Where chefs eat in London
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Where chefs eat in London

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Some of London’s top chefs tell us where they go when they’re off the clock?¨C the restaurants they head to again and again, and the dishes they order at their favourite joints.

Dominic Auger eats at Kiln and Bancone

The head chef at Hackney Coterie opened his first restaurant after stints in some of London¡¯s top kitchens including Scully and Hide

¡®There are a couple of spots that immediately come to mind when I want to eat out ¨C Kiln in Soho is one of my absolute favourites. Much of the cooking is done in clay pots or over coals which packs all the dishes with flavour. I like sitting at the bar overlooking the kitchen ¨C it¡¯s a small spot, so you feel invested in the action. Bancone is another failsafe spot ¨C perfect for an unpretentious fresh pasta dish that¡¯s wallet-friendly too.¡¯

Charlie McKay

Masaki Sugisaki eats at Kol

Traditionally trained chef Masaki Sugisaki learnt his trade in his parent¡¯s restaurants in Japan, before moving to Tokyo and then London to become part of the Nobu team. Now, he¡¯s executive chef at Dinings SW3.

¡®There are many great restaurants in London, but KOL in Marylebone particularly stands out. I¡¯ve had special experiences here. The energy that Santiago Lastra and his team put into the food is palpable. The interiors have been so beautifully curated, and the KOL Mezcaleria, Santiago¡¯s cosy basement bar, is well worth a visit ¨C it¡¯s unique with an incredible selection of spirits. The dishes in the restaurant cleverly depict soulful and authentic Mexican recipes but using British ingredients. I highly recommend getting a table there if you can!¡¯

Xavier Girard Lachaine

Alice Norman eats at FM Mangal and Lyle’s

The chef at Italian-inspired Emilia, set in Bonham¡¯s Auction House, cut her teeth at esteemed London spots Kricket, Clipstone and Levan

¡®My brother-in-law introduced me to the charred flatbread at FM Mangal in Camberwell – it’s brushed with some sort of magic spiced sauce. I think it’s the best bread in London. I get it to take away for ¡ê2.50 and it becomes the centrepiece of a meal at home – I’ll have it with whatever is in the fridge – some roasted aubergines and labneh. It makes meals very easy. Or I¡¯ll go to Lyle¡¯s for a full-on supper out. I love the light and the service ¨C and that they always have smoked eel on the menu in some format.¡¯

Tim Charles

Nieves Barragan Mohacho eats at The French House

The Basque Country-born chef won a Michelin star for London¡¯s Barrafina before going on to open elevated tapas spot Sabor near Regent Street ¨C and secure it a star of its own

¡®I¡¯m dying to go to Decimo at The Standard hotel! But for a more regular spot, I really love The French House in Soho ¨C it¡¯s my kind of food. I order brains or sweetbreads. Proper food!¡¯

Yuki Sugiura

Greg Marchand eats at Lyle’s and The Clove Club

Using his nickname coined by Jamie Oliver, the chef opened his restaurant Frenchie in Paris in 2009 and followed it up seven years later with a sister spot in London’s Covent Garden

¡®Shoreditch restaurant Lyle¡¯s is great for a late, boozy Saturday feast, drinking a lot of natural wine and eating head chef James Lowe¡¯s delicate and very thoughtful food. My other spot is Isaac McHale¡¯s The Clove Club. I usually take my cooks here as a leaving present. The food is fun, playful, delicious and brilliantly executed.¡¯

Angela Hartnett eats at Brawn

The British chef heads up four modern Italian restaurants across London, and has recently taken over the kitchen at Portetta hotel, a smart French Alps hideaway

¡®I love Brawn, also in East London. I went just before Christmas, and every time I visit I think I need to go more often. There¡¯s never a dud dish and the atmosphere and wine list are excellent.¡¯

Elizabeth Haigh eats at Manteca

The Singapore-born chef started off on ¡®MasterChef¡¯ and went on to win Pidgin in Hackney, London, a Michelin star. Now she cooks homegrown dishes at Mei Mei, nestled in Borough Market¡¯s new dining space

