London – With 70 Michelin star restaurants according to the Michelin Guide 2017, London is easily one of the top gourmet cities in the world other than New York City, Tokyo and Paris. As with most of our trips, our meals often take precedence over other attractions and we don’t believe in visiting a Michelin restaurant for every meal as there is so much more to explore in the culinary scene which is not covered by Michelin. If this is your first time to London, or maybe your second, here are some of the restaurants from casual to mid-range to Michelin Star restaurants which we recommend and won’t break the bank for its worth.
Burger & Lobster
The causal dining restaurant group started back in 2011 in Mayfair, London, and is now a popular chain in the city as well as a global presence in cities like Bangkok and Dubai. The lobster roll priced at 25gbp is the most popular and must try item, where you get a generous chunks of lobster meat in a delicious brioche bun.
Where: 36-38 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 4PS, UK (Various outlets)
We read that getting a table at Kiln is not an easy feat, and we totally understood after our two hours wait. The small and casual restaurant in SoHo specialises in Thai cuisine and gain much popularity even though it has only been opened for slightly for than a year. The dishes are relatively spicy, don’t leave without trying the Claypot vermicelli.
Where: 58 Brewer St, Soho, London W1F 9TL, UK
A random craving and accidental discovery led us to Shoryu Ramen, a casual Japanese restaurant in Soho which serves up pretty good Hakata style tonkotsu ramen. The broth is rich and creamy, quite an ideal spot for a late night meal or supper. Shoryu Ramen is also recommend on the Michelin Guide 2014-2017.
Where: 3 Denman Street, Soho, London W1D 7HA, UK
Roast duck in London? It is hard to believe that there are good Cantonese restaurants in London many years ago, but a visit to Bayswater is almost customary for me. You will find a few famous brands in Bayswater, but our favourite of the lot is Gold Mine which serves the most succulent and tender roast duck.
Find out where else you can have good Cantonese style roast ducks in London in our previous article.
Where: 102 Queensway, Bayswater, London W2 3RR, UK
Located right outside the popular Borough Market, Padella is an Italian pasta bar concept and space serving fresh, hand rolled pasta prepared right in front of you. No reservations are taken though we didn’t wait very long for our turn. The menu is extremely wallet friendly by London standards, with antipasti like the sourdough bread from £2, pasta like the gnocchi with nutmeg butter from £4, and the most expensive fettuccine at £12. It is not an ideal space for a big group as the restaurant is not big, but this is worth trying if you are looking for a good, no frills Italian restaurant in Central London.
Where: 6 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TQ, UK
Shoreditch neighbourhood exudes a hipster vibe and there are a few good restaurants in near the subway Overground line with Smokestak being one of them. Industrial chic look, smoked meats and the kind of casual dining ambience we fancy, don’t leave without trying the smoked pork.
Where: 35 Sclater Street, London E1 6LB, UK
Argentinian beef in London? I first tried Gaucho many years ago and revisited recently again. You can’t go very wrong with the Argentinian beef cuts, which are good value for money for a steakhouse restaurant in central London. Not a beef fan? The juicy roast chicken is easily one of the best we have had too.
Where: 25 Swallow Street, Mayfair, London W1B 4QR, UK (Various outlets)
Hawksmoor Air Street
With a few outlets around London, Hawksmoor is a mid-range steakhouse in London which serves up pretty good beef mainly from the U.K. The ambience of the restaurant is casual, as we visited the branch at Air Street in Central London.
Where: 5 Air Street, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0AD, UK
Similar to Smokestak, Lyle is also located in Shoreditch and is one of the rising restaurant in London, with One Michelin Star under its belt. The menu focuses on seasonal ingredients in a semi-formal and minimalist setting. It is also ideal to order a few small plates for sharing, though prices are relatively steep.
Where: Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6JJ, UK
It’s French sounding and you are right, Frenchie Covent Garden is the offspring of popular Frenchie restaurant from Paris by Gregory Marchand who had previous stints in London such as the Savoy, Mandarin Oriental. The menu in London draws parallel comparisons with its Paris concepts, with simple and clean presentation and ingredients done prepared in sophisticated ways. There is an ala carte menu, or you can also opt for the 5-course Tasting menu which is also available everyday for dinner.
Where: 16 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8QH, UK
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Located in one of the poshest hotel in London, I wasn’t extremely impressed with Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester given that it is one of the Three Michelin Star restaurant in London, as I can’t help using Eleven Madison Park in NYC as a benchmark. You can expect opulence in the dining ambience and in fact the moment you stepped into the hotel, but the food was at best average for us for a Three Michelin Star restaurant. That said, it is still relatively value for money for its lunch set if you compare it against other similar restaurants of the same accolade in London like the insanely expensive Fat Duck. What’s more, you get servings of wine as part of the lunch deal too.
Where: 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA, UK
Heading back to the same restaurant twice is quite a big deal for me as I like to try new ones. Petrus left an impression when I dined here about six years ago for dinner, and safe to say it is still what I remembered it to be from my recent lunch experience. Good service, extremely good value lunch set with a choice of wine and most importantly, the food is delicious. If you want to dine at a One Michelin Star Gordon Ramsey restaurant without breaking the bank, this is it.
Where: 1 Kinnerton Street, Belgravia, London SW1X 8EA, UK
Ranted by The Ranter