury

Radio Alice, Clapham
Carol Sachs/carolsachs.com

This weekly column suggests five restaurants to try during the weekend. There are three rules: The restaurants must not be featured in either the Eater 38 Essential map, nor the monthly-updated Heatmap, and they must be outside Zone 1.

Primeur

The sister site of Jeremie Cometto-Lingenheim and David Gingell’s Westerns Laundry is located in an old mechanics garage on a residential street between Islington and Clissold Park. It’s one of the city’s best-looking restaurants, and while (whether because of PR or not) its food wasn’t quite lauded as much as its younger sister in Arsenal, it remains one of north London’s best spots for casual, seasonal Mediterranean cooking, much of which is designed to be shared. Like at Westerns, the wines are stellar and ever-changing, but the choice drink is the Breton shandy — a 23 pint Picon biere. This weekend, presumably because of the unseasonal weather, there will be onglet, onions and pickled walnut, or, because its still mid-March after all, white beans, Paris brown mushrooms, wild garlic and ricotta. And much more. —Adam Coghlan
Barnes Motors, 116 Petherton Road, N5 2RT

De Beauvoir Deli

A cheddar and spring onion toastie frisbee-fling from food Instagram darling Towpath Cafe, there is a place to find delicious sandwiches and baked goods without any of the attendant risk of being nudged into a canal by an influencer trying to get things just right for their #flatlay. There’s breakfast, there’s decent coffee, there’s a frankly absurd range of enticing things in boxes, cans and jars to take away (along with immaculate fresh produce and salad). It’s altogether a more chilled, neighbourhood-y vibe than the Canonbury-Kingsland hinterland’s more celebrated weekend spot, but sometimes — as the spring sun shines (or March snow falls!) and Regents Canal traffic slows to a standstill — chilled and neighbourhood-y can be a very good thing indeed. —George Reynolds
98 Southgate Road, N1 3JD

Radio Alice

One waits for ages for a new pizzeria to open in Clapham, then two come along at once. Pi Pizza, in the disputed territory of Battersea Rise, specialises in heavily laden 20 inch bases (for the hungry boy?) They look the part, but service is hit-and-miss and the toppings are a tad underpowered. Radio Alice, a transplant from Hoxton Square, definitely has the edge. It’s been cheerily decked out with formica and potted plants, and already feels nicely lived-in — no new-opening whiff of wet paint and desperation here. The short-and-sweet menu doesn’t get too crazy (barring the vegan pizza with a beetroot base, on which the jury’s still out), instead letting the likes of burrata, best-quality anchovy fillets and spicy Calabrian sausage speak for themselves. Nduja think it’ll be a success? All the signs so far suggest so. —Emma Hughes
67 Venn Street, SW4 0BD

The Begging Bowl

Jane Alty’s restaurant is one of Peckham’s true gems. “Thai tapas” is what they call it — which refers to the light, fragrant Thai sharing plates with a kick, like clams with ginger, celery and pickled plum; salad of bavette, endive and mangosteen; and deep-fried whole seabass with sweet tamarind sauce, green mango and sea purslane that have given The Begging Bowl such cult status. It’s a largely young and trendy crowd, such is the way on Bellenden Road these days. It is kindly and family-friendly, too. The restaurant is notable also for having incubated so much of the talent that has gone on to create London’s so-called ‘nu-Thai’ scene: chefs who now run the grills and woks at Farang, Smoking Goat and Som Saa. —Laura James
168 Bellenden Road, SE15 4BW

Akari

A common flaw in London’s many izakaya-style places, is that they often just don’t feel like the informal pubs that they’re supposed to. Step forward Akari, an unassuming Japanese bar and restaurant in Islington, which has for years been quietly going about its business in an old — wait for it — Victorian tavern. Sushi is plain vanilla, but at least as enjoyable as any other renowned local sushi spot, with hand rolls and the bara chirashi (sashimi, salmon roe and shiso on a bowl of rice) particularly effective at sating a craving. The hot dish menu is extensive, though all things deep-fried (chicken nanban, a multitude of katsu, tempura and even deep-fried oysters) are suitable counterparts to the cool and crisp Asahi and Kirin Ichiban on draught. Wood panelled, busy and convivial: just like a pub. —Ed Smith
196 Essex Road, N1 8LZ

som saa

43A Commercial Street, , England E1 6BD 020 7324 7790 Visit Website

Farang

72 Highbury Park, , England N5 2XE 020 7226 1609 Visit Website

Westerns Laundry

34 Drayton Park, , England N5 1PB 020 7700 3700 Visit Website

Spring

Lancaster Place, , England WC2R 1LA 020 3011 0115 Visit Website

The Begging Bowl

168 Bellenden Road, , England SE15 4BW 020 7635 2627 Visit Website

Canonbury

Wallace Road, , England N1 2PG 0343 222 1234 Visit Website

Tamarind

20 Queen St, London W1J 5PR, London, 440207 629 3561 Visit Website

Smoking Goat

64 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6JJ

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