Where to eat in London - off the beaten path.
August 14, 2011 10:54 PM   Subscribe

Where should we go to eat in London? We are interested in experiencing something different/quirky and not outrageously expensive but we don't need to cheap out either. We'll probably try Babalou which existed as a vegetarian restaurant when we lived in London but has now changed hands and name.

We will be in London for a week or so at the end of August. There will be some evenings where we will go out as a couple and some evenings where we will bring our kids. Our kids are open to different types of food and behave well in restaurants (seriously). We've done a fair bit of traveling and eating and find that because of this our kids do pretty well in most places. We will be going to Nomads in Amsterdam before arriving in London and are looking for meals that will be an experience. The food is the the most important criteria but, a dining experience that is a little different, and ideally in an independent restaurant, would really fit the bill. We will be traveling all over London and know the city reasonably well as we lived there for around 7 years in the 1990s.
posted by YukonQuirm to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
for unusual, try Archipelago
posted by wayward vagabond at 11:34 PM on August 14, 2011

How about dining in the dark?
posted by mr_silver at 12:28 AM on August 15, 2011

I had a lovely meal at Nopi recently.
posted by knile at 12:29 AM on August 15, 2011

If you want to sample food that is amazingly tasty and reflective of British food and cooking, you really can't beat St Johns near Farringdon. It's my favourite restaurant in the city, not just for the food but for the wine and most of all the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff in helping you choose.

Also Anthony Bourdain's favourite restaurant in London, according to his book A Cooks Tour.
posted by beseku at 12:48 AM on August 15, 2011

It's starting to become a chain, but I think you guys might enjoy Wahaca. It's different for London, not too expensive, and you probably missed it if you left a while ago. I am always looking for Mexican and although I wouldn't call this place "my kind of Mexican", but it's certainly a wonderful example of "British Mexican".

More recently, I am really digging the atmosphere and restaurants popping up in the Market Row/Brixton Village/Granville Arcade in Brixton. I've only eaten at Honest burgers but dayammmm it was so freaking good. It held about 15 people max, only burgers and garlic chips, and it's BYOB. I walked around this weekend and there seems to be about 10 other restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries that have opened up in a corner and they all smelled freaking amazing.
posted by like_neon at 1:51 AM on August 15, 2011

Yauatcha is a lovely place to go for tea and cake.

You don't say what year you left, so you may have been living here when it became a chain restaurant rather than the tiny little place I remember from the late '90s, but your kids might enjoy the novelty of Yo! Sushi.

It might be worth looking at the restaurant reviews here. I lack the budget to be a foodie but I find Marina O'Loughlin's reviews entertaining and she comes across as less jaded by a career of delicious free meals than many critics.
posted by mippy at 1:59 AM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You want to go to The Eagle.
posted by tmharris65 at 2:23 AM on August 15, 2011

If you're stuck in the West End and looking for a good food experience, I really like Woodlands. It's just off Leicester Square, BUT is both reasonably priced and great food. It's South Indian food - very different from the usual curry house fare.
posted by sleepy boy at 2:41 AM on August 15, 2011

London is starting to have a street food culture. Some of the places referenced on the Chowhound UK board.
posted by sagwalla at 3:27 AM on August 15, 2011

Best answer: For breakfast I recommend the Regency Cafe. It hasn't changed in decades and it was in layer cake.
posted by exois at 4:32 AM on August 15, 2011

Best answer: Yauatcha does good food as well. Reservations recommended.

If you want different, I recommend Inamo, which should be fun for the kids too. Food is decent.
posted by troywestfield at 6:08 AM on August 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback so far. I like the variety of food styles in different places across London. I'm linking to Babalou as an option for anyone who may be interested. I can't recall what it used to be called but for someone who is a meat eater I thought they had the best vegetarian ever - mock duck was incredible - I'm sad to see it go. If anyone is from Brixton or used to go to this crypt for dinner (maybe the restaurant was actually called "The Crypt"). Anyway, if it has moved I'd love to know where.

Please keep the suggestions coming - everyone likes to know where to eat.
posted by YukonQuirm at 9:25 AM on August 15, 2011

Response by poster: http://www.babalou.net/
posted by YukonQuirm at 9:28 AM on August 15, 2011

The Theatre Royal in Stratford has a superb restaurant serving carribean cuisine. I went there with my brother and the food was unforgettably good.
posted by fearnothing at 9:56 AM on August 15, 2011

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