7 of my favourite informal London restaurants

It’s late in the day. Your tummy is rumbling, but you can’t face the thought of first deciding what to cook, working out where to get the ingredients from and then HORROR OF ALL HORRORS cook it in the correct order for a nice dinner. So, I’ve put together this list with 7 of my favourite informal London restaurants.

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Think of it as a dinner time gift from me to you (and then probably back to me again because my blog is a sterling memory keeper for those days that I can’t remember anything.)

All of these restaurants are central London, tasty, feature cuisines from around the world and you can happily rock up with jeans and a ponytail, or take the in-laws for a decent meal. Does it get any better than that? (Also, apologies for the horrible iPhone photos, that’s the problem the spontaneity sometimes – you can’t prepare for it!) Oh, all of these that made my 7 of my favourite informal London restaurants list are bookable as well – something that I thoroughly recommend, especially as you get nearer the end of the week.

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Hawksmoor Steakhouse – Hearty Steak – Air Street, Picadilly

I know, I know, this said informal – but we pop into the Hawksmoor restaurants (usually the Air Street branch) altogether too often and it got worse when I worked just down the road in Marylebone.

TOP TIP: Go early in the evening for their pre-theatre menu – they have an excellent selection of their best starters, steaks & desserts – and the cocktail menu is amazing.

Cicchetti – Italian Small Plates – Picadilly Circus

Go hungry and make sure you go with someone who doesn’t mind sharing – everything at Cicchetti in Picadilly Circus is delicious. We ordered a table full of their small dishes and I want to go back again already for their truffle croquettes, their scrumptious Margherita pizza where the crust is even scrumptious,  and a few forkfuls of their courgette fritti. It’s making my mouth water… it’s also one of the few places that I’m glad it’s small plates so you can try so many more things. Cichetti belongs to the San Carlo group of restaurants, including Fumo in Soho which I didn’t realise was linked – also a scrumptious place to while away an evening. TOP TIP: If you can’t get a booking online, call them.

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Red Dog Saloon – American Bar-B-Que – Soho, Hoxton Square, Clapham North

With our favourite American restaurant disappointing us the last couple of times that we’ve been, we’ve been on the search for a good replacement. We tried out the smoky, smoky meat of Red Dog Saloon Soho with no expectations on a staycation the other week, and were blown away at just how good it was. They promised proper Austin, Texas-style smoked, and they absolutely delivered. I adored the Brisket and our shared Texas Fries were ridiculously good. TOP TIP: beware that the Doomsday Burger as promised is HOT – it damn near broke Mr Kiwi.

Baozilnn – Northern Chinese Street Food and all-day Cantonese Dim Sum – Soho & Leicester Square

Baozilnn which means “people’s canteen,” is a gem of a restaurant, just a stone’s throw from Chinatown – and somewhere that I keep going back to (I blame one friend in particular who quite rightly is obsessed – she’s there at least once a week at current count.) The interiors are lovely, but it’s the feast that they bring out that keeps us returning. TOP TIP: Order a bevvy of dim sum and the Dan Dan Noodles (vegetarian or meaty). They’re delicious. We love the Romilly Street branch the best.

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Duck & Waffle – Everything Duck Flavoured, oh, and Waffles – Liverpool Street

The views are glorious, for sure, but the Duck and Waffle menu is really rather delicious too, even late late in the evening. The bacon wrapped dates, the roasted cauliflower, the Big Quack burger (duck patty, Swiss cheese, sweet pickle sauce, brioche bun + crispy duck confit), Duck Egg Cocotte – all delicious.

TOP TIP: Can’t get a booking? Rock up anyway. They’ll try to fit you in, and you can enjoy cocktails in the bar in the meantime.

LaksaMania – Malaysian Laksa – Tottenham Court Road

Want to warm the cockles of your heart? Book a table at LaksaMania on a cold, rainy day. You’ll leave 15’C warmer than you walked in, and it’s worth Every. Single. Bite. Their master chef, Danny Tan has fine-tuned many of the Malaysian cuisines, particularly on a large variety of noodle dishes. Oh, and they have a dedicated vegan menu!

TOP TIP: Book in advance especially for tables after 7.30, and make sure you order the Satay Chicken as a starter. Don’t share.

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Supawan Thai Food – Delicious Southern Thai Food – Kings Cross 

In Thailand there is an old saying “Kin Dee, Yuu Dee, Mee Suk” which literally means “Eat Well, Live Well, Be Happy”. So, THANK YOU GOOGLE MAPS! We had just (successfully) completed another Escape Room, and our team were ravenous. So, we pulled out the wonder that is Google maps, and wandered past many busy restaurants – on a Friday night – and without a booking, managed to sneak into Supawan Thai Food – and I’m so happy we did! It was delectable – and they let us order Mango Sticky Rice off the menu. Legends.Supawan Thai Food

TOP TIP: Book or you’ll likely be disappointed!

Like I said, my apologies for the terrible photos, but honestly, I found that I’m asked ‘which favourite informal London restaurants would I recommend’ so often that writing a blog post was infinitely easier.

What is your favourite informal cuisine?

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