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Two quesadillas in waxed paper, mushroom and grilled cheese filling spilling out.
Mushroom quesadillas at Bodega Rita’s
Hester van Hensbergen

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The Best Dishes Eater London’s Editors and Writers Ate This Week

Eater’s editors and writers share their highlights from seven days of eating

A warm welcome back to the column which highlights the best dishes (or things) Eater London staff and/or contributors ate during the week.

Friday 2 December 2022

A bowl with broth, noodles, wonton crisp, chicken, shallots, paprika oil with a wooden spoon on top
The Ohn-no kauk swe at Lahpet West End
Apoorva Sripathi

Ohn-no kauk swe at Lahpet

Sometimes I find it very difficult to choose between bread and rice, both carbs have captured my heart equally (although I always go for rice in the end). At Lahpet however, I faced a conundrum bigger than that — noodles or rice? If rice, then braised mutton curry to go with it. If noodles, then the ohn-no kauk swe with its galaxy of toppings. It is this that I went with in the end. Slippery egg noodles in a sharp broth spiked with paprika oil and containing perfectly juicy chicken, with a tousle of coriander leaves. A winner through and through on a cold autumn evening. Especially if your companion gets the braised mutton curry with rice and you both swap every few mouthfuls. Apoorva Sripathi
21 Slingsby Place, Covent Garden WC2H 9JP

A plate of agnolotti bathed in warm autumnal light, flecked with Parmesan cheese and purple radicchio leaves.
Soft autumn light over the agnolotti at Brawn.
James Hansen

Agnolotti with Delica pumpkin, radicchio, chestnut, and sage at Brawn

Of all the dishes during a birthday lunch bathed in soft November light, this was the one I ate least of — a single bite, before my fiancée decided she wanted it instead. The deep purple bitterness of radicchio, brown sweetness of chestnuts, and fugitive green whisper of sage were all in service of one greater good: adding complexity to the plainspoken sweetness of pumpkin inside the agnolotti. This Columbia Road institution is on enviable form as the leaves turn and frosts descend — no matter whose plate you actually eat. James Hansen
49 Columbia Road, Shoreditch E2 7RG

A shop front with a table and chairs outside, next to a blue flat bed
Outside Devi Dhaba on Central Street.
Jonathan Nunn
Chickpeas, paneer, and lamb meatballs — with rice just poking through in the centre on a white plate
Chickpeas, paneer, and lamb meatballs on rice.
Jonathan Nunn

Chickpeas, paneer, and lamb meatballs at Devi Dhaba

Often the best finds happen with the least effort. Wong Kar-Wai spent two years and two million dollars making Ashes of Time, a film everyone seems to collectively pretend doesn’t exist, and in a two month break made his most beloved film, Chungking Express, on a shoestring budget. In the same vein, my ongoing quest to find great banh mi via a baroque Russian doll of tip-offs led me to La Banh Mi off Central Street this week, eating a sandwich you’d be pleased to have near your office but wouldn’t bother travelling for. And without really trying at all, I then found myself in Devi Dhaba #CurryClub right on the square opposite the second best chippy in London, Fish Central.

Devi Dhaba is a Rajasthani lunch spot that looks like a salvage shop, like if Lassco started serving chana masala. The format is almost exactly the same as the rice and three Punjabi cafés you find in Manchester: your choice of three microwaved curries on rice for a fiver, with a drink thrown in. Options on this day included lamb meatballs, chicken, paneer, chickpeas, and daal, though they vary through the week. I got the chickpeas, paneer, and lamb meatballs. On the first bite of meatball, which tasted like my mother’s spicy attempts at marinara, at once I felt at peace with my failed banh mi trip. All that was missing, really, was a chef’s salad. Jonathan Nunn
King’s Square, 127 Central Street, Old Street EC1V 8AP

A dollop of grilled apple sauce next to three brown grilled kofte on a white plate, on top of a wooden table
Cull yaw kofte with grilled apple at Mangal II.
Joel Hart

Cull yaw kofte with grilled apple at Mangal II

Everything is alchemy in Mangal II’s strikingly innovative take on the Turkish mangal, but the cull yaw kofte captures its essence by creating something novel without foregoing an obvious nod to the genre. It is still a grilled kofte, but made from cull yaw, a product exemplifying the transformation taking place in British farming. Its sublime flavour will have your eyes rolling back in ecstasy, and the elegant quenelle of apple sauce on the side serves its purpose in cutting through the fattiness. Joel Hart
4 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston N16 7XN

Two quesadillas in waxed paper, mushroom and grilled cheese filling spilling out.
Mushroom quesadillas at Bodega Rita’s.
Hester van Hensbergen

Mushroom Quesadillas at Bodega Rita’s

Now that a mediocre sandwich or roll can set me back five or six pounds, I am increasingly finding that, if I have to eat a quick meal out, I’d rather spend a tenner on a great sandwich than resent the wasted pounds. I found myself in town and hungry last night with a craving for cheese on toast. I made a beeline towards St. John for rarebit but stopped a few hundred feet short, when I noticed that the hot pink lights of Bodega Rita’s were still glowing after nine. Trussed up with fairy lights and Feliz Navidad paper bells, it was a siren song. I picked the closest thing to cheese on toast: oyster mushroom quesadillas, which filled the room with sweetcorn air as they slid across the aluminium counter. The fried cheese and mushrooms combined to form coral sculptures that poked boldly over the edges of the tortillas. These were melded together further by a rich but passive mole coloradito that warranted plenty of dipping in Valentina hot sauce. The bodega is open late on Thursdays with a “Night Menu” throughout December. —Hester van Hensbergen
91 Cowcross Street, Farringdon EC1M 6BH

A banh mi cut in two with plenty of coriander trim on a flowery plate on top of a wooden slatted table
Banh mi at Bonu Cakes and Tea, just off Tottenham Court Road.
Tanita de Ruijt

Banh mi at Bonu Cakes and Tea

This shop is located just off Tottenham Court Road station and is all about the classic banh mi. A crunchy baguette loaded with cold cuts including thin slices of boiled pork sausage, shaved grilled pork with its characteristic red edges — plus house-made pate, mayonnaise, pickled vegetables, pork floss, and coriander. Tanita de Ruijt
11 Great Russell Street, Tottenham Court Road WC1B 3BQ

Friday 18 November 2022

Durak Tantuni’s tantuni
Durak Tantuni’s tantuni.
Michaël Protin

A golden week in London,
by the man who usually hates everything

You can orchestrate a series of good meals in London fairly easy, but it takes a certain series of very fortunate events to have a golden week filled with the best of old and new eating.

A couple of excellent grilled meat boxes from Hohaki, as mentioned by editor at large Adam last week, started things strongly, followed by Tuesday’s excellent revisit to Durak Tantuni for the first time in over a year. An excellent single spicy, followed by a double (single referring to a single lavash wrapped around the chopped meat filling, and double being two lavash, with a slightly increased amount of filling to balance it.)

Tuesday night then led to a meal at my most dined restaurant of 2022, Haringey Corbacisi, for lamb and yoghurt soup topped with crispy chilli butter and chopped garlic alongside meltingly tender izmir kofte.

The middle of the week saw a missed chance to visit Paris for Pizzamarole, but instead was punctuated with an excellent meal at 180 at the Corner by chef Tubo Logier, previously of the Clove Club and P. Franco. Everything cooked and seasoned thoughtfully with a well balanced progression. It was a triumph of Japanese cooking technique served with French coursing sensibility.

An exceptionally good meal at 40 Maltby Street full of technique and delicious produce really signalled the start of autumn, the highlight being carlin peas black as cannonballs, served with a gratin-like celeriac pudding and exceptionally measured pickling of cabbage.

A double bill of old school and contemporary grilling filled Saturday evening, with a plate of the classic grilled lamb ribs at the newly refurbed Umut 2000 and a plethora of grilled proteins at Oren, including Cornish shark on freekeh and a lamb belly shawarma that was a delicious pile of crisped edges, fat soaked croutons and highly spiced lamb. It only improved when it was shoved inside a pita that contained Jerusalem mixed grill (chicken offal and thigh chopped up on the griddle dressed with amba, tahina, and chopped chillies).

Having the opportunity to eat some excellent bakes from Shinya Pain courtesy of Eater alum Jonathan Nunn and then bookend my golden week of eating with a kimchi reuben pizza from All Kaps Pizza checked all the mental tickboxes. Restorative. —Feroz Gajia

Black pork curry and rice on blue plate at Circle Paradise in Shad Thames
Black pork curry and rice at Circle Paradise in Shad Thames.
Guan Chua

Sri Lankan Black pork kari rice bowl at the Circle Paradise

I have heard whispers over the years from a few friends who live locally in Shad Thames about a tiny, unassuming coffee shop in the area serving up a daily selection of Sri Lankan specialties alongside other caff staples. Stopped by for a late lunch here just before close and was treated to some truly hearty, homely and delicious curries! The friendly proprietors were kind enough to load up my rice bowl with a medley of everything they had remaining on the day — black pork curry, chicken curry, green beans, cabbage and leek, aubergine and peppers — all topped off with a flourish of moreish coconut sambol! Unbeatable value for money too: easily the best £7.99 I have spent in London in recent memory. —Guan Chua
8 Queen Elizabeth Street, Tower Bridge Road SE1 2JE

Sopa de Mani and a bottle of Coke at Jenecheru on Old Kent Road
Sopa de mani at Jenecheru on Old Kent Road.
Hester van Hensbergen

Sopa de mani at Jenecheru

It’s the sound of Sunday lunch at Jenecheru that sticks: metal ladles slapping plastic tubs of sweet liquid and half-suspended corn kernels; families catching up across long tables; the rustle of winter coats and plastic bags winding through the crowd as people collect orders of lechon al horno and mounds of crisp, salty pastries; the TV that no one is watching. When a toddler starts wailing, no one blinks. As if coordinated, the whole room raises voices a decibel higher in happy competition. Our eating drifts in and out of the din. There are quiet moments, over soft and cake-like choclo corn kernels, sweet potato baked until it almost dissolves, and tender stewed tongue. But the best dish, sopa de mani, I taste most in listening: it’s the crunch of the tiny potato chips in this otherwise silken peanut-and-chicken stew, and then the way that sound loses its edge as they soften in the blonde broth, gifting their salt to it. —Hester van Hensbergen
206 Old Kent Road, Walworth SE1 5TY

Gnocchi and tomato sauce on an ornate blue and orange plate
Gnocchi and tomato sauce at Terroni in Clerkenwell.
Isaac Rangaswami

Gnocchi and tomato sauce at Terroni

Today my friend and I went to L Terroni & Sons, that 142 year-old Italian delicatessen on Clerkenwell Road. I love the pastas here, along with the foot-worn mosaic in the place’s doorway. I had the gnocchi with tomato sauce, which was soft, sweet and served on a lovely decorative plate. My mate had the calzone, which was so colossal that our neighbours gasped when it arrived. “Is that for two people?” one guy said, after he took a photo. —Isaac Rangaswami
138 Clerkenwell Road, Clerkenwell EC1R 5DL

Panettone, torn away to reveal its fluffy yellow crumb.
Panettone magnifico.
Sean Wyer

Classic panettone from Kouttone

Based mainly on my early experiences of industrially produced panettoni, I once wrongly assumed that they played the same role in Italy that Christmas cake does for many families in the U.K.: something people eat and give each other out of habit, “because it’s Christmas,” rather than something they look forward to. In recent years, after eating some exceptional panettoni in Milan and Bologna, I have revised this assessment.

Cem Altinsoy’s aim with his Catford bakery, Kouttone, is to get Londoners eating panettone all year round. He’s not quite a single-issue campaigner, but he’s not far off. Eating his classic panettone is like eating a cloud, in the very best way: a cloud made with delicious pasta madre, home-candied citrus, egg yolks, butter, and some sort of wizardry. But would I buy one in July? Never say never. —Sean Wyer

Friday 11 November 2022

A rectangular blue ceramic plate with shredded beef on it.
Shredded beef, at Etles.
Hester van Hensbergen