¡®One place I keep going back to at the moment is Manteca in Soho. Chris Leach and David Carter are two incredibly talented chefs and so, naturally, their collaboration has created something wonderful. I probably went to their previous pop-up at 10 Heddon Street around 10 times in two months. They serve small plates, so I always order a handful of starters (I like the pink-fir potatoes) and at least three pasta dishes. I love Chris’s fresh pasta, especially the tonnarelli brown-crab cacio e pepe.¡¯

Oli Templeton at M?os

The co-founder of rotating restaurant Carousel in London¡¯s Marylebone welcomes a line-up of talented chefs into his kitchen year-round

¡®For a real treat, I recently ate at M?os in Shoreditch which was created by Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes of Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone. Head chef Edoardo Pellicano¡¯s cooking is seriously creative.¡¯

Robin Gill eats at The Guinea Grill and The River Caf¨¦

South London¡¯s favourite chef trained under Raymond Blanc and Marco Pierre White, and now has a handful of superlative British restaurants of his own

‘The Guinea Grill in Mayfair is a true slice of East London, full of characters that could at any moment jump into a full East End ballad. You will feel like you¡¯re in a film set, but what you get is one of the last-surviving pillars of London and all its charm. Expect bubble and squeak and a pavement slab of juicy steak. Or, further west at The River Caf¨¦, you feel like you¡¯re on holiday from the moment you walk through the door. The food and service are always impeccable, but the atmosphere is so relaxed that you feel like a guest in someone¡¯s home. I¡¯d order the turbot cooked in the wood oven.¡¯

Ben Tish eats at Bob Bob Ricard

The culinary director of slick London hotel The Stafford and chef-patron of Fitzrovia¡¯s cosiest Sicilian joint, Norma

¡®I like Bob Bob Ricard in Soho for a late bite. There¡¯s always a buzzing atmosphere and the service is the best in town. After all these years, I still get excited by the Press for Champagne button in the booths. It serves great comfort food ¨C I tend to go for the truffled lobster mac and cheese.¡¯

Tristan Welch eats at Roux at Parliament Square

The chef who was once Gordon Ramsay¡¯s right-hand man now dishes up British-focused food at Parker¡¯s Tavern inside smart Cambridge hotel the University Arms

¡®My go-to has to be Roux at Parliament Square in Westminster. It¡¯s headed up by the exceptional Steve Groves. I always go for the chef¡¯s tasting menu, which is the best way to try all his top dishes. Even better is when it includes the Dorset crab with apple, chilli and dashi, which is particularly smashing. To finish, his rice-pudding souffl¨¦ is almost as good as mine¡­¡¯

Simon Brown

Ollie Dabbous eats at Dean Street Townhouse and Umu

The young-gun chef¡¯s eponymous debut gained a Michelin star eight months after opening in 2012. Now he¡¯s at the helm of Hide, a critically acclaimed fine-dining spot in London¡¯s Mayfair

¡®I like Dean Street Townhouse in Soho because it offers no-frills cooking and great service. I order the mac and cheese, which is big enough for two. It feels like a proper treat. Otherwise, I¡¯ll go to Mayfair¡¯s Umu for sushi ¨C it¡¯s an oasis with beautiful cooking. I go for the grilled eel if it¡¯s on the menu, plus a large selection of nigiri.¡¯

Tom Brown eats at Black Axe Mangal

The ¡®Great British Menu¡¯ star and prot¨¦g¨¦ of Cornwall chef Nathan Outlaw opened his cool East London seafood restaurant Cornerstone in 2018

¡®Black Axe Mangal is one of my favourite places in London. All of Lee Tiernan¡¯s dishes are so considered and perfectly executed. His foie gras and prune doughnut is just epic. He¡¯s got a banging playlist, too.¡¯

Chris Terry

Adam Byatt eats at Sabor

The chef-patron of Michelin-starred Trinity in Clapham who began his career at Claridge¡¯s at just 16-years-old

¡®My favourite restaurant at the moment has to be Sabor in Mayfair. I rarely eat at the same place twice and I have been here two times this month alone. The cooking is first class and the service is some of the friendliest and most hospitable I have experienced.¡¯

George Barson eats at Barafina

The executive chef learnt his trade at River Cottage and serves a roster of famous faces at contemporary British joints Kitty Fisher¡¯s and Cora Pearl in central London

¡®One of my favourite restaurants is Barrafina in Covent Garden. Its food is consistently delicious. The runny-in-the-middle tortilla is a must-order.¡¯

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