Keep Warm with London’s Top Potato Dishes
Now that it’s cold outside, our hankering for all things potato is off the chart and we’ve decided that every meal needs to come with at last two carb options. We will trek a very, very long way (complete with earth-shattering hangover) for a plate of roast potatoes and gravy. While we’re at it, let’s go for hash browns, mash and gratin dauphinoise too. Better wear your stretchy trousers, here are London’s best potatoes.
London’s best shepherd’s pie: The Ivy Cafe
The Ivy has turned from Covent Garden luvvy institution to ever-expanding chain. Their latest branch is due to open in Blackheath any day now, which means that south Londoners won’t need to cross the river for their classic shepherd’s pie. Slow braised lamb shoulder and beef is topped with Wookey Hole Cheddar mash.
As far as comfort food in London goes, this is a classic. A surprisingly affordable one, too – it’s £13.50.
The Ivy Cafe, various locations
London’s best French fries: Hush
We’ve already shared the delights of London’s best chippies and now our attention has turned to fries. To tell the truth, we’re partial to McDonald’s french fries after a night out. We’d also happily devour baskets of chilli cheese fries at The Blacksmith and Toffeemaker and Hawksmoor’s beef dripping fries are the stuff of legend. When the chips are down though, we’d go for the very expensive Aspen fries at Hush.
They might be £8 but they’re cooked in truffle oil and live up to their name with a snowy covering of Parmesan.
Hush, 8 Lancashire Court, W1S 1EY
London’s best tortilla: Barrafina
The perfect tortilla is set on the outside yet soft and gooey in the centre and there is no finer example than Barrafina’s. The layers of thinly sliced potato work their magic with the sweet onions. There’s no denying that it’s a simple dish, but when it’s just right it transforms into something quite magical.
The dish is cooked long and slow in a small skillet – it takes about twenty minutes to perfect one tortilla. There are no reservations at Barrafina and it’s perching room only, but that’s part of its charm. The best way to sample this delicious dish is to grab a late lunch in the middle of the afternoon. Go alone so you don’t have to share with anyone else.
Barrafina, various locations
London’s best trinxat potatoes: Lobos
Lobos don’t mess around with vegetables in any of their dishes; it’s meat, meat and more meat. They do them very well, but whenever we’re singing the virtues of this tapas bar, we find ourselves banging on about the potatoes. The little crisp mojo potatoes are a treat, but it’s the trinxat potatoes we really love. They’re served with Iberico pork fillet and are a meaty mix of mash, cabbage and pancetta all fried until crispy.
Lobos, 14 Borough High Street, SE1 9QG
London’s best confit potatoes: The Quality Chop House
If your lunch hour was spent with a side order of these legendary confit potatoes and a glass of wine, it would be an hour well spent. Quality Chop House wanted to take a step away from chips and offer something more interesting without losing the all important fried carb option from the menu.
They’ve done exactly that and they’ve also created a bit of a beast for themselves in the process. The fried thin layers of potato are hugely labour intensive for the kitchen during service – taking a long time to cook in small batches and needing a lot of attention – but the dish is so popular that they daren’t take them off the menu. They’re frustratingly impossible to recreate so if you haven’t tried them, book a table immediately or buy some of the partly prepped version in their shop, to fry at home.
The Quality Chop House, 88-94 Farringdon Road EC1R 3EA
London’s best gratin dauphinoise: Great Queen Street
As you’re probably aware, we’re fond of a new restaurant opening but there are some classic joints in London that we’ll always appreciate. Great Queen Street is one of those places. Order the seven-hour lamb shoulder and gratin dauphinoise and you’ll be in a carb coma before the end of the evening. They say it serves three but you’ll still need for a doggy bag.
Great Queen Street, at erm… 32 Great Queen Street, WC2B 5AA
London’s best mashed potato: Pitt Cue
It seems that the key to really good mash is to shove even more good stuff in it. Truffle mash, once the It Girl of mashed potato, can now be had all over London (Bob Bob Ricard gets the thumbs up from us). Now the potato crown must be awarded to Pitt Cue for their bone marrow mash, complete with heavenly swirl of meaty juices.
Pitt Cue, 1 The Avenue, Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YP
London’s best jacket potato: Smokestak
London might have a dedicated baked potato joint – The Potato Project – but while the menu reads like a dream, the final (expensive) result never seems to hit the mark. It doesn’t have the instant comfort that you want from a baked potato. The spuds at Smokestak do. It’s a loaded potato skin turned up to eleven – a fluffed out crisp half-shell mixed with sour cream and chives, before being covered with cheese and baked again.
Smokestak, 35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB
London’s best hash browns: Hash E8
There aren’t many ways in which eggs Benedict can be improved. Unless you switch out the bread for homemade hash browns. And you swap the ham for pork belly. That’s how the chaps at Hash E8 roll. They’ll also put hash browns in your muffins. And on the side of your plate. And then, inevitably, in our faces.
Hash E8, 170A Dalston Lane, E8 1NG
London’s best roast potatoes: Blacklock
It is a truth universally acknowledged that no roast potatoes will ever taste as good as your mum’s. However, there are some London restaurants that get it spot on and the reason is almost always duck fat. We’re pinning our crispy-edged flag to Blacklock, because their “all-in” sharing roast platter with duck fat roasties is a thing of beauty.
If you’d rather somewhere south of the river, head to the site of another of London’s best Sunday roasts – The Camberwell Arms. They’ll even sell you a portion of roasties with your pint at the end of their Sunday service.
Blacklock, 24 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LG