This week’s gastronomic guide is a feast of new openings and dining firsts, which sees us rub shoulders with celebrity chefs, get down with the cool kids at hipster hangouts, and hobnob with the political elite in The House of Commons.
Dining doesn’t come with much more hype than when culinary powerhouse Gordon Ramsay steps into the ring. Not content with one of the biggest names in cooking, we’ve also found a few more underground offerings – from acclaimed chefs in Shoreditch to pulled pork in a derelict train carriage. But if all this modern stuff’s a bit much for you, how about walking in the footsteps of the greats (and not-so-greats) of British politics, with dinner inside the House of Commons? Or just want great food in a great pub without the pomp and circumstance? We’ve got it covered, with Thai food at one of London’s top gastropubs.
1. Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café Book Union Street Café
When he’s not reviving Brits abroad with his latest Kitchen Nightmares series, Gordon’s still a major player when it comes to London restaurants. His most recent offering is Union Street Café, a Mediterranean kitchen in Southwark. Octopus with parma ham, chicken breast with pecorino mousse, and aubergine, coffee and oregano risotto, are just a snapshot of what’s on offer. However, anything with this man’s name on attracts a fair amount of attention, so get in there quick.
2. Lyle’s Book Lyle’s
They may not have reached the celeb status of Mr Ramsay, but on the London restaurant scene, James Lowe and John Ogier are names to be reckoned with. Having earned a stellar reputation with the The Young Turks Collective, Lowe has teamed up with his former kitchen buddy from the renowned St John. Lyle’s is on Shoreditch High Street so is of course rather cool, but it’s not all handlebar moustaches and checked shirts here. The British and Scandinavian food speaks for itself, and not a beanie hat in sight.
3. Caboose Book Caboose
Tucking into a pulled pork burger on a train may earn you a few tuts from your fellow commuters. At Caboose, it’s encouraged. Not a culinary sit-in on the circle line, but a derelict train carriage converted into an intimate smoke-house that’s all yours for the evening. Bring your own booze, sit back, and watch the chefs rustle you up some mouth-wateringly meaty barbecue meals. Seating a maximum of 11, it’s splendidly cosy, so choose your dining partners wisely.
4. The Members’ Dining Room at the House of Commons Book The Members’ Dining Room
Regardless of your political leaning, treading the corridors of power and dining inside the Houses of Parliament is a fascinating prospect. For a limited time, and for the first time ever, The Members’ Dining Room is opening its doors to the public with a fittingly lavish British menu.
5. The Clerk & Well Book The Clerk & Well
Sometimes all you want to do is sit back with a pint of beer and a curry. When you can make it an authentic Thai curry, with a quality ale, in a laid-back gastropub, even better. In the hotbed of pubs that is Clerkenwell, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. But this place does so with aplomb.