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Five Restaurants to Try This Weekend

This week’s instalment includes cuisines Burmese, Ethiopian, Malaysian, Italian — and cheese toasties

Sambal Shiok’s prawn laksa
Anna Sulan Masing/Eater London

Cafe Mandalay

This small, casual café tucked away near Old Street is a cheerful red oasis in an otherwise dingy part of town. Its main trade is in generously-filled sandwiches and wonderful, home-baked cakes, but chef-owner Ko Kyaw Thu Ya from Yangon also happens to serve Burmese dishes such as ohn no khao swè (coconut chicken noodles) and khayunthee kyet (aubergine curry). Order 24 hours in advance for his delicious lahpet thohk (pickled tea leaf salad) and other more unusual dishes. —MiMi Aye
91 Murray Grove, N1 7QJ

Sambal Shiok

The former market trader and pop-up resident, Sambal Shiok Laksa Bar, has now opened on Holloway Road — a strip of Islington that is still replete with student pubs, dotted between its wine bars and cool cafes. Not surprisingly, the stars of the menu are the laksas — rich, deep, complex broth with a wonderful heat that builds, available with prawns, chicken or tofu (with vegan broth.) Malaysian’s believe it is the perfect thing for a hot summer day. This laksa is inspired from owner Mandy Yin’s childhood in Kuala Lumpur, with the influence of Penang and Peranakan cooking. Also try the achar pickles and fried chicken with satay sauce to start. —Anna Sulan Masing
171 Holloway Road, N7 8LX

Froth & Rind

In the Brexit-proximate hellscape of 2018, seasons — lovely, European seasons, with sun and snow and all that jazz — no longer exist. No, there are now just days when it rays and days when it doesn’t, some of which are slightly warmer than others. The only upside to this sorry state of affairs is that it’s almost always toastie weather, even in June. Make the most of it at deli Froth & Rind, which in addition to being one of the nicest places to shop in Walthamstow has a wicked way with slices of cheese and a sandwich press. The combos, pleasingly, have a definite ‘Better Together’ vibe: think Fourre d’Ambert with walnuts and local honey or Red Leicester with chorizo and piccalilli. Stick that in your pipe, Nige. —Emma Hughes
37 Orford Rd, Walthamstow, E17 9NL

Zia Lucia

Snapping at the heels of London’s essential pizzerias, Zia Lucia is a quintessential 2018 ristorante: slow-fermented tradition and D.O.P. pride dovetail with hospitable flexibility and activated charcoal; the Lucia for whom it is named both a symbolic nod to Italy’s culinary sociology and a bona fide Zia. Flinging impeccably-sourced toppings on any of their four blistered bases, this is serious pizza: a somewhat Iberian fleck of roasted peppers peps up pepperoni; truffle honey anoints taleggio on the Arianna (grande) while the Vegana’s butternut squash cream is unassumingly inventive. There are spritzes, of course, and the all-Italian wine list is gluggable: when the awning-sheltered terrace outside is abuzz with chatter, contentment and hungry queueing, Holloway Road has a slice, however small, of la dolce vita. —James Hansen
157 Holloway Rd, N7 8LX or 61 Blythe Rd, W14 0HP

Artwork depicting the intimate tradition of gursha
Jonathan Nunn/Twitter

Wolkite Kitfo

Tucked away in the no-mans land around the Emirates Stadium, Wolkite Kitfo rivals Xi’an Impression for the most unlikely place to get a pre- or post- game snack. The speciality here is the Ethiopian dish of kitfo, a blend of beef and mitmita (a mixture of chillis, spices and salt), served either raw or barely cooked with warm butter so it melts deliciously on tongue contact. Apart from the traditional kitfo side dishes of gomen (collard greens) and salted cheese, there are plenty of firmly spiced meat or pulse stews and tibs to mop up with sour injera or the lesser seen cocho/qocho, a flatbread made from the false banana plant. Service here is exceptionally friendly and staff will be more than happy to guide beginners through the menu and the wall artwork, which depicts the intimate tradition of gursha (honouring someone by feeding them with your hands). —Jonathan Nunn
82 Hornsey Road, N7 7NN

Sambal Shiok

171 Holloway Road, London, Greater London N7 8LX

Wolkite Kitfo Restaurant & Cafe

82 Hornsey Road, London, Greater London N7 7NN +44 20 7700 3055 Visit Website

Cafe Mandalay

91 Murray Grove, , England N1 7QJ 020 3645 4924

Froth & Rind

37 Orford Road, , England E17 9NL Visit Website

Lahpet

58 Bethnal Green Road, , England E1 6JW 020 3883 5629 Visit Website

Zia Lucia

157 Holloway Road, , England N7 8LX 020 7700 3708 Visit Website

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