London’s best food, by Benjamin Ingrosso!

Apr 2, 2024 by

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 Photo Instagram @BenjaminIngrosso 

 

Congratulations on your new single, Kite; we can’t wait to see you perform at Heaven on the 4th of April for your Better Days Tour, which will be your first European tour and first-ever London gig! Heaven in Soho is such an iconic venue!

Can you tell us a little bit about your upcoming gig in London and what fans can expect from your performance?

They will get to see something new from me that I haven’t done before, an energetic pop symphony with a lot of sweat and plenty of music!

Where do you stay when you are in London?

Chiltern Firehouse is a favourite; I really like Marylebone.

Are there any particular venues or locations in London that you’re excited to visit or perform at?

I saw my cousin perform at the O2 Arena; it would be fun to play there, haha!

As a big foodie – How has the food in London influenced your experience in the city? What are your favourite restaurants or dishes?  

La Fromagerie in Marylebone, is definitely my favourite breakfast spot on the weekends. The food in London is among the top three in Europe.

 

My other top restaurants in London are:

  • Trullo,
  • Noble Rot,
  • Berenjak,
  • Mangal II
  • Bleecker Burger
  • Café Cecilia,
  • Brawn 49
  • Strakers
  • River Café

(Read more about Benjamin’s favourite restaurants below)

 

Have you had any memorable experiences or encounters with fans in London so far? When did you first experience a fan base outside of Sweden?

I was in London earlier this year, and two fans were outside the hotel, which made me very happy.
I experienced my first encounter with fans outside of Sweden when I was in London and did a showcase gig during Eurovision!

 

Apart from Sweden, in what country do you have your biggest fan base, and what do you think influenced that?

Norway and Italy, because they’re close to Sweden, and I’ve been there quite a lot! And Italy because of “Kite” – they really like it.

(Benjamin also happens to be half-Italian, so this might influence the Italian fanbase..:)

 

Are there any specific London-based musicians or artists that have influenced or inspired your music?

Queen – George Michael and Elton John.

Your new single, Kite, also features the UK’s Olly Alexander (Years & Years). How did this happen?
We started following each other on Instagram, and we are under the same record label so it happened quite naturally.

 

Either/Or – The 2024 Edition 

 

Meatballs or Fish and Chips

ABBA or The Beatles

Swedish fika or British afternoon tea

Ikea or Harrods for home shopping

Södermalm or Shoreditch for a day out

Skansen or TATE Modern

Swedish summer house or English countryside cottage for a weekend getaway

Traditional Swedish Smörgåsbord or a classic British Sunday roast  (this was a close call…)

 

 

To see Benjamin’s own photos of his favourite restaurants – head to our Instagram post here!

 

La Fromagerie

Marylebone

Located in Marylebone, La Fromagerie is a cosy cheese and wine hub that also has sites in Highbury and Holborn. The menu specializes in expertly crafted cheese and charcuterie dishes at reasonable prices, with a chic space comprising a shop, an intimate bar, and a larger dining room downstairs. You can get small plates like burrata and gnocchi, followed by a steaming bowl of fondue with raclette comtoise and charcuterie. The concise dessert selection features a chocolate fondant, and the Eurocentric wine list is perfect for sharing on a romantic date.

Photo: @BenjaminIngrosso/IG

Bleecker Burger

Spitafields, Victoria, Westfield, Bloomberg

Started by former corporate lawyer Zan Kaufman from New York, Bleecker began as a street food truck in the summer of 2012 before moving inside to Old Spitalfields Market in early 2015, where it quickly gained long queues. The ingredients in their burgers are uncompromising, using rare-breed, pasture-fed beef from small UK farms that are dry-aged for intense flavour. The burgers are served in a sesame seed bun with scratch burger sauce and American cheese, accompanied by hand-cut skin-on fries, American craft beer, shakes, and sodas. Bleecker’s popular UK burger Instagram account is a must-visit.

 


Photo: Noble Rot, Soho

Noble Rot, Soho

Soho, Mayfair, Bloomsbury

Noble Rot started out as a magazine about wine, food and the creative arts in 2013, before opening restaurants in Bloomsbury in 2015, Soho in 2020 and Mayfair in 2023.

A wine bar and restaurant from the people behind the wine magazine of the same name. Unfussy cooking comes with bold, gutsy flavours; expect fish from the Kent coast as well as classics like terrines, rillettes and home-cured meats.

 

Trullo

Highbury Islington

Trullo opened in June 2010, and offers a simple, seasonally focused, Italian inspired menu that changes daily. Fresh hand-made pasta and our charcoal grill are the counterpoints of the menu at Trullo, the pasta rolled minutes before service, and the fish and meat cooked over burning coals. While London boasts numerous Italian restaurants, Trullo is undoubtedly one of the finest. The cuisine is unpretentious and straightforward, with a focus on quality ingredients. Although the menu often changes, the salads in the antipasti are noteworthy. Whether it’s the rocket, blood orange, and salted ricotta or one with watermelon and nuts, these dishes are elegant and will make you appreciate the worth of premium extra virgin olive oil, albeit a bit heavy on the wallet.

 

Berenjak

Soho

Based on the hole-in-the-wall ‘kabab’ houses of Tehran, with exposed brick and painted plasterwork; the best place to sit is at the open kitchen counter opposite the tandoor and the mangal barbecue. Cooking is fresh and tasty; try the coal-cooked aubergine and the goat shoulder kabab.

Photo: Chiltern Firehouse Squaremeal

Chiltern Firehouse

Marylebone

The Chiltern Firehouse sets itself apart from other hotel restaurants in London with its exciting, extravagant, and captivating atmosphere that draws in a crowd of celebrities, including top models, actors, actresses, artists, and jet setters. Definitely one of the most difficult places to gain entry in London, so make sure to book.  The brainchild behind this project is the influential New York hotelier André Balazs, known for his renowned properties such as the Mercer hotel in New York City and the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. Balazs transformed a former fire station in Marylebone into a chic brasserie-style restaurant featuring an open show-kitchen, a stylish bar, and a garden courtyard.  In addition to the sizzling ambience, the cuisine from Nuno Mendes, offering South and North American influences, is equally fiery. The restaurant is open seven days a week.

 

Café Cecilia

Hackney

Cafe Cecilia in Hackney may appear to be a simple neighbourhood bistro, but it has quietly earned its place as one of London’s top new restaurants. Head chef Max Rocha has created a restaurant that effortlessly combines the chic ambience of a neighbourhood bistro with a heartfelt nod to his Dublin roots. With experience at acclaimed establishments such as The River Cafe, St John Bread and Wine, and Skye Gyngell’s Spring, it’s clear that Rocha is a master in the kitchen. The restaurant’s inspiration is evident in the elevated simplicity of the food and the minimalistic approach to the interiors, featuring wooden tables, white washed walls, and attentive service. Even though Cafe Cecilia is located by the Regents Canal towpath, it may not have the same waterside view as The River Cafe, but it has carved its own distinct identity.

 

Mangal II

Dalston

The evolution of the mighty Mangal II has become London food lore. The first restaurant brought charcoal ocakbasi cooking from Istanbul to the UK in the early 1990s and a few years later came the larger, loftier Mangal II. Owner Ali Dirik made it London’s most-loved Turkish grill, famous for juicy lamb chops, bountiful borek and lashings of squeaky hellim cheese. A bastion of value slap-up feasts and home to hungover group gatherings in rapidly gentrifying Dalston, the great and the good and the absolutely ravenous of East London flocked in their droves..

 

Brawn 49

Bethnal Green

Offering a warm welcome and robust, flavour-packed cooking, this is the kind of place everyone needs in their neighbourhood. The passionate team run it with a relaxed, upbeat vibe – sit in the back room to enjoy the buzz from the kitchen – and serve reliably tasty food that evolves with the seasons. The interesting wine list includes a number of organic options, as well as smaller producers and a good choice of orange wines.

 

Strakers

Notting Hill

Thomas Straker gained a large following by giving cooking demos on TikTok during lockdown, and has now opened a small restaurant in Notting Hill for fans to experience his cooking firsthand. Known for its modern British-Italian cuisine, the restaurant offers easy-to-eat dishes with no frills. Starting with one of their flatbreads is recommended, and the sweetbreads are always a good choice. The restaurant also features a selection of low-intervention wines.

Foto: River Café WikiMedia Edwardx

River Café

Hammersmith

Widely renowned and unchanged for over thirty years, the River Café, located beside the Thames, remains a unique and iconic spot in London. Boasting both deep glamour and charming informality, the restaurant draws a mix of media personalities, movie stars, and renowned artists, creating a bustling and lively atmosphere. The wine selection offers a grand journey through Italy’s various regions. The food menu is heavily influenced by Italian cuisine, featuring dishes like nettle tagliarini with butter and parmesan and wood-roasted turbot with oregano, anchovy, and capers. While on the pricier side, the quality of the ingredients is exceptional, from the olive oil to the Scottish scallops.. The restaurant’s sun-dappled terrace is especially inviting during summer, offering a delightful dining experience.