ES DINING SPECIAL: The restaurant dishes of 2022 in London

·2-min read
Penny licks at the Benham & Froud Jelladrome  (Rebecca Dickson )
Penny licks at the Benham & Froud Jelladrome (Rebecca Dickson )

With thousands of the capital’s resuarants at our fingertips, it can often be difficult to decipher what is worth spending one’s hard earned dollar on. But fear not, because we’ve hit the town with food photographer Rebecca Dickson to show you what’s what.

FOR STARTERS: Potato rösti, sour cream and Exmoor caviar at Caravel

Potato rösti, sour cream and Exmoor caviar at Caravel (Rebecca Dickson)
Potato rösti, sour cream and Exmoor caviar at Caravel (Rebecca Dickson)

Critics would call this a canapé, but we call it (and the other three we snaffled out of shot) the most heavenly starter. Perfectly proportioned to whet one’s appetite while on the floating restaurant, chef Lorcan Spiteri’s ode to the holy trinity — potato, sour cream and Exmoor caviar — is, frankly, a gift from the gods. The rösti is crisp on the outside and ever so soft in the centre, while the silky, tangy sour cream and luxuriously salty and mineral caviar help it slip down a treat. Drinks expert and co-patron Fin Spiteri says it’s best paired with a citrusy verdejo wine, to which we say: aye, aye, captain.

£6.50 each; 172 Shepherdess Walk, London N1; thestudiokitchen.co.uk

FOR MAINS: Arroz de Marisco at Lisboeta

Arroz de Marisco at Lisboeta (Rebecca Dickson)
Arroz de Marisco at Lisboeta (Rebecca Dickson)

This year, Nuno Mendes, otherwise known as the culinary wizard of Portugal, graced Charlotte Street with his ode to the country’s coastal capital. On the menu are plenty of brilliantly executed surprises, but for us, the real stand-out is this highly traditional and gloriously moreish, lightly spiced rice dotted with large glistening prawns — whose heads are served, prime for slurping, on the side. Depending on the day, you’ll find sweet and tender razor clams, too. Vai, vai!

£49 for two to share; 30 Charlotte St, London W1T; lisboeta.co.uk

FOR DESSERT: Penny licks at the Benham & Froud Jelladrome

Penny licks at the Benham & Froud Jelladrome (Rebecca Dickson)
Penny licks at the Benham & Froud Jelladrome (Rebecca Dickson)

Believe it or not, the puds on this page are illicit. Well, what they are served on are. Back in the 19th century ice cream was served by street vendors on a glass penny lick, from which passers by would slurp before returning the glass. Due to the spread of cholera they were soon banned but now, with the advent of (wait for it) the dishwasher, dessert design agency Bompas & Parr has sneakily brought them back at its debut spot in Tottenham Court Road’s Arcade food hall. Our favourite flavours? The supremely fruity strawberry with candied lemon zest, the vegan passion fruit sorbet with vanilla meringue and the vanilla cardamom with a fresh slice of strawberry. Oh, and the dark chocolate with sprinkles, duh.

£3 each; 03-105 New Oxford St, London WC1; bompasandparr.com; arcadefoodhall.com

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