With the Alsace-Lorraine roots of the original Parisian brasseries in mind, Bellanger is a classic Grand Cafe-Brasserie on Islington Green by Corbin & King. The restaurateurs behind The Wolseley, widely considered to be London's first Grand Cafe, have put Lee Ward, previously head chef of Rhubarb for nine years prior to the opening of The Delaunay, as head chef. He cooks up a brasserie menu of choucroute, baeckoffe and tartes flambees, soups, salads, seafood, plats du jour and sharing dishes with food available from early breakfast through to late dinner. Wine is mainly French, with a focus on North Eastern France and the border region with Germany. Dark and blonde Alsace-Lorraine beers are served on tap in the bar and restaurant where wood panelling, bevelled mirrors and chandeliers are a foil for blue banquettes and rush-backed seating. The design of the 195-cover, three-room restaurant, which has seating for 24 on the terrace, is by Shayne Brady, who also worked on Fischer's, The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and Colbert under David Collins.
Bib Gourmand Restaurants in North London
A classic grand cafe-brasserie by Corbin & King.
9 Islington Green, London, N1 2XH
Tube: Angel Station
A quality gastropub with fresh, in-season ingredients.
44 Barnsbury Street, Islington, London, N1 1ER
Ben Maschler (son of Evening Standard food critic Fay) and Nick Gibson have taken over The Drapers Arms in Islington and improved on what was already a very good gastropub. Bringing years of experience at Soho House and Geronimo Inns, Ben has appointed Karl Goward - previously head chef at St John - as head of the kitchen giving the menu a 'nose-to-tail' bias with mains made using offal and off-cuts. The interior is lighter than previously, making better use of the high ceilings and sense of space as well as the wonderful garden out back. There's a choice between eating in the pub downstairs or upstairs in the more formal (though sparsely decorated) dining room, but everything is prepared from fresh, in-season ingredients. Traditional British fare cooked perfectly and priced reasonably - pub experiences don't get much better than this. The Drapers Arms also benefits from its staff, who are obviously a happy bunch, friendly, efficient and they really know their stuff. The wine list is good, the garden gorgeous and the Bloody Marys marvellous.
A bistro from Raymond Blanc protege, Bruno Loubet.
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, King's Cross, London, N1C 4AA
Tube: King's Cross Station
The tarted-up Granary Square in King's Cross is now home to the Grain Store, a new bistro from Raymond Blanc's favourite protege Bruno Loubet, who has made a name for himself with his unpretentious French provincial cooking. This is the second London restaurant from Loubet who already runs his own name restaurant at the stylish Zetter Hotel in Clerkenwell but the new venture is a more informal affair than Bistrot Bruno Loubet. The King's Cross area next to the Regent's Canal underwent a complete redevelopment with the arrival of St Martin's College of Art & Design and the Grain Store isn't the only high profile restaurant to open on Granary Square, it joins the very popular Caravan. Designed by Russell Sage - who was also behind Bistro Bruno Loubet and the Zetter Townhouse - the restaurant seats 80, with 40 seats in the bar and a massive 100 seats available outside overlooking Granary Square.
A minimalist restaurant with impressive food.
43 Parkway, Camden Town, London, NW1 7PN
Market in Camden isn't at Camden Market nor is it actually a market at all. Just to clear up any confusion, it's a restaurant on Parkway and a jolly good one at that. Chef Dan Spence, ex Medcalf in Exmouth Market and a graduate of Leith's, co-owns the place with the very professional meeter and greeter Denise Tang. Together they've given Camden a new destination restaurant. Setting the tone are the bare brick walls, zinc topped tables, blackboards and wooden chairs like we had at school. When the decor is this functional and unfussy it's saying 'let the food do the impressing'. And it does - impress that is. No self-respecting restaurant in London is without pig's cheek these days but here they do an excellent job of it, on a par with St John - the original and thereby the yardstick with which such things are measured. The enticing menu continues with faggots and mushy peas, devilled kidneys on toast, whole sea bass and fresh greens, all responsibly sourced and in season. So it's off to Market, perhaps not to buy a pig, but certainly to enjoy parts of the pig that have been slowly cooked to perfection.
A one-of-a-kind neighbourhood restaurant.
116 Petherton Road, London, N5 2RT
Tube: Arsenal Station
Housed in a former garage in a pretty Islington square, Primeur is a one-of-a-kind neighbourhood restaurant. With a strikingly simple website and a daily, handwritten menu on Instagram, it really is all about the food and you need to visit to see what it's all about. Recipient of a Bib Gourmand 2017, the open plan restaurant only has 40 covers, many of which are on a long communal table, and just 11 dishes on the menu, plus one dessert. Feast on the likes of nduja on toast, pork terrine, tomato gazpacho and chocolate mousse with peanut caramel.
A traditional French brasserie serving food all day.
17 High Street, Wanstead, London, E11 2AA
Tube: Snaresbrook Station
Recipient of a Bib Gourmand award, Provender is an all-day informal bistro that serves well-sourced French food and wine. Choose from a two or three course prix fixe menu, with options such as truffled artichoke and mushroom risotto; flat iron steak with triple cooked fries and pepper sauce; and roast confit of chicken with braised red cabbage and puy lentils. Traditional French desserts like crème caramel and chocolate tart make for a pleasing conclusion and the wines are very well priced.
A homely neighbourhood Italian.
300-302 St Paul's Road, London, N1 2LH
A superb addition to the Islington eating scene is Trullo, a homely neighbourhood Italian in Highbury in the mould of the River Café (but thankfully not replicating its grossly inflated prices), serving simple, authentic and delicious dishes made with excellent produce. The man behind Trullo is Jordan Frieda - son of pop legend Lulu and hairdressing god John Frieda - who himself used to be front of house at The River Cafe. Head chef Tim Siadatan is one of the original recruits to Jamie Oliver's Fifteen project, going on to graduate from there to St John and Moro. His short, appealing and ever-changing menu does not disappoint - and a £10-cap on wine mark up means you won't break the bank if you want a bottle of Italian wine to accompany your meal. Critics have been universally impressed, with The Observer's Jay Rayner claiming: "Great food, expertly cooked and served by friendly waiting staff... There's no secret to Trullo's success."
This traditional restaurant champions the food of China's Hunan province.
70-72 Liverpool Road, London, N1 0QD
Tube: Angel Station
Championing the food of China's Hunan province and neighbouring Sichuan, Yipin China offers Londoners a taste of authentic China. Dishes are rich, unique and intensely spicy, made with chilli-based flavours and specific regional curing and smoking techniques. The restaurant is also committed to serving nutritious, sumptuous food that contains no additives. Options include dry-wok chicken, red-braised pork, sea bass with chopped salted fresh chillies, and Mandarin spare ribs and stewed beef brisket in five spiced sauce.
IN THIS ARTICLE
Bib Gourmand Restaurants in London
Best London Cafes
Healthy Eating in London
Afternoon Tea in London
Best Vegetarian Restaurants in London
Best Pre-Theatre Dining in London
Bottomless Brunch in London
Celebrity Chefs in London
Best Gastropubs in London
Best Sunday Lunch in London
Top London Restaurants
LondonTown's Favourite Restaurants
Romantic Restaurants in London
Best British Restaurants in London
- Bib Gourmand Restaurants in London
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