We have nothing but the utmost respect for the late Douglas Adams, but when he wrote “It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.” he couldn’t have been more wrong. From helping ease a broken heart to celebrating a new job potatoes are just the ticket and that’s before we get to their legendary properties in warding off the winter chill. As for chips, well they need their own devoted guide. Here are London’s best ways with the terrific tuber.
Clerkenwell - 92–94 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3EA
Probably London’s best-known potato dish, this has been on the menu at Quality Chop since it was first devised by chef Shaun Searley back in 2013. Sliced, baked, compressed and then deep fried before serving with a simple addition of Maldon salt and mustard dressing, it’s the dish to beat.
Notting Hill - 92 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2PN
One of the classic dishes on Clare Smyth's tasting menu at her multi-award winning restaurant is 'Potato and roe’ - sitting in a pool of dulse beurre blanc, and topped with herring and trout roe. It's a dish inspired by Clare's childhood growing up on a farm in Northern Ireland by the sea and it's probably the poshest potato dish we've ever tried.
Mayfair - 6 Clarges Street, London W1J 8AE
The "Puree" by the late Joel Robuchon is often touted as the best mash in the world. Broken down to its core, it's essentially 50/50 butter and potato. So no, it's not terribly good for you - but it is quite astonishingly delicious. We'd only heard tales about this before trying it at Le Comptoir and it really lived up to its reputation. Then we had three dishes of it between two of us. Not remotely sorry.
Shoreditch - 4 Redchurch St, London E1 6JL
Take potatoes, place them in the fire at Tomas Parry’s Shoreditch gaff and then let the application of heat, fire and smoke do its work. Serve in a puddle of melted butter. Job done.
Soho, Covent Garden, King's Cross
The arrival of this oozy, not quite set tortilla to London in 2007 was a revelation. Chef Nieves Barragan turned the original 27 stooled bar on Frith Street into somewhere foodies would queue for an hour for tapas. Nieves is now at Sabor (which also do a mean tortilla), but the made-to-order tortilla at Barrafina is still a thing of beauty.
Old Street - 70-74 City Rd, Old Street, London EC1Y 2BJ
We voted this dish our ‘best reason to carb load’ in the 2019 Hot Dinners Awards. There are various iterations of the mash, gravy and bone marrow combo around London but, in our humble opinion, Richard Corrigan’s Old Street restaurant is nailing it.
Bermondsey - 36 Snowsfields, London SE1 3S
At Jonny Lake and Isa Bal’s London Bridge restaurant, the dessert you’ll be most intrigued to try is this - made from roasted potato skins which are then added to puff pastry to form the layers, it’s served with sake and white chocolate mousse, butter and sake gelato. They’ve managed to turn a basic potato into this thing of architectural patisserie beauty and for that, they should be lauded.
Soho - 58 Great Marlborough Street, London W1F 7JY
There’s no doubt London’s restaurateurs love a bit of cod’s roe on the menu, whether they’re putting it on grilled bread at Brat or serving it with radishes on The Grand Duchess. But pairing creamy cod’s roe with roasted pink fir potatoes, hot from the oven was a genius move on chef Chris Leach’s part.
Bermondsey - 171-173 Bermondsey St, Bermondsey, London SE1 3UW
Tom Cenci came down to earth from Duck & Waffle to launch Loyal Tavern in Bermondsey and while these potatoes were originally on the specials board, they're now a permanent fixture. Because who wouldn't want potatoes full of melted cheese?
Soho, Covent Garden & City
This “yummy, gooey, melted cheesy hug-in-a-dish” is finished off with a bit of blowtorch action. Boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up with you? Hate your job? Hate your flatmates? Quite frankly, who cares when you’re eating this?
Holborn - 252 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EN
Chef Calum Franklin may have first found Insta-fame with his extraordinary pork pie creations, but this vegetarian wonder, which he serves up to fans who come from all over the world, is every bit as worth the journey as its meaty counterparts.
Photo by John Carey
Bank - Bloomberg Arcade, 3 Queen Street, London, EC4N 8BN
Originally described as chaat masala aloos, these are now called chips on the menu - but they're really another great example of confit potatoes in London. They're deep-fried and then dusted in their house chaat masala, and served with masala ketchup. Awesome.
South Kensington - 55 Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2PG With a whole section of the menu devoted to placki - Polish potato pancakes - a visit to Ognisko in South Ken has to be on any tuberphiles hit list (yes, we're aware that's not a real word). You'll have to take it from us that there's actually some underneath all the chicken livers in the picture above. These rosti-like pancakes are heaven and you'll need them if you're going to work your way through Ognisko's vodka list.
South Kensington - 55 Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2PG
With a whole section of the menu devoted to placki - Polish potato pancakes - a visit to Ognisko in South Ken has to be on any tuberphiles hit list (yes, we're aware that's not a real word). You'll have to take it from us that there's actually some underneath all the chicken livers in the picture above. These rosti-like pancakes are heaven and you'll need them if you're going to work your way through Ognisko's vodka list.