The London Restaurant Side Dishes That Became Cult Classics

Helen Graves
By Helen Graves Last edited 21 months ago
The London Restaurant Side Dishes That Became Cult Classics

Here, we put the mains to one side, and focus on London's best, er, sides.

The famous confit potatoes at Quality Chop House.

The beetroot borani at Morito

Morito now has two branches, and you'll find this dish on the menu at the original Exmouth Market site. It's a dip, essentially, but to call it that seems to do it an injustice. Its success depends on the quality of ingredients as it's really just blended cooked beetroot, yoghurt and lots of excellent olive oil. Garnished with feta, walnuts and dill, it looks rather lovely too. Can't get to Morito? The recipe is in their cookery book.

Morito, 32 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE

The glorious purple beet borani at Morito.

The Sichuan aubergine at Chick 'n' Sours

You'd be forgiven for thinking that people go to Chick 'n' Sours to eat fried chicken, and they do. But they also go to eat aubergine. The aubergine can be a tricky vegetable to deal with — it's sensitive, meaning that if you treat it badly, you will know. Think squeaky chunks in a sad ratatouille. Be kind to it, however, and the aubergine will reward accordingly: here it is silky soft inside its battered coating, rich yet perked up by a dressing that whizzes and pops in the mouth with chilli, fish sauce and herbs.

Chick n Sours, see website for locations.

The Szechuan aubergine at Chick n Sours.

The confit potatoes at Quality Chop House

These potatoes are London menu royalty and a must order at this best of British King's Cross restaurant. We love to order langoustines here, or some perfectly cooked meat, butchered in their own shop next door, but we always order the confit potatoes. They're incredibly labour intensive for the kitchen to produce during service, apparently, but they daren't stop serving them. There would be uproar.

Quality Chop House, 88-94 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3EA

The bone marrow mash at Pitt Cue

When Pitt Cue first launched, Instagram was awash with photos of perfectly piped mash and gravy. Hardly the most photogenic of foodstuffs, PQ did very well to make it look so good. Its perfect Mr Whippy formation is topped with a dot of whipped bone marrow and covered in a 'mother sauce' which is almost obscene in its meaty depth.

Pitt Cue, 1 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YP

A photo posted by ian sargent (@iansargent) on

The house black daal at Dishoom

Also known as daal makhani this rich lentil stew has become a classic on the Dishoom menu, alongside their famous bacon naan. Each batch cooks for more than 24 hours, resulting in a stew that coddles your insides, giving you the Ready Brek glow. The lentils are soft with just a little bite, the sauce a slick of spices and ghee.

Dishoom, see website for locations.

Pommes Souffle at The Ritz

These dinky space ships of potato may not look like much but they're actually very hard to make well. Eating them is a bit like having the best crisps of your life. The Ritz may not appreciate that appraisal, but there it is. A high compliment indeed.  

The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR

Pomme Souffle at The Ritz.

The home style cabbage at Silk Road

Is this south London's most famous dish? Many have tried to recreate this cabbage dish in their own kitchens and failed miserably — we certainly have. Thick shreds of cabbage are stir fried with… we're not sure, but there's definitely plenty of chilli, a sprinkle of sugar and most importantly, lots of wok hei. This refers to the 'breath of the wok' and it's that smoky flavour imparted on the food by stir frying at very high temperatures. Fantastic.

Silk Road, 49 Camberwell Church Street, SE5 8TR

The tinda masala at Tayyabs.

The tinda masala at Tayyabs

Yes, the lamb chops are spectacular. Yes, the seekh kebab and the dry meat are to die for. But have you tried the tinda masala? These dinky pumpkins have a lovely light texture and what they lack in flavour, they make up for in their ability to thirstily suck up the flavours of the richly spiced sauce.

Tayyabs, 83-89 Fieldgate Street, E1 1JU

On the up

These are dishes which haven't quite peaked yet but we predict they'll achieve cult status given time. Once again, potatoes feature heavily.  

The baked potato at Smokestak

The baked potato at Smokestak is more than the name suggests. A crisp half shell is scooped, fluffed, mixed with sour cream, chives and then rebaked under a blanket of cheese. It's basically a posh loaded potato skin, which is definitely fine by us. Read our full review of Smokestak.

Smokestak, 35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB

Potato dreams.

Cauliflower shawarma at Berber & Q

This could be considered a main course, although we've always ordered it as a side dish. A segment of cauli is licked with fire until soft and smoky, then happily over dressed with tahini sauce, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, rose petals and herbs. Sexy.

Berber & Q, 338 Acton Mews, E8 4EA

A photo posted by Beth Skelton (@bethaskelton) on

Beef fat potatoes with raclette at Temper

This newly opened restaurant from BBQ expert Neil Rankin is big on using the whole animal, so all the delicious fat is never wasted. In this dish it's used to baste a base of crushed potatoes and salt, which are then covered in sliced raclette cheese and baked in a wood-fired oven. Hubba.

Temper, 25 Broadwick Street, W1F

Last Updated 27 November 2016