WITH its burgeoning food scene, London is now a must-do destination for all food lovers. Over the last four years, the number of local artisans has flourished making it one of the most innovative and exciting food cities globally.
Based on our interviews with local brewers, cheesemakers, charcuteries, patisseries, bakers and writers, we have collated over 100 recommendations of where local artisans eat, drink, shop and buy some of the best of London’s larder.
In the guide below we list the London food secrets that they have shared with us. Two guides will follow: what you'll find in the kitchen larders of London food producers as well as their favourite markets.
You can read our interviews with over 30 food producers here.
DALSTON YARD STREET FEAST. "I love it there. The pop-up food delights from different vendors makes it the best street food in London and it's a fun night out." (Kylee Newton, Newton & Pott) Hartwell Street, E8 3DU, Hrs. Every Thu/Fri/Sat 5pm - Midnight
"Giovanni at SERIOUSLY ITALIAN makes amazing pasta with organic British durum wheat in East London, sauces and pestos all with British alternatives." (Matt Atkinson, Cobble Lane Cured) Check website for market locations across London E. email@example.com, Tel. 020 8509 9960, W. http://www.seriouslyitalian.com
"SEASON KITCHEN in Finsbury Park specialises in good local seasonal food. BAR ESTEBAN is another favourite - it’s a modern tapas bar in Crouch End." (Philip Wilton, Wildes Cheese) Season Kitchen, 53 Stroud Green Rd, N4 3EF, Tel. 020 7263 5500. Bar Esteban, 29 Park Rd, N8 8TE. Tel. 020 8340 3090.
"For the best of British I would recommend dining at THE GILBERT SCOTT. At the other end of the spectrum, go to SEAFRESH on Wilton Road in Victoria for one of the best traditional chippies. They get their fish from Billingsgate market." (Charli Giles , Chazwinkles) The Gilbert Scott, 1 St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Rd, NW1 2AR. Tel. 020 7278 3888; Seafresh Fish Restaurant, 80-81 Wilton Rd, SW1V 1DL. Tel. 020 7828 0747
"Walking down Portobello Road and doing local things like buying from the fantastic falafel girl outside Tesco or grabbing lunch at BOOKS FOR COOKS on Blenheim Crescent. There’s a great fishmonger called GEORGE'S FISHERIES on Ladbroke Grove." (Erin Hurst, Provenance Village Butcher). Books for Cooks, 4 Blenheim Crescent, W11 1NN. Tel. 020 7221 1992; George’s Fisheries, 106 Ladbroke Grove, W11 1PY. Tel. 020 7727 9043
"There are a few places that I would want to keep to myself but I would say EMBASSY EAST in Hoxton and THE GENERAL STORE in Peckham. It’s a small place. It’s only open five days a week, has great produce and the service is amazing." (Stuart Ritson, Workshop Cafe) Embassy East, 285 Hoxton St, N1 5JX. Tel. 020 7739 8340
The General Store, 174 Bellenden Rd, SE15 4BW. Tel. 020 7642 2129
"My favourite places tend to be in areas of London that you wouldn’t go to except for the food. At the moment I really like SPICY BASIL in Kilburn. It’s a really simple Thai restaurant. It’s cheap and the food is incredibly fresh."(Kath Dickerson, Kath’s Cakes) Spicy Basil, 65 Kilburn High Rd, NW6 7HY. Tel. 020 7328 6646
"Cider from THE FRENCH HOUSE in Soho and there is a great gelato place just around the corner on Wardour Street called SNOWFLAKE. VANILLA BLACK just off Chancery Lane for smart and incredible vegetarian food."(Catherine Piddington, Piddington Jam) The French House, 49 Dean St, W1D 5BG. Tel. 020 7437 2477; Snowflake, 102 Wardour Street, W1F 0TP. Tel. 020 7287 1045; Vanilla Black, 17-18 Took's Ct, EC4A 1LB. Tel. 020 7242 2622
"One of my favourite discoveries in the last six months or so is LONDON BOROUGH OF JAM. Lillie O’Brien’s shop off Chatsworth Road. Her jams vary week to week depending on the season and what she is able to source. She also features local Hackney producers in her shop which is a concept close to what I am pursuing with Craved."(David Voxlin, Craved London) London Borough of Jam, 51d Chatsworth Rd, E5 0LH. Tel. 020 8985 5839
"The Gruyère and olive loaf at FABRIQUE in Hoxton. It’s only available on Fridays and Saturdays and you need to get there early. It is so delicious. Their cardamom buns and cinnamon buns are also very good." (Ruth Barry, Black Isle Bakery) Fabrique Bakery, Arch 385, Geffrye St, E2 8HZ. Tel. 020 7033 0268
"URBAN ORIENT: it’s a little Thai/ Vietnamese place on Westow Street that does a dim sum that’s so good and won’t break the bank." (Karen Jones, Crystal Palace Food Market). Urban Orient, 4 Westow St, SE19 3AF. Tel. 020 8616 4511
"If you want to get to the heart and soul of London food, it’s happening around Bermondsey. So on a Saturday morning, do BOROUGH MARKET. SPA TERMINUS before doing the Bermondsey beer mile. People are coming from all over the world to understand what is happening here in London. It is a very exciting time to be a part of the food and drink scene." (Sean Cannon, Cannon & Cannon) Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL; Spa Terminus, Dockley Road Industrial Estate, Dockley Rd, SE16 3SF.
