September highlights

WHAT a month of food! I feel like I’m spoilt for good food every month, but some of the places I went to this month were some of the best I’ve tried all year! It was pretty hard to narrow it down, but these were some of my favourites!

Hide Restaurant

With that spiral staircase and those truffled scrambled eggs, Hide Restaurant has certainly been boosted up hugely through social media but the eggs truly deserve every last bit of that hype – they’re one of the best things I’ve eaten in a long time. At 24 a portion, the Northerner in me is screaming “how much – did they miss out a full stop between the two and the four on the menu!?” at me, but it’s just so damn good, I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and have it again. They have a stunning selection of vienosseries too, but at eight pounds for a birch sap croissant I thought it possibly wasn’t worth the risk of not liking it – what does birch sap even taste like!?. The almond croissant was beautifully laminated, but lacking in filling and missing that wonderful toasted almond topping I love – given the price and the size I’d personally give it a miss. We saw other plates come out though, all of which looked stunning, and combined with the absolutely beautiful interiors I’d definitely recommend it for a special occasion.

Upstairs, or ‘above ground’ as they call it, is more of an open space where they serve their tasting menus, and with light wood furniture and floor to ceiling windows it’s the epitome of stunning modern day design. Given the prices it’s certainly not an everyday dining place, but I’d definitely recommend it for a special occasion.

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Canova Hall

Set in an absolutely charming building in Brixton, this brunch has got to be up there with the best I’ve had all year. With huge portions, beautiful plates of food and incredible bread, I don’t think it’d be possible to be disappointed no matter what you ordered – the truffle pasta was incredible and even the ‘basic’ avocado toast was next-level, thanks to a generous drizzle of beautifully intense olive oil (and the all-important bread!) but it was the toast with figs and mascarpone that was the real highlight! I feel like I’m so bread obsessed that I’m guilty of being  areal bread snob, but this was absolute toast perfection – huge, thick slabs of sourdough, soft in the middle (even more so where the toast had soaked up the beautiful maple syrup), but still firm enough to be ridiculously satisfying, with wonderfully chewy crusts.. I’m wondering if they do loaves to take away..

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Market Halls

Originally invited down to try the new Super Tacos, Market Halls turned out to be so much more than ‘just another food market’. Set in a what used to be the booking hall of the old tube station, there’s something for everyone, with a great bar serving an extensive selection of beers, wine and cocktails and an epic line up of traders, including Yard Sale pizza, Hot Box London, Butchies fried chicken, Fanny’s Kebabs, Soft Serve Society, Ahi Poke, Press Coffee and the newly launched Super Tacos (from the founders of Breddos Tacos!). With an incredible atmosphere, wonderful food and tons of seating all under one roof, it’s the perfect way to spend an evening!

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Milk Beach Café

One of London’s newest brunch spots, it’s safe to say they have left no stone unturned in their quest for perfection – their attention to detail is incredible.

The Head Chef is ex-Duck & Waffle, their Head of Coffee was 2016  & 2017 UK roasting champion and their baristas have a wealth of experience including stints at Prufrock and TAP coffee. They roast their own coffee in-house, and they’re looking to source beans from Ethiopian farmers who the owner himself helped to purchase equipment to allow them to grow coffee beans through his work with the Bill Gates’ foundation – talk about an insanely talented team!

With a wonderfully unique menu (featuring coddled eggs in a jar with cream and sweet potato purée, sea salt and chives), they’ve even convinced Little Bread Pedlar to change their delivery routes just to supply them with bread and pastries, making them the only brunch spot in West London where you can find them!

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The Vurger Co

Safe to say that when I visited this plant-based restaurant in Shoreditch, my mind was absolutely blown. Of course me being me – both indecisive and intrigued / curious to try everything – I got everything, even though I was alone! An epic double stacked burger (classic and auberger – the auberger won hands down for me!), complete with vegan cheese, vegan mayo (ironically I can’t stand normal mayo but I absolutely loved this!) a haberero burger salad bowl with extra avocado and a double portion of mind-blowing vegan mac and cheese. More impressive than the mac and cheese though was the vegan brioche! Hand on heart it was genuinely as good as any real brioche roll I’ve ever had.. I got an extra to eat on it’s own and I spent every mouthful wondering how it was even possible! Vegans you need to go here, and non-vegans you need to go here to have your mind blown like I did! They’ve just launched a brunch menu too, featuring their signature dish – an open brunch burger with scrambled ackee, the crispiest potato rots, veggie sausage, homemade beans and ketchup all stacked on their wonderful toasted brioche.

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Last, but most definitely not least (in fact this was probably the highlight of my month!)..

Dollie’s Cookies

Wow. Honestly no words can describe how good these are. Packaged beautifully, they arrived in perfect condition (despite the courier’s best efforts to leave my parcel upside down!) and you know a cookie is going to be good when it’s this thick and chunky! I’d seen pictures on their Instagram page @dolliescookies , but honestly nothing could prepare me for how incredible these were going to be! Cookies are by far my favourite baked item and I can honestly say that besides the world-famous Levain cookie, not a single cookie has ever even come close to this one. They’re pretty much the UK’s answer to Levain, and when you can also get flavours like white chocolate macadamia, Nutella stuffed and salt bae (popcorn, pretzels and every other wonderful snack in the world!), could these even (dare I say it!) be better..!? I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to spread the word about something – I honestly can’t stress how much you need these in your life!! You can see (many!) more pictures and some videos of these over on my Instagram page @nickichanlam

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And then there was La Mia Mamma, which deserved a whole blog post of its own..

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