So, we’ve just has a month or so of eating salads at home or eating out while the kitchen is refurbished. Now it’s finished (more or less - can’t wait for the dishwasher to be reconnected!), here is a report on mostly South London eating. I realise this may be of limited use to visitors to London - however great the food is, I can’t pretend there are many other reasons for visitors to London to head to Peckham and Dulwich (although it’s actually easier to get to Peckham from Central London than say, Park Slope from Manhattan - just saying...).
Anyway, here goes. These are in order of how much we liked them.
Artusi. Ah, Artusi, the reason we have become very lazy about heading into town to eat out. When really great food is a five minute walk from your house, why bother going elsewhere. It’s a limited menu, very seasonal, locally sourced etc. I had roasted artichokes, perfect melting steak with roasted beetroot, and ended with two scoops of delicious caramel ice cream. It;s all very reasonably priced, and although small, not too noisy.
Portrait Restaurant, top of the National Portrait Gallery. We did eat out in central London a couple of times, and this was a highlight. We got there early enough for a table with a view over the rooftops. I had a wonderful citrus dressed salad, steak, and lemon posset with shortbread. The set menu is very good value and has plenty of choice. The Gallery itself is one of my favourites in London.
Toast ED: a sister to Terroirs about which I have posted many times. Same sort of style - small plates and unusual combinations of flavours. The chicken liver parfait with blackcurrant was a highlight, served with good bread. There is always a good chocolate pudding on the menu!
The French House: Alsace food, specialising in tartines - like very thin pizzas, with lots of cheese and sweet onions.
Franco Manca: always long queues outside which show how much the area needed a decent pizza. Sourdough pizzas, not expensive - my favourite has lots of anchovy. For some reason, the puddings are not on the menu - the server lets you know what they have. It’s the only place in the area that does an affogato (ice cream with espresso).
I was also asked by Harters to give a heads up on anywhere less than good as warning, but to be absolutely honest, either we are getting better at choosing places (thanks in part to Chowhound) or else the standard of food in London is really high; we haven’t had a meal that was so bad that I would want to warn folk off for many years, either in terms of service or food. The only warning I do give is that (as I have commented before) many places are really noisy these days (so bad for any group where you might want to be able to hear everyone at the table, but good for solo diners!).
However, The Dairy in Clapham - this place gets amazing reviews so we are clearly in a minority, but I thought it was just trying a bit too hard. The unusual combinations of flavours/small plates thing is done better IMO at Toast ED (above) and much more reasonably priced.
Burro e Salvia - expensive to eat in (especially the wines by the glass) but good for taking out fresh pasta to cook at home. Pasta is made on the premises.
Byron: I really like this burger chain which I think is well up with the more recent and better known imports. The one near Farringdon station had lovely service and good food but was without a doubt the noisiest restaurant I have ever been in.
We had a week staying a cottage in Devon (which was lovely) but nothing at all to report foodwise. The town we were staying just outside seemed to only have one restaurant open in the evenings! Lovely cream teas though!