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.
Three Sheets on Kingsland Road is the kind of bar that’s perfect at any stage of the evening. Whether it’s winding down after work with its take on a French 75, a pre-dinner martini (one of the best in London), post-dinner sour, or getting kicked out past closing (it happens to the best of us). It’s cosy and cool, and a bar designed to have fun with dates and mates. Drinks are grown-up and elegant but one doesn’t have to be to drink here. —Daisy Meager
510b Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 4AB
Chances are — if, say, candles are your thing — you’ve heard of Brilliant Corners. It’s one of those rare London venues that is actually a bar, also a restaurant, and a place that plays excellent music through a proper sound system: more than the sum of its parts, excelling in at least two of the above. (The Japanese food is perfectly serviceable, but unworthy of a special trip.) The drinks list, however, and especially a wine list composed by someone who, say, might like candles — which is to say largely natural, always interesting, and designed to wind up traditionalists — is worth a detour at least. Come for the wine, stay for the sounds. Maybe even sneak in a couple of portions of the chicken karaage. —Adam Coghlan
470 Kingsland Road, Dalston, E8 4AE
Rions Lebanese Restaurant
In an area already rich with African, South Asian, and Eastern European establishments, Rions Lebanese Restaurant is a compelling addition to a fast-flourishing and evolving culinary neighbourhood. And it has hit the ground running. A selection of traditional mezze and grill items impress, as well as homemade mint-infused ayran and fresh juices. Hummus shawarma comes piled with a towering mass of glistening tender lamb, making this almost a meal in itself with fresh bread. Falafel are light, crumbly and flavoursome, while batata harra features a pleasant heat from roasted peppers. Halloumi’s crispy shell gives way to a pillowy soft interior, its delicious saltiness offset by a smattering of tart pomegranate. Prices and portions also make this one of the best-value options around, evidenced by the buzz even during midweek lunchtime, with families making the most of half term at tables heaving with this wholesome food. —Shekha Vyas
E, 301 Barking Rd, East Ham, London E6 1LB
Tooting and Broadway Markets
There are two markets on Tooting High Street but they’re not separated by area. They exist, against all laws of quantum physics, co-spatially, superimposed on top of each other across Tooting and Broadway markets. The first market is the buzzy one, the one that lazier people might describe as full of modern British eateries, ramen joints, southern barbecue, wine bars, craft beer shops, a coffee shop proclaiming “Tooting: So Hot Right Now”, another Franco Manca. Didn’t Orwell say “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a Franco Manca opening in every indoor market in Britain, forever”?
The other market is the one that doesn’t feature in the Country and Town House list. The units here by themselves aren’t yet destinations, perhaps with the exception of Chef Jojo Manalo and his Filipino breakfasts and swoon-worthy kare-kare, but together they make a great case for a crawl. There are two other Filipino restaurants: Ading’s which makes a mean sisig, heavy with bits of crunchy ear and liver, well fried into sticky anonymity; and the improbably named Chels Angels run by three women who make a beef bulalo broth smacking with marrow fat. Manges des Iles is one of the city’s few Mauritian cafes, with a rotating list of curries and wraps that can be supplemented with crispy snacks, while Pepi’s must have the widest range of Guyanese bakes available in the U.K. — from cassava pone to pine tarts and salara, a roly poly pink coloured coconut bun. To be clear: this mixed economy is a good thing for now and there is currently nowhere else this matrix of vendors exists, but there is still a visible separation between the two conceptions of what a market should be. The hope is that some day Londoners might realise that the two markets are, in fact, one and the same. —Jonathan Nunn
29 Tooting High St, Tooting, London SW17 0RJ
This famous international chain of contemporary North Indian restaurants, which first launched in what was then Bombay in 1972, has just opened its first London branch in Westfield’s Southern Terrace, opposite Waitrose. It was founded by the Kapur family, who left what is now Pakistan during the partition period to settle in Bombay. It specialises in food from the undivided North, including Peshawar, Punjab, and the North-West Frontier, with many original recipes dating back to that era.
The first Bombay branch, with a pioneering open-view kitchen, was once among the city’s most glittering venues, where families dressed up to dine out on special occasions. Unlike that restaurant, there’s no actual copper chimney by the entrance here; just a row of copper bells hanging over the centre of a narrow room. It does have a see-through glass box of a kitchen though, where a lot of chefs can be viewed skewering kababs, and cooking roomali rotis on upturned tawas, tossing them high into the air. These huge ‘handkerchief breads’ are also available as a masala papad-like snack, slathered with ghee and dressed with spices. There are succulent chicken kababs cooked in the tandoor, and charred lamb chops to be eaten with scrunched-up chura paratha and chelo rice. The spicing in dishes like tawa potatoes with lime juice and chaat masala, slow-cooked black dal, and caramelised garlic-spiked spinach are subtle, more like nuanced home-cooking than the overly spiced restaurant-style that’s prevalent. Other items like austere ab-e-hayat coconut soup, and a milky vermicelli pudding called muzaffar, are not found anywhere else in London. —Sejal Sukhadwala
Unit 1028, Southern Terrace, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, W12 7GF.