We caught up with the chef stars of Taste of London to delve into their encyclopaedic food knowledge and pick their brains about the restaurants they like to eat at when they’re not cooking themselves. Read on for their picks for the best of 2017…
Chosen by Jun Tanaka
There lies something poetic in Jun Tanaka’s recommendation of Cabotte. The same slickness, precision and shine found in their classical French cooking and service can also be found at Jun’s own Michelin-starred restaurant, The Ninth.
Cabotte has the feel of a classic countryside bistro, coupled with an elegantly refined style derived from an A-team of chefs and front of house staff with backgrounds in some of Europe’s finest eateries. Founded by two Master Sommeliers, it’s no surprise that Cabotte boasts one of London’s most extensive wine lists, featuring all the hits as well as some très rare Burgundian delights.
Word on the street is they make the best apple tarte tatin in town. So while the menu says it’s for sharing, £16’s worth of pastry and cream to yourself after 3 courses of fine French food sounds like the ultimate warm-up for Christmas Day. Challenge accepted.
Where to find it: 48 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7AY
Chosen by DJ BBQ
With the opening of a bigger, shinier Smoking Goat currently stealing the limelight in the category of Thai BBQ restaurants run by Ben Chapman, let’s not forget that when it comes to getting up close to the theatre of open-flame cooking, Kiln is one of the greats.
Feel the heat in more ways than one perched at the counter bar with a view of all the action, as perfectly-spiced Thai small plates make the 1-metre journey from the kitchen to your mouth. The clay-pot noodles with brown crab and pork belly are a real fan favourite here, but make a beeline for the Dry Mackerel Red Curry if you’re in the market for something a little zingier.
With our fire-pit supremo DJ BBQ doffing his cap to their grilling excellence, if you like things on the smokier side we suggest that you take his advice.
Where to find it: 58 Brewer Street, London, W1F 9TL
Chosen by Ollie Dabbous
Who are we to argue with one of London’s best Chefs when he tells us to order a club sandwich at Smith & Wollensky? We’ll simply add that if you’re looking for a proper American steakhouse in the capital, you should look no further.
While this New York transplant boasts an extensive array of fresh seafood for any non-meat eaters, the quality of the beef at Smith & Wollensky is the real star of the show. Cuts vary from a modest 200g USDA sirloin to a Flintstone-style 1kg grass-fed Irish tomahawk.
Once you’ve locked down your steak choices, take your pick from a variety of decadent extras. Why not add a gorgonzola crust for good measure, a few lobster tails here or there, maybe some sautéed foie gras for that ultimate taste of luxury. Have it exactly how you want it – incredible meat, all of the trimmings.
Where to find it: The Adelphi Building, Covent Garden Riverside, 1-11 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6HT
Chosen by Kathy Slack
Whilst Bristol’s The Ethicurean may no longer be the undiscovered gem it once was (thanks to Channel 4’s ‘Hidden Restaurants with Michel Roux Jnr’), there probably is no higher level of food bragging than telling your mates you’ve dined in a secluded self-sustaining gastronomic utopia set within a Victorian walled garden.
With a not once but twice daily changing menu, the Ethicurean really is the pinnacle when it comes to serving up seasonal, ethical and supremely well-executed dishes in picturesque surroundings. Luckily for those slightly less dedicated food-lovers amongst us, you no longer have to make the pilgrimage to rural Somerset to sample their food. They’re taking root in London this December for a month-long pop-up at the John Lewis Roof Gardens. Retreat from the bustle of shopping on Oxford Street and give yourself an early Christmas present. You deserve it.
Where to find it: Barley Wood Walled Garden, Long Lane, Wrington, Bristol, BS40 5SA
Chosen by Anna Jones
If you’re looking to impress your friends with a truly modern and sleek dining experience, Ellory should do the trick. Tuck into their great-value tasting menu to sample the flavours of Head Chef Sam Kamienko’s globetrotting culinary journey from Melbourne to London via some of the best restaurants in New York and Paris; reflected in his elegant, ingredients-led style.
Expect sharp culinary skills and service in this beautifully simple and understated London Fields favourite. Their take on the classic Mont Blanc sits alongside Clipstone’s Paris Brest in the realm of delicious French desserts making a comeback, and an expertly curated wine-list by ex-Sager & Wilde sommelier, Ed Thaw, goes hand in hand with a cracking speciality cheese board. As Anna Jones said, posh dining, but less of the frills.
Where to find it: 1 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL
Chosen by Martin Morales
Now Gelateria Daniele might not be a restaurant, but once you taste their gelato you’ll forgive Martin Morales for bending the rules a little. From its flagship store in Richmond, Gelateria Danieli has been whipping up authentic Italian gelato since 2005 using only milk from a single supplier, Sussex’s Cowdrey Estate.
With four shops scattered across London including one on Shaftesbury Avenue, it’s the perfect post-theatre pit-stop. The proverbial flake in your 99 is that Danieli is one of the healthiest Gelaterias around, with all of your nutritional needs covered – dairy free, nut free, egg free, high protein or gluten-free. If there’s one man that can persuade you that low-fat gelato is worth taking a punt on, it’s Martin Morales.
Where to find it: 222 Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2H 8EB