Buttercup Cake Shop inside Westfield Mall is almost a good bakery. I got a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting, which would have been good if it wasn’t £3. I just find it disappointing to get a small cupcake that tastes pretty average, from a mall that sells some of the most famous brands in the world. Unless you are a tourist who loves Instagram-ing all your food and buying overpriced things, don’t go. The presentation was very nice, but couture cupcakes should also taste couture, especially if you sacrifice quantity. They do have gluten free options though and a great location.
£6 (2 people)
2 Stratford Place, London, E20 1EH
Buttercup Cake Shop: Website / Menu / Facebook / Twitter
Panini House on Exhibition Road has an unusual vibe, but lovely food! The Chicken Panini was a little too mayonnaise-y, but the flavors completely made up for it. The bread also was not great, so I cannot really explain why the sandwich worked so well. I was also served three salads, cole slaw, spinach & cucumber, and cuscus. I did not expect to like any of them, but I tried them all for the sake of this review and was thrilled! May have been the best coleslaw I have ever had. The other two were tasty as well and the whole plate was an unusual combination, but worked together flawlessly! I was planning on just eating most of the sandwich and getting to class early, but I took my time and ate it all. The Panini House also has very fast and quality service, which can be a deal breaker, even at the best restaurants. The interior confused me a little bit, everything looked very modern, but it was crowded and stiff.
£8.50 (2 people)
58 Uxbridge Road London W12 8LP
Woody Grill is a chain of Turkish restaurants in London. When I visited this restaurant, I ordered a Chicken Doner Roll (£5.70) and it really surprised me. The bread was excellent! The chicken also came with two sauces. Firstly, the sweet chilli sauce had excellent flavours and it complemented the bread and chicken perfectly. The white sauce was my favourite though; it was creamy and had spicy herbs. The chicken had excellent flavour and juices, even without the sauces. This was a new type of restaurant for me, so I was a little apprehensive of trying the mystery sauces, but the combined flavours were familiar enough to enjoy, but still exciting and unexpected. I was served a large portion, but I was so happy with the meal that I took my leftovers to go. The restaurant’s interior seemed a little casual compared to the quality of the food, but matched their pricing. CASH ONLY
£15 (2 people)
1 Uxbridge Road, London W12 8LJ
Opening Everyday: 11:00am – 05:00am
020 8749 9767
Woody Grill: Website/Facebook
In the past, Wong Kei has been infamously dubbed ‘the rudest restaurant in London’. You will get no special treatment or patience from the staff – ever. You will likely get the bill while still chewing and don’t expect dishes to arrive at the same time. It looks like every other restaurant in Chinatown with succulent hanging roast meat in the window.
But regulars know you don’t go for the service. You go because it serves you a mountain of food for a few pounds in a matter of minutes. This visit, I had the roast duck noodle soup (£4.80), but also a treat is scrambled egg and prawns on ho fun (£6.20), crispy belly pork and eel on rice (£7.50) or the pork chop and aubergine on rice (£5.80). Order one-plate dishes from the back of the menu, this is not the place to order several dishes to share with sides of rice – you’ll rack up a big bill for average anglicised Chinese food.
The one-plate meals are value and always tasty. Forget all else, and you will might enjoy.
£26 (2 people)
Wardour Street W1D 6PY London
020 7437 8408
Wong Kei: Website
Londoners see hundreds of these ‘restaurants’ shoved into every nook and cranny of central London. Though never homogenous chains, they somehow manage to all look the same and serve exactly the same thing – big deli fridge, fry ups in the morning, pre-made ‘gourmet’ sandwiches, jacket potatoes, microwaved lasagne…etc. Short of time to go elsewhere one day, a friend and I popped in and ordered some Arrabbiata Pasta (£5) and Carbonara Pasta (£5.50). By chance, it was a tastecard restaurant and we got it at £2.75 a bowl.
While admiring the vintage italian-brand produce shelf décor, I realised our pasta was coming from the kitchen, not the microwave! Pasta win! Food arrived – parmesan offered. Pasta rarely impresses, even more so in a bog standard café, but we were sitting in front of unexpectedly tasty pasta. A quick chat with the waitress and we discovered their Italian chef uses only De Cecco pasta – the only dry pasta Italians will swear by. Premium pasta, well made. I hope they never cut costs. Or fire the chef. Who knows what their microwaved Shepherd’s Pie is like. But the pasta is weirdly good.
£20 (2 people)
Temple Underground station, London WC2R 2PH
Out in the suburbs of London hides this unique Indian restaurant in a converted pub. The restaurant is often busy on week nights and full of native locals – a spicy start.
Each main dish was rich and fresh in flavour. Fish curry topped with fresh curry leaves and mustard seeds, daal served with whole fried dried chillies and tender lamb in the biriyani served with homemade raita. Although the Sheikh Kebab was disappointing, the other dishes more than made up for it.
What is unique about this restaurant however is that the native locals don’t come to eat the Indian food but come for the Indo-Chinese offering on the menu. From my understanding, Chinese food in India caters to local tastes, the same way it does here in England, and their version of Chinese food is therefore different. So this appears to be an authentic Indian Chinese restaurant which is an amazing niche to hit when you think about it.
I’ll be back next time to try the Fish Chilli Black Bean Sauce, Paneer in Schezwan Sauce, and Okra in Chilli and Spring Onion sauce. Don’t knock it till you try it right?
£28 (2 people)
Stanmore Hill, Stanmore, HA7 3DZ
020 8954 3335
Monday – Sunday
12.00pm to 11.00pm
Raw Lasan: Website/Facebook
We are all familiar with the Lebanese restaurants peppered across Edgware Road, but exploring the streets off the main road reveals how this hyper-diverse part of London has created mini communities. Naturally, this in turn creates a demand for their home food. Kurdistan has no menu, no food pictures on the walls or counters, but you’ll find it packed with locals. English is rarely heard inside and every person who walks in is greeted like an old friend.
It’s a wonderful and intimidating place to walk into. I walk up to a waiter to ask what a Kurdish breakfast is (as it was 10am) and he told me lentil soup, or ‘Nisk’, which I saw two ladies eating. So I asked for some and it came with a quarter of a raw onion, a slice of lemon and a huge naan-like bread (£3). The salty lentil soup was warming, the onion an obscure addition, and the bread freshly made.
Perhaps next time I’ll try a flatbread with za’atar and cheese, or some liver and onions which was being prepared for lunch, who knows. But don’t you love London for having places like these?
£14 (2 people)
59 Church Street, Marylebone, London NW8 8EP
Open Monday to Friday: 10AM-9PM
Open Sunday: 10AM-6PM