clock menu more-arrow no yes
A bowl of avgolemoni soup with a bar-marked sandwich on a wooden table Chris Cotonou

14 London Dishes to Warm the Cockles of Your Heart in Lockdown

Buttery shepherd’s pie, creamy haleem, comforting stews, soups, and more

View as Map

As more businesses adapt to England’s second national lockdown, and restaurants now closed for dine-in, takeaway or delivery is best recommended. In this list, Eater editors and writers share the comfort food they frequently turn to — warm bowls of soup, bubbly lasagna, and homely kidney bean curry — from the comfort of home.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Kidney bean curry at Noormahal Sweets

Copy Link
135 The Broadway
Southall UB1 1LW, UK

Many people in the west “discovered” the comfort of beans and pulses during lockdown, but they’ve always been popular in other cultures. Rajma makhani is a Punjabi classic, made from kidney beans in a duvet-thick butter-based gravy, warm with onions and tomatoes, soothed with milk and cream and sharpened with garam masala. This small vegetarian takeaway in Southall does a textbook version: homely as a Punjabi auntie’s shalwar kameez; bright and joyful as her bracelets. Available for collection and takeaway. —Sejal Sukhadwala

2. Mirmiz at Sidi Bou London

Copy Link
44 Haven Green, Ealing
London W5 2NX, UK

Amina Hamdi and Hatem Kareem’s Tunisian restaurant dedicates a whole section of its menu to stews, and the brick-red mirmiz is the stand-out. The spine of the dish is not the rich chickpeas, tender lamb, or sweet peppers that make up its bulk, but the interplay of brick-red harissa, which Hamdi prepares, and tabel, the spice mix of fennel seed, caraway, cumin, and coriander seed that anchors many Berbere-derived dishes in the nation’s cuisine. With fluffy bread it’ll put a winter coat on any freezing night, which is apt because diners will have to travel to the restaurant to get both it and the warm hospitality which is undimmed by collection-only trade. James Hansen

A plate of Tunisian mirmiz, with lamb, chickpeas, peppers, and onions
Mirmiz at Sidi Bou
James Hansen/Eater London

3. Soondubu/Maeuntang at Imone

Copy Link
169 High St
New Malden KT3 4BH, UK

As bubbling cauldrons of soondubu jjigae approach the table, the banchan is nudged to one side. A soft tofu stew, it’s a translucent broth with the merest opaqueness; a reminder that the tofu has begun softening in the yuksu (stock). Flanked by spicy, glistening maeuntang fish stew, pan-sized pajeon, fritters golden and filled with seafood, and the unnecessary/necessary Korean Fried Chicken, the dinner table fulfils the promises of the Let’s Eat dreams and comforts around it. Available for collection, takeaway, and delivery. —Feroz Gajia

Soondubu jjigae with banchan on a table
Soondubu jjigae at Imone
Feroz Gajia/Eater London

4. Egusi soup at Pitanga

Copy Link
220 North End Rd, West Kensington
London W14 9NX, UK

Pitanga’s take on this classic Nigerian dish, favoured for its fragrant nuttiness and discreet heat, comes crafted with tender regard by chef Nky Iweka. The potency of Iweka’s comforting soup comes from its stock — a rich and crimson mélange punctuated by West African palm oil, smoked prawns, scotch bonnet chillies, and flaked stockfish. Thickened by lightly toasted ground egusi, the soup is almost buoyant in texture and clings onto every morsel of pounded yam or eba that’s thrown its way. Available for collection, takeaway, and through Deliveroo. —Lucas Oakeley

Pitanga at Pitanga
Lucas Oakeley

5. Bamia at Masgouf

Copy Link
31 Edgware Rd, Tyburnia
London W2 2JE, UK

The okra isn’t the most exciting order at Masgouf, the five-site London restaurant group named after Iraq’s national dish: seasoned grilled carp. No, it’s the lamb kouzi and kebab skewers that are thrilling; but sometimes comforts come before thrills, and that’s when the usually reserved bamia speaks up. A warming plateful of steamed rice served with a tangy and ever so slightly crunchy tomato-okra stew feels like eating a hug, and makes even the coldest afternoon sunsets, a bit more bearable. The bamia isn’t just basic; it is essential. —Maazin Buhari

