restaurants, best of, top 5, london,

FtLion Awards 2017: Best Restaurant of the Year?

After the penultimate category of Best Curry House of the Year (sponsored by Smoky Boys BBQ & Grill Haus), we come to the final one of #FtLionAwards 2017 awards, and arguably the most important one: Best Restaurant of the Year!

After much debate and dialogue, we’ve shortlisted the following seven nominees.

And while you consider your restaurant of the year, remember that not only can you also vote for your favourite on our Instagram and Facebook pages, but in doing so you’ll automatically be entered in our prize draw with the chance of winning a £30 voucher to be spent at any of Smoky Boys three locations – Watford, Amersham and Hounslow.

SHORTLIST – Best Restaurant of the Year

We want you to either: 1) vote for the following nominees, or 2) let us know your favourite restaurant this year, all on our Facebook and/or Instagram pages.


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, chai wu, knightsbridge

Situated on the fifth floor of London’s iconic luxury department store, Harrods, is contemporary Chinese restaurant Chai Wu that offers fantastic food at inflated prices.

Although some of the dishes here are undeniably worth that little extra, particularly that hugely impressive Beijing Duck which, given some of the mediocre ones we’ve had in the past, restored our faith in this humble bird. It really was a delicious eat, and one that’s up for a Best Mains of the Year award and starter.

And as you’d expect from such a high end eatery, the service was impeccable, the staff as friendly and as welcoming as you’d hope for. It was adjudged 4.5/5 ROARS in the end.


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, drunch, regent's park

Drunch’s second branch in London, which opened in July, is uniquely peculiar in that while it offers a fully Halal food menu, it’s also part gastro-pub and part shisha-lounge.

The majority of the dishes presented by Drunch spoke for themselves both in terms of their execution and taste. Arguably the dishes of the review were the Cumbrian Chicken, which has been nominated for Best Main of the Year, followed close behind by the Herb Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad, which itself has been nominated for Best Starter of the Year. It is also up for the Newcomer award.

Nevertheless, there were a few dishes that didn’t quite do it for us, resulting in Drunch scoring a rating closer to four than five. But, with a chef as friendly, welcoming and as evidently talented as Noordin, it’s only a matter of time, given that they’ve only been going for 3-months at this present location, before they do.

With efficient and extremely helpful and knowledgeable staff, Drunch is definitely worth a visit if you’re in and around the iconic Regent’s Park. It was rated 4/5 ROARS.


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, grand trunk road, south woodford

Grand Trunk Road (GTR) is a South Woodford award-winning Indian restaurant whose director is Rajesh Suri, who as former General Manager of Tamarind in central London was instrumental in helping Tamarind become one of the first Indian restaurants in the world to win a Michelin star, which it still holds to this day.

What makes this unique for us is that it’s the first and only restaurant throughout 2017 to achieve the perfect rating of 5/5 ROARS. As you can imagine, therefore, it has a number of dishes in contention for an award, namely, a dessert, two mains, and a starter. It’s also up for the Best Curry House award.

To be sure, this is one of those unassuming restaurants which, given its modest location and the fact that it’s nestled in between two equally unassuming corner shops, you’re likely to miss if you blink! Traditional at its core, this quietly confident restaurant offers incredible hospitality and food produced by a chef at the peak of his powers. Truly memorable!


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, mamounia lounge, knightsbridge

Mamounia Lounge is a restaurant that’s certainly out to impress, and impress it does. Its confident blend of the traditional and the modern is easily discernable in both its Lebanese- and Moroccan-inspired menu, and its luxurious decor. As such, not only will you enjoy some outstanding fusion dishes, but a moody atmosphere that’s both relaxed and buzzing.

Mamounia Lounge is one of those restaurants that we’ll be returning to in a hurry very soon and one we’d recommend without hesitation. We rated it 4/5 ROARS.


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, mesa kitchen,

Mesa Kitchen & Lounge had only been open barely a week before we gave them a visit in Southgate.

What makes this Turkish-inspired restaurant such an exciting prospect is how impressive it was all round, despite having only been open a week. It was obvious that the team behind this restaurant knew exactly what they were doing, from the well-oiled and friendly serving staff, to the quality and execution of much of the food.

After all, it isn’t often that FtL reviews a place only to be confronted by three potential contenders for dishes (Best Kebab and Best Burger of the Year) and beverage of the year. Mesa too is up for the Newcomer award.

In all honesty, had it not been for a few poorly executed dishes on the night, Mesa Kitchen would have been looking closer to a 4.5, and perhaps even a 5, as opposed to a 4. It most certainly has the potential that’s for sure. This is an exceptional restaurant that has to be on everyone’s list, particularly those seeking after good burgers and steaks, and was rated 4/5 ROARS.


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, Talli Joe

With so many well conceived and executed dishes, there’s a good reason why Talli Joe was included in the 2018 Michelin Guide while being awarded The Michelin Plate. But, with a chef of Sameer Taneja’s calibre, it’s really not all that surprising. Currently, it is up for both Best Main and Best Dessert of the Year.

What makes the menu such an exciting one, however, is that Sameer, as a classically trained Chef, has successfully managed to elevate and refine, with some quirky twists, some of India’s timeless regional classics, and bring them into the modern restaurant scene. And since Talli Joe does offer half-plates, that means you get outstanding, quality food at affordable prices that average around £10. It was rated 4.5/5 ROARS.


restaurants, best of, top 5, london, Zelman Meats

Zelman Meats is located on the fifth floor of Harvey Nichols’ iconic flagship luxury department store in Knightsbridge. Having opened a year ago, this is currently the only branch of the four that caters for Halal. Its Soho counterpart won the ‘Best Steak and Grill’ at The Harden’s London Restaurant Award this year.

In terms of taste and quality, Zelman Meats is up for two awards: Best Burger and Best Steak of the Year!

Believe us when we tell you that there aren’t many steak-oriented restaurants in London, let alone the UK, that serve Halal prime cut steaks, and we do mean prime cut here; Zelman Meats has set the bar mighty high – so much so, in fact, that they are now the benchmark! It scored a 4.5/5 ROARS.

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  • chi wu

    30 Dec '17

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