Forget Easter – September is when we should start eating lamb. Love Lamb Week (1st-7th Sept) aims to raise awareness that British spring lamb starts to mature around this time. Lamb might be out of favour, but certainly not flavour – here’s where to enjoy it in London.
Is there any other London-based restaurant brand quite as distinct as The Ivy? The restaurant’s most famous dish is its shepherd’s pie, an amalgam of beef and lamb mince topped with buttery mash. So simple, yet so sought after.
Berber & Q
Berber & Q is all about dishes inspired by Middle Eastern and North African cuisine, where meat is more often cooked the way it should be cooked – i.e. over charcoal. Regular dishes include dukkah-crusted lamb nuggets and grilled lamb neck with matbucha and date BBQ sauce.
DUM Biryani House
This casual Soho spot specialises in Hyderabadi biryani, plus home-style curries and spice-infused cocktails. Break through the golden pastry to reveal fragrant rice and meltingly tender lamb shank. It’s served with papads, house pickle, okra raita and mirchi salan (peanut curry).
Wiltons, in its various guises, has been going for almost 280 years. Mostly famous for its oysters (it began life as a shellfish-mongers), this classic British setup has a classic British approach to its proteins – lamb cutlets and lamb’s kidneys included.
More of what you may call an authentic approach compared to the famous curry houses of Brick Lane over the road, Gunpowder is described as a homely approach to Indian food. Perhaps the best example of that is ‘Maa’s Kashmiri lamb chops’, so called because it’s the mother-in-law’s recipe.
Sharing its name with the open charcoal grill restaurants of Turkey, Mangal Ocakbasi should not be confused with the late-night kebab stops synonymous with British nightlife. Meat is well-sourced, and flatbreads are made in-house, which has amounted to a dedicated following. Grilled lamb (liver, ribs, chops, sweetbreads, etc) is undoubtedly the centrepiece.
At Roast, their lamb is sourced from the picturesque Elwy Valley in Wales. Try their Barnsley loin chop with apple, celeriac and mint coleslaw, or pop in on Sunday for slow-roast shoulder studded with rosemary and garlic.
Inspired by the bountiful region of Emilia-Romagna, Emilia is a paean to Italian ways of cooking. And as it’s from the team behind Farringdon butcher and restaurant Quality Chop House, you already know good meat – such as the Yorkshire lamb – is their highest priority. It’s currently served with sugar snap peas and mint zabaglione.
Anchor & Hope
Anchor & Hope, if you haven’t already been introduced, is a gastropub close to Waterloo station. The pub is a serious contender for best roast in the capital and lamb is often on the menu – currently in the form of seven-hour lamb shoulder for two to share.
Tandoor Chop House
Taking its cues from British chop houses of the 18th century, and communal North Indian dining, TCH is a unique blend of both worlds. From its all-day menu, don’t miss the Amritsari crispy lamb chops out of the tandoor.
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.