Dining along the Victoria Line

Back in the summer I wrote a post titled A North Londoners Guide to Eating in North London, where I took you on a foodie adventure along the northern end of Piccadilly line; from Kings Cross and beyond, ending up in Southgate. This time I’ll take you up a trip up and down the Victoria Line, letting you in on all my favourite places to eat and drink.

The Victoria line runs from Brixton in South London, all the way up to Walthamstow in the North-East, which is where we’ll start our journey…

Walthamstow

When I was in college I used to work in Walthamstow in a tiny GP surgery, and boy, it has come a long way in those five years. It’s now home to like the likes of God’s Own Junkyard which showcases neon art in a salvage yard, it’s evident that the culture of Shoreditch is pushing out and moving further east.

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I’ve mentioned Sodo Pizza before on here, and I can’t not talk about Walthamstow without mentioning these incredible sourdough pizzas. Their winter goat is a real winner and is made with tomato, mozzarella, goats cheese, walnuts, caramelised onions and olives.

Eat17 brings you innovative dishes as well as producing good old British food. They actually make a lot of their own ingredients on site, including bacon jam, so good.

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Tottenham

If you don’t already, then you need to start following @discovtottenham on Instagram, my sister moved into the area back in June and I was so surprised at how many decent places there are to eat and drink.

Lets start with a favourite, The Beehive, it’s got beers from local Londoner brewers and a burgercentic menu. They have an impressive beer garden and there’s even a nice atmosphere on match day – although I do always sit with my back to the TV.

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One place my sister raves about is Craving Coffee, and the owners are on a mission to bring great coffee and locally sourced food to Tottenham. They serve local roasters Climpsons & Sons, alongside teas from Lalani and Co. Local producers are featured extensively, such as Wildes Cheese and Flourish Craft Bakery. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday they open their doors to the Tottenham Social Street Food Residencies, where you can catch monthly changing pop up restaurateurs (these all tend to be small local businesses you can also find in Tottenham Green Market).

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Finsbury Park

Have brunch at Fink’s Salt and Sweet and get to their Avocado Toast. The portion is more than generous and is topped with goats cheese and comes with a harrisa spread – it’s mad good value for money.

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Grab a cup of joe at Blighty Coffee, where they roast their own coffee beans! They’ve got signature drinks like the Orancino, which is basically Terry’s Chocolate Orange in a cup, and the Spitfire, which is served with cinnamon and chocolate. They also do a cracking eggs royale.

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Highbury and Islington 

Now I could write a whole post about Highbury and Islington, and narrowing down what to include in this section has been incredibility hard (no thanks to Upper Street).

Go for cocktails at The Four Sisters and it’s the perfect place for an afternoon session. It retains much of its historic charm as the interior is made up of dark wooden panelling, with cosy corners filled with wooden stalls and tables.

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If there’s only one thing you take from this post – then head to Rök, a Scandi smokehouse. Their soused mackerel with creme fraiche and pickled onions was the best I’ve ever had, it was so tender and delicious!

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Kings Cross

Long gone are the days where Kings Cross is referred to a no mans land, it has seen incredible regeneration and I can’t get enough of Ganary Square – it’s my new favourite weekend hangout. With the likes of Dishoom and Caravan, what’s not to love?

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Euston

Just west of Euston station you’ll find Drummond Street, which is a slice of Indian culture, with sweet emporiums, grocer’s and restuarants, but with none of Brick Lane’s tourists. My dad would take us to Diwana Bhel Poori House and we’d all order these incredible dosas with a lassi on the side. It’s cheap and cheerful, but they serve great South-Indian food.

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Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia is a gem of a place, it’s got so many amazing restaurants and it’s located in-between Warren Street and Oxford Circus tube stations, just North of SoHo. Scott and I used to have Spanish lessons nearby and we’d always head to BoBo Social, which serves up amazing gourmet burgers; Barrica, which is a small tapas bar with an  extensive wine list; and of course ICCO, a pizzeria where you can bag yourself a thin, crispy pizza for less than a fiver.

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I can’t talk about Fitrovia without mentioning Pied à Terre, a Michelin starred french restaurant, and if you have a bit of cash in your wallet or what to dine out for a special occasion, then I beg you to go here. You won’t be disappointed.

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Green Park

If you get off the tube at Green Park, you’ll find yourself in Mayfair which is home to some of London’s most exclusive restaurants, bars, shops and hotels.

