If you're ever in London, this is my top 10 places to eat. The countdown begins. I've also added a price bracket for those of us who still need to budget; one star (*) being cheap and five (*****) being pricey.
10. Muffinski. Location: Covent Garden. Speciality: frozen yogurt (the healthy alternative to ice cream) and out-of-this-world muffins. My favourite muffin is the savoury spinach-cherry tomato-ricotta cheese one. (**)
9. My Old Dutch. Location: Holborn. Speciality: giant pancakes. These 12-inch wide Dutch pancakes are a real treat and will fulfil both sweet and savoury expectations. From Oriental duck in hoisin sauce or smoked salmon or thai green curry to maple syrup or a fruit selection that will satisfy the regulated 5 portions a day, you will be spoilt for choice. (***)
8. Khan's. Location: Bayswater. Speciality: Asian food. My favourite dish at Khan's is their prawn briyani. (***)
7. Bertorelli. Various but can be found on Floral Street, Covent Garden. Italian restaurant. When they used to serve seafood tagliatelli, they ranked much higher in my personal opinion. But it could also be because I patron the place so often, the novelty has worn off. The food rarely fails to impress a first timer though and their pizzas are generously large. (**) if you have a Sante voucher and (****) if you do not.
6. Wagamama. Location: Various but includes Leicester Square, Moorgate, Covent Garden and Embankment. The closest thing to Japanese food in a non-Japanese restaurant. For starters, the portions are huge and you can get lost in the bowls. A very popular spot for meetings because of their seating plan which can accomodate anything from 2 to 20 people in a row, depending on when you go. It is always packed during lunchtime so expect to yell over your food. After many visits, one tends to settle comfortably for familiar dishes but I strongly recommend their duck gyoza. (***)
5. Haagen Dazs cafe. Location: Leicester Square. Self-explanatory really, unless you didn't know that Haagen Dazs is synonymous with ice cream. (***)
4. Cubana. Location: Waterloo. They serve the best passionfruit juice (fresh) I have ever had. Their selection of appetisers and platters are the must haves which include fist sized balls of beef, chicken foldovers, an array of local Cuban fritters and zingy garlic-lime sauce. (****)
3. Mongolian Barbeque. Location: Covent Garden. Really good Mongolian food which is cooked over an open grill on the spot for you to see. They have both ala carte and buffet options available. (****)
2. Sausage and Mash. Location: Bishopsgate. The name says it all. They have an assortment of sausages ranging from traditional to Cumberland to 'specials' such as duck and cherry and lamb and mint. The food is simple and simply amazing. Very little can compare favourably to a well cooked sausage and smooth mash. It's always busy so if more than 2 are going, I suggest you book seats! (***)
1. Alounak. Location: Bayswater. Iranian food. The one thing I always order when I go there is a platter for two which offers seared beef, chargrilled chicken and skewered lamb, amongst other things on this very meaty deal. Served with roasted onions and tomatoes and either naan bread cooked on the spot or rice. (*****)
Besides the above, I would also recommend Chez Gerard, Livebait (if you have a preference for fish), Nandos, TGI Friday, Yo Sushi, any Wetherspoons (pub food has its merits), Giraffe and Tinseltown (for 24/7 milkshakes). If you know of any amazing food spots in London which I have not mentioned, drop me a line. I eat most things except peas, brussel sprouts, lentils, asparaguses, bitter gourd and parsnips. I can be persuaded to the odd courgette.