You can read this in Italian here
I don’t know London that well, but I do have a list of places I absolutely love and keep recommending to everyone I know – because I can be a bit obsessive with restaurants I like, or TV series I like, or books, or everything I like, really. And I won’t stop until everyone I know has seen Community or eaten at Wahaca. Sorry about that.
This place is genius. Just genius. It’s a chain (I know) but the food is fresh, vibrant and delicious. It’s Mexican market food with a British twist (see the winter vegetable burrito), so it may not the most authentic restaurant, but I could eat here every day and never get tired. I could write love poems to their hearty pulled pork burrito, perfect after a creamy, zingy guacamole. Taquitos are another of my favourites – little clever, crispy things smothered in fresh lettuce and aggressively salty feta cheese, filled with the most tender chicken you can think of. And their cocktails. Try the passion fruit margarita and you’ll never want to leave.
E. Mono, Kentish Town
No photo of this – I was eating it in the middle of the street while holding three shopping bags in the other hand. It wouldn’t photograph pretty anyway, but it is a beautiful thing. I don’t tend to love ‘British kebabs’: that pile of greasy meat on top of chewy, soggy flatbread; the withered, lifeless lettuce pushed to the corner of the yellow foam container, the pickled green chilli still oozing vinegar… Don’t get me wrong, they’re brilliant when you’re a bit tipsy – but then, what isn’t?
This is more similar to some of the kebabs you’ll find in Germany, or even Italy: durum kebab, a wrap. The meat is fatty and sweet, the vegetables fresh and juicy, the chilli sauce is garlicky and packs a punch, and the portions are massive. Best thing about it? Super cheap. It’s no Mustafa*, but at least I didn’t have to queue for it.
Good news, everyone: chippies are cool again. Have you noticed these trendy, snazzy fish&chips shops popping up everywhere? Minimal interiors, white walls, long wooden tables you may have to share with a family tucking into their boxes of whitebait. Kerbisher & Malt is exactly that – plus delicious, crispy, tender fried fish. The batter is flaky and airy and the chips are to die for.
If you were to combine every single stereotype about Italy, you’d get something similar to this place. Small, chaotic, loud, no reservations allowed, an image of the Virgin Mary painted on the wall, pizzas named after saints and thick accents. Their pizza, however, is absolutely incredible. If you’re hungry go for the calzone – a folded pizza, which has some extra tomato sauce and cheese on top (I’ve never seen this in Italy, but it might just be a southern thing…).
Currywurst in London. Need I say more? This place is funny, the meat is delicious and as spicy as you want it to be. Perfect if you’re in need of a German fix – they even have fritz-kola!
* I want to share the tale of Mustafa, supposedly the best kebab in Berlin, to show my commitment to food. The first time I went it was 4 pm and I wanted to have lunch number two (which is, or should be anyway, a meal). I queued in the freezing cold for forty minutes and by the time I got my steamy doner I couldn’t feel my hands – but it was worth it. Juicy chargrilled vegetables, a squeeze of lemon juice and salty feta, just perfect. The second time I went it was 10 pm and we had to wait for an hour. After twenty minutes they had to change the meat and told us it’d take, erm, forty minutes. We waited. It was delicious.
Then I went again, this time at 8 pm. After queueing for an hour and a half we were told they had to change the meat. At this point I was so hungry I considered eating my date, so I opted for a vegetarian doner, and it was way too salty. I ate it in the hall of a random building, by the entrance to a dodgy Chinese karaoke place, and decided I would never go back.
Moral of the story: life’s too short to queue for a kebab. Just go to E. Mono.