From fried chicken and over-filled burgers to tasty tacos and sauce-smothered pasta, there’s no better time to curl up with a bowl of comfort food than in the dark depths of winter. Here are the cosiest places in London, guaranteed to give the ultimate comfort food fix…
The Cheese Bar
From street food truck to bonafide cheese gurus, Camden’s Cheese Bar is a food lover’s haven, and one of the best places in London for a comfort food fix. This lactose-laced hangout boasts an entire menu of cheesy classics, with everything from fondue with smoked sausage to haggis and Ogleshield Scotch egg, rounded off with a few cheese-infused desserts – think Devon blue ice cream with poached pear and lemon cheesecake – just in case you hadn’t indulged enough.
Unit 93/94 Camden Stables, Camden, NW1 8AH
Berber & Q
East London’s coolest grill house, specialising in smoky shawarma meats and a fusion of Middle Eastern-Mediterranean cuisine – comfort food bliss. While busy every night of the week with Dalston dwellers, its strict no-booking policy means you won’t have to wait weeks for a table – perhaps just half an hour, but you can hole up at the cocktail bar while you wait. Believe us, it’s worth it.
Arch 338, Acton Mews, Haggerston, E8 4EA
This grungy ramen joint serves up sumptuous 20-hour bone broths, filled with deliciously decadent toppings. Look forward to the likes of succulent Tonkotsu pork belly, cock scratchings – that’s fried, crispy chicken crumbs – chashu pork and moreish chicken mince served alongside their signature noodles. Topped with an oozing, golden egg and all the chilli oil you can muster, this hearty Japanese classic is the perfect dish to warm up with this winter.
The brainchild of Street Feast stalwarts Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney, Breddos Tacos serves their faithful followers authentic Mexican cuisine alongside a collection of rare mezcals. The food is addictive – feast on Galician rib-eye with buttermilk onion rings, clam and sea urchin aguachile (Mexican-style ceviche), tostadas or kung pao pork belly with jalapeño – and though you can’t book a space round the large communal table at the Clerkenwell branch, they’ll take your number so you can head elsewhere for a cocktail whilst you wait. Alternatively, their newest Soho venue serves up a heady mix of tacos, tostadas and bounteous sharing plates, as well traditional tlayudas – moreish Mexican pizzas, which they make with a signature Breddos twist in their specially designed pizza oven.
Locations in Soho and Clerkenwell
From flavoursome spiced curries to succulent chargrilled meats, Dishoom’s sizzling Indian street food ticks every box on the comfort food check list. Delicious plates of chilli cheese toast, gunpowder potatoes and moreish lamb kebabs are served alongside biryanis, Ruby Murrays and fluffy handmade naans. Just. Yum.
A hidden gem serving up delicious Italian grub from the super cool setting of Peckham’s iconic Bussey Building. Head there on Wednesdays for ‘Awesome Sauce’ – £10 for a glass of booze and a bowl of pasta.
4.1, Copeland Park, 133 Copeland Road, Peckham SE15 3SN
Combining the best British seasonal ingredients with authentic Indian flavours, aromas and spices, Kricket is a casual approach to east-meets-west dining. Dishes are designed to be shared and change depending on the season, but you can expect to find Keralan fried chicken with curry leaf mayonnaise and pickled mouli; Duck breast with sesame, tamarind and pickled cucumber; and Karnatakan mussels during the winter months.
12 Denman Street, Soho, W1D 7HH
New York-style drinks and gourmet American grub are the essence of Dirty Bones’ cool Manhattan-style diner. Their self-labelled ‘filthy menu’ is full of naughty treats – think short rib hash served with potatoes, caramelised shallots and two fried eggs; grilled fish tacos with white cabbage slaw, pickled onions and chipotle aioli; and the mighty Mac Daddy, a crazy but genius combo of brisket and dry aged steak topped with pulled beef short rib, creamy mac and cheese and Dirty Bones’ BBQ sauce. Indulgently dirty, but oh-so-good.
Locations in Soho, Shoreditch and Kensington
Nothing beats a towering burger when you’re craving something comforting. And with classics on their menu like Filth Pie and Dead Hippie, you know exactly what to expect at Meat Liquor’s dive bar burger joint – filthy, junk food burgers (but delicious all the same). Tuck into their greasy, cheesy sliders with a side of deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese, washed down with one of their devilish cocktails.
Whilst you can book for lunch at Exmouth Market’s Morito – Moro’s cool little sister – dinner reservations are first-come, first-served, which almost always means you’re in for a wait. The food however, is a delight, and the atmosphere buzzing – so all in all, it’s well worth it. Tuck into wholesome plates of Spanish-style tapas – think patatas bravas; squid with crispy capers, lemon and za'atar; and spiced lamb with aubergine, pomegranate and pine nuts – classic cocktails and sumptuous sherries.
32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE
Everyone craves carbs when it’s cold, so for the ultimate pasta fix, opt for a delicious Italian pasta plate at Padella. One of our favourite Italian food joints, not least because the food is out-of-this-world delicious, you can tuck into plates of ravioli, gnocchi, spaghetti and more for as little as £5. They don’t take reservations, so be prepared to queue, but believe us, it’s well worth the wait.
6 Southwark Street, Borough, SE1 1TQ
Patty & Bun
Be prepared to queue for Patty & Bun’s legendary patties, but once you’re in, you’ll be there for the long haul. Whilst their laid-back, pop-up diner vibe is nothing particularly special – don’t expect ambience here, people – the sloppy meaty creations more than make up for it. These are some of the best burgers in London. Tuck into classics like their Ari Gold cheeseburger or their Greek-inspired Lambshank Redemption, served in a toasted brioche with buttermilk baby courgettes, pickled aubergine, cumin aioli and crumbly feta.
Various locations in London
One of our favourite pizza joints; if you’re looking for something quick and satisfying, you’ll be hard pushed to find anywhere better than Pizza Pilgrims. Served alongside zingy cocktails, the pizzas are soft and chewy, Neapolitan style, with thick bases and scattered with on-trend toppings – think ’nduja, salsiccia and smoked chilli jam mascarpone. The calzone with Napoli salami, ricotta and mushroom, topped with tomato, fior di latte and parmesan is utterly divine.
Famed for his legendary Harlem outpost, Marcus Samuelsson brings his American comfort food to British shores, setting up camp at The Curtain – Shoreditch’s coolest new members’ bar. As well as fried chicken – take note: this is fried chicken with a gourmet twist – there’s live music, DJ booths, and a separate taqueria on the ground floor.
45 Curtain Road, Shoreditch EC2A 3PT
The Good Egg
A popular brunch spot for hungry hipsters, come Saturday this Stoke Newington café is jam packed, with a queue snaking down the street. Luckily, there’s a new location in Soho so if the queue’s too long at venue A, there’s always a plan B. The food has a Middle Eastern edge, with colourful, flavoursome dishes including Iraqui aubergine pitta with egg, date jam and pickled cucumber; shakshuka baked eggs with tomatoes and peppers; homemade granola with house labneh and seasonal fruits; and Montreal smoked meat hash with pastrami, smoked short-rib, fried potatoes, zhoug, pickles and two fried eggs.
Locations in Stoke Newington and Soho
Not a particularly ambient setting, more of a canteen than a restaurant really, but the bowls of signature Korean bibimbap – that’s layered dishes of rice, spiced vegetables and succulent meat topped with a fried egg and baked in the oven until piping hot – are hearty, delicious and wonderfully filling.
Bibimbap, locations in Charlotte Street and Soho