6. Avgolemoni at Alex's Cypriot Sandwiches and Soup

Copy Link
18 Chase Side, Osidge
London N14 5PA, UK
020 8886 9519

At every Greek-Cypriot grandmother’s home, a simmering pot of avgolemoni soup awaits — a salty-sour egg and lemon broth, thickened with rice and boiled chicken (similar soups exist in Arabic and Sephardic cuisines). Alex’s Cypriot Sandwiches and Soups in Southgate use a guarded family recipe, cooked daily on the premises. For Cypriots, their hot bowl of avgolemoni is the answer to everything. Available for collection, takeaway, and through Uber Eats. —Chris Cotonou

A bowl of avgolemoni soup with a bar-marked sandwich on a wooden table
A hot bowl of avgolemoni from Alex’s Cypriot Sandwiches and Soups
Chris Cotonou

7. Soy-braised chicken set (and curry puffs) at Nasi Economy Rice

Copy Link
169 Holloway Rd
London N7 8LX, UK

The chicken and the egg: turns out Mandy Yin can make even the gnarliest philosophical questions taste pretty good. Both feature in a beautifully composed set that takes the braise’s ribsticking qualities and reinforce it with the punch of yellow curry and a flu-season vitamin shot in the form of some stir-fried greens. Curry puffs have to be ordered extra but are practically mandatory: a final textural flourish of beautifully short pastry yielding to curried potato within. —George Reynolds

8. Shepherd’s pie at 40 Maltby Street

Copy Link
40 Maltby St
London SE1 3PA, UK

Shepherd’s pie lies within a category of dishes (which includes crumble) that are always better at home. This is because almost no chef can restrain themselves from adding a cheffy touch, completely undermining its clumsy appeal. V.1 of 40 Maltby Street’s shepherd’s pie had one touch (a rosemary butter), but the improved V.2 dispenses with it: all rich ale-brown mince, fluffy potatoes with paper thin shavings of chilled butter on top, creating stiff, burnt peaks and bubbly troughs when blasted in the oven. It understands that, like Filipino sawsawan, the real seasoning is added by the eater as per their childhood: ketchup (still for children), brown sauce (better), or Lea and Perrins and hot sauce (best). NB. There is no Shepherd’s Pie on the menu this week, alas. The good news is it has been replaced by 1) a cottage pie and 2) a smoked haddock and brown shrimp pie for next week. —Jonathan Nunn

9. Lasagne at Ombra

Copy Link
1 Vyner St
London E2 9DG, UK

Shining a carby, cheesy, meaty beacon at the end of the week, lasagna Sundays are back at Ombra. Layered with silky fresh pasta sheets, creamy béchamel and beef ragù, the heat-at-home lasagna bubbles in the oven, creating those perfect crispy bits on top. It’ll serve a greedy two or generous three, and must be pre-ordered for collection or local delivery from Ombra’s Hackney restaurant-turned-lockdown-pastificio. Adding a slab of tiramisù to your order is highly recommended. Available for collection and delivery. —Daisy Meager

The carby, cheesy, meaty lasagna from Ombra
Daisy Meager

10. Sag pakora at The Wanstead Kitchen

Copy Link
93 Pevensey Rd
London E7 0AR, UK

Find crunchy solace in the Wanstead Kitchen’s sag pakora: deep-fried spherical golden brown orbs. They’re light, crisp and laden with chunky strips of onion and a healthy dose of spinach that’s not in the least bit oily. Hints of garlic, ginger, garam masala and green chilli come through beautifully after each bite. It may just be a starter, but really, an ideal vessel to dunk into other curry offerings such as beef shatkora and chicken sabzi. —Angela Hui

