It may seem strange to think of a chef as a customer in another restaurant, yet they eat out more than you would think. While not having the most time in the dinner hour like the rest of us, due to their working most nights, when they do get out they are fussy about where they are willing to have a meal. So below you will find the top ten, (in no specific order) restaurants in which to each North of the Thames in London straight from the horses mouths, so as reported by the chefs themselves. We’ve added in a really delectable dish in our own estimation from each menu but we look forward to hearing what you think of each place. So without further fan fare let’s get down to dinner as recommended by the modern chef scene in London.
The Palomar, a Soho find brought to the list by Barrafina Chef, Nieves Barragan. The Palomar has made a name serving the modern day Jerusalem dishes and in under just a year has won a number of food awards. Chef Barragan recognizes the love that goes into their dishes. His favorite was proclaimed to be the salmon tartare, but he’s partial to the laid back ambiance in addition to the dishes he calls small and really tasty. To get the best seat in the house grab a stool along the front of the restaurant counter where you can interact with the chefs directly.
And goes on to say that the Chef’s are the emerging talent of a new generation. Koffmann admits to eating there regularly and loves “the snacks like pig’s head croquettes” which also caught notice by Chef Puolakka: “The food is simple but there is a lot of technical ability behind it. The boys are doing something different. I like the pig’s head croquette.” And Tish had this to say, “My favorite dish of late was the charred brassicas with egg yolk, soy, and truffle. So simple but all the flavors marrying very well indeed and a really light touch.”
Taberna do Mercado, recommended by Angela Hartnett, Chef at Murano. Located in Spitalfields market this Portuguese tavern is the latest restaurant by chef of Chiltern Firehouse, Nuno Mendes. Harnett loves the peas, broad beans, and egg yolk; and the tinned fish. Mercado gets a nod from Lyle’s James Lowe who is a big fan, “I loved it, especially the turbot in a tin with dulse and seaweed oil. The seaweed lends the oil a beautiful flavor, and the texture of the turbot was amazing.”
Rivea, is a bit east from the others we’ve mentioned and is another recommendation of Chef Koffmann, who considers the restaurant to be severely undervalued and states, “I had my best meal of the past year there, especially the lamb and socca salad.” The restaurant is overseen via France by Chef Alain Ducasse and perhaps that is why it is the most under-known venue on our top ten. Ducasse has set up an interesting menu selection offering multiple lunch and dinner menus, and a festive menu special selection for service on Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s and New Year’s Eve this year. Regularly the lunch meals come in 2 course options for £26, or 3 courses for £32 per person. The menu is created and cooked by the Rivea’s Executive Chef Alexandre Nicolas’ and it incorporates the classic flavors and vivid colors of the Riviera. Nicolas’ likes to focus on simple creations made from the best ingredients, particularly vegetables beside local produce, specialist products including cured meats and olive oil from Italy.
Hedone: Lastly, since you’ve been taken out east to Rivea, a bit farther in Chiswick is the modern Euro cuisine of Hedone. The atmosphere is set by the laid back space that shows its exposed brick and cave-painted ceiling atop a wooden floor. The Swedish-born, Chef Mikael Jonsson’ is certainly a destination spot and worth the drive for this upscale experience. Awarded a Michelin star this year and named number 60 in The World’s Best 50 Restaurants’, it was recommended to us by the Chef of Hand & Flowers, Tom Kerridge . Kerridge states he’s dined there three time and that he “Loves everything Mikael stands for. The food is all ingredient-led. It’s wonderful. I like the watercress and black truffle omelet. Hedone does a tasting menu with each lunch and dinner and draws a crowd with his inventive dish choices.
Kitty Fisher’s, recommended by Thomasina Miers, the Chef at Wahaca who frequents the restaurant in Mayfair, and currently one of the best places to eat and be seen in London. Kitty Fisher’s chef, Tomos Parry is said to let the ingredients take the center stage in his dishes. Everyone who goes there raves about the bread and butter which is whipped burnt onion butter, and Miers adds “The produce was amazing and I loved the bread and butter.” But we like the Galacian steak that comes from milk cows. The flavor is deep and rich and is one of the restaurants signature plates, certainly you can’t go wrong
So these are the top ten North of the Thames in London that we have enjoyed sharing with you. A special note, we specifically left out the restaurants of the chef’s who recommended these great places so that we can do another list including just their venues specifically in another piece next month. Not all restaurants are serving on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day so we recommend you get reservations in advance and let us know your favorites at each place.