Sweetcorn. It has not always been the most loved ingredient. Many of us only encountered it in our youths if it was delivered by the Jolly Green Giant or sprinkled on the kind of pizza that’s designed to make a Neapolitan cry. But as London's food scene becomes ever more diverse, many of us are discovering that there is more to the humble cereal than meets the eye. Try these delicious dishes and you may find that you too are a corn addict.
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BAO Fitzrovia — XO Sweetcorn with beef butter
The popular purveyors of Taiwanese steamed buns have created their own contender for London’s sweetcorn crown. Much loved by London's army of Instagram foodies, the beef butter packs a smoky, umami hit that perfectly balances the chargrilled kernels’ natural sweetness. The light buttery covering is complemented by the moreish XO sauce and the gentle heat of the chili. A must try.
BAO Fitzrovia, 31 Windmill Street, W1T 2JN.
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When brekkie doesn’t get much better😋 This cornbread with fried egg, black bean salsa, tomatillo, feta and chipotle mayonnaise was something else! I added a side of avocado which helped with the kick.. Couldn’t recommend this dish more @caravanrestaurants #london #caravan #breakfast #weekend #delicious #lovelondon
Caravan, King's Cross — fried cornbread
Beloved of London’s brunchers, Caravan was one of the first restaurants in the capital to attract attention for its use of sweetcorn. Its jalapeno cornbread has long been famed, and this creative play on the brunch classic of eggs on toast has also won numerous admirers. The cornbread is topped with a black bean salsa, chipotle mayonnaise and a fried egg to create the perfect morning indulgence, particularly if you overindulged the night before.
Caravan, branches in Bankside, King's Cross and Fitzrovia.
Lima, Fitzrovia — vegetarian corn ceviche
The booming popularity of Peruvian food played a big part in London’s corn revolution, so it’s no surprise to see the city’s first Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant getting in on the act. Lima has recently ditched its à la carte menu in favour of sharing plates, and this dish is one of its most popular. The ceviche uses different textures of corn to create a memorable twist on the Peruvian classic.
Lima, 31 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JH.
El Pastor, London Bridge — chayote tacos
El Pastor is the reigning monarch of London’s taco scene, and this is one of our favourites. The dish is a visual delight, being served with the restaurant’s famous blue corn tortillas. It combines sweetcorn, refried beans, queso fresco and chayote — a pear-shaped fruit popular in Latin American cuisine. The flavours and textures are perfectly balanced, and the sweetcorn is the star of the show.
El Pastor, 7 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA.
Chotto Matte, Soho — maize huancaina
This stylish restaurant brings London the best of Nikkei cuisine, or Japanese-Peruvian fusion to the uninitiated. As you might expect, Chotto Matte specialises in eye-catching dishes based on the freshest ingredients and raw fish features heavily on the menu. The maize huancaina offers something a little different but equally special. Grilled corn comes zinging with yellow chilli and rich with huancaina — a spicy queso fresco sauce.
Chotto Matte, 11-13 Frith Street, W1D 4RB.
Smokestak, Shoreditch — corn cob with miso butter and crispy shallots
A list of London’s best sweetcorn dishes without the humble corn on the cob would be an odd list indeed. Barbecue king Smokestak’s version is anything but humble, however. The restaurant’s dedication to meaty authenticity is legendary, but this dish showcases the kitchen’s ability to innovate. Here the sweet, charred corn is luxuriously slathered with a miso butter that is heaven sent. Try this once and you will forsake all other cobs.
Smokestak, 35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB.
Lantana, Fitzrovia — corn fritters
This popular Australian-inspired café is a stalwart of the London brunch scene. Alongside the usual suspects sits this contender for the capital’s best breakfast. The fluffy, crisp fritters are served with streaky bacon, spinach, roast tomato, smashed avocado and lemon crème fraiche. The optional extra of Lantana’s signature chilli jam is a must have.
Lantana, branches in Fitzrovia, Shoreditch and London Bridge.
Mama’s Jerk, Brixton — biriyardi
You might not have known that you need Indian-inspired Jamaican cooking in your life until now, but trust us — you do. Mama’s Jerk has long been a hit on the London street food scene and is now permanently established at Pop Brixton, where this play on the Indian classic is one of its most loved dishes. The biriyardi mixes rice and peas with plantain and is served with jerk chicken, sweet potato cakes or saltfish cakes. But it’s the sweet hit of the corn that makes this a plate to remember.
Mama's Jerk, Pop Brixton, Brixton Station Road, SW9 8PQ.