11. Nihari/Haleem at Lahori Nihaari London

Copy Link
50 Plashet Grove, Upton Park
London E6 1AE, UK
020 8586 9148

Offering staunch and rich insulation against the cold and general malaise of 2020, these two dishes will lift low spirits. On the weekdays, nihari, shimmering with ghee and the gentle heat of ginger; on weekends, it has to be the creamy haleem, a deep earthy dish with layers of enveloping spice, mopped up carefully with fluffy, crispy kulcha naan. Available through collection and Deliveroo. —Shekha Vyas

12. Venison ragu and pappardelle at Artusi

Copy Link
161 Bellenden Rd, Peckham
London SE15 4DH, UK

Peckham’s premier pastificio has snapped straight back into its hugely popular business model from the first lockdown. Fresh pasta, sauces, antipasti, more substantial sharing dishes and desserts are all available for local delivery (£5 a time) or nationwide dispatch (£10). The sauces and shapes change weekly, but the rich, aromatic venison ragù paired with toothsome pappardelle will lift even the lowest of carnivorous spirits. —Emma Hughes

13. Ghormeh sabzi and tahdig at Mahdi Restaurant

Copy Link
215-217 King St, Hammersmith
London W6 9JT, UK

Mahdi in Hammersmith promises to satisfy every lockdown Persian food craving. Ghormeh sabzi is made to comfort without cloying, with fresh herbs and sharp limes to cut through the rich lamb. Ordered as a starter, it comes with a nest of caramelized rice tahdig, a cradle everyone deserves on these cold nights. For mains, there are more sustaining stews, rice dishes, and an extensive grill list to choose from. Hester van Hensbergen

14. Brawn

Copy Link
49 Columbia Rd
London E2 7RG, UK

The “soup and slow-cooked” section of Brawn’s recently launched “Made” online is a rotating exhibition of comfort food classics. It changes all the time, but might offer a roasted partridge, root vegetable, and farro soup to be eaten on its own; a pork sausage, white wine, chilli, and fennel ragu for pasta; or simply, a classic cassoulet for two, which it recommends serving with salad. —Adam Coghlan

Cassoulet, cooked
Brawn [Official Photo]

1. Kidney bean curry at Noormahal Sweets

135 The Broadway, Southall UB1 1LW, UK

Many people in the west “discovered” the comfort of beans and pulses during lockdown, but they’ve always been popular in other cultures. Rajma makhani is a Punjabi classic, made from kidney beans in a duvet-thick butter-based gravy, warm with onions and tomatoes, soothed with milk and cream and sharpened with garam masala. This small vegetarian takeaway in Southall does a textbook version: homely as a Punjabi auntie’s shalwar kameez; bright and joyful as her bracelets. Available for collection and takeaway. —Sejal Sukhadwala

135 The Broadway
Southall UB1 1LW, UK

2. Mirmiz at Sidi Bou London

44 Haven Green, Ealing, London W5 2NX, UK
A plate of Tunisian mirmiz, with lamb, chickpeas, peppers, and onions
Mirmiz at Sidi Bou
James Hansen/Eater London

Amina Hamdi and Hatem Kareem’s Tunisian restaurant dedicates a whole section of its menu to stews, and the brick-red mirmiz is the stand-out. The spine of the dish is not the rich chickpeas, tender lamb, or sweet peppers that make up its bulk, but the interplay of brick-red harissa, which Hamdi prepares, and tabel, the spice mix of fennel seed, caraway, cumin, and coriander seed that anchors many Berbere-derived dishes in the nation’s cuisine. With fluffy bread it’ll put a winter coat on any freezing night, which is apt because diners will have to travel to the restaurant to get both it and the warm hospitality which is undimmed by collection-only trade. James Hansen

44 Haven Green, Ealing
London W5 2NX, UK

3. Soondubu/Maeuntang at Imone

169 High St, New Malden KT3 4BH, UK
Soondubu jjigae with banchan on a table
Soondubu jjigae at Imone
Feroz Gajia/Eater London

