Us Londoners are proud of our drinking and dining options. We can lay claim to some of the best restaurants in the country, and the best cocktail bars. Now, we’re holding steady on the international front with three restaurants in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Michelin-starred Mexican eatery, Kol, came smashing into the list at number 23. Meanwhile, Ikoyi’s fine-dining Nigerian food with a twist landed the restaurant in the 35th spot. The Clove Club rounded out London’s inclusions, coming in at 38th in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Topping the list was Lima’s Central restaurant, with Disfrutar from Barcelona and Diverxo from Madrid rounding out the top three.
With a list encompassing 35 cities and towns, and 24 countries, London was one of only nine cities with multiple inclusions. By country, Spain and Italy dominated the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, with 6 and 5 inclusions respectively. Peru and France trailed just behind, with four restaurants from each country making the list. Meanwhile, by city Lima was most represented, with four entrants on the list. Mexico City, Paris, Tokyo, and London also did particularly well, with three restaurants from each city making the list.
Kol, Marble Arch (#23)
Minutes away from Marble Arch tube station is a restaurant that is redefining Mexican food for Londoners. Taking the cuisine away from merely being a burrito-stuffer or taco-filler, Kol highlights the breadth, width, and possibility of Mexican cuisine.
Kol focuses on the best of British ingredients, making use of what is nearby, seasonal, and (obviously) super fresh. They imbue it with “Mexican soul”. Arguably their most famous dish is the ‘Pulpo‘ – octopus that is grilled on a BBQ in lamb fat and served with tortillas, bone marrow, and a peanut-seaweed sauce. When you visit, be sure not to miss The Mezcaleria, Kol’s secret cocktail bar that serves up Mexican spirits and street food. Head on downstairs from the restaurant to try it out.
Ikoyi, St James’s (#35)
Ikoyi is hidden away on a neighbourhood corner in St James’s, but it’s well worth seeking out. Their menu is spice-based and leans on micro-seasonal ingredients: all ingredients are served at the peak of their flavour. They also draw from the cooking traditions and ingredients of sub-Saharan West Africa. Easily their signature dish is their smoked jollof rice, which is almost always on the menu in some guise.
While the full evening tasting menu costs in the realm of £300 per person, they do also offer up a relatively affordable lunch menu for just £180 on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s cheap by comparison, perhaps, but definitely still a splurge!
The Clove Club, Shoreditch (#38)
A frequent inclusion on the list, London gourmands will no doubt be very familiar with The Clove Club. Maybe it’s on your ever-growing list of places to try out in London, or maybe you’ve already been and never forgotten about it. Or maybe you’re lucky enough to be able to regularly eat there – in which case we are incredibly jealous.
The Clove Club is housed in Grade II-listed Shoreditch Town Hall. They’ve perfected the classic, laid-back East London vibe, matched by casual, but not at all inattentive, service. They serve a constantly evolving tasting menu of 8 dishes for £195, or a shorter tasting menu of 6 dishes for £155. Both menus also offer wine pairings at an additional cost. With a focus on modern British food, and seasonal produce, you might not know what’s on offer until you arrive, but you’ll be in very, very good hands.
Read the full list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants here.