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It’s a tough job but someone has to do it, so we’re eating our way around the city to find the top restaurants right now to make picking dinner that just that little bit more simpler.

HOPPERS

Sri Lankan Street Food In Soho

BEHIND THE SCENES

‘Hoppers’ are the edible pancake bowls used to serve street food in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu (main picture), which is what this little Soho restaurant serves. It is the latest from the Sethis, the family behind Michelin-starred Gymkhana and Trishna. Polished this is not. But that’s the whole point.

FOOD

The wondrous hoppers (fermented rice and coconut milk pancakes) are at once spongy and crisp; order with an egg and all the extras (pol sambal, seeni sambol and coriander chutney) and tear right in. Of the curries, red pumpkin and guinea fowl both stand out.

Ceylonese spit chicken with pennywort relish and coconut roti comes in a whopping portion – so don’t go crazy on the curries or you won’t have space for the delightfully wobbly watallapam, which tastes like a coconutty crème brulee.

What the menu’s glossary can’t explain, the smiley staff happily will. But with a name like Love Cake, who cares what it is?

DRINKS

For memories of hazy nights on Indian Ocean beaches, it has to be Sri Lankan Lion lager. For something stronger, there’s arrack and cocktails, too. The Citizen Burgher (genever – a bit like gin, but more hardcore – papaya and coconut water) is a refreshing aperitif, but you can’t beat the lemongrass-infused Hoppers G&T.

HIGHLIGHT

The send-another-three mutton rolls. And the fact it’s much cheaper than any of the other restaurants in the family business.

COCKTAILS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

The underground Prohibition-style Arts Theatre Club is right next door.

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ELLORY

Modern Bistro in a Hackney Arts Hub

BEHIND THE SCENES

Netil House in London Fields is home to around 100 makers and shakers and independent businesses; and now on their ground floor is Ellory.

A modern bistro from two friends Matthew Young (previously Head Chef at Mayfields) and Jack Lewens (a sommelier with River Café and Spring on his CV).

The restaurant itself is quite minimalist with whitewashed walls, low-slung bare bulbs and a view into the busy open kitchen.

FOOD

A five-course tasting menu changes daily, and features simple dishes such as scallop, parsnip and artichoke, or mallard, beetroot and quince. Leave room for the sixth course, which is a low-key cheese plate – a thick slice of blue stitchelton and an oozing St. Cera from Neal’s Yard – served with crisp breads.

If you’re just popping in for a drink and snacks there are plates of wafer-thin Tuscan Coppa or venison tartar on toast.

DRINKS

Most of the 50-long wine list is from Italy, France and Spain, with special attention given to small-scale Champagne producers.

HIGHLIGHT

Handsome front-of-house and wine expert Jack, who’ll do the wine-matching for every course so you don’t have to.

5 Top Tried & Tested Restaurants In London For You

COCKTAILS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Just upstairs is NTs, a classic cocktail bar with an East London twist, which also serves some seasonal options. For December try Back From The Ashes: candied orange, marmalade, orange-blossom water, lemon juice and yuzu bitter.

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45 JERMYN ST.

An American Diner For Grown-ups

BEHIND THE SCENES

This lovely, twinkly spot on the site of Fortnum & Mason’s former Fountain restaurant, just behind Piccadilly, has all the highly polished hallmarks of a project by Martin Brudnizki (Sexy Fish, The Ivy).

Deco-style low lighting, burnt-orange leather banquettes, gold paneling and a long marble bar add to the glamorous feel of dining in this swanky part of town.

FOOD

The menu includes brasserie classics such as dressed crab and coq au vin, but it’s worth taking a punt on one of the more intriguing numbers.

Grilled bones with Parmesan and parsley salt arrive on a silver-edged platter before the waiter pours a silky, rich gravy over each one; scrape out the marrow, spread it on toast and enjoy a super-umami taste sensation.

A generous portion of scallops (orange coral and all) with chorizo and neeps, and a side dish of creamy fennel gratin are other standouts.

DRINK

Rickies are the house specialty, made with home-blended syrups and soda. They are concocted science-experiment-like at the table – with a little dropper of acid to pep it up halfway through – and are seriously refreshing. Try the No. 8, with tequila, passion fruit and thyme.

Grilled bones with toasted sourdough and parsley salt at 45 Jermyn St.

