The delicious, doorstep-sized sarnies at Sons + Daughters are worthy of Joey Tribiani
Words Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine
As the leaves drop and the nights draw in, holing up in a great restaurant for the evening appeals more than ever. Whether you fancy sour plum braised duck at Wun’s Tea Room and Bar on Greek Street or Tuscan pasta in Brixton, here’s an assortment of inviting new openings where you can plate up, tuck in and hunker down.
With its glittering disco ball, burnt orange brushed silk wallpaper, seductive artwork and palm trees, Martha’s brings retro American glamour to Soho. The menu is full of Stateside classics, too, with a selection of steaks, mac ‘n’ cheese, oysters, shrimp cocktail and fried chicken in a lip-smacking honey truffle sauce. Vegans fear not, there are options for your delectation too, such as the primavera pasta dish and burger. Drinks reflect the upscale mood of the surroundings, like the indulgent ‘Lady of the Night’, a combination of raspberry gin jam, plum liqueur and egg white. Plus, there’s live jazz and drag performances to keep you entertained into the wee hours.
Wun’s Tea Room and Bar
Bringing Cantonese cooking to the corner of Greek Street in Soho, Wun’s Tea Room and Bar transports diners to a Hong Kong of days gone by, with moody velvet banquettes, neon lights and an old music cabinet. The menu takes inspiration from dishes that punctuated owner Z’s childhood, and the sugar skin Iberico char siu is not to be missed – pork with a rich, marble layer of fat crisped to perfection, laced with sugar and Cantonese spices. Another standout is the sour plum braised duck, a secret recipe from Z’s Grandmother, served in syrupy, sharp-sweet sauce. The drinks, listed on newspaper, include rice wines made by the Wun’s team themselves, classic cocktails, or – if you need a bit of warmth before stepping out into the cold night air – a selection of whiskies.
Kurdish restaurant Nandine finds its home in Camberwell. Drawing on the food bazaars and café culture of the Middle East, the food is as full of energy and excitement as the restaurant itself. Sit beneath the rattan lampshades and order a mezze – meat, vegan or veggie – which include delights such as lentil falafels, tamarind meatballs, and stuffed rice cake with mince and baharat, an aromatic spice. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention their fries, cut thinly Julienne-style, and rolled in a Kurdish mix of pink yoghurt sauce, pomegranate and herbs. Finish with owner Pary’s baklava, a rich treat of the finest filo pastry, generous amounts of pistachio stuffing, all glazed with sweet honey syrup.
The Grand Duchess
The Grand Duchess serves superior seafood at their floating restaurant, but never fear, you won’t feel seasick, as the boat is firmly moored on the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal. The interior is nautical without being clichéd, light and airy, with maritime accents like porthole windows and industrial lights. The menu focuses on the freshest British fish from independent fisherman predominantly in Cornwall, and every dish is a sensation. From the starters, the clams, nduja and Somerset cider impressed, while the chalk street trout makes an exceptional main, served with puy lentils, hispi cabbage (a sweeter variety known as the sweetheart cabbage) and a salsa verde. The wine list doffs its hat to sparkling wines chosen to complement the food. We recommend the Cremant d’Alsace, a vin mousseux that’s similar to champagne, without the price tag. A barge of divine sea-sourced surprises.
Sons + Daughters
At Sons + Daughters, the raison d’être is sandwiches. Artisan sandwiches to be precise, brought to you by the boys behind Pidgin in Hackney. Nestled in Kings Cross’ Coal Drops Yard (fast becoming London’s top food destination), the sarnies are served against an industrial-chic backdrop, with navy bar stools and monochrome floor tiles. Generous, indulgent and delicious, the menu features favourites like the Tenderstem S + Dwich, a baguette filled with spiced coconut, mushroom pickle, tenderstem broccoli, and acai and cashew cream, and the Mortadella S + Dwich, a focaccia piled high with taleggio cheese, smoked Isle of Wight tomato, mortadella ham, Thai basil and cider vinaigrette. As for the drinks, the cocktail list is short and sweet – wash down your lunch with a refreshing Peach Tea Julep or the Pineapple and Thai Basil Mojito.
Sophie Jean-Louis Constantine
Sophie is a freelance fashion, lifestyle and travel writer. An alumna of the University of Manchester, where she earned a BA in English Literature, Sophie went on to work at Conde Nast Traveller. She is a fervent North Londoner and happiest curled up with a book.