FOOD & DRINK / WHERE I EAT IN LONDON
London's food scene evolves so fast and is ever expanding so it can be very hard to keep up to date. New trends and new talent emerge all the time earning London the title of 'food capital of the world' but luckily old favourites still stay strong. Whatever time of the day, whichever part of London, just turn a corner (or two) and you'll find something tasty to satisfy those hunger pangs.
Here are a few restaurants that have tickled my fancy over the past year and what I tend to order - however, maybe not all at once.
THE BUDGET - BUT STILL SERIOUSLY TASTY - OPTIONS
This is my fall-back option every time I fancy a quick but delicious Thai meal and it never disappoints. The Thai Calamari is my all-time favourite and there have been several times I've just gone there to order that dish with a cocktail. The restaurants have a very cool, laid back atmosphere with dim lighting and the big square tables make it a perfect option for a group of friends wanting to get together.
What I order: Thai Calamari, Sticky Tamarind Wings, Pad Thai, Grilled Salmon, Phad Phak
Bills will forever be close to my heart because the chain started in Sussex - which is where I'm from. Over the past 5 years they've expanded rapidly across the UK and now have several restaurants in London. They have an extensive menu which caters for every meal of the day. The restaurants have a marketplace style to them with produce featured on the shelves around the space, as well as hanging from the ceilings. It's nice to see that despite expanding, Bills hasn't lost any of it's original charm.
What I order: Crumbed Halloumi Sticks, Mezze Plate, Mojo Chicken Skewers, Halloumi and Hummus Brioche Bun, Naked Burger
THE REAL GREEK
This is a relatively new find for me but what a gem it is! I often get stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to cuisines so hadn't dabbled much into Greek food but it's absolutely delicious. I love the sharing aspect and food is served on tiered plates, afternoon tea style. Their set menus are really affordable and give you the opportunity to try lots of different dishes.
What I order: Houmous, Tzatziki, Falafel, Gigandes Plaki, Lamb Meatballs, Grilled Kalamari, Pork Belly
THE MID-RANGE OPTIONS
JACKSON & RYE
Jackson & Rye never ever disappoints; every time I visit it blows me away with the quality of food and the cool vibe it channels. The American style menu features some real classics but with unique touches and tweaks which makes each dish unforgettable. It's perfect for a date night and I can highly recommend the cocktails on offer too!
What I order: Truffled Mac & Cheese, Salt & Pepper Squid, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Fillet Steak
My job often allows me to discover and experience new restaurants (I'm very lucky) and Ceviche is one of them. This Peruvian restaurant is so great that I recently bought the cookbook to try and master some of their specialties at home. The food is very authentic but with punchy twists and flavour explosions. Note: I could hardly pronounce any of the food on the menu so had to shamefully point and smile but apart from that, excellent.
What I order: Don Ceviche, Costillas Chifa, Pollo en Brasa, Lomo Saltado
This is a family favourite which my Mum actually introduced me to. Apparently her and my Dad used to have date night there way before I was born and the authentic restaurant is still going strong. Nestled down an alley near Covent Garden, it's definitely under the radar but those that have been tend to come back over and over again. If they're not coming back for the delicious food, they come back to slam back some tequila!
What I order: Smoked Chicken Quesadilla, Fajitas, Chile Con Carne
THE OCCASION / 'LET'S GO ALL OUT' OPTIONS
It's crazy to think that a decade ago I was a firm vegetarian, yet now just the thought of a good steak makes me salivate. Hawksmoor had been on my list to visit for a long time so when I got the opportunity to go, to say I was excitement would be an understatement. The restaurant itself is quite old school with wood-clad walls and arched windows; a beautiful throwback to decades past. The menu is decadent and indulgent and although every single main dish on their menu sounds insanely good, it's the steaks you're there for. Pure heaven!
What I order: Potted Beef & Bacon with Yorkshires, Monkfish Grilled Over Charcoal, Sirloin Steak, Maple Bacon, Triple Cooked Chips
STICKS N SUSHI
I'm not that big on sushi but my boyfriend LOVES it so for his birthday I thought I'd treat him to some really good sushi. The concept at Sticks n Sushi is really cool and food aside for now, the menu is one of the best parts about this place. It's extremely informative with descriptions of each dish and high quality photos showing you what to expect. Every morsel is outstanding and they have a variety of options for vegetarians and for those who prefer meat to fish too.
What I order: Edamame Beans, Ebi Bites, Man Food Platter
OBLIX, THE SHARD
On the theme of birthdays, Oblix was in fact my treat for my birthday last year. I've been to another restaurant at The Shard and left feeling a bit underwhelmed so I was a touch hesitant to try Oblix however it really outdid itself. The food, atmosphere and of course the views blew me away. For somewhere so fancy, it's very unpretentious and the staff are courteous and charming - what more could you want? Note: try and grab / reserve a window table if you can; the views over London make the experience even more special.
What I order: Whole Seabass, BBQ Black Cod, Rib-eye Steak, Green Beans, Pancetta & Truffled Ricotta
P.S. What are YOUR favourite restaurants in London?