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.
MoiMoi, suya, jerk, French taco, ewa agoyin, supa kanja. For even the most well-versed food obsessed Londoner, MoiMoi Island poses a must-try newness that doesn’t come along every day. Marrying West African and Caribbean staples in new eating formats is owner Omar Shah’s latest foray into keeping himself uncomfortable at all times. A food brand to entice the new generation of multi-cultural-quick-on-the-uptake-food-literate-social-media-savants. People who frequent and follow food businesses the same way they do fashion, in search of the latest drop to cop or hype to beast with a regularity previously unheard of.
MoiMoi Island offers rice plates, wings, riffs on nacho fries and also introduces London to Europe’s latest fast food phenom, the French Taco. The love child of a panini and a burrito, in this case it constitutes an overly sized tortilla filled with cheese sauce, chips and/or rice, suya or jerk chicken along with American cheese, more sauces and then wrapped before being branded with griddle marks in a panini press. Flavourful, fattening and satisfying, it’s the star attraction in a whole new language of lunch and late night dining. —Feroz Gajia
81 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY
The Authentic Souvlaki at Chatsworth Road Market
All relationships nourish — even ones that end in divorce, living on opposite sides of the globe. Especially if they teach the love of a great souvlaki. Query the use of ‘authentic’ in the name, over semantics — souvlakia has a long history with many interactions, and derives from an old Greek word for skewer and is often still served on skewers beside pita and salad — but The Authentic Souvlaki makes damn good souvlakia on a Sunday. The pita is the prefect amount of chewy, it’s crammed full of crunchy iceberg lettuce and great chips, served with halloumi or chicken. It’s enormous and perfect for hungover Sundays. Might be best to share. Maybe with a new friend. The whole of Chatsworth Road Market is a good wander. —Anna Sulan Masing
46-51 Chatsworth Road, Clapton E5 0LH
The Dutchie Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
One of the keenest disappointments of any curried dish is the harsh rasp of under-roasted spice. What a delight then, to find a restaurant that serves as a reminder of what a flawless example should be. The curried goat at The Dutchie Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, which seems to be a hidden gem for all of Croydon’s Caribbean community, is a strong contender for best in London. Its flavour profile is a perfectly layered balance of spices in a gravy which rolls around the tongue like velvet. Coating generous portions of tender meat, it is an affirmation of all this dish is, when done well. Rice and peas too is moist and well executed with a gentle whisper of sweet coconut. Another menu highlight is the Hellshire shrimp, spicy, shell-on prawns that pack a dangerously addictive punch. With food this good — and a menu made for sharing — it is no surprise that the place is heaving on a Saturday night, despite being discreetly tucked above the bustling Surrey Street Market. —Shekha Vyas
3 The Arcade, 32-34 High Street CR0 1YB
Lyon’s Seafood and Wine Bar
It’s a fair old trundle on the W7 from Finsbury Park station to Crouch End, but hang on in there, because waiting at the other end is some of London’s most interesting seafood. After spending two decades overseeing front of house at the likes of The Wolseley and Hix, Anthony Lyon has opened a neighbourhood restaurant and wine bar majoring on day-boat fish and shellfish platters. Fish ‘crackling’ and sourdough with moreishly briny, lactic seaweed butter set the scene for Carlingford and Ostra Regal oysters, thoughtfully served with variety-specific garnishes. Buttermilk cod cheeks are sensational, almost chicken-fried little morsels with rouille for dunking, while crispy potato with ‘chip-shop curry’ gives Quality Chop a run for its money in the spud stakes. Miso fish collars look a little sparse on the plate but yield piles of tender, practically confit meat, cut through by seaweed mayo. The ‘uncommon bottles’ that make up the wine list dance between English and lesser-known Continental, and the staff seriously know their stuff. —Emma Hughes
1 Park Road, Crouch End N8 8TE
Most Londoners’ idea of a ‘Mumbai local’ is their nearest branch of Dishoom. There’s no storytelling or homage at this Mumbai Local though — a Mumbai-Gujarati mini chain named after the city’s local commuter train. The original restaurant opened next to the popular Nita Cash and Carry in Wembley, which also owns it. This is the second branch, and the third is in Rayners Lane — all specialising in the city’s famous chaats. Most of London’s Gujarati restaurants have been around for decades and are looking a bit worn; this is a rare example of a shiny, relatively new venture that’s thriving, with a contemporary look, buzzy atmosphere, chatty regulars, and clued-up service. Other than street food, the menu is mind-bogglingly vast, encompassing Punjabi curries, South Indian snacks, Indian-Chinese noodles, a variety of sandwiches and chips, soups, tandoori ‘sizzlers’ — and a rare showcase of rustic dishes from the Kathiyawad region. Ragda pani puri — a fusion of two different chaats, ragda patties and pani puri — comes with fresh, crisp shells of miniscule puris, clove-and-cinnamon-accented dried white pea stew, and a small jug of ‘pani’ spiked with mint leaves, black salt and little chickpea flour nuggets of boondi. The ragda is unusually served warm — a recent cold-weather trend in India that’s yet to go mainstream in London. There’s also a bling-tastic, bright pink, cardamom-scented falooda with good-quality ice cream, a thick swirl of cream sitting on top like a beehive hairdo. —Sejal Sukhadwala
207 Station Road, Harrow HA1 2TP