With all that has transpired over the last twelve months, a post titled “The Best of 2017” could seem as ridiculous as an article on “the upsides of male pattern baldness”, “the bright side of a nuclear armageddon”, or worse, “the collective intelligence of Donald Trump and the Daily Mail”. Indeed, 2017 has not been the best of years for planet Earth, but from the perspective of a food blogger, this is actually a pretty good thing. After all, “comfort eating” is a sociably acceptable excuse for eating one’s own body weight in food, and when it came to 2017, let’s just say that we had plenty of excuses. Below, we’ve summarised just a few of the highlights of our food-filled year, with the hope that you will join us as we look back and drown in reflection, contemplation, and a pool of one’s own dribble.
For steak purists who are sick and tired of seeing too much brown and not enough pink, look no further than Zelman Meats. Here you will find divine, unadulterated beef, packed with a thick, crisp crust that will leave you as joyfully tearful as your firstborn child. (Though we hope you don’t plan on eating the latter). Read the full review here.
Armed with monumental ambition and a focused drive to see that ambition through, The Great Chase is, by and large, our favourite new restaurant of 2017. With high quality produce that is seasonal and tayyib, they are quite simply, the halal British restaurant that we have all been waiting for. We’re still itching to return for their brunch menu, but you can read about their dinner menu here, and their upcoming Sunday Roast menu here.
A Sunday Roast like no other.
This time last year, I probably would have thrown a punch if you suggested that I “share a plate”. But, with the recent explosion in sharing menus and “small plates”, I have learnt to adapt to this increasingly popular dining style. Hankies Cafe on Shaftesbury Avenue is one such restaurant, and their wholesome Indian street food – (complete with stretchy roomali rotis that could smother your face), is guaranteed to leave you satisfied. Read the full review here.
Hankies – where big plates get the chop.
Though not quite as authentic an Indian fare, Lokhandwala’s contemporary twist on traditional Indian cuisine is a delightful breath of fresh air. Read the full review here.
When it comes to burgers, 2017 has been a bit of a dark year for me. Disenchanted and disillusioned by mediocre rookies, I ventured dangerously close to a total renouncement of them all. (At one point, I even contacted a marriage counsellor, who told me to stop wasting their time). Fortunately, Brioche Burger were on hand to remind me what a phenomenal burger should be – enough so, that I declare the Super Saiyan and the Lone Ranger to be my favourite halal burgers in London at this current moment in time. Read the full review here.
Super Saiyan – 6oz Wagyu beef patty, Monterey Jack cheese, pepper relish, egg yolk curls, red pepper mayo and olive dust
Lone Ranger – 6oz Angus beef patty, crispy fried onions, American cheese & homemade BBQ sauce
On the subject of rookie burger establishments, you may be surprised to find Fatboyz Diner in this post. I too was surprised, when their humble “American” left me wide-eyed in disbelief. For a relative newcomer to the halal burger scene, they are off to a smashing start, and if you live nearby, you should certainly give them a go. Read the full review here.
The inside of an American – pink & full of fat.
When Bintang’s Omar Shah mentioned that he would be opening up a Filipino dessert parlour, I don’t think any of us realised just how creative and crazy he would be getting. Black Buko coconut ice cream, Yuzu sorbet, Ube (purple yam) ice cream, Ube bilogs (Ice-cream filled pandesal buns), Ube hot chocolates, Halo Halo, Taho – these are not words of gibberish, but sensational Filipino desserts, which the team at Mamason’s have single-handedly been turning into household names. Quite frankly, they’re one of the most interesting dessert spots in London right now, and that’s precisely why they featured in our London’s Top 10 Ice Creams post.
Ube Hot Chocolate
Ube ice cream
Ube Bilog – Ube ice cream in a hot and fluffy pandesal bun. (Can you tell I love Ube yet?)
Sometimes, the best meals are those that are cheap, cheerful, and downright rustic. (Mainly because they don’t leave you and your accountant in tears when the bill arrives). Arguably one of the best “cheap eats” in London, Roti King is fully stocked with wholesome Malay cuisine, and their buttery, pillowy roti canai is literally worth dying for. Read the full the review here.
Roti Canai is King.
Why did the chicken cross the road? Because it was a reckless motherclucker. A veteran street food vendor and one of the many Kings of Kerb, Motherclucker is a fried chicken force to be reckoned with. You can find their crispy chicken tenders and more at various locations throughout London.
For me, brunch is a sacred meal, and when I venture out of the comfort of my own home for it, I expect it to be indulgent, creative, and completely life-threatening. The matcha and cherry french toast at “Friends of Ours” in Hoxton was all those things and more. The menu is seasonal, and so, you may not find this particular dish there again anytime soon, but you will certainly find an equally decadent alternative. Read the full review here.
Matcha & Cherry French Toast.
On the subject of creative formulations, it would also be worth mentioning some of our own favourite recipes from 2017. As well as our most recent “French Toast in Five Ways” collection, we had our Beef Bulgogi recipe, our Peanut Butter, Banana, & Honey Flapjack Laddoo recipe, and our Double Nut White Chocolate & Raspberry Dates recipe, amongst others.
2017 also saw a busy summer of food festivals, and attending them was my preferred method of celebrating the completion of my dental training. There was the annual “Kerb Does Alchemy” festival – featuring monstrous Naga lamb burgers and delicious Blu Top desserts, and the monumental “Street Eats” festival by Halal Gems, featuring a whole host of street food creations. You can read more about the latter here.
Naga Delhi Double by Baba G’s – Two juicy lamb patties, a crispy onion bhaji and a naga chilli pickle burger sauce.
Chicken & Waffle Tocino by Bintang.
Fire & Smoke Supperclub
Finally, we shall end with a dining experience that sadly, won’t be around in 2018. The first special mention goes to the Fire & Smoke Supperclub, headed by Haloodie Foodie and Bake Street. To this day, we’re left dreaming about their sensational beef brisket, lamb neck beans, and miniature pecan pie. You can read more about the experience here.
Risk it for a smoked beef brisket
And there we have it – a few of our favourite bites of 2017. As New Year’s Eve approaches, we can only sit, feast, and hope that 2018 will be just as fruitful. (Or fruitless, given that there is very little fruit in this post at all).