Comfort Food is a journey. From that craving of something you want so badly – it’s almost lustful, to the delight of flavours dancing on your taste buds, right down to the oversized hug in the pit of your stomach…. Satisfaction is the end goal.
So for some autumn comfort before lockdown, it was a no brainer for me to head to Zima for a solo date. And for the record – solo dates are so underrated. Like anything that brings satisfaction, exploring it on your own has its own type of climax (FYI foodgasm is a real thing, but that’s for another post)!
Not only is Zima our autumn front cover (and boy have I wanted to get my taste buds on some Russian ever since), this was an opportunity to treat myself for all the hard work I’ve put into creating a piece of Soho people can now read in the comfort of their homes…
Snuggle up and get ready to be inspired by 9 foodies who’ve eaten their way through various Autumn menus… I hope you’re hungry, it’s likely to be a *delivery service kind of night!
Zima by Luz Lopez
Who knew Russian food tasted so good – a trip to ZIMA Russian Restaurant Soho left us converted to the cuisine! Nestled in the middle of Frith Street, the townhouse style restaurant presents a contemporary and delicious twist on Russian favourites including Pirozhok (baked bread stuffed with meat or vegetables), Pelmeni with fish and their Beef Stroganoff. Executive Chef Alexei Zimin is somewhat of a Gordon Ramsay in his home country and he’s clearly passionate about putting ZIMA on the London foodie map.
The service is warm and friendly with a dollop of dry witty humour. The caviar is ridiculously low priced, the cheapest in London. I would highly recommend you dive into Russian hospitality, art and food with flowing vodka infusions (Nastyoka)… and caviar!
Bistro1 by Tim Baros
Bistro 1 bill themselves as having the ‘most delicious foods under the perfect lights.’ They’re right – and this is why. Dishes such as the Chargrilled Lamb Shish Kebab and the Chargrilled Lamb Kofte Meatballs – both of which I’ve had many times – are just two of the perfect meals they serve. The meat is always perfectly cooked, flavourful and utterly mouth-watering. If meat is not your thing, then the Chargrilled Fillet of Salmon or the Vegetarian Mousakka could be for you. Also Pasta and Rib-Eye Steak might be your cup of tea (not both at the same time!). One of the better deals in Soho is their Fish & Chips or Classic Burger with a beer or wine – all for only £9.90 for lunch or £12.90 for dinner. The burger is huge and with fries it won’t leave you hungry anymore.
Chotto Matte by Iram Khawaja | @iram727
Soho is my ultimate place to go for food and after stalking Chotto Matte’s Instagram account for months, it was finally the right time to visit! Following the latest trend of outdoor seating this summer (spilling into Autumn), I sat amongst the buzz of Frith Street waiting for my bento box meal which included a mix of six mini dishes.
My favourites were the Nigiri selection with colourful salmon, sea bass and tuna sushi, along with an exotic lychee ceviche which was absolutely delicious. For non-alcoholic drinks, the China Morada is the perfect choice put together with a blend of pineapple and cinnamon flavours.
Pastaio by Georgina MacDougall | @roundplates
One of the joys of Pastaio is that the menu changes with the seasons, so there’s always something new to try, whether it’s a new flavour of prosecco slushy or stuffed ravioli. Whenever the gnocchi is on the menu I have to order it – it’s so light and fluffy – but the green spinach spaghetti is a staple and one of my go-tos for a ‘lighter’ lunch. I’ve heard rumours that the signature nduja and mozzarella toastie is making a comeback and I’ll be first in the queue when it does – it’s got the perfect balance between crisp and soft, spicy and smooth, with a hint of sweetness from a drizzle of honey to finish it off.
The Duck and Rice by Helen Walsh | @londonfoodstagirl
For me great dim sum is the ultimate comfort food. There’s something about those pillowy parcels packed full of umami flavour that hits the spot like nothing else. For great dim sum, and Chinese food in general, I head to The Duck and Rice, where plates come out fast and everything is delicious. Crunchy prawn toasts are a must-order, the Sichuan veggie dumplings are packed full of flavour and will hit the spot even for non-veggies and if you’re not a fan of what is in my book the ultimate dim sum, har gau, we simply cannot be friends. Wash it all down with great cocktails and you have the makings of a perfect Soho night out.
The Real Greek by Marilita Hatzivassiliou | @gourmelita
After spending each summer with family in Greece, heading back to London always gives me and the children what we call ‘the London blues’. That’s when Greek comfort food at The Real Greek Soho comes to the rescue! The delicious Souvlaki, Halloumi Fries and Santorini Fava always hit the spot – not to mention the extensive list of excellent Greek wines for mommy. Whether it’s eat in or take out, the food helps us relive the Greek experience with every bite! Some of our family all-time favourites are: creamy taramasalata – white and fluffy like my mom makes it, pork belly, cheese pie & meat pie, lamb cutlets, the fried calamari and so many more!
Dishoom by by Syahna Yahya | @syahnayahya
Paying homage to the whimsical flavours of Irani cafés and Bombay cuisine, Dishoom introduces a whole new twist on a fan favourite. With a delicately crafted, laid back elegance you’ll find this place constantly bustling with foodies travelling from near and far to grab a taste. They serve an array of delicious delicacies one tastier than the next, including their signature Chicken Berry Britannia – a flavourful pot of chicken and rice with all the herbs and spices you could dream of and (a personal favourite) their Chilli Butter Bhutta – charcoal-grilled corn on the cob slathered in the most delicious blend of butter, chilli, salt and lime. And just when you think the fun stops there, their dessert menu is guaranteed to bring your night of indulgence to a perfect end. PS. You might want to wear loose-fitting pants for this one!
Rasa Sayang by by Erica Tang | @thechinesefoodie
I’ve heard so many good things about it but only managed to visit recently. I can now see myself going back here time and time again until I’ve tried everything I’d like to try on the menu. And after that, I’d go back again many times to have the stuff that I know I love. Their strait BBQ set is amazing. Usually skewers can be a bit dry and meh but these are well marinated, tender and flavourful. Skate wing in sambal is another popular choice and delicious. They of course also do great curries, the beef rendang is on point, with fluffy roti that has tens of layers – just perfect for a cool autumn day!
The Hummingbird Bakery by @LondonBeautifulLife
During 2020 and lockdown I have definitely gained myself a sweet tooth (the scales can confirm this)! One of my favourite spots in Soho that fulfils my sweet tooth desires is The Hummingbird Bakery on Wardour Street. Their cupcakes are so delicious that you can’t just stick to one. The red velvet cupcake is my go to when I pop into the Soho. I am extremely excited for the Autumn special which brings a limited edition range of mouth watering treats such as their Pumpkin Pie, and holiday inspired varieties for Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Hummingbird Bakery is a must hot spot to swing by to for your autumn treats!
Which of these takes your fancy? Let us know in the comment box below!
The Soho Girl x | @the.soho.girl
*Please check directly with the restaurant for opening hours, delivery and take away options during lockdown.
This selection of reviews was original published in My Soho Times. To view it online CLICK HERE to sign up. Or for a yearly subscription to get each issue delivered through your letterbox (plus a free welcome gift) CLICK HERE!
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