"The jamón ibérico at BAR TOZINO is out of this world. It’s a tapas-style bar on Maltby Street. It’s a very dangerous place. You go in when it’s light and emerge several hours and its dark. Everyhthing there - the sherries, wine, hams are very good." (Johnny Hoxton, Band of Bandits Jerky) Bar Tozino, Lassco Ropewalk, Maltby St, SE1 3PA.
"London is full of free fruits. In the autumn, if you see an apple on the pavement look up, there’s likely to be a fruit-laden apple tree overhead. Grab these fruits and make the most of them. From September to December my bag is always bursting at the seams with free fruit." (Rachel de Thample, food writer, foragers, gardener.)
"BERMONDSEY STREET. I have to say that it’s not getting the press that it deserves. There are so many great eateries there just waiting to be explored. I’d also say THE GINGERLINE for a secret dining experience. Their events are truly amazing." (Adrienne Treeby, Crown & Queue) The Gingerline, www.gingerline.co.uk
"One secret of mine is the ‘cannoncini’ from PRINCI in Wardour Street Soho. It’s a custard-filled Italian pastry that is worth queuing for." (Joe Stella, Stellacello) Princi, 135 Wardour St, W1F 0UT. Tel. 020 7478 8888.
"40 MALTBY STREET has the most delicious wines. For ice cream, my favourite place is DAMAS ROSE on Edgware Road. It is a small Syrian cafe that handmakes the most delicious pistachio and mastic (a pine-tasting resin) ice cream." (Kitty Travers, La Grotta Ices) Damas Rose, 121B Edgware Road, W2 2HX. Tel. 0207 180 1972
40 Maltby Street, 40 Maltby St, SE1 3PA. Tel. 020 7237 9247
"For the best curry in London go to Southall, which is a five-minute drive from Kew Gardens." (Oonagh Simms, the marshmallowist)
"High Street North, East Ham: it’s not a place that’s on the radar but go there for the Sri Lankan but mainly south Indian food. There are some vegetarian restaurants down there that do the most amazing dosas and thalis. They are unbelievably cheap." (Nick Vadasz, Vadasz Deli)
"GOURMET SAN. It’s a Chinese Szechuan restaurant on Bethan Green Road. Order something wacky and what you’ll get something that will be out of this world. It’s a leap of faith but it is worth it. LYLE'S restaurant in Shoreditch is very good as is TABERNA DO MERCADO for Portuguese tapas in Smithfield." (Hugo Jeffeys, Blackhand Food) Gourmet San, 261 Bethnal Green Road , E2 6AH. Tel. 0207 729 8388; Lyle’s, Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JJ.Tel. 0203 011 5911; Taberna do Mercado, Old Spitalfields Market, 107b Commercial Street, E1 6BG. Tel. 0207 375 0649
Fiona Symington-Mitchell is a freelance food writer and editor based in London. Originally from Melbourne, her work has been published in Modern Farmer, Remedy Quarterly, Countlan magazine, Food& and de Groot Media Australia across its food guide publications. In 2013 she founded London Food Essentials - a website dedicated to London’s independent artisans, food stores and locally-made produce. Her interviews with London food producers is a chronicle of London as a food city. Her work with food illustrator Livi Gosling was recently published in the Gestalten's Making Maps.
LONDON SELF-GUIDED FOOD WALKS
Sixteen food guides: all written by a local showing you where to eat, drink, and shop across London.