I love London. I used to live there in my single days before kids, and I have always loved the London vibe. I still love going back there and discovering little quirky places, although that could sometimes be difficult when you have small kids in tow. So when we decided to go to London for 2 weeks during the summer holiday with the kids, I was very excited. I was even more excited when we decided to let the kids go to summer camp during the day! I got a few foodie books and started to do my research. 10 lunches without kids in London! I couldn’t bear the excitement! The evenings and dinners would be dedicated to the kids, but during the day, I was going to explore as much as possible, and go to all those little restaurants difficult to go to with small kids.
I had 10 different places to try. Two places totally stood out above the rest. Keep in mind I am not the Michelin star type. I mean, I won’t say no to the opportunity of going to a Michelin stared restaurant, but what excites me the most is little quirky joints that stand out. These are two places you should not miss if you are ever in London!
Smoking Goat - In fact when I was doing my research I was most looking forward to trying this place. It talked about the place being inspired by Bangkok’s late night canteens, and besides, how can you not just love that name!? Smoking Goat has a branch in Soho and in Shoreditch - We went to the Shoreditch branch. Twice. In a week. It was SO good. Inside it almost has a pub vibe going, with an open plan kitchen behind the bar, so you are able to see what’s cooking. They have a super small menu and great cocktails.
We tried all the starters Barbecue Tamworth Skewers, Steamed Menai Oyster and Roasted Chilli & Fried Shallot Chilli Fish Sauce Wings. All were good but the skewers were the simplest and most delicious. The Smoked Aubergine Salad with Chilli & Egg was amazing. The Northern Thai Duck Laab is super spicy and the dish that made my husband talk for days about it until we had to come back the following week to have it again. The Drunken Noodles were also amazing and mouth watering. In fact we loved every dish we tasted!
We went during lunch time, but I can imagine how great the place is in the evenings too. Perfect drinking food!
Hoppers - The second place we loved equally is Hoppers in Soho which offers family style Sri Lankan cooking. Hoppers is named after Sri Lanka’s fermented rice and coconut milk pancakes shaped like a bowl. I just love this place. From the decor to the over enthusiastic staff (in fact our Sri Lankan waiter started speaking perfect Italian to us! We later figured out that he was in fact half Italian), to the delicious food and great cocktails!
I was told before hand that we MUST try the Bonemarrow Varuval with Roti which was amazing. The Mutton Rolls are a must too. The curries are all amazing and you cannot stop eating until you’re practically licking the plates…. Luckily the portions are quite small and geared towards sharing. This place has managed to make Sri Lankan food feel hip and trendy. Not surprising, seeing that it was opened by Chef. Karam Sethi’s, who also runs the more established Trishna, Bao and Gymkhana. Their restaurant empire is surely growing and everything they touch seems to turn into gold! I for one am a huge fan!
When you’re next in London, try these places out. Trust me, you won’t regret it!
What restaurants do you recommend in London? Have any favourites?
Smoking Goat Shoreditch
64 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JJ
49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG