London is the place for foodies as there are soooo many different types of cute cafes and incredible restaurants to choose from. Something I noticed when living in London is that there are so many niche food joints that only tend to sell one kind of food. SO, I’m here to share you with my favorite niche food spots in London that I’ve visited so far…
If you love dumplings and weird food combinations, Ugly Dumpling is the place to be! They sell nothing but dumplings and also have a dumpling HAPPY HOUR where dumplings are only £1! Not only do they sell traditional flavours, they also test out not-so-stereotypical dumplings and switch this menu up from time to time. We tried traditional pork, but also ordered fish, chips and mushy peas flavour (trust me, it works) and cheeseburger dumplings too (also amazing). They’re located in Soho just off Carnaby Street, and if you visit them soon you can try these specials that are currently on the menu: the already tried, tested and approved cheeseburger, mushroom and truffle, halloumi and courgette and artichoke and sun-dried tomato. If you’re extra peckish, you can order a meat, veggie or vegan platter, and they even have DESSERT dumplings for when your savoury tummy is full. Anyone care for a Nutella, pecan pie or strawberry cheesecake dumpling? Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
SAID Dal 1923
If you have a sweet tooth that a dumpling couldn’t satisfy, why not head 30 seconds down the road to the famous SAID Dal 1923? Originating in Italy, SAID Dal 1923 is the oldest chocolate factory in Rome. They opened their first establishment outside of Rome in the heart of Soho, and their hot chocolate has since been dubbed the best hot chocolate in London. First off, it is hot chocolate, but not how you and I know it. Picture the sickliest chocolate you’ve ever eaten, now imagine that melted into a bowl, and envision you drinking that. To some, that may be a sugary nightmare. To me? Amazing. I ordered a small because I was full of dumplings but it was still the most satisfying hot chocolate I’ve ever had. You can choose from milk or dark hot chocolate, and then the cup is covered (and I mean COVERED) in milk, dark and white chocolate. You can also choose any dessert such as a brownie or doughnut, and they’ll then coat it in triple choc. In addition to the hot chocolates, we ordered a white chocolate cheesecake, but we definitely didn’t need it. My only tip? Don’t wear white.
The Knot Churros
Churros are typically enjoyed alongside a chocolate dip, but the Knot Churros has flipped that tradition onto its back and given it a pink London cafe/Instagram makeover. Expect nothing less than sparkles, mermaid and unicorn inspired desserts, candy floss and rainbow everything. Basically, The Knot Churros is the definition of extra. They do, in fact, sell classic churros with chocolate sauce (milk, white, dark or strawberry chocolate), but their signature dessert is a huge churro surrounded by soft serve ice-cream, topped with a huge candy floss stick and usually some kind of chocolate sauce drizzled over it. That’ll set you back about £8, and if you have an extra £10 to spare, you can have a cappuccino with your face on it. Yep, you heard that right. A cappuccino selfie. What more could a millennial want? Jokes aside, the churros and ice-cream are actually really tasty, and if you order tea you get the cutest little tea-set brought to the table. The interior is also super cute, and the best part? The Knot Churros is located just off exhibition road in Kensington, so you can incorporate a trip to the science museum or natural history museum afterwards to walk off the churro-induced coma.
Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream
After seeing their famous lilac ice cream-filled buns and hot chocolates, Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream was near the top of my bucket list when I moved to London. Truthfully though, I had no idea what they actually sold until my sister and I stumbled upon their cafe in China Town. This is where I discovered that Mamasons is Europe’s first Filipino ice cream parlour, and having never tried any kind of filipino food, I didn’t know what to expect. It turns out that the lilac ice cream is actually Ube, their signature flavour which is made from Filipino purple yam (basically a purple sweet potato). The other ice-cream flavours were Queso, a sweet and salty cheese, and Black Buko, a coconut ice-cream combined with activated charcoal. The sound of these flavours made me feel a bit queasy , but I’m not one to turn down a tick on my bucket list. SO, we ordered two Ube and white chocolate hot chocolates with Ube whipped cream and a cheese ice cream-filled bun (known as a Bilog). The verdict? Soooooo good. Don’t knock it ’til you try it has been quite the theme throughout this blog post, but seriously. I don’t know who decided to combine sweet potato and cheese with ice cream, but they’re a genius. The cheese ice cream just tasted a bit like cheese cake, and the Ube is difficult to compare to anything I’ve ever tried before, so I guess you’ll just have to go and try it yourself. There’s also a Mamasons Dirty Ice Cream located in Camden, and if you’re up for trying something new, I’d highly recommend!
Camden Cheese Bar
Let’s save the best ’til last. Located within Camden market is the closest that you’ll ever get to heaven, a cheese bar. A bar. That sells cheese. No matter your cheese preference: soft, hard, mild, mature, stringy, melty, rubbery, sweet, nutty, savoury, they have it all! Whether you want to stay in your cheese comfort zone, or explore cheeses from other places in the UK such as Northumberland, Suffolk, Sussex, even Peckham, the cheesy possibilities are endless. We visited the Cheese bar on that day it hit 30 degrees in April, and we’d been day drinking in Camden, so the concept of a cheese bar was even more exciting to a tipsy Lydia. The menu has an array of dishes such as mozzarella sticks, cheese puffs, macaroni cheese, blue cheese raclette and cheeseburgers. However, there was only one thing that caught our eye immediately, which was a four cheese fondue. At £28, it is a little pricey, but between two that’s only £14 and it’s so worth it. It’s made up of Coolea, Ogleshield, Doddington and Mayfield cheeses and is served with super soft and buttery Rosemary potatoes, fluffy sourdough bread, pickles, and we added garlic & herb meatballs for an extra £4. You’ll most likely be unable to move afterwards, but if you’re a cheese-lover, this place is a must! I feel like I missed out on the opportunity of about a million cheese puns throughout the last paragraph, and for that I sincbrierly apologise.