When it’s cold and dark, what you really need is some warming, comfort food to put a smile back on your face. This is a selection of our current favourites, and we'd love to hear about yours in the comments.
Queso Fundido at The Cheese Truck
Melted cheese is a quick fix comfort, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In a sandwich, it can go cold quickly, but if there’s enough of it melted into a big ol’ pot, then Bob’s your cardiac consultant. The Cheese Truck founder Mathew said of the dish, “we use Queso Chihuahua and Brue Valley Mozzarella (made in Glastonbury) for our Queso Fundido. Then we add cooked chorizo and peppers with epazote and chipotle powder from Cool Chile. It's a real comfort food classic in Mexico — almost like a fondue, it's scooped up into corn tortillas then finished with a squeeze of fresh lime, the ideal dish to warm you up on a cold day in London."
Follow The Cheese Truck on Twitter to find out where to get this pick-me-up.
Pasta and wine at Forza Win
Forza Win continue to nail it at their south London venue in Peckham. We recently dropped in on a weekday evening to find the place heaving with people gathered around the two communal tables. On Wednesdays, they do something called Awesome Sauce, which is a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine for a tenner. Your cockles will be thoroughly warmed.
Forza Win, Unit 4.1, 133 Copeland Road, SE15 3SN. Price: £10 for a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine, menu changes weekly.
Dan Dan Noodles at Bar Shu
Chilli always does the trick and we love a bowl of dan dan noodles, a classic Sichuan dish from the streets of Chengdu. The noodles are surrounded by a chilli oil enhanced sauce, and topped with intense garnishes, such as minced meat and preserved vegetables. The bowl is mixed together by the diner and slurped, if not kerb-side, then preferably inside this excellent Sichuanese restaurant.
Bar Shu, 28 Frith Street, W1D 5LF. Price: £4.50.
Roti Canai, Roti King
Roti King is a twinkly gem set into the scabby backdrop of Euston. Roti canai is a Malaysian creation, a flaky flatbread made with oily dough, which is flung and swooshed overhead, then folded and crumpled until the structure is full of layers and folds. It’s cooked until toasty on the outside, then dunked into a thickly spiced sauce – heaven. It’s so good we rate it in our top three roti in London.
Roti King, 40 Doric Way, NW1 1LH. Price: £4-5.
Curry Goat Tsukemen at Nanban
We recently wrote of our love for this Brixton based Japanese pub/ramen bar. It’s a lesson in Japanese comfort food and although we love the mentaiko pasta with onsen egg more than we love some members of our families, the curry goat tsukemen has got to be up there as one of those dishes that can melt through the worst of chills. Let the egg noodles wobble their way to the bottom of the rich, goaty sauce and set your mouth buzzing with scotch bonnet pickles.
Nanban, 426 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF. Price: £9.50.
Middle Plate Chicken, Silk Road
An oldie but a goodie. The hand pulled noodles at Silk Road are quite the opposite of the sad examples we were served at Oodle Noodle recently. These huge steaming bowls of chicken in anise-scented broth come in two sizes – middle plate or big plate. They are both massive, and halfway through they will come to the table and slop in another portion of noodles. It also contains potatoes so you can tick the double-carbing box. Middle plate will feed four people easily.
Silk Road, 49 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR. Price: £9 (middle plate)
Sticky Toffee Pudding at Quo Vadis
Quo Vadis is almost a perfect restaurant in many ways and we’ve spent such happy times there, showing our appreciation for their ice cold martinis, ordering our favourite plate of bavette with pickled walnuts. One of the reasons that Quo Vadis is so brilliant is that the food looks as if it were casually thrown together but there’s actually huge attention to detail. The sticky toffee pud is no exception. This could be one of the best comfort food dishes in the whole of London — deep caramel flavours of sticky dates and a dense yet fluffy texture. Served with vanilla ice cream.
Quo Vadis, 26-29 Dean Street, W1D 3LL. Price: £9.50