HIGHLIGHT

The boozy dessert floats – this place already feels like a posh diner for grown-ups and it doesn’t get more Happy Days than sitting in a booth slurping from a tall glass filled with scoops of peanut-butter ice cream swimming in cognac.

COCKTAILS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

Make like Bond and have it shaken at Duke’s Martini Bar. Just the one, mind, or you won’t be able to make it to the restaurant.

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ZELMAN MEATS

Red Meat & Red Wine in Soho

BEHIND THE SCENES

The latest restaurant from meat master Mikhail Zelman (Goodman, Beast, Burger & Lobster) is the antithesis of all those of-the-moment vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free cafés in Soho.

Zelman Meats is all about the beef – but with a more relaxed approach to preparation than Goodman (no dry-curing here) and only three cuts available each day.

In quiet St Anne’s Court, the restaurant has industrial-style décor featuring red-leather booths, factory-style pendant lighting, and oversized chalkboard menus. There’s also a porcelain hand-washing station in case you ditch the knife and fork when tucking into your ribs.

FOOD

A starter of Loch Ryan native oysters is wonderfully briny – but there’s no doubt that the beef is the main event. The daily cuts can be ordered in 100-gram portions, so it’s worth trying a little of each.

The Picanha (Brazil’s answer to rump steak) was rich, smoky, and best with chimichurri, while the short rib arrived in a homemade barbecue marinade so good it monopolised the dinner conversation.

Sides range from grilled Portobello mushrooms to roasted aubergine with yoghurt and harissa, but the black truffle and Parmesan chips were a clear favorite.

5 Top Tried & Tested Restaurants In London For You

DRINKS

For a classic steakhouse, the mixology at Zelman Meats is refreshingly experimental: start with the absinthe and anchovy-based Hulk Smash in the restaurant’s adjoining bar. And then there’s the red wine…

HIGHLIGHTS

The perfectly cooked Chateaubriand. If you order nothing else, order this.

COCKTAILS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

On Berwick Street, Basement Sate serves quirky cocktail and dessert pairings. Cozy up on one of the green Chesterfield sofas and try a sweet and savory Little Japan, with Japanese whisky, artichoke liqueur, and sweet vermouth.

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TOKIMEITE

Dressed-up Japanese Drinking Den in Mayfair

BEHIND THE SCENES

Chef Yoshihiro Murata’s restaurants across Japan hold a total of seven Michelin stars. The first to open in Mayfair is inspired by bang-on-trend izakiyas, but super high-end, which is a bit nonsensical, but bear with it.

‘Tokimeite’ is the Japanese way of describing the feeling of butterflies in your stomach – and in this case translates into excitement rather than nerves.

FOOD

Order to share as you linger over drinks. Knockout starters include mackerel with fennel, spinach with toasted sesame sauce, lotus root stuffed with prawn and fish, and scallop with cauliflower purée and wagyu salami.

Wagyu is the speciality here; keep it simple with the chargrilled fillet as a main. If you’re still hungry (you won’t be), there’s a short sushi menu. Sit up at the bar to watch the pastry chef at work on wafer sandwiches of yuzu-flavoured marshmallow with ginger ice cream.

DRINKS

Sake. But start with one of the unique cocktails, all with Japanese spirits. The Okinawa Old Fashioned – mikkakoji, Antico Formula, kokuto sugar (from Okinawa), grapefruit peel, sesame, vanilla bitters – is smokier and even more lethal than the original.

5 Top Tried & Tested Restaurants In London For You

HIGHLIGHTS

The vegetarian options are unusually artful and interesting: a salad of parsnip and carrot is the prettiest, most exquisite example of how dressings can transform a dish.

COCKTAILS IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

The Parlour at Sketch becomes a cocktail bar after 6pm; a Kick The Ketel (vodka, cucumber and lychee) would start you off on the right note flavour-wise. Check out the trippy loos while you’re there.

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The Content Monkeys2017-04-26T02:15:45+00:00

About the Author: The Content Monkeys

Continuing our mission to shape a better world and create ripples in the ocean of social culture, our InAnyEvent Content Monkeys are as diverse in character as our global readership. Just like our craftsmen, everything that makes them stand out, makes them fit right in. To keep our Lifestyle & Events Guide current, fresh, valid and most importantly, worthwhile for you to continue enjoying.