It's that time of the year again. And while I find it hard to rank my favourite restaurants (comparing apples and oranges etc), here's the list I sent to Toptable regarding my top 10 London restaurants for 2010. Follow the link to see the lists of some other bloggers too.
1. The Ledbury - Brilliant, original fare which is a joy to eat. The setting is airy and unpretentious, despite this being - deservedly - a 2 Michelin star restaurant. And you can even enjoy it over a reasonably priced set lunch. Young Australian chef, Brett Graham, gets a big thumbs up for my favourite restaurant in London.
2. Bocca di Lupo - Simple, Italian regional food, expertly done. A great place to sit at the bar sipping a glass of wine and tucking into a great bowl of pasta, or schmooze around Italy via the menu, sharing small plates with a table full of friends. The setting may be stylish, but it's all about the food here for me.
3. Polpo/Polpetto - Since these related restaurants are both neighbours and both new (Polpo, the "Venetian style bacaro bar", opened in 2009 and the smaller Polpetto in 2010), I'm joining them together at number 3. Fun, buzzy but relaxed, each restaurant has its own unique personality and menu - but both offer a range of traditional Italian food on small plates at very reasonable prices.
4. Hawksmoor (Covent Garden and Shoreditch) - Some of the best steaks in London, with fabulous cocktails to match. The beef is all British and you will taste the quality and flavour in every cut. And don't get me started on the terrific Hawksmoor burger...
5. Vinoteca - An oldie but a goodie. Enjoy great food and wine in a casual, wine bar setting. Just eat, drink and be merry.
6. 32 Great Queen Street - Good quality, British gastropub style food in a casual atmosphere. Always great for an easy going lunch or a big, hearty dinner in a central location.
7. Cay Tre - My pick of the cheap eats - great Vietnamese food, with fresh, vibrant flavours. Enjoy a feast without breaking the bank.
8. Kikuchi - My favourite Japanese restaurant in London to date. It feels, looks and tastes like Tokyo, as Japanese businessmen enjoy sake and sushi in a relaxed, bustling, convivial atmosphere. Don't miss the nasu dengaku.
9. Bob Bob Ricard - Quirky, fun, great food and a well priced wine list. Not to mention that it's perfectly acceptable here to shoot a glass of vodka with every course. Anywhere that has a "push for champagne" button at each table is alright by me. Fabulous.
10. Bistrot Bruno Loubet - A lovely place to dine on some creative bistro food. Excellent French cooking with a bit of flair.
|Onglet steak at 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen,|
Honorable mentions go to all those other favourites on my "Favourite London Restaurants" page as well as Gauthier Soho (mmm...that truffle risotto...) and 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, which are both places I loved but have only managed to visit once. I also visited newbie The Fish Place in recent weeks, which was one of the best meals I've had this year, but it loses points for ambience until you all just take my word for it, schlep over to Battersea and fill up some tables.
It's been a great year of eating. With so many new restaurant openings this year, I still have many to try (Trullo, Zucca, Tinello, Brawn... the list goes on). Here's to enjoying that task in 2011.