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Where the chefs eat: Chantelle Nicholson shares her 7 favourite London restaurants

The founder of Apricity reveals her must-visit foodie spots in the capital, from a buzzy wine bar in Bermondsey to elegant fine dining in Wandsworth

Award-winning New Zealand-born chef Chantelle Nicholson may have originally trained as a lawyer, but it’s in food that she found her true calling. In London she honed her skills at several of Marcus Wareing’s restaurants before becoming the chef-owner of much-loved Tredwell’s in Covent Garden. When that closed in 2021, she set about launching Apricity, a sustainable, low waste restaurant in the heart of Mayfair. Her luxurious take on conscious cooking saw her land a coveted Michelin Green Star in 2023. Here, Chantelle reveals her favourite London restaurants.

Where The Chefs Eat

Chantelle Nicholson’s favourite restaurants in London

Supawan

One of my favourite spots of all time has to be Supawan, a Thai restaurant on Caledonian Road. I’ve lived in the area for years, so it’s one of my local go-tos. The vibe there is very laidback – it feels as if you’re sitting in someone’s front room while you’re having dinner. The restaurant is actually part of a flower shop, so at night they put tables in there for you to eat at, where you’re literally surrounded by plants and flowers. 

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All the food is amazing, really intense and full of flavour. I usually start with the Meiang Phuket, which is betel leaves stuffed full of prawn, coconut and peanut, with a little bit of fresh lime. It’s an absolute burst of flavour in your mouth. They also have an amazing whole deep-fried sea bass with dipping sauce. The sweet things they serve are really interesting too – my favourite is the baked panna cotta with crispy shallots on top. It’s not what you’d expect, but it’s super delicious. 

38 Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, London N1 9DT
supawan.co.uk

The Midland Grand Dining Room

If I’m looking for somewhere to go for a special occasion, the Midland Grand Dining Room is always my top pick. Obviously, I’ve got a huge amount of history with that building [Nicholson helped open The Gilbert Scott with Marcus Wareing there in 2011], so it’s nice to go back and find something very different. Plus, the room itself is just beautiful – it’s very grand, as you might expect. I love what Patrick Powell is doing with the food there.

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Last time I went we just got lots of little snacks for the table. We started with liver parfait, which came with truffle and Madeira jelly and just melted in the mouth. There were also these wonderful Comté gougères, served with pickled walnut, and they do a great roast chicken and chips on a Monday night. Everything on the menu just feels really accomplished. And, of course, there’s the Gothic Bar, which is a great spot to get a drink beforehand. They do a really good martini, which is my favourite cocktail.   

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel, Euston Road, Euston, London NW1 2AR
midlandgranddiningroom.com

Chez Bruce

When it comes to old school classic cooking in London, there’s nowhere better than Chez Bruce. The restaurant is just by Wandsworth Common and to me it’s the epitome of comfortable elegance, without ever feeling overly formal or stuffy. I like to go for Saturday lunch, where you can eat a couple of courses followed by the most amazing cheeseboard. The cheese trolley there is just awesome, they bring it over and you can choose whichever ones you want. They always have a great mix of British and French cheeses on there.

Chantelle Nicholson Reveals 7 Favourite London RestaurantsPin

They also have these delicious palmiers covered in sugar to finish things off. In terms of mains, you’ll find all the old classics on the menu – there’s normally a lobster or scallop ravioli with a shellfish bisque on there, which is what I tend to go for. Everything is very well executed and there aren’t really any surprises, just solid, reliable cookery. 

2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth, London SW17 7EG
chezbruce.co.uk

Quality Wines

When I’m in the mood for somewhere buzzy before a night out, I’ll go to Quality Wines, which is next door to Quality Chop House. It’s also close to Sadler’s Wells, so it’s a great spot for a pre-theatre dinner or to pop into after a matinee. They serve loads of great small plates, which go really well with all the wines they have on offer. There’s a weekly changing blackboard menu, so you always get something different whenever you go, which I love. 

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Last time I went I had a delicious lamb and bean stew, and they always have really good cured meats and cheeses there. They normally have a homemade pasta dish too, which is always really tasty. And then of course there’s the Quality Chop House next door, where the food is always exceptional. But I prefer going to the more casual little sister, which has a very different vibe.

88 Farringdon Road, Farringdon, London EC1R 3EA
qualitywinesfarringdon.com

Sambal Shiok

For flavourful comfort food, I go to Sambal Shiok. Every dish there feels like getting a big warm hug in a bowl. The vibe is super chilled, but everything on the menu is so tasty. They’re very famous for their signature laksa, and rightly so – I tend to order one of those whenever I go. I know Mandy Lin, who opened it up – we’re friends through the industry, and she also had a different career path before coming into food, so we align on that. I always like to support female-run businesses whenever I can. 

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All the dishes on the menu are delicious and they change all the time, but they do a great crispy squid, and they always have interesting seasonal specials to try too. The food is spicy but you can choose the level of heat, so you can dial it up or down depending on how you’re feeling. To me, it’s just a very cosy, comforting kind of place. 

171 Holloway Road, Islington, London N7 8LX
sambalshiok.co.uk

The Waterman’s Arms

In terms of new spots, I visited The Waterman’s Arms pub in Barnes recently and thought it was great. It opened midway through last year and it’s just a lovely pub that serves up really good food. Plus, it overlooks the river, so you get some really beautiful views there. There are tables outside, so I can imagine it’s the perfect place to be when the weather is nice in the summer.

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The kitchen is headed up by Sam Andrews, who’s the former head chef at The Camberwell Arms and Soho’s Ducksoup, and they have a daily chalkboard of different dishes. They serve my favourite bread there, which they get from Coombeshead Farm near Cornwall, and they do lots of whole fish and big cuts of meat that are great for sharing. Everything there is seasonal – last time I went they had a delicious pea salad on the menu. It’s just a lovely place to relax with a pint and some good, simple food. 

375 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London SW13 9PY
watermansarms.co.uk

40 Maltby Street

I love a good wine bar and 40 Maltby Street is one of the best I’ve come across. It’s in Bermondsey, which I think is one of the coolest neighbourhoods in London; it’s right in the arches there, in the warehouse of Gergovie Wines. It sits just across from the Maltby Street food market, so I love to spend an afternoon wandering around there and then stopping off here for a quick bite to eat and a glass of wine.

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They do lots of lovely little small plates and great grazing platters. The menu changes all the time, so you never really know what you’re going to get, but they do things like Jerusalem artichoke fritters, pork and bacon terrine and grilled venison with rosemary butter. It’s particularly lovely in the summer, when you can grab a table outside and people watch. 

40 Maltby Street, Bermondsey, London SE1 3PG
40maltbystreet.com

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