It’s that time again when I rundown my best & worst restaurants of 2014. This is one of my most exciting posts to write and it’s a glimpse into what I enjoyed or hated throughout the year.
Compared to last year’s post, I’ve also added a travel section with restaurants that are outside the UK.
The Ones I Just Kept Going Back To:
1. Gymkhana, Mayfair
Originally dining pre-Michelin star back in February, Gymkhana blew me away with its beautifully spiced fine-dining Indian experience. It was everything I hoped it would be and more, and although I’m yet to return with its Michelin status, I’m sure it won’t be long before I do.
2. On the Bab, Shoreditch
On the outside, On the Bab is nothing but a small, quaint Korean street food restaurant. When you taste the food however, it’s positively mind-blowing. If you’ve never been a huge fan of Korean food, you will be once you’ve tried this amazing Korean restaurant.
3. Dishoom, Various Locations
Another Indian restaurant but Dishoom was my most visited restaurant of the year and I’ve taken friends and family and visited all 3 locations in Shoreditch, Covent Garden & King’s Cross (my favourite being Shoreditch). For affordable Indian small dishes, I urge you to invite a few friends and order to your heart’s content.
4. The Frenchie, Various Locations
My favourite street food venture was The Frenchie. Serving only one item on the menu; duck confit burger, the boys do it well. With a choice of cheese melted on top of the succulent duck and all served in sweet brioche bun when The Frenchie is at your local street food market, there’s a very long queue.
5. Flat Iron, Soho
Although I’d heard many positive reviews about Flat Iron, I immediately disregarded the infamous £10 steak for being incomparable to the likes of Hawksmoor. Although Hawksmoor is still a firm favourite, for decent affordable steak, look no further than Flat Iron. You will not be disappointed.
6. Homeslice, Covent Garden
Pizza has been one of those comfort foods that I haven’t swayed towards. Homeslice however was another story as the small intimate restaurant serves inventive pizza toppings with an ever-changing menu. At £20 for a 20″ pizza, it’s decently priced and you won’t find pizza like it elsewhere.
7. Pitt Cut Co, Soho
A popular restaurant in the foodie world, Pitt Cue Co took the blogging world by storm and it’s popularity still has everyone singing the restaurant praises. The reason it’s a little lower on the list, is the eaterie is uncomfortably small and crowded. The restaurant has around 20 seats but unless you arrive early enough, you will be waiting hours to be seated. As good as the food is, it’s the reason I haven’t re-visited.
8. Grab Thai Street Kitchen, Shoreditch
I always like to throw a lunchtime option in my top 10 since it can be difficult to find a decent affordable lunch, away from the high-street chains. Grab Thai Street Kitchen was exactly that and whenever I craved Thai curry, the food never failed to impress. If you work around Shoreditch, I urge you to try the eaterie.
9. Caravan, Various Locations
Towards the later part of the year I discovered Caravan; a humble coffee-house, serving dinner on weekdays and brunch on weekends. I haven’t managed to try the weekday menu but on weekends, Caravan wins the award for most delicious yet inventing brunch. I’ve re-visited a few times and I’m sure I’ll be back.
10. Kazan, Pimlico/Victoria
Even though I’ve tasted Lebanese and Turkish food countless times, Kazan still managed to impress. The evening menu can be pricy but if you catch the lunch set menu, you’ll be surprised by not only the flavours, but also how generous the portion sizes are.
The Ones I Wish I Could Go Back To:
One of my favourite and most spectacular evenings of the year was dining at Broeding in Munich. The food was beautiful but the wines, service and even the cost made this an evening to remember and I urge you to visit the restaurant if you’re ever in the area. I only hope that 2015 brings more food and restaurant experiences like this.
Taste of Emilia, Dublin
A restaurant that was recommended by my sister who currently lives in Dublin, Taste of Emilia is a hidden gem that serves Italian food from the Emilia-Romagna region. All items have been imported from the region, and all cured hams, cheese and even the balsamic cream are exquisite. I’ve never tasted cured meat and cheese so good.
The Ones that Shouldn’t Serve Food:
The Cuban, Camden
The Cuban is a restaurant and bar slapped right in the middle of Stable’s Market in Camden. Due do its tourist location, it’s a popular place but unless you want, bland, tasteless ‘Cuban’ food, I would avoid at all costs.
Baker & Spice, Various Locations
With orders that arrived wrong at every table and overpriced microwaved food and to top it off, the most rude, arrogant service I’ve ever experienced, Baker & Spice wins the award for the year’s worst experience.
Although Baker & Spice had terrible service, Navruz wasn’t too far behind with a cold, heartless service. Shocking how a restaurant can function when throughout the entirety of the meal the diners are made to feel consistantly unwelcome.
The One that’s Overrated:
Polpo, Various Locations
Polpo seems to be a favourite amongst many and excitement is always expected when you hear many positive remarks. Alas, the excitement didn’t last and as soon as the food started to arrive, course after course was disappointingly amateurish with no outstanding dishes.