Shredded beef at Etles Uyghur

A method for the embrace of winter: Watch amateur fireworks. Do something new and scary to your hair. Wash the mounting pile of veg box roots and invent a pasta sauce. Try Horlicks. Remember that it does not, in fact, taste like the inside of a Malteser. Dig out your long warm coat: find it riddled with a new landscape of uneven holes and throw it into the bin in the rain. Get the train to Walthamstow Central and head for the duck egg blue caress of Etles Uyghur. Share lamb skewers. Imagine pulling them straight from the fire, the hot gleaming swords looming for your lips. Resist the urge to eat the leghmen noodles — sinuous and supple from the chef’s fingertips — with your hands. Order the fish-fragrant beef, wait to go dentist-numb, then look giddily at each other. Subtly angle for the last wood ear mushroom, wrinkled and slick like landlocked seaweed. —Hester van Hensbergen
235 Hoe Street, Walthamstow E17 9PP

Bun cha with carrots
Hohaki’s bun cha.
Adam Coghlan

Grilled pork and chicken bun cha at Hohaki

Full thanks to the “flaneur foodie,” Feroz Gajia for his Instagram Stories recommendation (itself via Guan Chua) for small Vietnamese lunchtime spot — between Liverpool Street and Aldgate — called Hohaki. This is elite fast food; the best grilled meats I’ve eaten since Sunlight’s jerk chicken last week. The smoky char from the grill behind the till is prominent in both five-spiced chicken and pork, but because the latter had been given a little time to rest, after its fat had been rendered, it took on a fabulous, almost confit-like texture. Outstanding, delicious, it was served as a bun cha — on a bed of rice noodles, and some crisp crunchy salad with a fish sauce, rice vinegar dressing, and a dusting of crushed peanuts and fried shallots. —Adam Coghlan
68 Middlesex Street, E1 7EZ

Moo krob at Singburi

You are reading Eater. You are almost certainly well-acquainted with Singburi. You have picked the remnants of moo krob (thrice, I believe, fried belly pork) from your teeth on many occasions. So, I should be clever and talk about the chu chee stuffed peppers with ikura, which, if you squinted, wouldn’t look out of place on a much cheffier menu in a much cheffier restaurant — testament to Sirichai Kularbwong’s inventive cooking, which is much better than it needs to be, given what you pay to eat here. Or maybe I could mention the pork chop moo ping style — with a fat to meat ratio that would please Big Sam Allardyce (and me and my pals — we ordered it twice).

But I’m leaving London for a bit and this might be the last time I’ll eat at Singburi for a while so I’m plumping for a mainstay on the ever-changing specials board. I’ve eaten moo krob countless times, with countless different people. It’s a seasoning or punctuation for the entire meal: to be plucked at sporadically (and greedily) like popcorn or crisps. And it represents what Singburi is to me: a no-nonsense, crowd-pleasing mess of fingers, plates and conversation that delivers on tasty, consistent food like nothing else I know of in the city. What’s more, moo krob is versatile. On this occasion our fourth portion served as the perfect dessert. —Tom Ford
593 High Road, Leytonstone E11 4PA

Fare’s tart tatin
Fare’s tart tatin.
Apoorva Sripathi

Tarte tatin at Fare

You know that Shania Twain song where she’s hardly impressed by anything or anyone? Well I can bet that this tarte tatin at Fare would indeed impress her much and keep her warm on a long, cold, lonely night. Warm, buttery, and indulgent, the pears were enveloped in a delicate pastry and coddled by a perfectly spiced caramel, and complimented by a cold scoop of ice cream — while my companion’s tiramisu paled in comparison. I don’t remember much about that horrid rainy night but I can never forget this wonderful dessert that I fell in love with. Everyone needs this in their life, including and especially Shania Twain. —Apoorva Sripathi
11 Old Street, Clerkenwell EC1V 9HL

Friday 4 November 2022

Whole roast duck at Four Seasons
Whole roast duck at Four Seasons.
Diya Mukherjee

