World Food

Ornate gateway on Gerrard Street, Chinatown
Ornate gateway on Gerrard Street, Chinatown

As befits the former capital of the world’s largest empire, London’s food scene has an overwhelmingly cosmopolitan slant, the legacy of the waves of immigrants who have settled in the city over the past century. Right in the middle of the West End lies Chinatown, one of London’s most popular dining destinations.

Although the area has a reputation for lame Anglo-Cantonese food and notoriously rude service, this notion has now been partly dispelled by a new generation of restaurants, such as the Baozi Inn, which specializes in Beijing- and Sichuan-style street food, and fragrantly spiced handmade noodles – all at bargain prices.

The most famous ethnic area is the Bengali enclave of Brick Lane, just east of the City of London, the capital’s financial hub. The district is home to innumerable curry houses, though you’ll find better Indian food in Southall, in the far west of London.

Madhu’s, famous for its unusual Kenyan-influenced cooking, is a good bet. For all things Turkish and Greek, head northeast to Stoke Newington and Haringey. They boast almost as much ethnic color as Brick Lane, but with none of the tourists, along with an outstanding selection of places to eat, such as the popular 19 Numara Bos Cirrik, which has built up a cult following for its superb mezes and grills.

Most of the city’s Arab community lives in the area to the west of the city center, particularly in and around Queensway and Edgware Road where you’ll find an abundance of Lebanese eateries. The classy Al Waha claims, with some justification, to dish up the juiciest shwarma in town.

Practical Information

19 Numara Bos Cirrik 34 Stoke Newington Road, Dalston;

Al Waha Notting Hill;

Baozi Inn 25 Newport Court, Chinatown;

Madhu’s Southall

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