One of London’s Most Esteemed Chefs on the Restaurant That Best Showcases the City

Morchella restaurants London

Sally Abé has more than 15 years of experience in London fine-dining restaurants. She’s currently the head chef for The Pem in Hilton’s Conrad London St James, which was included in the 2021 National Restaurant Awards.

All this to say that Abé knows where to find good food in London. Abé, who will be in Sydney as part of The Charles X Sally Abé Vivid Chef Series for three lunches and dinners, says London’s restaurant scene is thriving, with many new independent restaurants continuing to open.

“I’d say there’s been a shift toward more casual dining and sharing plate concepts, and also more cuisines are becoming popular,” she says. “Ten years ago, it was mostly European food and now we are seeing amazing restaurants like Chishuru in central London, which serves West African food, come through and winning Michelin stars.”

As for which restaurant best showcases London, Abé says it’s hard to choose just one, but the Mediterranean restaurant Morchella off Exmouth Market, which opened in January this year, comes close.

Morchella London
Image: Morchella

“It’s a real melting pot of cuisines,” Abé says. “The salt cod doughnuts are the thing to order, and it has a cute little wine bar in the back.”

Her favourite restaurant, though, is Trinity in Clapham Old Town. The Michelin-starred restaurant has an ever-changing, seasonal menu, with dishes like veal sweetbread, Scottish cod and 180-day English pasture-raised chicken.

“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve eaten there, and it just keeps getting better,” she says. “It’s the forefront of modern British cuisine and the staff makes you feel right at home.”

The best area to dine in London is Hackney, says Abé. Expect Thai, barbecue, street food and wine bars in the lively suburb.

Bibendum Oyster Bar
Image: Bibendum Oyster Bar

If you’re after a venue with great people watching, head to the Bibendum Oyster Bar, in South Kensington, which lets you peer at luxury shoppers streetside on Fulham Road or from its semi-open courtyard. The venue is helmed by two Michelin-starred chef Claude Bosi.

“They do super fresh fish and shellfish, washed down with a lovely Chablis [wine],” says Abé.

Finally, for a cheap eat in London, Abé recommends heading to one of the city’s many sandwich shops. Dom’s Subs on Hackney Road is a favourite, with her order That Spicy D.

Related: Tastemaker Alyce Tran on the Best Spots to Eat, Stay and Play in London

Related: The Standard Hotel Sets the Bar in London

Read more stories from The Latch and subscribe to our email newsletter.