Working in certain areas does give one a better picture of the food on offer, you end up knowing all the best places off the beaten track and when to go to avoid the queue. I work in Noho (North of Soho or Not Soho as I call it) and have a vast choice of places. I still get bored and bring in my own lunch.
Harry M’s – a great Jewish deli used to be in Market Place up till few days ago when they decided to move without a warning, they are moving to another bigger W1 location but failed to inform us where. It’s a real downer. It’s the only place I know of that sells proper chicken soup, you get it clear, with carrots chicken and noodles or with all the mentioned plus plain or beef dumplings – kneidlach and kreplach. Other specialties are hot slat beef with pickles on rye, tongue or chopped liver sandwiches. They also make a killer jacket potatoe with tuna sweetcorn with melted cheese lava on top, with a side of pickles this is my trusted hangover cure. It also will make you fall asleep in the afternoon. It’s not the cheapest but definitely a winner when it comes to delicious grab. Harry M’s also have shops in Harrods, Fenwick and in St John’s Wood. Eat in and take away.
Reynolds – a small shop in Eastcastle Street that sells mini sandwiches, small salads and delish soups. The also have the Borough Market chocolate brownies which are to die for as much as one square can make you feel sick. Good value for money. Take away only however they have a couple of tables on the pavement.
Abokado – based in Newman Street, it’s a sushi take away. I do like proper sushi however this one is a good option for sushi on the go, definitely beats Itsu. They also do noodle soups. Eat in and take away.
Skandinavian Kitchen – as the name suggests it’s a Skandinavian deli with a selections of fab open sandwiches on rye bread, good potato salad and the best beetroot salad I have had for ages. They also act as a shop of skandinavian specialties – good choice of Wasa bread and pickled herring. See my smorrebrod here. You will find Skandi Kitchen in Great Titchfield Street. Eat in and take away.
Back to Basics – a bit more expensive restaurant, specializes in fish which is delivered fresh daily and the menu varies depending what the good fishermen caught. More about it here. Located in Folley Street which is just off Great Titchfield Street. The staff can be slow and moody but the food is heavenly. Eat in only but have lots of tables outside.
Goodge Street Market – this is a small area off Goodge Street, in Goodge Place, which gets busy at lunchtime with stalls selling all kind of cuisine. My favorite is the Mediterranean stand where a mix of salads costs a mere £4. The box is stuffed full of couscous, potato and bean salads, olives, dolmades, sun dried tomatoes, pickled peppers and humus. This comes with a generous helping of Turkish bread. All very healthy and tasty. Having said that this is my favorite stall don’t take my word as a gospel, I actually haven’t tried any of the other foods on offer as this one looks so nice and fresh, and you gotta love the couple who runs it – smile on their faces at all times and they will adjust the salad to any requirements. Take away or eat in on a street curb.
Squat and Gobble – on the corner of Tottenham Street and Charlotte Street you will find a fantastic eatery that serves good grab: salads, jacket potatoes, pies, steaks, cakes and the only thing I ever order which is fish cakes. Oh, those fantastic fishcakes that come with tartare sauce and a mountain of different salads. Another thing that I mean to order but it’s a special and I seem to miss every time it is a veg crumble. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Take away and eat in, tables also outside. Tip: if the place is full and you need to eat in have a look round the corner, they have additional small place in Tottenham Street.
Nanni’s – Italian deli in Eastcastle Street, I would skip the usual sandwiches, potatoes et al but they make good pasta cooked in front of you. As much as they have a daily pasta menu you can adjust the sauce. The chef does get things wrong sometimes so watch him with an eagle eye. On a cold day I used to order the shephard’s pie which is very tasty but I don’t eat meat anymore. Eat in and take away, the place looks crap so I would only take away.
Fino’s – tasty tapas in Charlotte Street, bit expensive but very good. Eat in.
Roka – good Japanese restaurant, also in Charlotte Street, eat in.
Charlotte Street Hotel – great for a nice glass of champagne, tables outside in the summer and seats by the fire in the winter.
There will be more but it’s yet to be discovered.
Part two will take us to Soho.