Every year, Hilcia and I visit London to spend some quality time with my Aunt and family. It’s time we cherish and look forward to, not just for the family time, which is the main reason we go, but also to indulge in one of our favorite cities.
Always at the top of our list, as we’ve come to love this magnificent and grand city, is to eat our way through as many superb restaurants as we can. They are always in flux, and half the time, it’s an adventure in and of itself, just trying to find the exact location.
But once we do, there’s no doubt the payoff of tummy happiness and drool worthiness will be met.
On this trip, we selected four restaurants that were all very different with regards to cuisine, but still on the hot list, charming and relatively affordable, and basically truly great local places.
Our first stop was the Barbary. Located in Covent Garden, in the Neal’s Yard space, expect a worthy wait, as reservations are not taken and only twenty-four seats are available at a time. What I would describe as Middle Eastern Mediterranean, the chefs prepare tapas sized dishes, in the center of an open bar kitchen, that will absolutely make your mouth water. The mains are broken into Land, Sea and Earth and it’s best if you choose an item from each group, including some incredible Naan and delicious cocktails. Everything we consumed, including the Khamara Octopus, Pepper Splash Prawns and the incredible Cauliflower Jaffa Style, was superb.
The next night, we chose Hoppers, a Sri Lankan restaurant in the Soho area of London. We had previously tried getting in on our last trip, but were unsuccessful. This time it was all go, and a good thing for our taste buds, because the abundance of flavors and spices kept our mouths watering as we ate as many different menu items as possible.
Starting with absolutely delicious cocktails, we enjoyed our wait just outside watching the city pass by. On to the meal…we chose the Hoppers tasting menu, which consisted of a delicious Bonemarrow Varuval, Green Peppercorn Wings, Goat Kothu Roti, Hopper (which are very thin pancakes), and other goodies. Wow! It’s easy to see why this place is so popular with locals and visitors alike.
Get here early, before six, because once again, no reservations are taken. Absolutely worth the wait, especially with one of their wonderful cocktails in your hand.
Day three of our London foodie tour took us to Barrafina. A fast growing collection throughout the City, Barrafina is a Spanish style tapas place that serves up quick deliciousness. We opted to try out the newest location at the Coal Drops Yard, near Kings Cross. Once again, no reservations are taken, but we were in with a very minimal wait.
We were lucky enough to be seated directly in front of the chef, so we could watch as he gracefully put the final touches on the dishes as they flew out of the kitchen. We started with a few quick appetizers and then on to the mains of Salted Prawns, Patas Bravas, a wonderfully delicious Fish Special and the Lamb. All excellent and drool worthy.
Last, but absolutely not least, we decided to go Thai, which is probably my favorite cuisine. So, off we went into Shoreditch to try out Smoking Goat. Styled after many Bangkok Street eateries, the portions are small, meant to be shared, and spicy. There’s a mix of Northern Thai and Bangkok dishes with “Thai hot” being the average spiciness to each dish, but not hot enough to burn a hole through your tongue. Don’t worry, that’s what beer is for! We indulged in Stir Fried Mussels with Wild Ginger and Chili, Stir Fried Asparagus with Pork Fat Fried Egg, Lardo Fried Rice and the Grilled Tamworth Chop with Fish Sauce and Chili….yum!
A great meal to end a great trip full of other great meals!
Seriously, we love food….
Check out all of these fantastic restaurants here on their websites: