Who’s known for it? Kova, Soho.
Who does it better? Patisserie Mille, Paddington.
What is it? The notorious Mille Crepe Cake.
Talk to me: Okay so here’s the deal. A few years ago Mille Crepe cakes were the thing of legends. Oh sure, on Instagram you could see these totally finessed beauties in Paris and Hong Kong but here? Not so much. You just couldn’t find them in London. So when Kova came along I was, along with the remaining foodie population, delighted. Finally! A crepe place! And in Soho? Perfection.
And…at…£6.50 a slice. Hm. Okay look that’s pricey. Mille crêpes are pretty low key in terms of ingredients and skill required to assemble. They look great and chic AF but in reality, they’re very thin french pancakes stacked and sandwiched together with some kind of cream. Kova is expensive. Know what’s less expensive, presented with a little more finesse and offered in a wider variety of flavours?
Husband and wife team Patisserie Mille, located five mins on foot from Paddington.
The store is tiny but the packaging is great so taking slices away is no problem and they’ll make it home in one piece no matter how vigorous you can be with your bag. I say this as a girl who is very vigorous with her bag.
Each slice is beautifully finished off, they are just so much more chic than others you can find in London these days. Flavours always pack a punch and aren’t afraid to go for bold. The matcha is bitter, sesame is almost savoury and the passion fruit is a creamy exotic dream. And they are £4.50 a slice.
Who’s known for it? Doughnut Time, various spots.
Who does it better? Bread Ahead, various spots.
What is it? Donuts made by angel hands.
Talk to me: In short, a couple of years donuts became the “it” bougie food item in our beloved capital. Half a dozen places popped up- you know the ones; Vicky’s donuts, Crosstown, St John’s, Dum Dum donuterie etc etc. There were a lot okay. This trend followed the dirty burger craze and came just before the poké revolution. Clusters of new and contesting food joints in London generally swarm in waves.
Listen, Doughnut Time is cute. I love neon and sweet pastel shop fronts as much as the next gal. But the donuts themselves? At the £5 mark, they are big but they’re also dense brick like things which serve one purpose and one purpose only- and that is to be “Instagrammable.” Generally, they’re topped with branded chocolate bars and bright colours and pure sure. The taste comes second, let’s leave it at that.
Bread Ahead however? A bakery with taste at the core. Their donuts come in at £2.50 and they are the epitome of deliciousness. Light brioche like dough, filled to the brim with a handmade crème pat and dusted in the finest coating of sugar. The creme brulée and salted honeycomb is, to this date, one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth. And I’ve put a lot in my mouth. I eat so much food guys.
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Who’s known for it? Padella, London Bridge
Who does it better? Marcella, Deptford.
What is it? Really great pasta.
Talk to me: We may be slowly slipping out of winter but that doesn’t mean the pasta cravings need to be wrangled under control. Seasons are always pasta appropriate. Always. So pull up a chair, download your latest guilty pleasure on Kindle, order a little glass of moderately priced wine and let’s talk pappardelle.
Listen, Padella is very good. It’s a plate of fresh, delicious pasta with rich and nuanced sauces for under a tenner. Hard to beat. But aren’t you tired of queueing? I know it’s like a national sport for the Brits, but doesn’t it just…just… when does the queueing end, dear reader? I’m a simple petal, and sometimes I just want to call a restaurant, book and then arrive there in a prompt and timely manner and take my seat.
Marcella is a gem which is criminally underrated and relatively unknown outside of the southeastern zone 2 radar. But you should know it. The staff are always lovely, the menu is succinct and expertly carried out and the pasta? Son, let me tell you about the pasta. Delicious. Unusual offerings which change every few days, I’ve had dishes at Marcella which I’ve never even seen elsewhere. Cod cheek tagliatelle? Speck and mascarpone tortellini? Mussel butter? Beetroot arancini? Guys are you not sold? Set menu, Sunday lunch, three courses for £20, just go and slide into my DMs with your thanks.
Who’s known for it? Lola’s, literally everywhere.
Who does it better? Kutecakes, online orders.
What is it? Adorable and pastel delicious cupcakes.
Talk to me: Like the majority of working London, commuting makes me so sad I cry myself to sleep at night. What doesn’t help? Being pressed against approximately eighteen other equally disgruntled people. The only thing I have to distract myself is that baby blue faux-cart of frosted pastel tweeness (possibly not a word but you feel me.)
I personally find Lola’s cupcakes to be overpriced and extremely sweet. I like sugar as much as any lover of cakes, I’m probably a sound 40% sugar, but even I have my limits.
I want flavour.
