One of my current favourite cuisines is Vietnamese. It is fresh, healthy, full of goodness, but also it is so full and rich in flavour. I will finally let you in on my current favourite Vietnamese restaurant – it is called Que Me on Stroud Green Road in Finsbury Park.
It is really well priced, always busy so the food is always fresh, it is absolutely delicious and it is so authentic. The owners are Vietnamese who have been eating pho since they were 3 years old and who use a family recipe – and you know I love a family run, independent restaurant where people are really passionate about their food.
I would recommend: The “Mama” Rolls, the Prawn Summer Rolls, the Vietnamese Pancake, the Lemongrass Prawn Bun, and the Special Beef Pho. I have tried all of these here and they are all amazing!
I know I have written about Fink’s previously, but I only wrote about brunch there. Plus it is such a gorgeous little independent cafe that does such simple fresh foods and I just love it in the sunny weather as it is on such a pretty little street tucked away from the busy roads. It is also great in the winter if you are looking for a great place for a good slice of cake and a coffee in a cozy, homely vibe.
We recently came on a sunny day and sat outside with our salad and sandwich just taking in the weather and taking our time to enjoy our freshly made food.
One sunny weekend recently we went for a walk, a very long walk, from Finsbury Park to the top of Hampstead Heath and down to Gospel Oak. Towards the end of our walk we ended up in a pub called The Stag for a late lunch/dinner.
As it was a sunny day – the large beer garden in the back was heaving with people and so we sat inside which was also buzzing with people at the bar coming in from the garden to order drinks etc. We chose a little booth and table (the only free space as it was rammed).
We shared the Scotch Egg, the Beef Carpaccio and the Beef Rib with Slaw.
We weren’t really sure what to expect as none of us had eaten there before and we were pleasantly surprised. The food was all delicious and presented very well.
Definitely recommend if you are in Hampstead Heath and looking for a place to eat in the area.
The first time I ever went to The Pig and Butcher was actually 2 years ago. Jack took me 3 birthdays ago and I loved it. It is good quality, well flavoured, seasonal British food. So, when Anusha was visiting London, I brought her here so she could have a taste of what good British food is.
The menu at The Pig and Butcher changes on a daily basis depending on what is fresh in, which I absolutely love about it.
We walked into the cosy, homely restaurant and were sat at our table. Our server knew the menu very well and was good at giving us advice about the dishes. She also sounded very passionate about the food, which I love.
We ordered some homemade sourdough bread with beef dripping and jersey butter.
It absolutely made sense that the beef dripping was literally just beef fat in oil form (why would it not be?) – but we were expecting something with a little more flavour. I think we were expecting something with a little oomph to it – Maybe resembling something a little more like a gravy (like I have tried somewhere else before).
The bread was gorgeous though, as was the butter, and with (a lot of) salt the beef dripping came alive a little more.
We shared two mains because we actually wanted to try everything on the menu but couldn’t physically eat it all! So, we had to settle with two dishes (sigh). We chose the Pan Fried Cornish Cod with Courgette, Watermelon and Watercress and the Lamb on a Bed of Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic.
Luckily I ate it the right way around (which wasn’t even planned) and had the fish first which was incredibly refreshing and worked really well with the young watermelon. I thought it would be a normal, ripe watermelon when I saw it on the menu, but it was young, hard, thinly sliced watermelon, which was similar in texture and taste to a daikon (large white radish) and it added another level to the dish with the fresh crunchiness. The fish fell apart and melted on my tongue and it all married perfectly together.
I had the lamb second which naturally had a stronger flavour. The garlic, which we initially thought was an artichoke, was surprisingly delicious. It gave a smokey flavour to the dish when spread onto the lamb and mashed potato. It was a gorgeous combination.
Dessert was so hard to choose – we wanted something to share and again we wanted most things on the menu. We ended up choosing a cheese board as we still had some wine left and this would go perfectly to end the meal.
It ended up coming with two chocolate, twisted, biscuit-type pastries so we ended up getting something sweet as well after all. The cheeses were all lovely and we managed to polish it all off.
We decided to treat ourselves to a teppanyaki dinner, which neither of us had tried properly before. Sen Nin were doing a weekday special feast menu which consisted of 4 courses for £30 per person. There was a Miso or Tom Yum soup to start, Japanese tapas next, then the Teppanyaki course and a finished off with a dessert.
We weren’t really sure what to expect – all I knew is that we booked the chef’s table so that we could watch him to the cooking in front of us.
It was a quiet Wednesday evening in the restaurant, which I guess was why they had a deal on during the week. There were a few tables of people in the restaurant, but we had the chef’s table to ourselves.
I ordered the Tom Yum soup and Jack ordered the Miso soup. They were served in little Japanese soup bowls and were nice but nothing to shout about.
For our Japanese tapas dishes we chose the seafood option. There was a seabass ceviche, a tuna tartare and calamari. These were presented gorgeously on a long dish so I was very impressed when it came out. Taste-wise, again, they were all nice enough. The tuna was a little stringy and didn’t really melt in my mouth the way I thought it should, the ceviche and calamari were nice though.
Next was the Teppanyaki and out came our Chef who explained it all to us! We had ordered the scallops and the fillet steak to share with some rice and vegetables.
He was great! This is what we had been waiting for! He chatted and joked with us the whole time that he was cooking. And he wasn’t JUST cooking, he was doing tricks with all the food! At one point he let Jack get up and try out a trick as well.
It was great entertainment for the evening. He didn’t go wild and make a massive flame on the stove but he was fun nevertheless.
The scallops and steak with the fried rice and the vegetable stir fry on the side were the best part of the meal by far. Nice flavours but I think the entertainment of it being cooked in front of us definitely made us enjoy it more.
For dessert we got a mixture of 3 mini dessert pots and a duo of red bean and matcha ice cream and shared them all. I love matcha ice cream so that was the best bit for me (matcha is a glorious time always!) – the rest was okay but I don’t think I would have missed out if I didn’t have them.
I wouldn’t necessarily be running back for a weekday set menu – but perhaps would come again to see what the weekend is like for the chef’s table teppanyaki as that was definitely good fun.
12I love Vietnamese food. It tastes fresh and healthy but really fills a craving that makes it feel like comfort food at the same time.
The fabulous thing about London is that it is such a multicultural city that we get food from all over the globe and we get it made well, by people who are from those countries. So it is no surprise that we have some great Vietnamese restaurants in London.
My friends and I found out about Pho House about 2 years ago as it right by Highbury and Islington Station and near where we all live.
We all ordered a sharing seafood platter with the famous Vietnamese summer rolls, some deep fried soft shell crab and some calamaris. It was all delicious and we couldn’t wait to get our mains.
I personally think the best thing to order here is the special beef pho (I prefer this than chicken or seafood pho in general though). I have tried the bun before but I was not as impressed – but the beef pho is excellent!!
If you like it spicy like I do, then definitely ask for some chilli oil on the side.
Dehli Grill is cozy, modern restaurant which is hidden away on Chapel Market. It is a lovely little spot which is perfect for a filling, satisfying and inexpensive Indian meal where there is no need for lining up down the road to get a table or reserving a table at least a month prior.
The restaurant has a family run vibe where people are upbeat and seem passionate about their food.
We ordered some pani poori and poppadoms to start and for our mains we had a mixed grill, a curry and a rice to share. Between two people this was definitely a good amount.
The food was great, atmosphere was great, service was great and the price was great too. I cannot fault it.