If you walk North, you’ll find Sketch – which has got to be one of the wackiest places to eat and drink in London (just browse their photo gallery and take a look at their toilets for a start!)  They’re notorious for their afternoon-tea which they serve in ‘The Gallery’, a beautiful 1930s themed pink room, making it the perfect location for tea and cake.

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Victoria

It’s rare for me to venture this far South, but if there’s one thing that will entice me, it’s the prospect of having something sweet at Dominique Ansel. Here you’ll find a cronut which is a mix of a croissant and doughnut and is so incredibly light, and a cookie shot, a chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a shot glass with a coating of dark chocolate inside which is then filled with milk.

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If you head to the Artists Residence, a seriously cool hotel just five minutes from Victoria station, you’ll find the Cambridge Street Kitchen. It’s a colourful restaurant filled with neon signs, modern prints and an open kitchen, sending off a ‘east meets west’ vibe.

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Vauxhall

Vauxhall is a hard neighbourhood to define, it’s right on the south bank and in the heart of the city, but there never seems to be a good reason to go there – until Pharmacy 2 opened their doors. It’s a modern restaurant-cum-gallery by Damien Hirst and Mark Hix. While the decor is bright and wacky (as you’d expect of Hirst) but the food is simple and precise.

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Brixton 

Brixton has become a hub for foodies, clubbers, artists and rockers alike, and it joins the likes of Peckham and Nottinghill as areas which have now gone through the gentrification process. Take Pop Brixton for example, it was developed in reaction to high street brands dominating London and showcases a selection of young businesses. It’s home to four bars and 16 street food stalls and restaurants, alongside a changing schedule of events.

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If you want to get to know some of the lesser-known Caribbean treats, then head to Fish, Wings & Tings. It’s got a short menu, and yes there’s also jerk chicken, but try the rotis, codfish fitters, and prawns in red strip tempura. If it’s not hot enough for you, the guy who owns it also make his own hot sauce (but it’s not for the faint-hearted).

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For an appartif or an after dinner cocktail, head to The Shurb & Shutter where you can get your hands on innovite drinks. They’re a bit on the gimmicky side, but they’re all expertly made.

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Let me know if you visit any of these places or if you have any hidden gems you’d like to share

 

Brunch in London | Where to Find the Best Brunches

I seriously love brunch – ask me what I’m doing on the weekend and I can guarantee you I can be found in a café or restaurant eating eggs benedict or avocado toast, sipping on a cappuccino (or a glass of prosecco).

This was a hard post to put together and I’ve been planning something like this for months. I’ve spilt the post up into areas to help make scouting out the top brunch places in London a little easier.

Central London

Ever since Scott took me to Roka for my birthday, I’ve been dying to head back to try their brunch menu. Now, don’t be expecting traditional brunch dishes and the menu is generally considered rather expensive. But their bottomless brunch is mad good value for money at £39 for 12 courses or £55 for unlimited Proesecco. It also runs until 8pm on the weekend so it’s not even strictly brunch….

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Finding decent pancakes in London is difficult – i’m not talking about crepes, I’m talking about delicious mounds of buttermilk covered in maple syrup. Luckily, Granger and Co nail it. They’re not called pancakes, but referred to as hotcakes (but they’re basically the same thing). They’re fluffy and light, and served with ricotta which undercuts the sugaryness of maple syrup and honeycomb butter. Sod your waistline and order yourself a plate of these.

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I’ve only recently found out at Ping Pong’s Lazy Sunday Brunches and it’s only £25 for unlimited dim sum and bottomless bellinis. For me, the best dish on the menu is the char sui bun which are soft, fluffy buns filled with a sticky honey barbecued pork.

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North London

As a North Londoner narrowing down this section has been seriously difficult. There’s so many good places to choose from. I’m going to start this part by mentioning Fink’s Salt and Sweet. It’s a little bit out of the way for your average punter, a 10 minute stroll from Finsbury Park station, but I promise you, it’s worth it. Their avocado toast is some of the best I’ve had and it’s such good value for money.

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Now, you can’t write a best brunch post without mentioning Caravan. There are no reservations and if this were any other restaurant, I wouldn’t bother, but for this quality of coffee and food, I’ll definitely wait. On my last visit I opted for the sweet potato and cumin waffle. The cucumber raita was brilliantly whipped and the mango and coconut added that desired sweetness.

