This summer, it’s not only at the Olympic stadium where representatives from almost every country can be found – London’s culinary landscape is coloured with tastings from all corners of the world.
Turkey – Best Turkish Kebab
There are an ungodly number of Turkish kebab shops in London, but Best Turkish Kebab – a busy ‘distinguished kebab shop’ in Stoke Newington – is a choice takeaway for delicious doners, made from shoulder meat, with just the right spicing and no additives.
Vietnam – Cay Tre
For some of the best Vietnamese food in London and a lively ambience, it’s tough to beat Cay Tre on Old Street. Food is authentic, fragrant and delicious, and the house special – cha ca la vong – marinated fish, stir-fried with dill and fennel – plus Indochine beef (like sweetly aromatic carpaccio) is wonderful.
USA – Burger & Lobster
Burger & Lobster is a fuss-free, simple and cool pub-restaurant with three good old American menu options: burger, lobster or lobster roll, served with chips and salad – each priced at £20.
Morocco – Momo
Momo is a little piece of North Africa in the London’sWest End, with a laid back tearoom and a menu of classic Moroccan food, like pigeon pastilla, tagines and couscous.
New Zealand – Caravan
Headed by two decorated Kiwi chefs, Caravan creates a kind of Asian-European fusion (think Sichuan pepper squid with chilli mayonnaise or veal schnitzel with gypsy potatoes) in a super chilled atmosphere (what else would you expect from a New Zealand restaurant in London?) in hip Exmouth Market.
Georgia – Colchis
Colchis – a slick Georgian restaurant in London’s Notting Hill – enjoys a steady stream of Eurasian expats flocking in for standards like khachapuri (a fluffy bread filled with cheese), khinkali (meat-filled dumplings) and lamb stew with aubergine and pheasant, all enjoyed over bottles-aplenty of Georgian wine.
Peru – Ceviche
The food at Ceviche – a Peruvian restaurant in always-buzzing Soho – serves a light tapas-style menu including heaping portions of its namesake, ceviche, as well as grilled meats and fish, and plenty of zingy Pisco cocktails.
Spain – Barrafina
Barrafina serves top class Spanish tapas from Jabugo and a menu of only Iberian wines in a buzzing, always full atmosphere that transports you to Spain.
Finland – Nordic Bakery
Nordic Bakery in Soho’s Golden Square is as Scandinvian in its food as its design: achingly good Finnish pastries, cinnamon buns and sandwiches are served alongside very strong coffee in an achingly minimalist atmosphere.
Pakistan – Tayyabs
Anyone visiting London for the Olympics will want to sample some of the city’s awesome curry houses, and Tayyabs in Whitechapel is one East End joint where people wait in line around the block for a sample of spice. The menu is simple: Punjabi dry-meat curries, buttery breads and tandoor dishes in chicken and mutton tikka (a British classic).
China – Hakkasan
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Nobu’ of Chinese restaurants in London, Hakkasan is a seductive, upmarket spot off Tottenham Court Road that serves Michelin-starred Chinese food.
Check out the full Hg2 London city guide for Olympics travel tips.