You can’t deny it – up until recently, Victoria was a bit ‘meh’ for eating out, when often the best you could do was a sad sandwich or carton of dodgy fried rice from a roadside vendor before your southbound train. But thanks to new developments (concrete or otherwise), and a few restaurants usually under the radar, eating out in Victoria is better than it’s ever been.
If you’re a sucker for intriguing settings, almost everything about Aster will make you go ga-ga. There’re large marble counters and floor-to-ceiling windows, while the building itself – which houses Aster’s deli, restaurant, and café – looks like a temple to a new-fangled god from the fourth millennium. The food’s not to be knocked either – there’s a sophisticated French-Nordic menu, which means plenty of pickling and smoking, with a dollop of classic European techniques thrown in for good measure.
‘Comfort and contentment on the plate’ is how Guardian critic Marina O’Loughlin describes Lorne. Meanwhile, the Evening Standard’s Grace Dent puts it up on her list of best restaurants for 2017 – and we’re barely halfway through the year. Expect to find creative British and Mediterranean fare without the frills, and some of the best service you’ll come across in any restaurant at the moment.
Most restaurants have their specialties, but sometimes you just want a good all-rounder. Gagging for a morning pick-me-up? Succumb to RHC’s green tea waffles and crab cake royale. Tasked with group booking a restaurant for people with all kinds of tastes? Let those hungry eyes pore over the café’s eclectic menu. After a buzzy spot for post-work drinks? Then head to the bar for an aptly named Rail Mary and Pineapple Express.
‘Tozi’ – Italian for a group of friends – rhymes with ‘cosy’. Good thing it does too, as here you’ll find sprawl-worthy leather sofas, an inviting kitchen, big communal tables, and Venetian comfort food aplenty. Yes. You know the sort – goat’s cheese pizzetta, buffalo ricotta ravioli with black truffle, gratinated scallops. Oh and zucchini fries. Si per favour, cameriere.
Restaurants are all song and dance. No truer than at The Other Naughty Piglet – the joint Andrew Lloyd Weber chose to complement his theatre The Other Place. Theatre restaurants often miss the mark, but this one is among the best in London (let alone the area), with its clever but affordable French menu and solid collection of natural wines.
Perhaps there were some suspicions when restaurant mogul Jason Atherton decided his 9th venture was going to involve pizza (having not previously dabbled). But with Hai Cenato, he’s certainly proved any doubters wrong. The sourdough pizza bases are soft and light due to their long fermentation, while the toppings are a refreshing take on the old classics (see the mozzarella made in London, for example). The guest chef specials – i.e. Nathan Outlaw’s prawns, octopus, and anchovy pizza – do a good job of keeping the menu fresh, too.
If you hear the words ‘let’s do brunch’, Timmy Green should be your first port of call. Think of your usual brunch options, but elevated far, far beyond. French toast with coconut, Greek yoghurt, and bee pollen. Maple granola made in-house. Steak and eggs with broken crispy rice. Plus, when you realise their brunch menu runs ‘til 3pm every day, you know they take brunch very seriously indeed.
This is a guest post from freelance food journalist Hugh Thomas. He’s contributed to Foodism, Time Out, Great British Chefs, and is part of British Street Food’s small team of vigilant writers. Find him on twitter @hughwrites.