London is massive, and thriving, and diverse. Okay, okay tell us something we don’t know, you might holler. Well, if we look at the way we act when it comes to dining out, you’d think London was only zone one. And from the way people queue for certain ‘zeitgeisty’ eateries, it’s as though there are only five places worth dining in across the whole city.
But in your neighbourhood, there are gems to be discovered. I promise. Though I can’t list them *all* here, I assure you if these five places are anything to go by, it’s worth putting the Oyster card away, and strolling to check out your local.
Trullo, Highbury & Islington
Pass by Padella in Borough Market any day of the week and you’ll see a line of people, hungry for pasta, patiently waiting outside. But before Padella existed, there was Trullo, Tim Siadatan and Jordan Frieda’s original Italian restaurant in Highbury and Islington. The menu isn’t exclusively pasta based, (though the pasta standard is just as high if you’ve got a carb craving) but it is on point for seasonal British ingredients served with an honesty and flair that gives it an Italian legitimacy. trullorestaurant.com
The clue is in the name of this Clapham Common spot – the aim is to be a small fish in a big pond, but to swim well. And that’s exactly what they do. The team behind it are no small fry – Jake Boyce former Head Chef at Jason Atherton’s Social Wine and Tapas heads up the pass serving up seasonal, modern European dishes, that make it perfect neighbourhood eating. Nothing too flashy, nothing too understated. The balance is just right. minnowclapham.co.uk
Part of the Peckham renaissance, Aside is a hidden gem tucked away on a residential street. Working closely with local suppliers, they create a menu that changes daily dependent on what’s good at the time. By night it’s mostly sharing plates, but they also offer a strong weekend brunch and Sunday roast menu to cover all the bases. asidelondon.com
Meaning ‘a journey of rigorous research’ in Piedmontese, the menu at RIGO’ reflects chef Gonzalo Luzarraga’s culinary journey from the first taste of his grandfather’s bread on the French-Italian border, via foraging in the countryside around Turin and classical French cuisine in Europe’s Michelin-starred kitchens, to the present day in London. The Signature Menu is almost literally the world on a plate. Why travel into town to find anything else? rigolondon.com
A restaurant borne out of an equal partnership between two sommeliers (Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw) and a chef (Sam Kamienko), Ellory has always had a strong showing on both fronts, and was quickly recognised as the real deal gaining a Michelin star just two years after opening. They’re unashamedly Euro-centric, with a European only wine list designed to be paired with modern European sharing plate menu, both changing daily to complement one another. ellorylondon.com