A question I get asked all too frequently is ‘what’s your favourite place to eat in London’ and I’m afraid I simply just can’t answer that! There are SO many incredible places to eat in London to suit all preferences and depending on my mood I can be craving anything from a giant pizza, an ice cream sundae bigger than my head or the most incredible hummus and falafel salad from Chickpea.
As 2017 draws to a close, once again I’ve had a year of being truly spoilt for good meals, new food finds and incredible opportunities through my blog and social media. I wanted to share the 10 best things (that I can remember!) that I’ve eaten this year. The list is for London eateries only.. or my entire list would be filled with New York’s incredible food spots from donuts the size of my head to the cookie that ruined all future cookeis for me! (Read my NYC blog post here).
And so after much deliberation.. my 2017 top 10!
Asking me to pick one of their brunch waffles would be like asking a mother to pick between her children.. they’re all just so good. Sadly only available for brunch, they come in six flavours (on either a sweet potato or quinoa waffle) and if you don’t try both sweet and savoury then you’re seriously missing out! The ginger yogurt and berries is light and refreshing, their ‘Peruvian chocolate’ is like the most indulgent ganache and even the fried chicken is amazing (and that’s coming from someone who really isn’t a fried chicken fan!). They’re so good I even considered taking my epi pen in to sample their peanut butter waffle! (Okay I’m joking.. sorry Marcus – I know it’s not funny!)
Dirty Bones’ beef short rib crumpets
With a whole section of their brunch menu dedicated to crumpets you know they’re going to be good, but nothing can quite prepare you for just how good these are. Soft, fluffy crumpets spread thickly with umami butter and piled high with tender, melt-in-the-mouth short rib beef in a flavour-packed sauce topped with caramelised shallots, poached eggs and hollandaise.. what brunch dreams are made of! Oh.. and get a side of their breakfast fries, and their baked eggs with tallegio cheese and parmesan breadcrumbs. In fact.. just get it all – it’s the weekend after all!
Dominique Ansel’s almond croissant
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a complete pastry fiend.. specifically almond croissants. If there’s a bakery or café within a 5 mile radius, I will sniff it out! An absolute cliché, but in my opinion the French really do take the pastry crown. Soft but not too fluffy, with a dreamy almond-paste filling and a generous toasted almond topping, I’ve had many good almond croissants this year (I have to give a shout out to Claud W Dennis!) but for me this one just pinches the top spot.
And while we’re on the topic of good pastries, their gingerbread croissant is also seriously good.. can I mark it down purely on the fact that it’s only available at Christmas!? 😦
Paul’s hot chocolate
I’ve had a lot of hot chocolates this Winter! I’ll be honest, usually I’m not a big hot chocolate drinker – I nearly always choose tea or coffee, but this Christmas one novelty hot chocolate led to another and before I knew it I was even onto freakshakes! Paul’s hot chocolate is zero novelty and maximum taste.. and I’ll be honest, despite the excitement of torched marshmallow, clouds of whipped cream and toppings ranging from millionaires shortbread to chocolate cereal, this plain and simple hot chocolate in a mug has been my favourite. It’s not much to look at – it isn’t even that thick! – but somehow the rich chocolate flavour that they’ve packed in there is unforgettable. Plus they do the most heavenly pastries for that non-optional hot chocolate dunk!
The Good Egg’s Iraqi aubergine pita
Narrowly beating their chocolate babka to my list, you know a savoury dish is good when I’d choose it over a sweet option (okay I just get both but you get my point!). Despite opening a new branch in Kingly Court, their original in Stoke Newington still remains one of my all time favourite brunch places and several months on their aubergine pita is still one of my favourite dishes to date! Soft, fried aubergine stuffed into a soft, fluffy pita with tahini, salad, perfectly boiled eggs and beautiful pink pickles.. I could eat it ten times over!
Pizza Union’s nutella mascarpone dough ring
I’m a doughy pizza crust lover through and through, and whilst Pizza Union are focused on the thin and crispy Roman style pizzas, when they want to do doughy, they do it damn well. Regardless of your pizza preferences, there’s no doubt that you need this epic creation in your life! A warm dough ring, stuffed full of Nutella and mascarpone, with a selection of creamy gelato flavours on the side – what are you waiting for!?
NAC’s dulce de leche pancakes
Anyone who’s a regular user of social media must have seen these glorious pancakes do the rounds.. and as a pancake lover I was delighted to discover that they’re every bit as good as they look.. plus (also to my delight!), they’re huge! Available only for weekend brunch, these ricotta pancakes are light, fluffy, topped with bananas and absolutely smothered in sweet dulce de leche sauce – the perfect end to any brunch. As always, my photos do not do these justice, but you don’t have to scroll far on Instagram to find some better ones!
My Cookie Dough’s slutty brownie
One bite of any of their cookie doughs and I guarantee that you’ll be immediately sold, but if you get only one let it be this one.. it’s heavenly! Warm chocolate chip cookie dough, a gooey chocolate fudge brownie and a mountain of nutella, with a generous helping of soft serve ice cream on the side! Easily one of the best things I’ve eaten this year, and a place I’ll be returning to time and time again!
Sexy Fish’s four chocolate & praline fondant
I know, I know.. only I would go to a fancy fish restaurant and pick an item off their dessert menu to feature on my list! This restaurant was a last minute addition ot the list and in all honesty it was a bloody difficult decision to choose one dish – everything I tried was just so good. Again, not the best of photos, but it’s bloody dark in there so you’ll have to take my word for it! If you do go, their grilled tuna is divine, as is the lobster and the Eringi mushroom with truffle (the thinnest, most delicate slices of mushroom deep fried like little crisps and served with an incredibly rich, smooth truffle sauce) but the highlight of the meal was the desserts. The cinnamon donuts were impossibly light and fluffy (served with yuzu curd and chocolate sauce) but the most unforgettable dish of the night had to be their four chocolate & praline fondant – quite literally the best chocolate fondant I’ve ever, ever had. A light, fluffy chocolate sponge filled with not only with a melting middle chocolate centre, but also (and this is the game changer) a smooth, nutty praline – a match made in heaven. Combine that with biscuit crumbs, milk ice cream and an exotic citrus curd and you have what is quite possibly the best dessert I’ve eaten all year.
Ole & Steen’s cinnamon social
The day I tried their cinnamon social was literally life changing. I am an absolute cinnamon bun addict, and having tried more than my fair share I can confidently say that this is the best I’ve ever had. More bread-like than some of its pastry-based competitors, it’s filled with generous layers of cinnamon and vanilla custard in the softest, fluffiest bread imaginable – pure heaven! Since trying my first one I don’t think a week has gone by without me going back for more.. and with an Ole & Steen just minutes’ walk from my office I don’t think it’s a habit I’m going to be breaking any time soon!