The student voice Vol. 4: It took a global pandemic to finally get us cooking!
Written by Anna Maffiuletti, Third Year Art History Student
As the UK and many countries across the world prepare to ease strict lockdown measures, our memories take us back to the early stages of quarantine. With the sudden closure of all our beloved restaurants, delis and pubs, home cooking became an essential part of our routines and in many cases a fun way to pass the time!
All of a sudden, our social media feeds became solely populated by posts and shares of sweet treats, wholesome dinners, al fresco lunches on the garden porch, DYI kits for homemade recreations of pastas and pizzas, and, of course, the ultimate quarantine showstopper: the infamous banana bread.
However, the initial enthusiasm of every aspiring chef, slowly wore down, as people started to miss their favourite foodie dream locations. Now, this offers us space to stop and think what it is that we actually miss the most of reality before lockdown. Is it the comforting hug of a freshly made pizza? The mesmerizing noodle pull from a bowl of warm pho? Or is it the refreshing bittersweet flavours of a good piece of sushi? Well, I might hear you say, just download any delivering app and the food will make its way straight to your door, contact free delivery indeed! Food can be delivered, and we can try to fool our senses recreating an ‘at home’ restaurant experience, maybe even queuing outside the door of our dining room to recreate those endless minutes spent waiting for a table. In all reality though, what we truly miss is the conviviality and comfort that food can provide. Sitting down for dinner after a long day with your closest friends, discussing whatever is on your mind while eyeing other diners’ orders before making a choice from the laminated menus. We became home chefs because we crave the same level of satisfaction that goes far beyond food for sustenance. Sharing a meal nourishes our souls and minds, it gives us the clarity to see life from a different perspective again and it forces us to slow down and appreciate what we are doing.
Sadly, the world right now seems to have lost some colour, we may find ourselves feeling desensitized and numb at times. We live for experiences and emotions that seem to have been put on pause at the moment. However, we will be back, and when we do, we will appreciate everything with new eyes. But for now, our memories will have to suffice. This is why I put together a list of my favourite foodie hot spots around London that will hopefully cover every palate’s need and give us plenty of inspiration for something to look forward to.
For the best Pizza
Whoever knows me knows that I am addicted to pizza, and I have been on a journey to find the best pizza in London ever since I moved here. Truth be told, I am still far away from reaching a satisfying conclusion, because many pizzerias excel at different types of doughy goodness, however, here are my firm favourites: Crust Bros leopard print, fluffy crust and delicious ingredients, definitely more on the Neapolitan end of the spectrum. – Vegan options available with a delicious, subtle and creamy vegan cheese. For the thin crust lovers, Pizza Union offersincredibly thin, crispy crust pizza at an unbeatable price. And for those ones on the vegan hype Purezza has some of the best vegan combinations, with a perfectly balanced soft crust and tangy cheese – they won the award for best pizza in London in 2019 – Don’t knock it until you try it!
For the best tacos
Tacos and margaritas, you said? A match made in heaven! Corazón in Soho offers delicious street style tacos on homemade soft tortillas. The margaritas are incredible, garnished with a ring of tajin salt to rump up the flavours (and the fun!).
For the best eggy breakfast
Who does not love a good brunch? Well, London has plenty of brunch hotspots, but here are just a few that really stand out. Eggbreak you guessed it; it is all about eggs! Although their main focus is to provide you with the best egg dishes in town, their ample menu easily gathers to all tastes and needs. Make sure not to miss out on the Nutella French toast, you won’t regret it! Half Cup also provides you with some seriously delicious options, think sliced sourdough bread, baked beans, griddled halloumi cheese and mushrooms, breakfast of champions am I right? And last but not least, Mother is a bit further away, but this 100% vegan business guarantees the most innovative brekkies: from refreshing açai bowls to vegan sausage rolls and sweet treats.
For the best Sushi
Once again, sushi restaurants are so popular in the capital that it is almost impossible to only pick a few, however these are so long-time favourites that never fail to hit the spot. Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is originally Danish but became quickly a must in the UK as well. Their purist menus focus on fresh ingredients with vibrant and bold flavours, with a main focus to Yakitori (Japanese Skewers), which are a staple on their menu. For some Uramaki variety consider making your way to OKA, this Peruvian Japanese restaurant provides some great fusion food, brace yourself for a new, incredible experience!
I hope you will follow some of these recommendations in the future and that they will provide some inspiration for your next foodie adventure, whenever that might be. Follow me on Instagram at @twogirlsonebreakfast for more food hunting content and recipe inspiration!