Raavi Kebab House
Raavi may appear no-frills from the outside, but it is home to London’s best seekh kebabs. This hole-in-the-wall tandoori grill house is a Drummond Street stalwart for good reason: Pakistani expats flock here for a taste of home. It’s also perfect for a pit-stop between catching trains, as it’s but a stone’s throw from Euston Station. —Salma Haidrani
125 Drummond Street, NW1 2HL
Antepliler Künefe Salonu
If only Phantom Thread’s Reynolds Woodcock had made his infamous breakfast order at Antepliler Kunefe Salonu, then he would have had no trouble deciding what to get. Here there is one choice and one choice only: kunefe. Everything about this dessert embraces overkill, but crucially stops just short of cloying. Wiry discs of kadayif pastry are stuffed with cheese and fried in a copper skillet, before being drenched in syrup and Antep pistachios. There’s the option of clotted cream on top, which is such a perfect pairing its barely even a choice at all. The only drink is black tea; bracingly bitter and hot from the samovar, and vital for cutting through the richness. Really the only thing for a hungry boy to decide is whether to share or have a whole one. —Jonathan Nunn
46 Green Lanes, N4 1AG
At the weekends, liquor isn’t just poured over pie and mash at old-school gaff F Cooke. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the shop opens late for its ‘cocktail club’, serving “East End meets the tropics” drinks. Knock back a rum old fashioned, a couple of piña coladas or, for the brave, jellied eel house punch. Also, there’s no better drinking food than a hearty side of pastry and carbs. Cheers to that. —Daisy Meager
9 Broadway Market, E8 4PH
Asian accented dishes drive the reassuringly short menu at Arch Rivals, run by chef Michael Sanders and Karen Bundgaard. The bar occupies an arch on a stretch of Forest Gate’s Winchelsea Road that now has more than enough going on to justify bedding in for the evening in E7; neighbours include The Wanstead Tap and Burgess and Hall wines.
The menu takes inspiration from NYC chefs Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese) and David Chang (Momofuku), featuring the likes of kedgeree fried rice; fried chicken with ‘Mission Chinese’ spice, mushroom mapo tofu with jalapeño cornbread, onglet steak ssäm with lettuce and kimchi, and dan dan fried rice — the mouth-numbing hum of Sichuan peppercorns features all over.
A sharply chosen list of beers and wines features local Forest Gate brewery Pretty Decent Beer Co.
A recent, outrageous brunch dish of ‘sausage and egg (Mc)Muffin’ featured its “rip-off of the Golden Arches classic” with free-range sausage patty, American cheese, slow cooked egg yolks and kimchi ketchup: In other words, an Exocet missile aimed squarely at the most savage of hangovers. —Zeren Wilson
361 Winchelsea Rd, E7 0AQ
The Garden Cafe
Lucky old Archbishop of Canterbury having this place on his doorstep. Sitting in the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the Garden Café is in culinary no-man’s land, but repays a brisk hike along the Embankment. The set-up can feel a bit austere if it’s quiet (imagine a large Scandinavian potting shed), but the menu is as jolly as can be on a Bank Holiday weekend. It’s mostly assemblages of good things, pace Fergus Henderson and Jeremy Lee: trotter and nduja croquettes, mutton with peas, turnips and wild garlic, seasonal fruits smooshed with meringue and whipped cream. The wine list is short but strikingly well priced, and there’s no extra charge for the (totally delicious) bread. Talk about the answer to a prayer. —Emma Hughes
5 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, SE1 7LB