As bubbling cauldrons of soondubu jjigae approach the table, the banchan is nudged to one side. A soft tofu stew, it’s a translucent broth with the merest opaqueness; a reminder that the tofu has begun softening in the yuksu (stock). Flanked by spicy, glistening maeuntang fish stew, pan-sized pajeon, fritters golden and filled with seafood, and the unnecessary/necessary Korean Fried Chicken, the dinner table fulfils the promises of the Let’s Eat dreams and comforts around it. Available for collection, takeaway, and delivery. —Feroz Gajia

169 High St
New Malden KT3 4BH, UK

4. Egusi soup at Pitanga

220 North End Rd, West Kensington, London W14 9NX, UK
Pitanga at Pitanga
Lucas Oakeley

Pitanga’s take on this classic Nigerian dish, favoured for its fragrant nuttiness and discreet heat, comes crafted with tender regard by chef Nky Iweka. The potency of Iweka’s comforting soup comes from its stock — a rich and crimson mélange punctuated by West African palm oil, smoked prawns, scotch bonnet chillies, and flaked stockfish. Thickened by lightly toasted ground egusi, the soup is almost buoyant in texture and clings onto every morsel of pounded yam or eba that’s thrown its way. Available for collection, takeaway, and through Deliveroo. —Lucas Oakeley

220 North End Rd, West Kensington
London W14 9NX, UK

5. Bamia at Masgouf

31 Edgware Rd, Tyburnia, London W2 2JE, UK

The okra isn’t the most exciting order at Masgouf, the five-site London restaurant group named after Iraq’s national dish: seasoned grilled carp. No, it’s the lamb kouzi and kebab skewers that are thrilling; but sometimes comforts come before thrills, and that’s when the usually reserved bamia speaks up. A warming plateful of steamed rice served with a tangy and ever so slightly crunchy tomato-okra stew feels like eating a hug, and makes even the coldest afternoon sunsets, a bit more bearable. The bamia isn’t just basic; it is essential. —Maazin Buhari

31 Edgware Rd, Tyburnia
London W2 2JE, UK

6. Avgolemoni at Alex's Cypriot Sandwiches and Soup

18 Chase Side, Osidge, London N14 5PA, UK
A bowl of avgolemoni soup with a bar-marked sandwich on a wooden table
A hot bowl of avgolemoni from Alex’s Cypriot Sandwiches and Soups
Chris Cotonou

At every Greek-Cypriot grandmother’s home, a simmering pot of avgolemoni soup awaits — a salty-sour egg and lemon broth, thickened with rice and boiled chicken (similar soups exist in Arabic and Sephardic cuisines). Alex’s Cypriot Sandwiches and Soups in Southgate use a guarded family recipe, cooked daily on the premises. For Cypriots, their hot bowl of avgolemoni is the answer to everything. Available for collection, takeaway, and through Uber Eats. —Chris Cotonou

18 Chase Side, Osidge
London N14 5PA, UK

7. Soy-braised chicken set (and curry puffs) at Nasi Economy Rice

169 Holloway Rd, London N7 8LX, UK

The chicken and the egg: turns out Mandy Yin can make even the gnarliest philosophical questions taste pretty good. Both feature in a beautifully composed set that takes the braise’s ribsticking qualities and reinforce it with the punch of yellow curry and a flu-season vitamin shot in the form of some stir-fried greens. Curry puffs have to be ordered extra but are practically mandatory: a final textural flourish of beautifully short pastry yielding to curried potato within. —George Reynolds

169 Holloway Rd
London N7 8LX, UK

8. Shepherd’s pie at 40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby St, London SE1 3PA, UK

Shepherd’s pie lies within a category of dishes (which includes crumble) that are always better at home. This is because almost no chef can restrain themselves from adding a cheffy touch, completely undermining its clumsy appeal. V.1 of 40 Maltby Street’s shepherd’s pie had one touch (a rosemary butter), but the improved V.2 dispenses with it: all rich ale-brown mince, fluffy potatoes with paper thin shavings of chilled butter on top, creating stiff, burnt peaks and bubbly troughs when blasted in the oven. It understands that, like Filipino sawsawan, the real seasoning is added by the eater as per their childhood: ketchup (still for children), brown sauce (better), or Lea and Perrins and hot sauce (best). NB. There is no Shepherd’s Pie on the menu this week, alas. The good news is it has been replaced by 1) a cottage pie and 2) a smoked haddock and brown shrimp pie for next week. —Jonathan Nunn

