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Art Yard Bar & Kitchen
Head Chef Lee Streeton focuses on healthy dishes, riffing on British classics at this informal all-day restaurant. Eclectic and cosy, interiors mix abacus-like partitions with wood-panelled art-flanked walls, while a tangle of cabled lights dangles overhead. Come for breakfast, lunch or dinner – although we’d recommend heading here for a pre- or post-theatre meal (given its proximity to the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre). Start with the burrata with Pachino tomatoes and black olives and follow with Monkfish Cataplana for two, with seafood, fennel, potatoes and torn sourdough. Must-order sides include slow-roasted carrots, sweet potato and zesty winter greens. To finish, the walnut, blackberry pear parfait or orange ice cream dark chocolate fondant are both top choices. Post dinner, enjoy a tipple at ArtYard’s swish bar and make the most of those floor-to-ceiling windows – a great spot to while away half-an-hour before catching your train from Blackfriars.
- +44 20 3943 2020
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Entering from the lobby of The Hoxton, Southwark, take the last elevator on your left straight to the 14th floor. Arriving at Seabird – a sea-to-table restaurant that boasts an impressive raw bar and London’s longest oyster bar – you’re greeted by panoramic views of the city and a plethora of beach-chic trimmings. A laid-back atmosphere is established with rattan chairs, shell-patterned tabletops and whitewash floorboards, while a wrap-around bar, leather banquettes trimmed with aquamarine velvet and tall vases blooming with Birds of Paradise add a luxe factor. Attentive staff, dressed in linens, milky cashmeres and white denims will talk you through the dynamic menu’s Basque-Country leanings. Standout small plates include the crab and manchego omelette, the charred baby gem and the octopus roll served in a brioche baton and topped with spicy aioli and padron peppers. With a flavourful menu loaded with gluten-free, vegan and veggie options – the spiced aubergine was unfathomably tasty – Seabird’s weekend brunch offering (pescaterians are particularly spoilt for choice) draws the biggest crowd.
- 020 7903 3050
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Camberwell in South East London is a bit of a black hole for public transport, but Silk Road, a hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint that specialises in food from the northwest province of Xinjiang, is worth every minute of the commute.The food of Xinjiang province differs greatly from any Cantonese or Sichuan dishes you may have tried. In the north of China wheat rather than rice is king, so noodles, dumplings and breads play heavily. Order salty lamb skewers to start and a few dumplings. Follow by an order of medium or large chicken (depending on how many people you are) – minutes later a huge bowl of aromatic broth with in-bone chicken pieces will arrive, followed by chunky noodles to pour into the soup and tear apart. The cabbage stir-fry is one of the best Chinese vegetable dishes we’ve ever tried. Even if you’ve made a reservation, you’ll likely need to wait. Be patient, it’s worth it. Come here if you’re looking for a bit of an adventure, or if you’re seriously hungry.
- 020 7703 4832
Housed in an old metal box factory, Caravan Bankside clings to its industrial (chic) roots. Bar-style seating, an open-view kitchen, neutral tones on every counter and surface in sight, pickling jars and large, grid windows to let the sunbeam in – you get the idea. Food is well-travelled (think split pea dahl and fried jalapeño cornbread) and the drinks menu is extensive. Best for brunch, plates range from smashed avocado with pickled red onion, manouri cheese and soy pumpkin seeds (scrumptious) to Dingley Dell hand sausage, fried egg and cheddar brioche sandwich topped with a dollop of tomato chilli jam. For a sample of something sweeter, split the vanilla waffle with espresso salt caramel sauce and a dollop of mascarpone cream. The brunch menu is served from 9am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday with pizza available from 12pm.
- 020 7101 1190
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For a long time, Clapham was a barren wasteland of chain restaurants and sticky-floored pubs. But it has seriously stepped up its game in recent times, culminating in The Dairy, which has had restaurant critics salivating since day one. Head chef Robin Gill works magic on a vibrant tapas menu, comprised of modern British and European small plates. Think venison ragu with pear and artichoke, salt-baked beetroot with cobnuts and wild sea bass with salsify and dulse butter. Finish this with a milk tart with Medjool date and apple, or roast quince with burnt meringue and buttermilk. (Mother may I.) The interior is all reclaimed furniture and brick walls, every bit as inviting as the menu itself.
- 020 7622 4165
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The beautiful Georgian building that is Brunswick House appears all the more elegant for being located beside the hideous roundabout system at Vauxhall Bridge. Step inside and everything becomes immediately quieter, cooler and quirkier. Brunswick House, which is at its best during brunch time, is run by Jackson Boxer, who also heads Rita’s in East London. The building is home to the architectural salvage company Lassco, and it’s full of an amazing variety of stuff: chairs, floor lights, mirrors, chandeliers, posters, urns and metalwork.
- 020 7720 2926
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Brought to you by the duo behind Islington’s Trullo, Padella is London’s chicest pasta bar. Serving eight made-to-order markedly different fresh pasta dishes, flavours are as more-ish as they are diverse. The pappardelle with slow-cooked beef ragu is a real crowd-pleaser. Split over two floors, diners can either sit upstairs or at the kitchen counter where they can watch the pasta be rolled out by hand. A combination of traditional Italian techniques and local British produce has afforded Padella a stellar reputation and permanent queue.
El Pastór is an all-day taqueria aptly positioned opposite London’s bustling Borough Market. Food is reasonably priced, exceptionally tasty and perfect for sharing. Committed to serving authentic Mexican street food, an entire floor has been dedicated to grinding corn and making tortillas. The interior is small and queues are often out the door but tables clear quickly so grab a drink and get in line.
Mondrian’s maritime-themed interior – inspired by the Golden Age of transatlantic travel – is perhaps most palpable in its aqua inspired restaurant – Sea Containers. Designed under the creative direction of Tom Dixon, Sea Containers at Mondrian London mish mashes American and British cuisine in a modern yet casual dining environment.
Opt-in for the Grey Goose bottomless bloody mary or prosecco brunch, with a menu that offers a variety of small plates, sharing dishes and classic comfort food. The crushed avocado is next level delicious thanks to the addition of passion fruit, and lime yoghurt to the millennial staple. The “egg sammy” – fried egg, crispy bacon, jack cheese, avocado, brioche bun – also hits the spot.
The midsummer terrace is decked out in popsicle pink Laurent Perrier shades, with blankets at the ready for less than summery Saturdays.
- +44 203 747 1063
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