This weekly column suggests London restaurants to try over the weekend. There are three rules: The restaurants must not be featured in either the Eater London 38 Essential map, or the monthly updated Heatmap, and the recommendations must be outside Zone 1. In need of even more London restaurant recommendations? Head to the 5 to Try restaurant recommendation archive.
There is a lot to dislike about Michelin stars: their distribution problematically skews male, white, and so often either towards French, Japanese, or South Asian fine dining, thus ignoring so many talents across this fine city. However, when they are rightfully awarded to deserving low-key establishments such as The Dysart Petersham, they guarantee weeks of jubilance that is worth rushing to Richmond for. Set in a Gothic, million-windowed pile just across from Richmond park, this is a wonderful restaurant quietly serving exceptionally stylish food. The lunch menu is particularly good value and includes a fantastic piece of charred mullet, which rests on a radish in an exquisitely perfumed broth of ginger, champagne, and lime. The simply advertised “Middle White pork, apple, and girolles” is a beautiful assembly of roasted belly, poached loin, and croquettes of pulled pork with light sautéed girolles, individually picked thyme leaves, and sweet crunches of apple and cabbage. It is a dish, much like the Dysart itself, that under-promises and over-delivers. Credit to the inspectors. —Leila Latif
135 Petersham Road, TW10 7AA
“Artisan street food” could strike fear into anyone’s heart: visions of centuries-old modes of dining built around the rhythms of community, stripped of their context and rudely transplanted into glossy buildings or shipping containers. Street food, sterilised in its yanking from the roadside. Thank god London has none of that.
Co-owner Puneet Wadhwani, who founded the restaurant with operations director Preeti Gupta Wadwanhi, runs Patri with a warmth that thrives off its raucous bustle, conversation rattling off the tin can cutlery holders and corrugated iron flats that amplify the noise like the thunder sheets every child dreams of playing at primary school. Once the door clacks, Northfield Avenue vanishes in the hubbub. Head chef Govind Singh delivers Mughlai nawabi seekh kebabs that might trouble the gums of the apocryphal toothless Nawab, with both a hum and bristle of cumin and chilli; shahi laal maas, whose sauce, deep crimson with mathania chilli, bulwarks hunks of mutton; naan as inflated as a ghee whoopee cushion. There’s a range of of chaats and puris, including Jodhpur’s girlfriend chaat infernal enough to inspire “heard ur boyfriend” memes, and a dal makhani that puts Dishoom’s eulogised version to shame. It turns out that all “artisan street food” needs is thought, skill, and care, all in happy surplus at one of Ealing’s best restaurants. —James Hansen
139 Northfield Ave, Northfields, London W13 9QT
Picture al fresco dining and one might conjure an image of devouring freshly caught fish on the Amalfi coast, or a modest but perfect plate of pasta somewhere on a Roman piazza. But how about Colliers Wood on an grey autumn day with a panoramic view of a retail park and a drive thru Burger King? Maybe not everyone’s version of paradise but there’s still beauty to be found here, especially sitting by the road at Liqui Liqui — one of London’s best exclusively Venezuelan spots. Tequeños, spiral wands of pastry and salted cheese, are made in house by the owner’s Cornish husband and are best dipped in a fruit mango chilli, while cachapas the colour of a Caracquenian sun are clearly made of fresh, good-quality corn and provide a bright sweetness to what are essentially meat or cheese sandwiches. There are plenty of arepa choices, stuffed in the Venezuelan style and generally a cut above what’s available in Elephant and Castle, but if you don’t mind feeling like a dumbbell for the rest of the day order the patacon amarillo, a rarely seen Maracaibo speciality — essentially a sandwich where the bread has been replaced with fried ripe plantain and filled with either beef or strands of expertly cooked pulled pork. And if the sun comes out, the vista onto the A24 is majestic. —Jonathan Nunn
4-6 Merton High St, Colliers Wood, SW19 1DN
Freshly cut noodles in neutral shades of ivory and dun lie coiled in wooden boxes ready to be plunged into boiling water behind the counter at Men, a new noodle bar on Chatsworth Road in Hackney from the team behind Uchi in Clapton. As easy on the eye as it is, nothing about this ‘stand-up’ joint encourages lingering, not the white tiles, the cool tube lighting, nor the hard metal stools (there is in fact seating both inside and out). The menu’s short: a choice of udon, ramen, soba, or rice noodles and a few sides with a couple of topping and stock options per noodle type. Prawn tempura soba and pork ramen are early front-runners. Cash only (twenty quid should suffice). —Hilary Armstrong
51 Chatsworth Road, E5 0LH
Squires African Restaurant
Some time before the small stretch of Barking Road by Central Park started to establish itself as a nexus for Nigerian cuisine, Squires was providing serious home comfort food for the East End community. A vermillion pile of Jollof rice has an uncharacteristic — but delightfully — butteriness, with a lingering tomato sweetness. A portion of suya is huge; generously dusted with amber seasoning, almost neon against hunks of dark, tender beef. Redolent with ginger and raw onion, it banishes the chill brought by rain and wind. So too, does the crowning dish, a whole white fish submerged in pepper soup — pillowy flesh mixing beautifully with delicate spice. Despite a host of newcomers lifting the offering in the area, it is a comfort to know that Squires still a strong standby for such good food. —Shekha Vyas
272 Barking Road, E6 3BA