As we all spend more time indoors, 2020 has been the year that the nation rediscovered the joy of home cooking. From Moro’s tasty tapas to Silo’s sustainable suppers, these are the essential restaurant cookbooks you need in your kitchen to recreate your favourite meals from London’s finest establishments. Happy cooking.
Claridges has long been an institution on London’s fine dining scene, so the historic hotel’s cookbook well deserves a place on your kitchen’s bookshelf. Recipes include some of the iconic hotel’s best-loved dishes such as its comforting chicken pie and legendary lobster risotto. But it also details guidelines on how to produce its more gourmet fare, such as Smoked Duck Salad, Truffled Macaroni Gratin and Venison Wellington, as well as an incredible Raspberry Marshmallow for dessert. A delicious way to get your five star fix.
A favourite haunt for gastronomes, Moro has celebrated over 20 years of success on the London food scene. Their first book is a collection of Spanish and North African recipes channelling the restaurant’s heady fusions of warming spices, earthy accompaniments, delicate flavours and fiery sauces. Think accomplished, authentic dishes such as Shredded Salt-cod Salad, Grilled Quail with Rose Petals and Paella de Cerdo con Chorizo y Espinacas – no wonder it’s one of the most praised cookbooks of all time.
When cult North London Turkish restaurant Black Axe Mangal released its first cookbook last year, the excitement surrounding it was palpable. Chef Lee Tiernan is something of a rockstar on the food scene, thanks to his exciting flavours, open-flame cooking techniques and heavy-metal inspired interiors. Fans will be delighted to hear that as well as providing the restaurant’s fascinating backstory, the book brings together recipes for some of Tiernan’s signature dishes, such as Pigs Cheek and Prune Doughnuts, Shrimp-Encrusted Pigs Tails, and Squid Ink Flatbreads with Smoked Cod Roe.
Looking for a modern twist on classic Italian cooking? Inspired by the Islington restaurant of the same name, Trullo shows you how to replicate their infamous Italian feasts with a distinctly British take. Expect recipes detailing how to produce everything from their creative antipasti to their bold pasta dishes such as Pappardelle with Eight Hour Beef Shin Ragu and Gnocchi with Nutmeg butter, which inspired it’s sister restaurant Padella in the capital’s Borough Market. A number one best seller, this cookbook is the perfect addition for anyone looking for warming, comfort recipes as we spend more time at home.
This second book from Ravinder Bhogal – the chef behind Marylebone’s Jikoni restaurant – focuses on her diverse heritage. Born in Kenya to Indian parents, and raised in London as a child, Ravinder’s approach to cooking is a playful one combining each of these influences. As a result, in it you’ll find unique dishes such as Cauliflower Popcorn with Black Vinegar Dipping Sauce, Spicy Aubergine Salad with Peanuts, Skate with Lime Pickle Brown Butter and Lamb and Aubergine Fatteh. These are all juxtaposed with evocative stories from Ravinder’s past, which illustrate the powerful relationship between people, place, identity and food.
There’s nothing quite like a meal at the Ritz, so dig out your smartest tablecloth and have a go at recreating some of their famous recipes for yourself. Featuring over 100 of the hotel’s most legendary dishes, including Saddle of Lamb Belle Époque and Grand Marnier Soufflé, as well as seasonal fish, meat and game recipes, this cookbook is packed full of useful tips for recreating that Ritz magic in your own home. Once you’ve worked your way through the dishes, keep reading for enthralling tales about the hotel and unique glimpses into one of London’s finest kitchens.
Hammersmith’s River Café is one of those restaurants that is continually name-checked when London foodie’s list their favourite dining destinations. With it’s simple, unpretentious approach to Italian food, it’s easy to see why. To celebrate 30 years of its cooking, River Café released a collection of 120 of its favourite recipes, including 30 new ones such as Panzanella, Ravioli with Ricotta, Raw Tomato and Basil, Risotto with Porcini and Girolles, Braised Beef Fillet and, of course, Chocolate Nemesis. The cookbook also includes unseen archive images and Ruth’s heart-felt memories of the restaurant for a wonderful insight into its inner workings.
As anyone who has ever tried one of Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean-Middle Eastern fusion recipes before will know, they tend to be fiddly, taking hours to prepare and using countless obscure ingredients. Yet in Simple, Ottolenghi has designed each dish to be accessible, whether that means making it in under 30 minutes, cooking ahead of time, using a maximum of ten ingredients or throwing it all into one big pot. Rest assured though this doesn’t means there’s any compromise on flavour – each dish is just as delectable as any you’d find in Ottolenghi’s restaurants.
More likely than not, you’ll have seen Circolo Popolare a lot on your Instagram feed – the Fitzrovia restaurant was undoubtedly the restaurant du jour last year thanks to its critically-acclaimed food and lavish interiors. Now, you can recreate those at home thanks to its recipes being included along with others from the Big Mamma Group in this vibrant cookbook. Amongst the 120 recipes, you’ll find classic Italian dishes such as Risotto alla Milanese and Tiramisu, as well as more inventive modern creations such as Burrata Flower Power and Double Choco Love. A delicious addition to any Italophile’s bookshelf.
Less of a cookbook, more of an environmental instruction manual for our times. Douglas McMaster’s zero waste restaurant was pioneering when it opened, and his clever cookbook is equally thought-provoking. Packed with insights into how to making eating more sustainably efficient, this book is divided into monthly menus to help you shop seasonably, support clean farming, practice waste-free prep and use off-grid ingredients. A radical addition to any kitchen shelf if you want to eat fresh, waste less and make the most of what nature provides.
Southern Mediterranean flavours are the order of the day in this book by Ben Tish, the chef behind perennial restaurant critic’s favourite, Norma. Situated on Fitzrovia’s Charlotte Street, Norma serves Sicilian dishes that channels the Moorish influences on the Italian island – many of which feature in the 100 recipes in this book. Divided into sections inspired by how Ben likes to cook (lazy brunch, sweet baking, BBQ grilling etc), each recipe brings together the bold spices and sun-soaked exotic tastes of North Africa and the Arabic world with the characterful food of Sicily.
Featuring over 120 recipes from the world-famous restaurant, The Book of St. John is more like a manifesto on the ritual of eating. Structured to mirror the practices and rhythms of the restaurant’s kitchen, dishes are divided into sections like ‘The Pivotal Pig’, a nose-to-tail chapter dedicated to the animal itself, ‘To Hand’, featuring favourite store cupboard essentials like chutneys and jams, and ‘Feasts’, which includes the St John take on Christmas. In essence, a truly delicious compendium of brilliantly modern British recipes.
An institution on the vegetarian dining scene, Mildreds has been serving up its delicious plant-based food since the 1980s. With one veggie cookbook already under its belt, it’s second offering focuses exclusively on bright and bold vegan food that’s packed with flavour. Designed to confound the stereotypes associated with vegan food, its contemporary take on cruelty-free cooking includes plenty of dishes which would still impress your dinner party guests, such as the Butternut Squash & Tofu Terrine with Redcurrant Stuffing or an I-can’t-believe-it’s-vegan Espresso Crème Caramel for dessert.