Wimbledon’s current MP Stephen Hammond was a Tory, before having the whip removed for blocking a no-deal Brexit and then having it restored. He has a comparatively slim majority of 5,622, which in 2017 was not far ahead of the then Labour candidate Imran Uddin. This time Labour’s candidate is former teacher Jackie Schneider, who grew up in Mitcham and is aiming to win the seat back for the party. Food-wise, there’s far more to Wimbledon than strawberries — the area and its surrounds are home to the country’s biggest and most vibrant Korean community, as well as plenty of decent coffee spots and brunch options.Read More
Where to Eat When Canvassing in Wimbledon
Outstanding Korean fried chicken, sourdough pizzas that hit the spot, a true all-day brunch venue, and more
1. Bean & Hop
This top coffee choice is a short stroll from Earlsfield station, making it suitable for pre-canvassing sustenance or post-canvassing respite. Well-made coffee from Nude, whether filter or espresso, pairs well with a brunch menu that is ingredient-led and lovingly prepared: this as much a neighbourhood gem as a traveller’s recourse. With cushions lining the seats and evening opening, it’s also a true all-dayer: a stock of sixty craft beers is perfect for an evening session or to take home; those staying in can enjoy creative pizza Thursday — Sunday.
2. The Fox & Grapes
An old school boozer on Wimbledon Common, The Fox & Grapes reinvented itself a few years ago as a gastropub, bringing some Michelin stardust into their kitchen in the form of exec chef Paul Merrett to offer a decidedly modern British menu. There’s burrata and salt marsh lamb rump for example, but also it’s happily still the kind of place for prawn cocktail or shepherd’s pie after some door-knocking.
3. Giggling Squid
Choose this, the newest of Wimbledon High Street’s Thai restaurants, for a light lunch. While it’s the first London outpost of a larger chain, Giggling Squid offers the freshest take on the cuisine of the three contenders. At lunchtime, dishes come in tapas-style sets named like the seven dwarves — hungry squid, starving squid, wealthy squid and so on — combining four different tasting plates. Mix up a combo or opt for a larger plate if sharing inspires a McEnroe-esque rage.
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4. Franco Manca
Truly solid, reliable, value for money: all desirable attributes in a canvassing stop-off. Wimbledon is home to two Franco Mancas, both serving signature puffy, chewy, deliciously blistered sourdough bases from £5. Keep an eye out for seasonal specials like San Marzano tomatoes with roasted potatoes, mozzarella, Colston bassett stilton, pesto and Yorkshire fennel sausage.
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5. H Mart
Inside this Korean superstore, widely held to be London’s best, are all the ingredients for a memorable post-canvassing dinner: rice, kimchi, porridges, fresh seafood, teas, pickles and so much more. Not strictly a restaurant, but packed with restaurant-quality items.
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6. Chick and Beers
New Malden KT3 4NL, UK
Chicken fried in the Korean style has historically been too sweet, too dry, too wet, undercooked, overcooked, battered incorrectly and just generally put through the wringer in London. Chick and Beers is maybe the first to nail it. The simple fried is the best option to start with, plainly seasoned, but worth searching in between the bones for, but really it’s the ganjang — soy — that is worth the journey, the batter sweet enough to be redolent of the honey cornflake cakes that every primary school child has attempted to make, yet saved from overwhelming sugariness by the pungency of garlic and crisped onion, the batter pitched somewhere between craggy and hyper-glossy.
7. Jin Go Gae Restaurant
A raw fermented crab dish, revelatory in its combination of saline freshness and funk, with sweet, caramel strands of in-shell meat in a fiery marinade, gets all the attention here, but the very best thing on Jin Go Gae’s menu may just be the budae jigae, army stew. Using surplus ingredients first plundered from US army bases, this is ecstatic trash food incorporating almost every single worthwhile nutritional group: instant noodles, kimchi, rice cakes, spam and kraft cheese.
New Malden KT3 4BH, UK
Look down New Malden High Street and the bright yellow frontage of Hamgipak can’t be missed. Closed on Mondays, it’s one of the only restaurants to offer the dish biji jjgae (or kongbiji jjigae) — a creamy stew made with the soya pulp or lees left over from the process of making soya milk or tofu. Known as okara in Japanese and konbiji in Korean, it’s fairly tasteless in itself, but it provides a soothing texture to Hamgipak’s deeply savoury biji jjigae made with pork.