Once upon a time, if you wanted exotic international cuisine in London, you’d scratch around Soho for a Chinese, Italian or Indian, and it probably wouldn’t be much good when you found it. Everything has changed. Try poke, Hawaiian raw fish salads, or Nikkei, Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. Spanish cooking has had a big decade, and its rougher Basque cousin is booming in the metropolitan oasis this year. London is the city with the best claim to have it all, and 2017 is the best year ever to come and try.
Uzbek cuisine might spring a surprise on even your most seasoned foodie, splicing Slavic traditions with Asian ones. Try the plov, a heart mix of meat, rice and vegetables, as well as the delicately flavoured kebabs. The elegant interior of Samarkand is carefully thought out, while the selection of vodkas is something special. Take the edge off your choice with some pickled vegetables and salty caviar. Then finish with some baklava, the flaky, sugary dessert pastry found all along the Silk Road.
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Founded by Alexander the Great, captured by Caesar and Napoleon, cultures have been mixing in Egypt’s Alexandria for centuries. Aladino’s brings its cuisine to Kensington, offering a homely feel in a crisply smart dining room. The okra is intriguing, the mussels superb, and the meat literally falls off the bone. Linger in the quirky bar downstairs.
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Cooking from the Basque Country is all about peppers, salt cod, and – especially at Lurra – beef. Memories of the steak, carved from a 14-year-old Galician cow, will stay with you for years. Dive deep into the Iberian wines. Also try Sagardi, doing similar things nearby.
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The food here is Austral-Asian, mixing solid fare from Down Under with delicate flavours from Japan and elsewhere along the Pacific Rim. Try the lamington, an Aussie twist on the petit four, and the lobster.
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Nikkei – as well as a stock index, it’s also the name for Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. Yes, really. Think sushi and ceviche, tempura and anticucho. One of those places where you’ll want to try everything.
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For more ideas on how to Do, Dine and Spend in London and beyond, check out our Destination pages.