In the country that brought the world fish and chips, roast lamb with mint sauce, and Christmas pudding, you may be forgiven for believing it’s not possible to eat tasty food that’s low on cholesterol and high in style. Try Zuma in Raphael Street, Knightsbridge. Designed by Noriyoshi Muramatu, the ‘Tokyo-styled’ restaurant offers a variety of traditional Izakaya and contemporary Japanese cuisine. You can decide between marinated and cedar-wood roasted chicken on barley miso, or a classic lobster tempura with spicy Panzu sauce and a variaty of exotic Sushi and Sashimi.
For lunch we recommend either the busy main dining area or the minimalist Japanese-designed Sushi-bar; for which a reservation isn’t needed. For a discrete business lunch you can choose between the Chef’s Table, with a view on the Sake Bar, or one of the two private rooms with Kotatsu tables. An alternative is another restaurant in the ‘Zuma family’ that’s Roka, in Charlotte Street, just north of Oxford Street.
Not far from Zuma, in Beauchamp Place, is San Lorenzo where people-watching the rich and famous while enjoying a dish of pasta might quickly become a hobby. At first sight the facade doesn’t seem promising - and you can’t find out whether Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant are sharing a salad, or Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin enjoying a lasagne unless you go in. The food itself is classic Italian – insalata mista, different pasta and pizza, to pannacotta and tiramisu for pudding. In San Lorenzo the atmosphere is great, loud and absolutely packed - just as one might imagine the perfect Italian lunch in London - but be careful, without a reservation; no chance!
Smiths of Smithfield
At Smiths of Smithfield meat-eaters will discover a small paradise, while vegetarians and skinny fashion-models might find the overflowing platters on massive oak tables too much. At “SOS” you get the best crunchy belly of pork with mash and green sauce, the juiciest burger with Old Spot (a traditional breed of English pig) bacon and cheese, and the best 280gms Welsh black rib steak with chips, mayonnaise and mustard that money can afford in London. If you’ve already had a big breakfast, the Spicy Duck Salad with Papaya and Thai spices, or one of the other light Daily Lunch Market Specials might be a good alternative.
Text: Jan Baedeker
Photos: Benjamin Knapp Voith / Classic Driver
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