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Most of the places I’ve featured so far have mentioned high calorie dishes. If you’re wanting something a bit lighter then The Grain Store needs to be on your hit list. It’s mainly a vegetarian restaurant and has some vegan options too.

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East London

Broadgate Circle has now turned into a hub for foodies and if you’re looking for a very special brunch, try Beany Green. They showcase bold, healthy food. Think: coconut, quinoa, chia and flaxseed porridge served with fresh berries and gluten-free broccoli and corn fritters served with avocado, eggs and and home-made chilli pesto. My favourite is the avocado toast served on fermented activated charcoal sourdough.

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For an Indian inspired brunch, try Dishoom. Get the egg naan roll, where the naan comes wrapped around two fired eggs, chilli jam, cream cheese and spicy green herbs. Plus, their chai tea is bottomless!

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The city can be eerily quiet on the weekend, but at The Modern Pantry it’s a different story. The brunch menu includes dishes like a coconut and cassava waffle served with a rhubarb & lemongrass compote. You won’t regret ordering the tea smoked salmon with two poached eggs, english muffins, yuzu hollandaise and hazelnut and macadamia dukkah.

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South London

My knowledge of anything south of the river is a little rusty but after a few taste tests, I think I’ve managed to come up with a good selection. Now, a disused carpark might not sound the most glamorous place to go for brunch, but the Bermondsey Yard Cafe is the perfect spot for Sunday brunch. I can’t resist ordering their avocado and teriyaki salmon with picked chilli on sourdough.

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Brickwood in Clapham offers a brunch menu with refreshing tweaks to old classics. Their corn fitters are served with a beetroot creme fraiche and roasted vegetables. If you’re wanting to indulge try their warm, homemade banana bread topped with a whipped espresso. butter.

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Foxlow holds its own among Balham’s many brunch spot. It’s the sister restaurant of Hawksmoor so it’s unsurprising that brunch here is comforting and meaty. Get the fried chicken which for brunch it’s served with an egg and croissant waffle.

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West London

Since Scott moved to West London, I’ve been dying to check out The Parlour in Kensal Green. We’re finally heading there for dinner this week, and it’s decorated in what I can only describe it as ‘homely-industrial’ furnishings. You get free reign on yesterdays bread station so I can guarantee you that you’ll walk out of here happy.

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The Good Life Eatery is exactly was it says on the tin. Think: Acai bowls and poached eggs served with quinoa, kale, sweet potatoes and cashew cream.  This place proves that eating healthy can actually be damn tasty too.

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Farm Girl is a all-day breakfast cafe on Portobello Road. I’ve  been following them on Instagram for a while now, and their berry pancakes and rose lattes look good enough to make anyone drool.

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I hope this post has introduced you to or helped you plan any future brunch visits to London. There’s a lot of choice so sadly I couldn’t squeeze them all in (in fear of making it too jam packed), but please so pop your suggestions down below. 

 

A North Londoners Guide to Eating in North London

If you’re ever spent more than 5 minutes with me, you’ll know how much I love North London. I currently live in Southgate, but I’m counting all my pennies and hoping to move to Finsbury Park. It’s somewhere I’ve always dreamed on living – it’s close enough to the city so I can lace up my trainers and either run or cycle to work, or pop home for a Sunday lunch (or bbq knowing my family).

I get pretty tried of people simply describing North London as only Kings Cross, Islington and Camden. There’s so much more to see and do! Let me take you on a little adventure down the Piccadilly line through your stomach…

Kings Cross

Kings Cross is a huge transport hub for London, and it would be silly for me to ignore it in my guide. Since the development of Granary Square, Kings Cross has become a foodie’s paradise. You’ve got the likes of Granger and Co, Caravan, The Grain Store, and of course Dishoom.

I’ve been to Caravan numerous of times and it never fails to disappoint – their coffee is the perfect pick me in the morning, and their sweet potato and cumin waffle is to die for.

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Holloway

Getting my family to come to this part of London is a nightmare – they’re avid Spurs fan and my dad actually refuses to get off the tube at Arsenal (and still refers to it as Gillespie Road). Some of my highlights include Zia Lucia (a newly opened Pizza joint using black charcoal bases), Vagabond and Le Coq.