40 Maltby St
London SE1 3PA, UK

9. Lasagne at Ombra

1 Vyner St, London E2 9DG, UK
The carby, cheesy, meaty lasagna from Ombra
Daisy Meager

Shining a carby, cheesy, meaty beacon at the end of the week, lasagna Sundays are back at Ombra. Layered with silky fresh pasta sheets, creamy béchamel and beef ragù, the heat-at-home lasagna bubbles in the oven, creating those perfect crispy bits on top. It’ll serve a greedy two or generous three, and must be pre-ordered for collection or local delivery from Ombra’s Hackney restaurant-turned-lockdown-pastificio. Adding a slab of tiramisù to your order is highly recommended. Available for collection and delivery. —Daisy Meager

1 Vyner St
London E2 9DG, UK

10. Sag pakora at The Wanstead Kitchen

93 Pevensey Rd, London E7 0AR, UK

Find crunchy solace in the Wanstead Kitchen’s sag pakora: deep-fried spherical golden brown orbs. They’re light, crisp and laden with chunky strips of onion and a healthy dose of spinach that’s not in the least bit oily. Hints of garlic, ginger, garam masala and green chilli come through beautifully after each bite. It may just be a starter, but really, an ideal vessel to dunk into other curry offerings such as beef shatkora and chicken sabzi. —Angela Hui

93 Pevensey Rd
London E7 0AR, UK

11. Nihari/Haleem at Lahori Nihaari London

50 Plashet Grove, Upton Park, London E6 1AE, UK

Offering staunch and rich insulation against the cold and general malaise of 2020, these two dishes will lift low spirits. On the weekdays, nihari, shimmering with ghee and the gentle heat of ginger; on weekends, it has to be the creamy haleem, a deep earthy dish with layers of enveloping spice, mopped up carefully with fluffy, crispy kulcha naan. Available through collection and Deliveroo. —Shekha Vyas

50 Plashet Grove, Upton Park
London E6 1AE, UK

12. Venison ragu and pappardelle at Artusi

161 Bellenden Rd, Peckham, London SE15 4DH, UK

Peckham’s premier pastificio has snapped straight back into its hugely popular business model from the first lockdown. Fresh pasta, sauces, antipasti, more substantial sharing dishes and desserts are all available for local delivery (£5 a time) or nationwide dispatch (£10). The sauces and shapes change weekly, but the rich, aromatic venison ragù paired with toothsome pappardelle will lift even the lowest of carnivorous spirits. —Emma Hughes

161 Bellenden Rd, Peckham
London SE15 4DH, UK

13. Ghormeh sabzi and tahdig at Mahdi Restaurant

215-217 King St, Hammersmith, London W6 9JT, UK

Mahdi in Hammersmith promises to satisfy every lockdown Persian food craving. Ghormeh sabzi is made to comfort without cloying, with fresh herbs and sharp limes to cut through the rich lamb. Ordered as a starter, it comes with a nest of caramelized rice tahdig, a cradle everyone deserves on these cold nights. For mains, there are more sustaining stews, rice dishes, and an extensive grill list to choose from. Hester van Hensbergen

215-217 King St, Hammersmith
London W6 9JT, UK

14. Brawn

49 Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG, UK
Cassoulet, cooked
Brawn [Official Photo]

The “soup and slow-cooked” section of Brawn’s recently launched “Made” online is a rotating exhibition of comfort food classics. It changes all the time, but might offer a roasted partridge, root vegetable, and farro soup to be eaten on its own; a pork sausage, white wine, chilli, and fennel ragu for pasta; or simply, a classic cassoulet for two, which it recommends serving with salad. —Adam Coghlan

49 Columbia Rd
London E2 7RG, UK

Related Maps