A chef’s guide to food in London


As told to Rachel Truman

Skip to Navigation

September 2017

Acclaimed British chef Jason Atherton loves nothing better than a day spent exploring the capital’s many and varied culinary treats with his family. Here, he shares his favourite London foodie haunts.

Best for… breakfast

The Wolseley is always a lovely place to start off a day in London. The service is incredible and it’s got a fabulous interior and location on Regent’s Street. Order the haggis with fried duck eggs, a side of fresh fruit and an Americano with hot milk. At the weekend, my family and I will head to a little place called Milk in Balham for brunch. I’ll get the Convict – a homemade sausage patty in brioche with melted cheese, crispy bacon and a spicy tomato ketchup called hangover sauce. It’s just delicious.

Book flights to London

  • Jason Atherton had nine London restaurants including Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social © Nikki To.

    Chef Special

    Pop by Jason’s Hai Cenato in London Victoria for pizza happy hour every day from 16.00-19.00 and enjoy a sourdough pizza and a drink for just £9.

Best for… street food

Browsing Borough Market is one of the best ways to spend a weekend morning – shopping for great food and stopping off for something to eat midway. There’s such an international mix of produce and cuisine. I’ll get my meat from the Ginger Pig, cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy, and coffee from Monmouth. And Richard Haward’s on Stoney Street is an amazing seventh-generation oyster stand.

Smoking Goat is a fantastic Thai place that serves incredible spicy meats and seafood cooked on a wood barbecue – inexpensive and delicious.

Best for… a mid-shop pit stop

Selfridges has a fantastic little wine bar downstairs that’s perfect for a few snacks. It also has a great selection of wines by the glass. If you’re out and about in Soho, 10 Greek Street is a firm favourite too.

  • Experience a luxury stay or bite to eat at the The Wolseley, on London’s iconic Piccadilly © David Loftus.

    Breakfast of Champions

    Wander through nearby Burlington Arcade and see the world’s oldest, smallest police force, the Beadles.

  • Treat yourself to a helping of Bao’s steamed pork buns with spicy sauce © Carol Sachs.

    Spice of Life

    As well as a restaurant on Lexington Street, Soho, Bao also has eateries in Fitzrovia and Netil Market.

  • Stop by The Blind Pig to try its eclectic cocktail menu.

    Have a banana

    The Blind Pig opens Monday to Thursday (12.00-23.30) and Friday and Saturday (12.00-00.00) – try the Banana Sazerac, made with scotch, cognac, banana and bitters.

Best for… a budget

London has so many great places for a cheap eat these days. Try Bao on Lexington Street in Soho for a quick bite – the classic steamed pork bun with spicy sauce is really good. Also in Soho, Smoking Goat is a fantastic Thai place that serves incredible spicy meats and seafood (coal-roasted scallops, smoked lamb ribs and barbecued pork belly) cooked on a wood barbecue. It’s inexpensive and delicious.

Best for… the family

Scott’s is one of our favourite special restaurants as a family. The kids love getting dressed up to go there and putting on their best table manners. They adore the sole goujons and chips and the restaurant will make small portions of all dishes. They also love hanging out at Social Wine and Tapas too – they’ll go for the mini pork burgers, croquettas and the cured ham and truffle toastie. It’s perfect kid-sized food.

  • Stop by Scott’s in Mayfair for the best Scottish fish and seafood.

    Did You Know…?

    Originally opened as an oyster warehouse in 1851, Scott’s is one of the five oldest restaurants in London. Celebrity guests aplenty, it’s believed Bond author Ian Fleming discovered his martinis ‘shaken not stirred’ here.

Best for… cocktails

The American Bar at The Savoy is one of the best in the world. I’ll go there for a pre-dinner drink and my cocktail of choice is always a classic negroni – you can’t beat it. If I want something a little different, then the bar upstairs at the Social Eating House, the Blind Pig, is a little more creative and fun. I’d choose the Mr Frosty: a gin-based margarita slushy served in a Mr Frosty cup.

Best for… something special

My wife Irha and I love The Araki in Mayfair for its tasting menu. We’re big lovers of Japanese cuisine and Mitsuhiro Araki’s Edomae-style sushi is pretty special. There are only ten seats so it’s a very intimate venue.

Jason Atherton is a Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur whose establishments include Pollen Street Social, Berners Tavern, and Hai Cenato.