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I recently visited The Highbury Arts Club for my sister’s birthday extravaganza – it’s a cute little cafe serving up tapas with exposed brickwork, cosy corners and communal long tables. The food here was so good, I’d highly recommend their pandron peppers, tortilla, and coquettes (and whilst you’re at it.. you might as well order their whole menu). They also do amazing dessert – Scot and I devoured their cheesecake.

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Finsbury Park 

Now I could write a whole post about Finsbury Park, and narrowing down what to include in this section has been incredibility hard.

Get Brunch at Fink’s Salt and Sweet and get to their Avocado Toast. The portion is more then generous and is topped with goats cheese and comes with a harrisa spread – it’s such good value for money.

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Grab a cup of joe at Blighty Coffee. They’re got signature drinks like the Orancino, which is basically Terry’s Chocolate Orange in a cup, and the Spitfire, which is served with cinnamon and chocolate.

Hit up either Yard Sale Pizza or Petek for a spot of lunch or dinner. Petek serves up spot-on Lebanese food, their portions are generous and everything is incredibility tasty.

Finally, grab a pint at the Faltering Fullback. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s always full or the main room looks like a cross between a sixth-form common room crossed with a 1970s pool hall. It has the most stunning beer garden – it’s quite simply one big treehouse.

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Harringay 

I’ve only recently started exploring Turnpike Lane and Woodgreen since Scott moved here. You’re got to go for a spot of food at Blends, and I simply adore their eggs on sourdough with asparagus and hollandise.

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Mosaica at The Old Chocolate Factory is another one of my favourites – it’s the perfect date spot. It’s in the middle of an industrial estate in Wood Green, but I assure you that you won’t be disappointed.

Southgate 

You’re almost at the end of the Piccadilly line, and here’s where my foodie journey ends. But before it does, make sure you visit Green’s Steakhouse. They do week day offers, and from Monday till Thursday can grab two steak dinners and a bottle of house red for £39 – bargain.

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The Winchmore is one of my favourite local boozers, run by a brother and sister duo and boasts over 70 gins. Their bar staff are incredible as well,  simply let one of them know your favourite fruit and they will whip up a gin for your taste.

Let me know if you visit any of these places or if you have any hidden gems you’d like to share!  

One of my favourite brunch spots; Caravan

A couple of years ago if someone suggested to go to Kings Cross for food I’d think , ‘hmm, what’s there though?’ These days you’ve got the likes of Granger & Co, Grain Store, Vinoteca, and of course, Caravan.

Caravan is housed in the stunning old Victorian grain store and was the first restaurant to open within the king’s cross partnership development behind the station. The restaurant itself is completely designed with the building’s history in mind with a soft industrial dinning room and they’ve combined it with an open kitchen – which is visible but separated by a wire  mesh. It’s raw walls, an exposed ventilation system overhead, blond wood tables all add to the industrial feel of the restaurant. Behind the bar there’s a no-man’s land of equipment – presumably for roasting and grinding fresh coffee beans.

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It’s a hive of activity – I’ve been here once for a Christmas party and twice for brunch now. But brunch is what Caravan does best, and it’s no wonder you can sometimes wait up to an hour for a table.

They have simple options of toasts with toppings such as cheddar and onion jam, or crushed avocado with lemon and chilli – to jalapeno cornbreads served with fried eggs, salsa and creme fraiche, or confit trout, jersey royals, peas and a curry mayonnaise.

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Last weekend I have the pleasure of introducing my bestfriend from university to the delights of Caravan, as of course I had to show her some of the best London can offer. We were seated on a table the the door – but after a couple of belinis we could no longer feel the draught.

After pondering over their menu for what seemed like decades, I chose the sweet potato and cumin waffle which is topped with cucumber raita, mango puree and coconut. Emily went for the aubergine puree, poached eggs, sourdough and sausage.

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The flavours in my dish complimented each other perfectly – the sweetness of the mango being balanced by the cucumber raita.

Emily’s Turkish-inspired dish consists of a wonderfully smokey flavour which the sausage adding the needed saltiness. The eggs were overcooked but she raved about the food nonetheless.

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Their avocado on sourdough toast is also to die for – it’s just a simple dish but it’s done so well, and there’s no skimping on the avocado either!

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I honestly can’t sing Caraven’s  praises enough – it’s the perfect spot for brunch with dishes that will set you up for the whole day.

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Caravan, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA