Where To Load Up On Carbs Before The London Marathon

Ben Norum
By Ben Norum Last edited 41 months ago
Where To Load Up On Carbs Before The London Marathon

Hawksmoor's steak sandwich

As the London Marathon approaches, it’s time for everyone who has been training hard to have a little fun and stock-up on carbs before the big day.

Carb-loading should begin three or four days before the run, and effectively involves increasing your intake of carbohydrates so that your body reaches its maximum glycogen level and you have as much energy as possible to run on by race day.

There are a few caveats — while carbs are good loads of fat isn’t, and it’s useful to pack in the nutrients too. With that in mind, we’ve put together a selection of the best places to cram in the carbs in London. Enjoy the more indulgent ones in moderation, along with some of the healthier options — and then come back after the race to do it properly.

Arancini at Lardo

The arancini at Hackney Central’s Lardo are ideal for a voracious post-training appetite — mainly because they’re as addictive as any illegal substance the world has to offer. Crisp-crusted, gooey within and stuffed with mozzarella and n’duja — sexy, spreadable sausage — we challenge anyone not to be won over. They’re a tad cheesy so go easy, but being primarily rice they’re suitably carb-tastic and not too unhealthy.
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Bao at Bao London

Street food favourite Bao London has recently opened up its first bricks and mortar spot In Soho, serving its signature Taiwanese fluffy steamed buns. Fill up on the bright-flavoured Asian sandwiches, stuffed with the likes of slow-cooked pork belly or miso-glazed mushrooms.

Burgers at Honest

London isn’t short of good burger joints, but the Honest Burger chain — which started out in Brixton Village and now has nine restaurants across town — is still one of the best. The team uses top-quality beef from Ginger Pig to craft patties that are meaty rather than greasy, and their rolls are homemade which makes them feel a little more wholesome than many. Top up your carb intake with a portion of rosemary-salted fries.
Find more of London’s best burgers

Chips at Sutton & Sons

Proper chippie chips are about as carbalicious as food can get. Tuck into piles of them at Stoke Newington and Shoreditch fish and chip shop Sutton & Sons, where there’s homemade tartare sauce, mushy peas, curry sauce and onion gravy on standby, along with buttered white bread to keep Northern souls happy. Owner Danny Sutton also has a fishmongers in the area, so you can rely on ultra-fresh fish too.
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Mash at Mother Mash

Spuds take centre stage at this Soho stodge spot where everything comes with mash. Choose from classic, cheesy, horseradish-laced or sweet potato versions then add one of five different types of gravy and your choice of sausage or pie. Cooking up so much mash on a daily basis clearly works, as the kitchen has it down to a fine art.
Read about the history of London’s pie and mash shops

Pizza at Homeslice

Carbs don’t get much more popular than pizza, and Covent Garden’s Homeslice offers some of London’s very best. They’re pretty good nutrition-wise, too: they aren’t at all greasy, there are varieties with little or no cheese, and the array of interesting toppings includes a fair bit of veg — try the butternut squash, blue cheese, watercress and crispy onion offering.
Find more of London’s best pizza restaurants

Steak sandwich at Hawksmoor

Sandwiches are the carb-loader’s friend, and if you want to go big then we’d direct you straight to Hawksmoor’s seven-year steak sandwich. It’s so-called because this is how long it took the team to come up with the perfect recipe, not because the beef has been aged to the extreme. It features slithers of medium-rare rib-eye steak along with watercress (healthy, you see) and Graceburn cream cheese, which is made in Brockley.

Turkish at Gökyüzü

This busy Turkish restaurant is the most popular of all Green Lane’s offerings — and deservedly so. Call in here pre-marathon and make the most of the complementary ever-replenished baskets of freshly-baked bread and dips, along with some protein-heavy skewers of meat. If you’re off the booze, try a glass of Turkish yoghurt drink ayran to wash it all down.
Find more of London’s best Turkish restaurants

Wild boar ragu at L’Anima Café

Pasta is the traditional friend of the runner, and the City’s L’Anima whips up some of the country’s best. Less formal sister site L’Anima Café opened next door last year, offering similarly great cooking in a more relaxed setting. Tuck into the deep-flavoured wild boar ragu, which is given added richness from wild mushrooms.
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Also see:

Unusual Things To Look Out For On The London Marathon Route

Last Updated 20 April 2015