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Latest Bib Gourmand restaurants

Those looking for the crème de la crème of gastronomy will often turn to the Michelin Guide. As well as the coveted Michelin Star Awards, there is also the Bib Gourmand distinction which highlights restaurants that serve great quality and, increasingly important nowadays, great value cooking.

Plaza Khao Gaeng

This year’s guide saw many new London restaurants added to the Bib Gourmand, including Evernight in south London’s Nine Elms. It only opened last summer but this modern take on an izakaya (a casual drinking spot serving small sharing plates) has made its presence known. Here, British produce is married with Japanese refinement. The chicken karaage is exactly what you’d hope for from Japanese fried chicken, but it’s the donabe that is the star of the show. This season, the clay pot is filled with a seafood medley of lobster, scallop and crab rice for two to share.

In central London, chef Luke Farrell has recreated an authentic ­– and Bib Gourmand status-worthy – Thai eatery just off Oxford Street. Khao gaeng restaurants (loosely translated to ‘curry over rice’) expand as they become more popular; Plaza Khao Gaeng is inspired by one such place that has taken over an old cinema in Bangkok. There is an open kitchen and electric pop music playing, making for a buzzy atmosphere that never seems to slow. As for the food, punchy curries, such as the hearty beef shoulder Massaman or the fiery Klua King Muu made with dry work fried pork, come sailing out of the kitchen.

In west London just moments away from Portobello Road, The Pelican is a big old Victorian boozer with a difference. Inside, it is minimalist in design but maximalist in its menu. Get comfortable on a terracotta-toned banquette seat and choose from the weekly changing specials that are written on a mirror. The indomitable menu includes bone marrow served with parsley and toasted sourdough, monkfish with a refreshing zing of lemon, and duck pie with root vegetables. Bar snacks include Achill oysters, sausage roll or their signature mince on toast.

Bancone on William IV Street in Covent Garden, however, remains on the Bib Gourmand for the third year running, and it’s easy to see why. It is another of London’s top-quality Italian establishments serving freshly made pasta prepared in front of diners’ eyes. The silk handkerchiefs are the highlight of the menu, served with walnut butter and a confit egg yolk, but the spaghetti ‘alla chitarra’ with chilli, garlic and parsley shouldn’t be overlooked, especially at just £9. To finish, the crème caramello is a silky smooth, coffee-flavoured delight topped with buckwheat for crunch; the gluten-free chocolate tart served with mascarpone and fresh lime, meanwhile, is a chocoholic's dream. Continuing the fresh lime theme, Bancone Margaritas served in chilled glasses offer a refreshing lunchtime treat after visiting the nearby shops and galleries.


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