If going ‘out out’ means that you’re about to say no thanks to keeping a weekly unit tally, and you absolutely will not be moving from the sofa the next day, then this guide is the food equivalent. Let a pie for two become a pie for one. Two courses become three. An aperitif and a nightcap, why not? Whether you’ve been training for a marathon, trying to cut carbs, or you just want two types of potato on a Tuesday night, these restaurants are perfect when you’re just thinking, fuck it.
At some point every week every person in London has a craving for pizza. Like, a specific, somewhat hangry, need to eat dough covered in tomato sauce and cheese craving. We get it. No really, we get it all the time. Monday to Sunday. Breakfast, lunch, second lunch, dinner, and second dinner. Here’s where Yard Sale comes in. Not only do they make enormous, UFO-like 18-inch pizzas with toppings like fennel sausage or garlic marinated aubergine, but they also have a few locations across town. And they make one of the best chocolate brownies around. That’s a tip for you right there.
If fried chicken and sour cocktails isn’t a mood that says ‘I’m living my life and you best believe I’m not looking at my bank balance for a week’, then we don’t know what is. Chick ’n Sours may just be the most perfect sod-everything-out-the-window restaurant in London. It’s got enormous sandwiches filled with crisp and moist thighs slathered in sriracha mayo. It’s got tenders, and slaw. And not one, not two, but, seven homemade dips. Oh and also a load of cocktails for under a tenner too.
Tayyabs is a raucous BYOB Punjabi curry house just off the Whitechapel Road. There’s no other way to do Tayyabs other than the correct way. That’s the way that involves a group of friends, plenty of jangling bags from the offie, and the reassuring sizzle and smell of plenty of portions of their famous lamb chops. Not to mention the obligatory poppadoms, lamb curries, chicken tikka garlic naans, saag paneer, seekh kebabs, and pakoras. Note how everything is plural.
Wtf. Wtf. What. The. Actual. Fuck. Don’t worry, you’re not dying. You’re just suffering from a severe case of the meat sweats after eating a juicy brisket bun, thick cut pork ribs, some more brisket, and a beef rib at Smokestak. That’s it, breathe. You’re fine. Now, order the sticky toffee pudding and prepare your chariot (a cab, we mean a cab) to pick you up from Shoreditch and take you directly to your sofa.
If you’re going to Gökyüzü and ordering politely, then not only are you doing it wrong, but we also can’t be friends. Sorry. That said, it is pretty hard to keep things minimal when you come here. You’ll get warm flatbread, cacik, and dressed salad almost the moment you sit down at this Green Lanes stalwart. And, to be honest, there’s no point stopping once you’ve started is there? We recommend skipping the mezze and going straight to the beyti and shish off the grill. Also, don’t forget the manti. Because a side of pasta-like dumplings is always a good move.
We’ve seen a lot of fantastic things at old school Bethnal Green caff, E. Pellicci. And only half of those things involve signed portraits of Eastenders’ cast members hugging the family that have run this place for decades. Another is witnessing said owners publicly shame our boss for not finishing his plate of food. We understand this, because the full English here is so big and packed with fried bread that it deserves a certain level of respect. And before you even ask, yes, you do need to follow-up with the bread pudding no matter what time of day you come by.
And the award for Restaurant That Sounds Most Like It Was Named By Lad Bible goes to… okay, but seriously Meatliquor W1 is a great place for a big meal. In fact, you can get involved in many of our favourite pastimes at this diner and bar, like dipping your cheeseburger in the spicy sauce for your fries, putting your fries inside your cheeseburger, and sipping on a somewhat lethal cocktail in between. This place also makes a mean must-order hot dog. And for a restaurant with ‘meat’ in its name, it also has a whole host of vegan options.
La Mia Mamma is the kind of restaurant you should go to hungry, or just don’t go at all. Seriously, if you’re at that shrug, could-eat-something-I-guess level of hunger then call it a day and take yourself home to an apathetic cup of soup, because this Chelsea family-feel restaurant is run by a group of Italian ‘mammas’ who will continue to spoon gnocchi onto your plate even when you beg them to stop. But that’s because they are wise and know the following to be true: why just have the best cacio e pepe in London, when you can have the best cacio e pepe and a banging tagliatelle? Order both. Then order more. Then let the mammas take care of the rest.
Few London restaurants quite fit throwing in the cards and letting loose like St. John. Life’s pleasures is pretty much the only thing that this legendary Clerkenwell restaurant deals in. Start at the bar - because that’s where all good things begin - with a glass of something strong and some gooey Welsh rarebit, or bone marrow on toast. Then, when your taste for absolutely everything has been suitably whetted, move to the dining room, a pie, and a plate of bread pudding with butterscotch sauce, and leave with no regrets.
You know what you want. You want a meal that begins with cheese, involves a whole lot of pasta, and ends with you having the kind of nap that would make Sleeping Beauty jealous. Throw in a few cocktails and that’s exactly what you’ll find at glitzy Italian trattoria, Circolo Popolare. This Fitzrovia spot can be a big old pain to get into, but waiting it out in a local bar is totally worth it for their XL pizzas, XXL whipped-cream-covered desserts, and a pecorino wheel carbonara that will cause your entire table to say something along the lines of “dear god, just look at it, I’ve honestly never been physically attracted to a pasta before, wow.”. Enjoy.
Yes, we do enjoy eating tandoori lamb chops, a lobster kati roll, and then following it up with a huge beef shin and bone marrow biriyani, thanks for asking. You’ll find all of the above and plenty of other excellent Indian dishes at the City’s Brigadiers. This big, sprawling restaurant is made up of several rooms, including a slick, broody pool room that’s perfect for having a lean whilst you let your four rounds of BBQ butter chicken settle in anticipation of some chocolate and coconut soft serve - and really the more you can try, the better.
Hey, remember that time you ate so much steak that you legitimately had a dream that a pack of hyenas asked you to be their leader? Just us? Well, anyway, it’s time for a repeat at steak spot Blacklock. This cool converted basement brothel - welcome to Soho - isn’t just perfect for a why-the-hell-not, heavy duty meal because they have a whole menu section entitled ‘big chops’, but because this place is surprisingly affordable. Every day of the week they have a great ‘all in’ deal where you get meaty bites, plenty of chops, and grilled flatbread for £20. Plus cocktails for a fiver. Also, you should know this place does one of the best roasts in town.
Sometimes, when you’ve given up caring and happily given into craving, all you want is cheese. And also bread. Cheese and bread. It’s what civilisations were built on, probably, and The Cheese Bar in Camden is where you should go when you just want that. Crisp, dripping grilled cheese sandwiches is what make this place, but a big old pot of fondue should also be a serious consideration.
If you like walking into a buzzing restaurant, sitting in a huge oxblood booth, casually snacking on oysters, ordering spare ribs, steak tartare, honey-fried chicken, and a cheeky bavette before going in on some all-day chicken waffles and a must-order prawn and chicken katsu burger, then mainlining three cocktails aptly entitled Payday, laughing maniacally, ordering a second round of pancakes with ice cream, downing a negroni, then having a nice tipsy sit-down at the cinema next door - well, then you’ll like Notting Hill’s Electric Diner.
Small plates? You laugh in the face of small plates. And anyone who has ever referred to a smoothie as lunch. You won’t find any of that feeble funny business going on at old school, legendary chippy The Golden Hind. This Marylebone spot has been serving the good people of London massive portions of fish and chips since 1914, and you can expect cheap and cheerful prices, a laid back feel, and a BYOB policy that you should definitely make the most of.