Kutecakes are, as their namesake suggests, very ‘kute’. I may be slightly biased because I was introduced to these in a v romantic gesture from my beau (hey boo), but as you no doubt can tell, I’m a professional, which means I am a fair and impartial judge. The cupcakes from Kutecakes are delicious. A very generous ratio of buttercream to sponge, the focus here is on flavour and not simply overwhelming sweetness. Cupcakes are easy to make but hard to make well; these ones are a dream and they’ll go down a treat with your loved ones and their gullets (quite a brutal word isn’t it? Gullet.)
Who’s known for it? Yauatcha, Soho.
Who does it better? Dragon Castle, Elephant & Castle.
What is it? Dim Sum.
Talk to me: Yauatcha for me is a little bit hit and miss. It’s very sleek, super stylish, and yes I dig the marine blue and semi-nautical aesthetics, but I am a petty little creature at heart. And I cannot forgive the one time I was charged £4 for tap water. But that aside, the dim sum itself is pretty pricey as you’re paying for Michelin quality. There are some true gems- the wild mushroom dumpling and venison puff are truly blissful. The classics are, well, classically done. But they’re not done so well that it justifies the large price tag and minimal portion size.
So what’s the deal with Dragon Castle?
Like many things in life, myself included, if you overlook that rough exterior there is nothing but sunlight and joy inside. Dragon Castle is hands down my fave spot for dim sum. Hands down. Their har gau are perfect time after time, their siu mai, stuffed to the brim, and their cheung fun? Girl I could live a long and happy life sustained on those cheung fun alone. Dirt cheap. You will eat until your breaking point for under £20 a head.
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Lovely dim sum Sunday at my local @dragoncastle100 with my favourites @chubby_eats @emilydanielle17 @kitchenelk @taradvisor_london @bonbonldn 🤗 Surprisingly they have all had dim sum more than me 😂 #dimsum #asianfood #dragoncastle #hiddengem #londonhiddengems #chinese #insta_79a
Who’s known for it? Bone daddies, various locations.
Who does it better? Kanada-ya, various locations.
What is it? Delicious delicious ramen.
Talk to me: Maybe I’m being unfair but I’ve had pretty mediocre experiences at Bone Daddies. They’re fine. Back in the day, they were one of the first trendy ramen spots with a rock and roll Soho edge that made them insta-cool. Trouble is that London has no shortage of really great ramen spots now. Like, no shortage. Want something classy and refined? You’ve got Koya. A really good chain? Shoryu. Somewhere new and all about that spice? Ipuddo. Like I said, you could comfortably eat ramen every day of the week somewhere new for a good few months in London.
Bone daddies may have been one of the first, but they’re just not one of the best.
So what does Kanada-ya offer which makes them so damn good? Well baby it’s all about that base. The broth is intense and somewhat addictive. It’s important to have this rich and ultimately satisfying body to a bowl of ramen. I’m talking elevated status. The perfectly cooked noodles (great for a little Insta noodle pull, you savvy foodie, you) and tender melt in your mouth meats just complete the dish.
I also find Kanada-ya to be crazy good value for money. This is filling stuff and it’s so nice to feel full for the £10 mark.
Who’s known for it? Honest burgers, various locations.
Who does it better? Other Side Fried, various locations.
What is it? Honest to god, so good you can cry, yes it’s in the name, burgers.
Talk to me: Love me a dirty burger. There are just days where nothing else quite hits the spot. Sometimes I just really need that kick of toasted brioche bun, juice dripping patty, gherkins (of course) and iceberg lettuce. Don’t forget the burger sauce. I’m a basic bitch. There are so many good spots for burgers aren’t there? Patty & Bun is a solid fave. Black Bear is renowned in my circle of friends. One Tonne if you want a patty so tender it literally melts on your tongue. Honest Burgers is one of the first spots I tried for gourmet burgers. Therefore, it will always have a place in my heart. Their rosemary fries are delicious and their burgers are decent but the sad truth is, I’ve had better.
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Awesome shot from @mikeeatslondon of our March special THE CHEESE TRUCK 🧀 The iconic collab burger with @thecheesetruck is back on our menus until 31 March. Made with Honest butchers beef, bacon, breaded deep fried mozzarella, Old Winchester, chipotle jam, pickles and rocket 💥🍔🧀
I just don’t think about Honest Burgers anymore when I’m divulging in a craving. And when a friend or (burger) lover is asking me for recommendations, my go to is always somewhere else.
I’m looking at you Other Side Fried.
Primarily a fried chicken spot, I need to tell you about their OTF burger. This is the burger dreams are made of. The bun is delicious. It’s not just an empty calorie laden vessel for gluttony, but actually buttery toasted goodness. The fried chicken fillet is a perfect piece of fried chicken. Yeah I said it. Perfect. Don’t agree? Fight me. It’s moist and succulent and moreish all without being greasy. The lettuce ratio makes me happy and their special garlic heavy sauce is heavenly. There’s also a generous amount of cheese and I just really love cheese okay? It’s a great burger. I mean just look at it. You are Véro welcome.