London is a hot bed of sights and sounds, cultures and sensations. And while the last 10 years has seen a massive rise in the number of passionate culinary aficionados (and hipsters), finding the ultimate foodie trifecta - service, food/drink and ambience - can still be a bit hit and miss.
As a devoted sharer of good foodie experiences, here are just a few hand-picked hot spots I've visited around town rating high on the LMM scorecard.
Taberna Do Mercado - Shoreditch
This new Portuguese tapas spot at the now-sparkly clean Spitalfields Markets is impressive and certainly has the trifecta down pat. The service was so welcoming, knowledgeable and friendly that it created a good experience in itself but when the food arrived, as we sat in the outside, undercover and heated courtyard overlooking the market, it seriously hit the mark. Refer to food porn above and below yes, it tastes as good as it looks (better).
Pizarro - Bermondsey Street
South of the Thames in SE1, this is Jose Pizarro's second restaurant following the near-by and always-full Jose. Pizarro adds a modern twist to traditional Spanish tapas to deliver creative, unique and entertaining small to medium dishes that hit the spot. The brick, tile and timber interior is earthy and warming with polite and attentive staff. We enjoyed sitting at the bar overlooking the kitchen for some added theatre.
Chief Coffee - Chiswick
I was a good half hour early to a meeting around Turnham Green tube station. So, like any good self-respecting digital gypsy, I went in search of a good coffice. It seems I have the nose for sniffing them out as I managed to find the Chief of Chiswick tucked down a laneway, off the high street and far from the unsuspecting eye. Melbourne has taught me well. The coffee here was, quite honestly, soul soothing with the goods from Drop Coffee and Workshop Coffee. I'm not sure whether it was the excellent soy latte, the free wifi, exposed brick, and timber ceilings or the flood of natural light on an overcast day, but I felt right at home at Chief of Chiswick. Even with a pinball parlour in the basement.
The Garrison - Bermondsey Street
The thing I love about Bermondsey Street is that it emanates country England township, from the heart of London city. The Garrison personifies this perfectly with a style that is country classic meets city Gastropub. The menu, as much as the area, is traditional meets new with breakfast offering the likes of avocado on toast (quite rare in London) to the good old bacon and egg butty. Over lunch and dinner enjoy a drink and snack at the bar or settle in for something more substantial. Dishes are varied and versatile satisfying a good craving for fish and chips to catering to the needs of other diners perhaps preferring the likes of quinoa patties with garden marrow and chopped salad. Cosy, busy, fun, potentially fancy, while at the same time, no fuss. Would advise to book ahead - it's a popular one.
Pickle & Pistachio - Angel
Otherwise referred to (by me) as cheese lover heaven. Small, cute, patient service (there are important cheese decisions to be made), and incredible fromage for you to drool over and take away.
Southerden - Bermondsey Street
I'd more or less dosed up on my quota of soy lattes before I left Melbourne in case I couldn't make regular visits to London's east end (the mecca of hipsters and 'Melbaristas'). Southerden saved my Melbourne girl ass, just south of the Thames along Bermondsey Street. Repping Monmouth coffee, I actually prefer my coffee here rather than at Monmouth; fewer lines, better vibe, less stress, more seats, wifi and irresistible treats right under your nose as you order your coffee. Clever devils.
Brindisa - London Bridge
While I'm on a tapas run, it's certainly worth mentioning Brindisa, which I've been to before. This place is more genuinely Spanish in that it's a little bit hectic, a little bit loud, and whole lot of authentic tapas. With an affordable menu and food that's as lively as the atmosphere, with a team to match, Brindisa is one fun London restaurant to get your sharing dish fix.
To see more of the food porn, press play: