Where I’ve Eaten
Amy Poon’s Wontoneria, currently at Carousel’s ‘side hustle’ on Charlotte Street until October is a residency not to be missed. Serving handmade plump, silky skinned wontons for lunch at informal no-booking bar seating, this is the perfect place to drop in for a quick plate of deliciousness, alone or with a group. The concise lunch menu offers 4 stuffings, all made from premium ingredients – pork and bamboo shoot; chicken with wood ear mushrooms and water chestnut; prawn; and a vegetarian option with jackfruit and tofu. If you’re hungry you can choose wontons on a bed of noodles, dressed with Poons signature sauces, with seasonal greens, and take a side of pickled vegetables. Now also open for dinner, the menu extends to additional small plates including silken tofu, pig ear terrine and spicy sesame rice noodles. There’s a great cocktail list too – I want to go back to try the Yuzu Chilli Crystal Margarita. Poons addictive sauces are available to buy and take home to splash over vegetables, rice, noodles, for marinating chicken or slow cooked pork, as well as boxes of ready to cook wontons for when the craving hits again. poonslondon.com
Poons Wontoneria, 23 Charlotte Street open Tues-Sat for lunch and dinner or takeaway
Bao Mary, in the west end’s restaurant packed James St, is the new restaurant from the cult Taiwanese group whose dumpling, noodle and grill houses have taken London by storm. Inspired by classic Taiwanese dumpling houses ‘utilitarian and functional’ there are low stools, small tables and bar seating – for a quick bite or full indulgence. The prices range from £3-£10 and portions are small, allowing you to take a selection of flavour packed, moreish mouthfuls – balancing spicy, savoury and meaty. Start with soy boiled egg, house pickles and Taiwanese style edamame to snack on with drinks, follow with fried chicken pieces and hot sauce, dumplings and classic bao buns: every mouthful is packed with flavour. Imagine a super stylish quick eating experience where you get the taste bud and texture hits of fast food (pillowy bao buns, crunchy nuggets and silky skinned dumplings) but made with integrity of proper ingredients and skillful cooking. There’s no pudding menu but for the sweet toothed, the glazed bao bun encasing a scoop of malty Horlick’s icecream is a genius option to end a succession of superb dishes. Baolondon.com
Bao Mary, 56 James Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 1HF
Restaurant, membership club and live music venue, Laylow became the go-to venue when it opened on Goldbourne road in 2017. Now owners Taz Fustok and Jonathan Krauss have launched their second venue, Lorian, a concept eatery on Sloane street. The spacious corner site is light and airy, with marble topped tables and comfortable banquette seating with a deli, bakery and restaurant serving ‘hyper seasonal, veg-forward food’. Lorian offers an easy going rolling brunch – from croissants, granola to confit tomatoes and ricotta on toasted sourdough, as well as a lunch/dinner and afternoon tea menu, all available to order throughout the day, taking the formality out of conventional eating times. I sampled their lunch menu, a short selection of seasonal dishes, including a perfectly seasoned Ajo Blanco dotted with sweet grapes and fig leaf oil and then slices of spanking fresh wild sea bass ceviche scattered with sea aster and pickled blackberries. The mains I chose were a nod to head chef Emily Dobbs’ expert knowledge of Sri Lankan cuisine, including a chat salad with coriander chutney and a creamy, coconutty beetroot curry with melon cucumber mallung. Dessert was a superbly creamy vanilla icecream served with a slick of grassy olive oil. Knowledgeable sourcing and quality cooking are exemplified here and friendly, efficient service will keep the customers coming back for more.
Lorian 162B Sloane St, SW1X 9BS