Hetty Lintell and Rosie Paterson round up the best restaurants to escape to if you can’t get away on holiday, in London and beyond.
Los Mochis, Notting Hill
There’s a new restaurant in Notting Hill that promises to transport diners to distant lands — just the ticket (no pun intended) for anyone without a summer holiday on the horizon. Los Mochis serves up an exotic selection of Mexican and Japanese fusion plates and it’s already a firm favourite with nearby residents. Funky music, bold artwork on open brick and cacti surround the tables.
Order a spicy Los Mochis Tommy’s margarita to kick things off, it pairs perfectly with the guacamole which comes with a selection of toppings — trying the toasted shrimp and snow crab. Everything is designed to share, as is so often the case in both Mexico and Japan, and the tacos are a prime example of the finest, relaxed dining.
The menu was scattered with words that I couldn’t quite comprehend at first — Jalapeno Pico de Gallo was a fresh salsa; Ume Saikyo a type of miso that comes with the succulent black cod — but that just adds to the holiday feeling. Who needs a long haul flight? The sushi came next, roll upon roll. This is food and drinks that simply cannot be recreated at home.
The Coconut Tree, Cheltenham
A slice of Sri Lanka in the most unexpected of places. Founded in 2016, The Coconut Tree serves up South Asian fare — think hoppers, roti and kottu — in a simple, laid-back setting. Don’t miss the cocktail menu.
Chef-patron Jude Kereama is half Maori, half Chinese Malay — the inspiration behind the dishes at this harbourside, Cornish restaurant. However, ingredients are still locally sourced where possible: Porthilly oysters, Cornish venison and mussels. In 2018, Kota received its third AA rosette (one of only four in Cornwall).
The River Cafe, Hammersmith
Ruth Rogers’ masterpiece Italian restaurant is worth the hype. It’s tricky to secure a table last minute, so try to go mid-week or book ahead, and ask for a spot outside. On a balmy evening with a bowl of the finest pasta in front of you, you could be on the banks of the River Arno in Florence.
Dalloway Terrace, The Bloomsbury Hotel, Bloomsbury
Dalloway Terrace — famed for its seasonal decorations — has teamed up with Malfy Gin and McQueens florists on their latest Amalfi-coast inspired theme. Aromatic foliage and lemons adorn the walls; citrus-spiked sundowners grace the menu.
The Palomar, Soho
In Israel, people take their food very seriously, yet it somehow manages to always feel fun. The Palomar in London’s Soho is where the theatre of cooking comes to life. Request (or queue for) a table at the bar, and watch the chefs put on a high octane display (pan drumming included). I’ve been to Tel Aviv and this is the next best thing.
Mazi, Notting Hill
You’re not actually in Corfu, but you still need to bring sunglasses — this white-washed courtyard throws up quite a glare. Mazi’s greek rosé is surprisingly delicious; a jar of their creamy taramasalata and take on tzatziki superlative. Order the courgette cakes and any of the delicious grilled meats. followed by their courgette cakes and some delicious grilled meat.
The Dorchester, Mayfair
Iconic Los Angeles restaurant The Polo Lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel, California, US, has popped up on the rooftop of sister hotel The Dorchester — candy-stripe decor and pink bougainvillea flowers included. Go in time for sunset.
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