It’s the hottest question to ask, what are the latest restaurant finds and pop ups in a town where the dining out culture is way ahead of anywhere else.
Now, the City of London may be more about going out than going to work. But its all about balance after all. Here are our top City dining picks.
Malibu Kitchen at The Ned
With much of the menu raw, this undiscovered gem brings Californian food to the City with a healthy menu of superfood salads, raw vegetables, cured fish and meat, flatbreads, juices and smoothies. Tucked away in the corner of the banking hall, this clean-eating kitchen is so fresh and colourful, your eyes will also have a feast. But they don’t serve boring old avocado on toast, the dishes are far more unusual. If only clean eating could be this good all the time.
Dishes we love: beetroot tartare, chia seed flatbread and raw chocolate tart.
This place is so totally funky and they serve soul food all day long. A place like this has so been missing from the London scene as it has become more refined. The half Swedish, half Ethiopian chef is Obama’s favourite and the cocktails are exceptional. It’s a really social place to make new friends. Expect a late night because the live music every night is going to make you want to stay until the last tube. Make a note in your diary for Sunday brunch too as a gospel choir make for a very special service.
Dishes we love: Spanish Harlem, waffles and succotash!
A Venetian bacaro (like its Soho and Covent Garden outlets), Polpo Smithfield brings this industrial-chic Venetian wine and tapas bar with red leather banquettes and exposed brickwork to the East.
The menu’s classic Polpo fare include arancini, spinach pizzettes with a runny egg in the middle, meatballs & spaghettini, sliced flank steak with white truffle cream; tiramisu and chocolate salami…yes indeed, you heard that right, chocolate salami. And downstairs is a secret Negroni Bar, past the glaring neon sign. Enveloped by 120 year old Victorian glazed walls, you’ll be invited to sip on suitably dark, intense cocktails with the offer of delectable chichetti at the same time. The usual no booking rules apply so be prepared to wait for a table at busy times. No evening bookings.
Dishes we love: spinach pizzettes with a runny egg in the middle and chocolate salami.
A welcome spot sitting under the skylight and among the potted olive trees, this impressive Mediterranean courtyard setting is a welcome respite just off Chancery Lane, for all the legal eagles. It brings Provencal cuisine to the City of London, surrounded by ivy-clad trellises and an airy glass-roofed dining room. With dishes hailing from Provence and a monthly changing menu changing according to what ingredients are available during the season. Fish and meat specials are prepared on the large grill, which is the centrepiece of the restaurant’s open-plan kitchen. The wine list is exclusively French and has an extensive selection of Provençal and Corsican ones, as well as the likes of big-hitters from Bordeaux, Burgundy and beyond. Cigalon often plays host to a range of activities, including monthly wine dinners and events in the cocktail bar situated downstairs.
Dishes we love: Provençal specialities such as pissaladière Niçoise alongside Corsican charcuterie and cheeses, nectarine poached in rosé wine with lemon verbena and blackcurrant sorbet for dessert.
Duck & Waffle
Its more than just a view. Whilst set on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower with the most spectacular views over London, you’ll be sitting amongst city slickers, dates and tourists in the know. Founded by the Sushi Samba team, this cocktail bar and restaurant is named after its signature dish: fried duck egg and mustard maple syrup which can be enjoyed 24 hours a day. Inspired by European and British cuisine, the menu is split between tapas-style small plates and larger dishes for sharing. Its great casual dining up in the sky.
Dishes we love: Obviously the duck and waffle, and the spicy ox cheek doughnut.
Rochelle Canteen – I asked Melissa Helmsley recently what her favourite restaurant was and she said this one. It’s dog friendly too, Melissa takes her pooch. It’s not too fancy just slow cooked flavoursome goodness. The Shoreditch one is the original. It’s British cuisine but done so perfectly. The menu changes every day and the descriptions are a maybe a little bland but go give it a try, it’s got a cult following for a reason!
Dishes we love: all of them as the menu changes so much!
Rochelle Canteen, Arnold Circus, London, E2 7ES
Hot Box – My favourite post hangover brunch in the city is at Hot Box but you should go anytime! The bottomless brunch is full of dirty goodness. This is definitely a social affair so bring your whole gang. They do eggs, smoky meats, homemade baked beans, the works. Vegetarians are well catered for and they even make their own chilli sauce which you will definitely want to take home with you. Staff will gladly sell you a bottle.
Dishes we love: coal roasted miso aubergine, crab slides and deep fried Oreos.
Hot box, 46 Commercial Street, London, E1 6LT
Hero image credit to Ruby & B Journal