Tag Archives: London restaurants

Pizza by the metre at Made in Italy

Sometimes all you want is half a metre of mozzarella-loaded woodfired Neapolitan pizza.

But good Italian pizzas are hard to come by in London. Our all-time favourite place used to be Spacca Napoli in Dean Street and I was heartbroken when it had to close earlier this year due to the Crossrail project.

But I promptly stopped crying over spilled pizza when the husband recently took me to Made in Italy in Old Compton Street. He already knew the restaurant as he’d been taken there for lunch by an Italian colleague (I see that as a HUGE stamp of approval).

This restaurant is part of the Made in Italy group that specialise in authentic “pizzametro” (although this one weirdly enough isn’t mentioned on their website).

We had parmigiana (oven-baked layers of aubergine w. mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil) for starter and after that we both had pizza. Each pizza is 25 cm, so if you want to try two different toppings, you simply order 50 cm. They also have quite a lot of pasta and meat dishes. Take a look at their menu.

I really liked the food (the pizzas are almost as good as Spacca Napoli) and the atmosphere which is laid-back, buzzing and cosy. Prices are low (£6.50 for the parmigiana, £4.50-10.50 per 25 cm pizza) and the staff is lovely and even provided me with a “doggy-box” to take the remaining pizza home in.

Made in Italy, 14A Old Compton Street, full details and map.

Lennies Snack Bar – A very special place

My most memorable dining experience in London has nothing to do with Michelin stars, fancy wines & waiters…

Lennies Snack Bar in East London (just next to Shoreditch Church)  is like no other Thai restaurant I’ve ever been too. Its life and soul is owner Irene who is the most welcoming host anyone can imagine. Eating at her restaurant is like coming home or visiting your favourite eccentric aunt.

Irene does all the cooking herself and will often sit at her customer’s tables and chat for a while, ask you how you’ve been or tell about her jet lag, her long life in London or the next party she’s planning to attend, dressed like Dolly Parton.

There is a varied menu to choose from, but we normally let Irene decide for us. We just tell her what kind of food we’re interested in and she’ll conjure up a wonderful mix of Thai curries, noodle dishes, fish etc. A lot of the vegetables come from her own allotment.

This is a BYO place, meaning you have to bring your own drinks. You don’t even pay extra for that and you rarely end up paying more than £ 10 per person for the food.

I really can’t recommend this place enough, I just love everything about it: from the kitschy cosy interior with red checkered table cloths, string lights and paintings of naked women to the fresh and well-prepared food. Hell, I even love the dodgy toilets.

But mainly I love this place because of Irene and her knack for creating the warmest and most welcoming atmosphere in East London.

Lennies Snack Bar, 6 Calvert Avenue,  London E2 7JP.
Tel: 020 7739 3628 ‎ (it’s a good idea to book ahead)

Pho – cheap & modern Vietnamese street food

The cooler autumn weather is screaming for hot steaming soups. When travelling in Vietnam many years ago we fell in love with Pho, the clear soup with noodles and beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga), which is served with lime, fresh chili and Vietnamese greens.  In Vietnam they serve it at most street stalls, often for breakfast. Very delicious.

Back in Denmark we had to travel half-way through Copenhagen to find a Vietnamese restaurant. And the only modern one, Nhà Hàng, is ridiculously expensive as is has almost doubled its prices since it opened. That’s just not right.

Back to London, where there are quite a few Vietnamese restaurants, most of them in East London. We mainly eat out in Soho where Sam works and luckily Pho, a small chain of smart-looking restaurants serving cheap Vietnamese street food, decided to open another shop smack in the middle of Wardour Street.

We tried it a few days ago and their phos were just lovely. (Warning to purists: This IS a modernised version of Vietnamese, meaning trendy young waiters, cosy contemporary interior and not always 100% authentic food combinations.)

We both had the Pho Bo Dac Biet (with steak, brisket and meatballs). It was easily the best meatballs I’ve had in a pho soup; dark meaty and succulent and not chewy at all. I would have liked a bit more greens to garnish the soup and the stock was not mind-blowing, just very good. Pho also gets an extra point for putting a lot of sauces on the tables (two different chili sauces, fish sauce & hoisin sauce). That way you can mix your own perfect taste combination.

Prices are low: soups cost between 6.95 – 8.45 pounds. See the whole menu here.

Pho, 163-165 Wardour Street, London (plus 4 more locations)

Read about another of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants, Song Que Café in East London.

Favourite café – Vicki’s

Photo: Mette Bassett

Berlin og København er kendt for dem, London knap så meget. Måske er det de tusindevis af hyggelige pubber og restauranter i alle prisklasser, der gør det, men det kan være svært at finde en afslappet, hjemlig café med masser af salater og lette retter på menuen. Heldigvis ligger der en 5 minutter fra, hvor vi bor.

Vicki’s er måske ikke stedet, man slår sig ned i flere timer med sin laptop, i hvert fald ikke i weekenden, hvor der er travlt. Men man kigger gerne forbi igen og igen for at gå ombord i en af deres mange lækre retter, der oftest er gavmildt proppet med godter fra den store salatmontre indenfor. Min absolutte favorit er “fishcake with a selection of salads”, hvor “fishcaken” er tun rørt op med cremefraiche og krydderurter, som derefter ovnbages.

De ultralækre salater serveres også med kyllingebryst eller en hamburger. Er det dagen derpå, så forsvinder tømmermænd med et trylleslag efter en club sandwich med kylling, bacon og avocado eller en grum omgang “english breakfast”. Priser omkring 9-10 pund.

Året igennem er der udeservering og Vicky’s holder også aften-åbent. Her må man endda tage sin egen vin med (mod et mindre beløb).

Vicky’s, 28 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1ST

English: Maybe it’s because of the huge amount of cosy pubs and cheap restaurants, but it can be really hard to locate a relaxed and homely café in London that focuses on salad-based dishes.

Vicki's chicken burger w. fat parmesan chips. Photo: Mette Bassett

Luckily we have one 5 minutes from where we live. Vicki’s is a tiny “eaterie” with a selection of some of the yummiest salads I’ve ever had. It is located on a small shopping street in Maida Vale, just next to the horrible chain “Cafe Rouge”.

You can get their selection of salads with: the legendary fishcakes which are my absolute favorite (oven-baked tuna mixed w. creme fraiche, herbs etc) or served with chicken breast or with a hamburger if you’re in that mood. Prices around 9-10 pounds.

If you’re hungover there’s no  better cure than their ol’ mean english breakfast or a club sandwich with bacon and lots of avocado. Vicki’s has more tables outside than inside and has recently opened for the evening as well. They don’t serve alcohol but you can bring your own, making an evening meal really affordable.

Vicky’s, 28 Clifton Road, Maida Vale, London W9 1ST

Fishcakes w. salads. Photo: Mette Bassett