Whole roast duck at Four Seasons

Until last month, my meals in Chinatown would always begin on an iconic green table in the erstwhile dumpling stalwart, Jen Café. Since its sudden closure, I feel like an anchorless ship in the area. If Jen Café was about whetting your appetite with dainty snacks, my new first port of call, Four Seasons, is about ordering a whole duck with all the trimmings, and feasting until you can scarcely imagine you will ever have an appetite again. It sets a rather different tone, but I’m starting to get used to it. —Sean Wyer
84 Queensway, Queensway W2 3RL

Ham and pineapple pizza at Mamma Dough
Ham and pineapple pizza at Mamma Dough.
Apoorva Sripathi

Five-Oh at Mamma Dough

There are occasions when only a pizza will do — Fridays, breakups, hangovers, leftover breakfasts, when the (or your personal) world is coming to an end... This was one such day, cold and windy with my ulcers closing in on me faster than adult responsibilities. Thankfully, this big boi at Mamma Dough Peckham (a stone’s throw from the Overground station which is handy) hit all the high notes: beautiful leopard-spotting on a fluffy, crisp crust; delicate cotto ham; sweet juicy pineapples contrasted from the chillies (and the additional chilli oil on the table); plus the freshest basil pesto to dip the crusts in. The five-oh was the stuff pizza dreams are made of, at least until the next pizza occasion. —Apoorva Sripathi
179 Queen’s Road, Peckham SE15 2ND

Arrabbiata at Terroni’s, Clerkenwell
Arrabbiata at Terroni’s, Clerkenwell
Hester van Hensbergen

Arrabbiata at Terroni of Clerkenwell

The shelves of Terroni’s are a 21 century Andy Warhol: a matrix of true blue and butter yellow De Cecco packets in all their iterations. Above them sit castles of panettone in lilac and midnight blue boxes. You have to look up to notice them, though, and when I arrived, I had my gaze firmly fixed on the ground. The weather was bad and my mood unbudgingly so. Eyes on lap, I plunged my finger in the general direction of the pasta section and asked for a glass of red wine.

Two waiters flanked the arrabbiata, coaxing it towards me: one for the plate, the other for the pepper mill. A careful passage for an angry dish. The thirty tubes, nestled together in their spiky red swamp, were enough to pierce through my brain chemistry. They were enough to make me sit up, look up, and notice the rich bread disguised as celestial towers overhead.

The turnaround was fast: twenty minutes later, and I was stepping across the threshold, a pastel turret under each arm, lips upturned, and the cut of the arrabbiata — like a good first kiss — still nibbling at my tongue. —Hester van Hensbergen
138 Clerkenwell Road, Clerkenwell EC1R 5DL

Autumn leaves, table, foil-wrapped burrito
Yeah, sorry about the pic.
Adam Coghlan

Breakfast burrito at Quarter Kitchen

The Mexican (especially breakfast) food at Rodrigo Cervantes’s Quarter Kitchen just keeps on getting better. Yes, the tacos are excellent, but it’s the burrito where Cervantes’s intelligence and playfulness is most evident. His breakfast burrito, he says, is based on the one McDonald’s serves in America. You can tell. It’s a high-low hot item: mostly a nostalgic embrace of all the quick wins in great fast food — salt, sugar, fat, acid, but through his salsas, the “build,” and the lightness of toasting, it’s also a little cheffy, just enough. This time round, I went off-menu, swapping out the sausage patty for Cervantes’s sugar-cured smoked streaky bacon. Together with eggs, hash brown, American cheese, and salsa roja, it was exceptional. —Adam Coghlan
St John at Hackney Churchyard, Lower Clapton Road, Clapton E5 0PD

Buttermilk-fried pheasant at 40 Maltby Street

In the current geopolitical climate, there’s few things that fill me with a deep, reliving surety so much as ordering a plate of deep-fried food from 40 Maltby Street. If there’s ever been a missed iteration of a croquette or fritter on their list, I haven’t witnessed it. No exception to the rule, this week’s buttermilk-fried pheasant with bacon, cabbage, and quince felt like the most welcoming segue into the firm autumnal flavours that will grace our plates for the coming weeks. It was perfectly pitched: soft and tender pheasant in a crispy exterior, a crunch of raw cabbage and a knife’s tip of quince — couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying dish. —Nathalie Nelles
40 Maltby Street, Bermondsey SE1 3PA

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