Farewell to London, for now! (favourite lunch spots)

One of the reasons I’ve taken the plunge to finally start a blog is because… drumroll… I am leaving London to go travelling for six months! I am so excited – I will be spending time in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Tahiti, Easter Island, New Zealand, Australia and Vietnam. My bags are packed ready for my flight this Sunday, 3rd February.

In a way it’s a shame that I didn’t start the blog sooner because I have had some incredible and “bloggable” foodie experiences in the past year or two. London is a giant playground of new openings, pop-ups, and trends – I’m so grateful that I’m able to be in the middle of it all. I wish I could split in two so half of me could stay here and get involved with all the exciting things bound to happen on the London food scene while I’m away.

But naturally, I will be eating my way around the world and can’t wait to explore all sorts of new foods and trends which I will share here.

The weeks leading up to my departure have been an excellent excuse to bid farewell to my beloved city by re-visiting “old favourite” restaurants and finally going to others I’ve been keen to visit.

Leila eating

Me, stuffing my face.

So I thought I’d post about some of my everyday favourites as a tribute to my hometown.

Luckily, it’s rich pickings where I work in Shoreditch, east London and obviously my workmates and I have done plenty of exploration and research to find the best lunch spots:

Dishoom

The day Dishoom opened its East London outpost was a joyful one. As well as excellent lunches (faves include Murgh Malai roll and House Black Daal) I’m often there for post-work cocktails or breakfast meetings fuelled by bacon naan rolls and chocolate chai.

Pilpel

Don’t be scared of the queues – the Pilpel team are Olympic-level quick at assembling the impressive array of tasty, crunchy falafel, fresh salads, houmous, veggies and extras. I go for falafel in a container with all the salads, chilli sauce and brown pitta.

Pho

Once upon a time I used to handle the PR for Pho and it’s a credit to them that although I must have eaten there a hundred times, I still love it. Go for spicy Bun Bo Hue noodle soup, crunchy Goi Ga salad and pork spring rolls. 

Whitecross Street Market 

I love walking around this market and seeing what sights and smells draw me in. There are dozens of stalls serving all kinds of things – hotspots are Luardos for burritos, The Wild Game Co and Sunny’s Olive Tree salad bar.

Farmers’ market in Broadgate Circle 

Only around every other Thursday, don’t miss out! A place to pick up lunch as well as fresh farm groceries to take home.

Banh Mi 11 

The lovely Anh and her team have been rocking up at markets around London to sell their legendary feather-light banh mi baguettes. Their first shop on Great Eastern St is awesome – some of the best Vietnamese summer rolls, banh mi, pho, salads and juices around. And they’re dog-friendly which is great news for Flossy the office pug!

Chilango

Again I must declare that in a former life I used to work with the Chilango guys on their PR, during which time I ate pretty much all of London’s burrito offerings in the name of research. I maintain that a Chilango burrito is pretty perfect and their latest shop is a welcome addition to Spitalfields. Poncho No 8 around the corner is good too.

Brick Lane Beigel Shop

Some people may prefer an American-style toasted bagel but for many, a sweet, chewy beigel filled with smoked salmon & cream cheese or hot salt beef, mustard and gherkin hits the spot.

Big Apple Hot Dogs

 Abe and his dogs are stuff of street food legend. A “Big Frank” with onions caramelised in thyme, yes please!

Orange Buffalo

New York style fried buffalo wings from happy chickens served with wicked hot sauces and beautiful blue cheese dip. Owner Mike is lovely too!

Poppies

 Sometimes only fish & chips will do. This place is hard to beat.

Verde & Company

For the literary types among you, this gem is owned by author Jeanette Winterson (it’s a bit of an in-joke that the display almost always includes oranges). Serves salads and sandwiches made with artisan ingredients.

What are your favourite places for lunch in London? What would you miss if you were off travelling? Any foodie and/or travel tips for me before I jet off??

Comments appreciated — thanks!

(NB: I originally wrote a version of this blog post to appear on the website of my employers Palm PR)

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4 responses to “Farewell to London, for now! (favourite lunch spots)

  1. For the record, I learned to love those Brick Lane Beigels!! Safe travels. Have the best time. xx

  2. All the best on your travels LD. Look forward to reading about your adventures. See you when you get back. Darren x

  3. Looking forward to reading about your experiences, food or otherwise. Xx mum

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