LONDON LIFE • March 2020
New England lobster, Texas BBQ, the New York slice - American cuisine is all about comfort, calories and community. From our spot in the capital, The Club team head out to find London’s most star-spangled eats
What for: New York deli dining
Says who: Matt Richardson, picture editor
From the team behind cult south London dining spots Levan and Salon, this New York-inspired corner bar will be opening its door later this month on Peckham’s Blenheim Grove. Open till 00:30 on Fridays and Saturdays, its menu touches on NYC diner delicacies: potato latkes with fermented chilli mayo, smoked salmon on rye with dill pickles, fried rice with pickled chilli and crispy egg. But that’s not to say the city’s Italian influence isn’t in there, too: aubergine parmigiana and pigs head ragu pappardelle are perfect sharers for a late-night date. Stay for long enough, and you might just convince yourself you’re in the Lower East Side rather than south-east London.
Top tip: You can grab your cup of joe when Larry’s opens at 7:30am during the week but, come nightfall, you’ll want to sample the restaurant’s favoured dynamic and natural wines.
What for: Slow-smoked barbeque
Says who: Hannah Ralph, Club content editor
John Wayne on the walls, beef imported from Texas, a Stetson-wielding barbeque buff at the helm – this neighbourhood secret is what London’s southern US expats call a free ticket home. Culinary cowboy in question, Dallas-born Joe Walters, brought the Texan way of life to Bermondsey back in 2016. Four years later, it’s packed on a Tuesday night, buzzing with the recommendations of past diners, still raving about the best slow-cooked brisket you’ll find outside of the Lone Star State. Smoked for 12-hours, the beef is undoubtedly the star of the show, but the unctuous pork ribs and three-bone chicken wings (all served as is traditional, beside slices of plain white bread), are barbeque perfection. Oh, and leave some room for that warm, treacly pecan pie.
Top tip: At the back of the restaurant, slip down the stairs and you’ll find teeny-tiny speakeasy, The Flying W Saloon, serving peach bourbon sours and Texas ramen out of a small hatch in the wall.
What for: Southern fried chicken
Says who: Ross Clarke, Club contributing editor
Snaking down narrow Carter Lane and up the side-street staircase, The Fat Bear may be business-like enough for a laidback client lunch, but city slickers know to visit this snug space above the Rising Sun pub when it transforms into a Southern-style speakeasy come sundown. The soundtrack is blues-meets-country; the drinks cabinet is stocked with 100+ whiskies and the food is refined southern staples: moreish Pimento cheese spread, honey-soaked cornbread and, of course, staggeringly succulent Southern fried chicken, here served with Sriracha maple syrup. Up the heat with a helping of Buffalo dipping sauce, before cooling down with a tantalisingly tart key lime pie.
Top tip: Make sure to try the signature New Orleans style gumbo – it’s the ultimate cold-weather warmer, chased brilliantly with one of the bar’s six signature Old Fashioneds.
What for: Southern-inspired cocktails
Says who: Charlotte Swift, group editor
Just moments from Kings Cross’ burgeoning Coal Drops Yard, another vibrant, all-day foodie hotspot is being finely tuned – this time, by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. Inspired by the band’s trip to Voodoo Festival in 2018, Lovett’s Goods Way (complete with French Quarter-style balconies) has the New Orleans spirit, the UK debut of NY-imported omakase bar Sushi on Jones (amongst other mouth-watering vendors) and saloon-style watering hole, Sweetwater. NOLA-riffing tipples include six speciality Sazeracs, classic picklebacks and an Espresso Manhattan with coffee-infused bourbon.
Top tip: The venue may be most lively at night, but its central courtyard is looking like the new hotspot for the city’s creatives in the calmer, daylight hours.
What for: Californian clean eats
Says who: Fionn O’Neill, designer
Tall windows dappled with sunlight, svelte 20-somethings nursing mint green smoothies and potted ferns, arched over diners like the San Francisco redwoods: I’ve never been to California, but Malibu Kitchen at The Ned has to be the next best thing. A pocket of peace in an otherwise bustling hotel, Malibu Kitchen’s strength is seafood with a light touch: sea bass ceviche, juicy scallops and panko-crusted sea bream tacos (pictured) – all delicious. The dessert menu tows the same line between toothsome treat and clean eating excellence; the homemade salted caramel ice cream was a stand-out. Ideal for fellow veggies, there’s an all-you-can-eat vegetarian brunch every Saturday – your little slice of SoCal in central London for just £30 per person.
Top tip: Leave the LA way - full, but not overfaced. For two people, three dishes each should do the trick.
What for: Cajun classics
Says who: Liv Berry, Club content editor
Don’t let the traditional pub looks fool you – this North London stalwart is a culinary ode to all things New Orleans. It’s helmed by Jacob Kennedy of Soho’s Bocca di Lupo fame, with nods to the Louisiana waterway built by his very own great grandfather via vibrant wall murals. The menu is a mashup of creole and Cajun-style greatest hits – think oysters, shrimp beignets (a popular creole snack), blackened trout and meaty jambalaya. At the weekend, book in for Creole Bloody Marys and brunch accompanied by live jazz. And don’t let the cocktails stop there: the vodka, bourbon and amaretto-infused Godparents Martini will transport you straight to Bourbon Street.
Top tip: Aside from the weekly jazz brunch, there’s a roster of performances every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening – check the website to see who’s playing.
What for: New England lobster rolls
Says who: Carl Harrison, group picture editor
From Maine to Massachusetts, America’s wholesome Eastern Seaboard isn’t just known for sleepy beaches and nostalgic country towns. It’s also land of the lobster. My search for an authentic lobster roll, New England’s scrummiest summer delicacy, took me to Claw, crustacean connoisseurs at newish opening, Seven Dials Market. Claw is just a salty seaside away from being a coastal shack, serving up creamy chunks of (sustainably caught) lobster and delectable crab in buttery brioche rolls. Go full Americana with a side of mac & cheese, or steaming bowl of clam chowder.
Top tip: Continue to fly the American flag at Monty’s Deli (home to the capital’s most beloved salt beef pastrami and reuben sandwiches), just a few stalls down.
What for: A French spin on American classics
Says who: Barbara De Beukelaer, Club account manager
Had the Electric Diner been open 21 years ago when a bookshop owner met a famous American actress, leading to one of the most successful rom-coms of modern times, they would surely have had their first date at this Notting Hill blockbuster. It doesn’t take much to picture Hugh Grant settling into one of the 50s-style red banquettes, quitely pleased with himself for having chosen a venue serving so many American best sellers that Julia Roberts will surely be delighted. With low-hanging lighting, a bar and an open kitchen adding to the convivial atmosphere, cocktails and dinner followed by sublime fried apple pie will surely set things up for a perfect evening.
Top tip: Combine dinner with a film at the adjoining Electric Cinema, complete with luxurious armchairs, footrests and cashmere blankets. Dine in the week between 5-6pm, and you can get your meal half price with a valid Electric Cinema ticket.
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