For those summery days when it's just too darned hot to even consider eating something warm, here's which cafes and restaurants are serving up the best salads in London right now.
Islington, Spitalfields, Notting Hill and Belgravia
It's impossible to overstate the influnce of Yotam Ottolenghi on London's salad scene. When he opened his first restauant in Islington, Londoners were blown away by the extravagant, modern Middle Eastern cakes and salads on display. The menus change regularly but today salads might include Rosemary new potatoes with grilled rainbow chard and ricotta or Cauliflower tabbouleh with grilled asparagus, mixed herbs, almond and pomegranate seeds.
Flat Iron Square, Berwick Street Market, Strutton Ground & Elephant West in White City
Italian chef Davide and former restaurant manager Kristina from Sweden have built up a formidable fan base for their super salads, starting out with a stall at Berwick Street Market where the queues were epic. They've also aimed at providing salads that are "more than just the usual basic leaf and vegetable concoction". Pump up your salad with protein like grilled halloumi or grilled Angus steak before plumping for offerings like Red & white cabbage with kale, orange zest, sultanas and poppy seeds or a rather fine panzanella.
Soho, Chelsea, Notting Hill, St John's Wood, Belgravia and Marylebone
Iranian-American co-founders Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros now have six spots around London. Their original on Sloane Avenue came about after researching the LA food scene and wanting to bring something "new, fresh and healthy" to London and they've just opened at Soul Cycle in Soho. The Goodness Bowl is one of their most popular featuring Quinoa Falafel, avocado, kimchi hummus and seeded crackers with turmeric cauliflower, shredded greens, roasted broccoli and lemon tahini dressing.
16 ½ Neal's Yard, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9DP
Tucked away in Neal's Yard this daytime spot by the team behind nearby The Barbary and The Palomar may be best known for its coconut cream pies, but the daily changing salads are just as gorgeous (if a teeny bit less instagrammable). A recent Eat Your Greens salad featured peas, runner beans, fava beans, broccoli, baby courgettes, mint and dill and they've just added a vegan rainbow salad to the mix.
7a Tetherdown, London N10 1ND
Moving from running the food at the Dorchester to opening a cafe in Muswell Hill may not be everyone's idea of career progression but chef Chris Honor and head chef Marcin turn out exquisite salads for lucky locals at this neighbourhood cafe. Salads change every day with examples being Caramelised carrots, tahini, and sun blushed currants or maybe sweet baby beetroot with tarragon, pomegranate, orange and feta.
Kastner & Ovens
52 Floral Street, London WC2E 9DA and 13 Frying Pan Alley, Spitalfields, London E1 7HS
You'd really have to know that this cafe was down here on Floral Street, just under that amazing Royal Ballet School bridge. But once you have found it, you'll be delighted by the discovery of this longstanding daytime spot. It's a weekday only place and there's always a queue out of the door, but it's pretty quick moving.
48 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8DX
This plant-based spot by Oxford Street is what happens when pile-it-high meets ethical and vegan. The pay by weight place serves up all manner of salads and what they describe as 'cold pods'. There's also a newly-introduced fully vegan salad and dip station. Recent dishes have included Pesto pasta w. turmeric tofu and also Giant couscous with pesto and pumpkin seeds.
Duke Street W1, Old Spitalfields Market
The brainchild of Berliner Ursel Barnes, this newish spot is all about "gut health" which means plenty of fermented ingredients. Head chef Ben Wells comes here via The Ledbury and Apsley’s Heinz Beck at The Lanesborough and puts together salad bowls with a choice of meat, fish or vegan protein, prebiotic fibre, a house ferment and living dressings. Choose from Tempeh-ting -grilled organic tempeh, roasted broccoli and spinach pesto, smokey bean salad served with green vegan Kimchi and miso-tahini dressing or maybe Happy Chicken - featuring coronation chicken, miso and honey roasted squash with quinoa, beetroot hummus and slaw with green leaves, curried Kraut and living hot sauce.
The Ned, 27 Poultry, London EC2R 8AJ
Just one of many options at The Ned, Malibu Kitchen is their slice of California in the City. Here it's all about superfood salads, cured fish and meat. The menu features a range of healthy dishes including a raw and cured section. Salads on the menu right now range from young coconut, green papaya, raw vegetables, heart of palm with cashew nuts to Beetroot tartare with cucumber, pistachio, horseradish and almond aioli.
Brixton Village, St. John's Hill and Tooting Broadway
This South London family-run Thai restaurant group serves up a super variety of zingy salads (get them in house or to go on Deliveroo/UberEats too). Right now their Plah Goong - grilled king prawns hot and spicy salad with roasted chilli paste and fresh Thai herbs - would go down a treat.
25 Warren St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 5LZ
Sarit Packer and her husband Itamar Srulovich opened this - the first of their three London enterprises - in 2012 and the tiny Middle Eastern diner became an immediate hit. All the food's amazing here, but the summer salads will hit the spot in any heatwave, right now there's flat white peach and goats’ cheese salad with almonds and orange blossom dressing or how about a roasted lamb and freekeh salad with cherries, tarragon & sour cherry tkemali sauce? If you're after takeaway - pop into Honey & Spice also on Warren Street.
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