London is a city full to the brim with hidden gems, from top-secret cocktail bars to incredible restaurants the locals keep quiet about. Go searching for our team’s top hidden gems and we guarantee good times. Here are eight to look out for.
The Cabbies’ Shelter, Pimlico
The cabbies’ shelter in Pimlico is a Grade II listed green hut that dates back to the turn of the last century. It may not look like much, but Damian tells us this place serves the best tea and bacon sandwiches in town.
Jay’s favourite hidden gem has to be the Mother Klucker truck in Ely’s yard. They serve tea-brined, buttermilk-soaked, twice-battered fried chicken from a converted US Army ambulance. It’s currently housed by one of our favourite venues: The Old Truman Brewery. The Cluckwitch – it needs no words!
Rossella, Kentish Town
Emma’s favourite hidden gem is Rossella in Kentish Town. Do not be put off by the cheap chairs and external beach café Costa del Sol appearance – this is the best Italian, run by real Italians for miles. They serve fresh pasta and it’s dirt-cheap, Emma’s favourite is Penne Arrabbiata – for a fiver! Top tip: ask for the family red wine, they import this from their home village. It’s not on the menu so you need to be in the know on this one.
Kebabs from Finsbury Park Station
The kebab in Finsbury Park station is a proper hidden gem – not many people give it a go because it looks dodgy but Fernando says trust him – it’s amazing! They bake their own bread and all. Lamb shish is the best after a night out (as far as Fernando can remember).
Senzala Creperie, Brixton Village Market
Jen’s choice is Senzala Creperie in Brixton Village market. It’s a real post-Friday night cure. The Senzalas were slave houses for plantations and farms in Brazil from the 16th to 19th centuries. It was from the Senzalas that much of Brazilian culture developed, such as Capoeira and popular dishes like Feijoada stew. This café is named ‘Senzala’ in tribute to those who formed its Brazilian roots and influences.
The Grapes, Limehouse
The Grapes at Limehouse is a real traditional pub – they serve lovely pub food, for really reasonably prices – and the portions are huge! The pub has been featured in the Good Pub Guide since 1996, and you’ll understand why when you visit. Amazing views too.
Marie’s Café, Waterloo
Marie’s is, quite simply, a Waterloo institution. The greasy spoon café on Lower Marsh in Waterloo becomes a Thai Café in the evening; Iwona recommends its perfect hangover fry ups (probably among the cheapest in London).
Rita’s Bar and Dining, Dalston
Rita’s Bar and Dining in Dalston is a celebration of US classics. And it’s brilliant. Don’t just take Jamie’s word for it, though. Food critic Jay Rayner described Rita’s chicken as “the best fried chicken you’ve ever had, the meat dredged and floured multiple times before its bath in the fat, to give it an outrageous crumb that would make the colonel weep.”
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