Since this is my first year of food blogging, I wanted to highlight my best & worst restaurants of 2013. I found some amazing restaurants that I fell in love with, and some that shouldn’t serve food to paying customers.
I had a brilliant year and can’t wait for the start of 2014 to continue my London dining experience.
The Ones I Just Kept Going Back To:
1. Hawksmoor, Covent Garden
Although I’d heard great things about Hawksmoor, the restaurant blew me away. I’ve never been to a restaurant where each course made me smile with delight. Everything about the experience from the food, service and atmosphere is why Hawksmoor made it to my number 1 spot.
2. Patty & Bun, Bond Street
After visiting Patty & Bun the first time, I’ve returned several times to try the rest of the menu and each time I haven’t been left disappointed. When I have friends visiting, I take them to Patty & Bun and each friend has fallen in love with the food as much as we did the first time we visited. The confit chicken wings have a special place in my heart but that’s another story…
3. Dirty Burger, Kentish Town
A late entry, but I was blown away by the standard of the burger served at Dirty Burger. It’s been a year of trying many burger joints since London has been swamped with the craze, however i can safely say that Dirty Burger’s ‘Smokin’ Bacon burger’ was the best burger I tried throughout the year. It was however, let down by the side dishes and dining experience which is why Patty & Bun pipped Dirty Burger to the post.
4. Bone Daddies, Soho
Bone Daddies was the restaurant that converted me into enjoying ramen. Gone was the watery, tasteless ramen I’d tried in the past, and replaced by a hot thick broth, packed full of flavour.
5. Rustique, City of York
Rustique is the restaurant I loved at Uni and going back was an absolute delight. A great restaurant that has the best value set menu I’ve ever tried.
6. The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell
Out of all the restaurants I visited, The Modern Pantry had the best presentation. Course after course, each dish looked stunning and tasted just as delicious as the last. I’ve since returned to try the breakfast menu and it was just as good. The Modern Pantry is a little gem that I’m glad I’ve found.
7. Pizza Pilgrims, Soho
The opening of Pizza Pilgrim’s permanent location in Soho, meant it was an ideal time to visit and I’m glad we did. The pizzas were delicious but what really won me over was the nutella & ricotta pizza ring. If there’s one thing to try before you die, it’s this!
8. Dockmaster’s House, Canary Wharf
I was invited to an event held at Dockmaster’s House where we were served a 6 course tasting menu. The menu and dishes reminded me of my upbringing and my mums Indian cooking. A fine-dining restaurant that I shall be returning to soon.
9. Flesh & Buns, Covent Garden
Flesh & Buns impressed me but not just because of the food but the playful aspect of the restaurant. The theatrics of the evening were perfect after a day in the office.
10. Hummus Bros, Numerous Locations
I was debating whether to include such a casual experience in my top 10, when I realised how often I had lunch at Hummus Bros this year. Being in London and surrounded by different sandwich shops it’s easy to get sick of the same thing. Fortunately Hummus Bros offers something different and one that I can’t see myself tiring from anytime soon.
The Ones that Just Missed Out:
Honest Burgers, Soho
A year packed full of burgers but unfortunately Honest Burgers fell short of the top 10. However the food is reasonably priced and well worth a mention.
Duck & Waffle, Liverpool Street
I visited Duck & Waffle twice this year; the first time I had a magical experience and the second was incredibly disappointing. I’ve written two very different reviews which you can read here and here. If I hadn’t revisited Duck & Waffle, the restaurant would have been very close to the top. However when I revisited for the OH’s birthday, most of the dishes weren’t up to the high standard I’d had on my first visit. A worthwhile mention as the quality of the food can be superb, it’s just a shame it wasn’t consistent.
The Ones that Shouldn’t Serve Food:
1. The Garden Gate Pub, Hampstead Heath
I’ve never been served such poor quality food. This could have been due to the sweltering heat wave in the summer which may have been the culprit. However, food this bad should not have been served to anyone, let alone paying customers.
2. Bake & Cake, Kilburn
Tasteless desserts that seem to have evolved into a personalised cake-making business. From what I tasted, I don’t see how this has been possible.
3. Field’s Bar & Kitchen, Holborn
Overpriced, salty food that should have come with a warning.
The One that’s Overrated
Burger & Lobster, Numerous Locations
Burger & Lobster is one of those restaurants that everyone in London seems to harp on about, even non-foodies. I visited with a few friends and couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. I’ve since returned to try the lobster roll, and still can’t understand the hype. For £20 and a mediocre meal I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon.