London’s Top Chefs Share Their Secret Local Dining Hangouts
London's leading chefs cook some of the best gourmet food in the world. But which are the local restaurants where they keep going back on their day off? I polled a number of them, and here's what they had to say.
Michel Roux Jr. (Le Gavroche): "The Abbeville Kitchen in Clapham. They just do very good wholesome cooking. I like to go with my dad [Chef Albert Roux]. Last time we had a roast chicken to share. It was a damn good chicken properly roasted with damn good roast potatoes. It's just perfect for Sunday lunch rather than cooking at home."
Claude Bosi (Hibiscus): "Abbeville Kitchen is local to us in Clapham. It's an ideal neighborhood restaurant for weekend lunches. They are a group of young chefs doing great home cooking from the heart, inspired by what’s fresh at the market."
Tomos Parry (Kitty Fisher's): "Som Saa at Climpson's Arch. The food is excellent, and all the staff are great. I used to be the chef there before I handed over to Andy (Oliver). I always enjoy going back."
Amandine Chaignot (Rosewood London): "Mazi in Notting Hill. They have wonderful Greek food, a great atmosphere, and are always very welcoming. It’s around the corner from my home, so I love popping in there."
Marcus Wareing (Marcus): "Chez Bruce. It's walking distance from home, and I love the menu and the food. Excellent service, and now that the kids are all old enough to sit down for a whole meal, I love to take the family there."
Helene Darroze (Helene Darroze): "The Great British Mayfair Fish & Chip Restaurant [soon to be known as the Mayfair Chippy]. It's a little place on North Audley Street where you have nice fish and chips."
Anna Haugh (London House): "Soif. I love what they are doing. It's really simple, good food. When I was young, mum had a cheese fondue set, but she never used it. I used to beg her. I went into Soif, and they had a fondue for two. I nearly lost my mind."
Ruth Rogers (River Café): "Al-Dar Lebanese on King's Road. It's absolutely splendid. It is very good quality, everything is delicious and well-seasoned—not too heavy—and the restaurant is as clean as you could imagine."
Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social): "Atari-Ya. It's a little sushi shop. It's cheap as chips, and the sushi is fantastic. It looks nothing special. There's hardly anywhere to sit, and everyone is Japanese. I go there a lot with my family."
Simon Rogan (Fera): "Il Calcio in North Audley Street. I always order their truffled spaghetti and grilled calamari. It’s more than a Bolognese-old-fashioned Italian: The food is excellent, and overall it’s relaxed, cosy, and friendly. A perfect local."
Pierre Koffmann (Koffmann's): "Hereford Road. It's family-style cooking with simple ingredients properly cooked. Another of my favorites is A. Wong. It's modern Chinese. He likes to experiment with different ingredients. It's very good."
Marianne Lumb (Marianne): "Hereford Road. I love the fact the food is hearty and seasonal and intelligently cooked. It's honest food at an honest price, and there are lots of very well-priced wines by the glass."
Nuno Mendes (Chiltern Firehouse): "Rawduck. I go there a lot. It's all small plates, and the wines are amazing. I like places that evolve throughout the day. You can go there for a sandwich or eggs at breakfast, and in the evening, the anchovy toast is amazing."
Allegra McEvedy (Blackfoot): "The Brackenbury, Ossie Gray's place, is right around the corner: calm environment, lovely team, and great food cooked by the lovely Humphrey Fletcher, ex- River Caff, bien sur! Cracking wine list, and the lovely little Negroni on arrival is a must."
Ben Tish (Salt Yard): "The Typing Room in Bethnal Green. It's a great space, and the food is really up there. I'm not normally into that type of food, as it can be underwhelming—style and obscurity over flavor—but this place has it all. It's also got a wonderful natural-wine list, and it's good value."
Kim Woodward (Savoy Grill): Sushi Salsa on Camden Lock. It's consistently good, which is important. I like all the sushi. To be honest, there isn't a wide range of local restaurants in Camden, where I live."
Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines.
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