“Gunpowder is always an excellent choice,” says Salt. “It’s a rather small restaurant just behind Spitalfields Market that showcases intense Indian flavors and home cooking.” Go for the grilled artichoke hearts in red pepper masala, the pickled zucchini in “gunpowder” spice, and tiger prawns with green peppercorn, kumquat, and summer tomatoes. If you're extra hungry, order the sea bass steamed in banana leaf.
“Simplicity is key here: Thai barbecue with proper Thai flavors not dulled down for Western palates.” Start with steamed oysters and a green papaya salad with heritage carrot and chili, then the slow-grilled guinea fowl with black vinegar or whole plaice with nam jim, a sweet and spicy dipping sauce.
Brat is a Basque-inspired restaurant that Salt enjoys for its lively setting: “Brat has a very cool open kitchen that’s almost inside the dining room—a square open pass with charcoal grills all around it. The wine list is also excellent.” Try the young leeks with fresh cheese, bitter leaf salad, and the famous grilled turbot (brat translates to 'turbot' in Old English).
“Som Saa is another authentic Thai restaurant with no-frills decor that manages to be hip. It’s a wonderful after-work joint for cocktails that goes into the night with DJs and live music.” Sample the gaeng juet het, a mild broth of mushrooms, young watermelon, and Thai basil and the grilled clams with green chili dipping sauce.
“I’ve been going to Royal China since I was a kid, and now I take my children. It’s the best dim sum in town,” says Salt. “The char siu pork buns, cheung fun (rice noodle rolls), and siu mai (steamed dumplings) are all very special.” There are several Royal China locations in London. Visit the award-winning Royal China Club in Marylebone for Cantonese fine dining, with dishes like steamed whole wild sea bass with ginger and stir-fried king prawns with tea leaves.
“Expect simple, creative Anglo-Italian fare at this outstanding wine bar. They have a crazy list full of young producers breaking all the traditional notions of winemaking—a match for the impressively creative cooking,” explains Salt. “The turbot on the bone is great, as well as the spatchcocked chicken."
“I really think this is the best tapas in London and is even more perfect for solo dining. Sit at the bar and watch the chefs go about their business. The croquetas are unreal, and so are the artichokes with cuttlefish black rice,” says Salt. “Barrafina also does an amazing feasting concept for large parties in the cellar where they serve a divine whole-roasted Iberico suckling pig—an indulgence for sure.”
“Nobuhisa and Yuko Takahashi, a husband-and-wife team, run the show in this tiny, modern restaurant with innovative small plates. You would never expect to find this caliber of Japanese cuisine in such a leafy residential area.” In addition to the selection of sushi and sashimi, try the seasonal dishes like scallop carpaccio with yuzu salsa, grilled king crab legs, and the tomato and avocado wasabi salad.