When it comes to Asian restaurants, Londoners are spoilt for choice. From the back streets of Soho to glitzy Mayfair, you’ll find sushi bars, Taiwanese teahouses and Bombay cafés for both casual and fine dining. And now that we can eat out again, feast your eyes on our pick of the best Asian restaurants in London…
Best Asian restaurants in London
With locations in Soho, King’s Cross and Marylebone, Hoppers is largely responsible for putting Sri Lankan food on London’s map. One of the best Asian restaurants in London, enjoy home-style Sri Lankan cooking with a menu of sumptuous and headily aromatic dishes. These include; hoppers, dosas, kothus, and roasts, complemented by a tropical drinks list, which has Genever and Arrack at its heart. Be sure to try the indulgent Bonemarrow Varuval, slow-roasted in a coconut and tomato curry, served with a homemade roti.
Get those creative juices flowing first thing with a visit to Londons’ finest Bombay cafe. Feast on eggs on chilli cheese toast, a Bombay omelette or a bacon and egg naan roll, washed down with a nice warming, comforting chai. Vegans can opt for the Vegan Bombay with vegan sausages, vegan black pudding, grilled field mushrooms, masala baked beans, grilled tomato, home-made buns and avocado with chilli and lime dressing. This is one of the best Asian restaurants in London for breakfast. If like us, you simply can’t get enough, get The Dishoom Bacon Naan Roll Kit delivered to your home address.
This Asian late night restaurant and bar boasts panoramic views of one of London’s famous landmarks – St Paul’s Cathedral. Find theatrical drinks and cocktails late into the night alongside a delicious menu of tantalising, Asian-inspired dishes. On arrival, diners are met with a fluorescent pink onyx floor and a pink-hued pagoda. Upstairs, the entire floor is illuminated with green, semi-precious stone. Feast on soft shell crab and grilled tiger prawns, sushi & sashimi,, Yukhoe steak tartare and yellowtail sashimi.
Soho Sri Lankan spot, Kolamba, features a multitude of naturally vegan dishes on its menu: coconut is a prevalent ingredient in Sri Lankan cooking, so it was an effortless decision from owners Aushi and Eroshan Meewalla to curate a menu where over half of the dishes were vegan. Highlights include Kumar’s Pineapple and Aubergine Curry, Young Jackfruit (Polos) Curry – a dark, boldly flavoured curry of tender jackfruit, cinnamon and fried onion – plus Hoppers and a not-to-be-missed Coconut and Lime Sorbet for dessert.
If you like your Asian food luxe, it doesn’t get swankier or more renowned than Mayfair’s China Tang, which specialises in Cantonese cuisine. Based at the Dorchester Hotel, decor is opulent and Art Deco-inspired. Do take a look at the Dim Sum menu and if you’re going all out, the Bird’s Nest Chicken Soup is a delicacy. The restaurant has also recently launched a particularly special afternoon tea.
Sushisamba is always a hit for Asian dining, with excellent food (think Japanese with a South American twist) and stellar views at its City site. Located at the famed Opera Terrace atop the historic Grade II-listed Market Building, this striking space is crowned by an Eric Parry-designed glass roof. Bold in design, the restaurant offers a host of inviting dining and drinking experiences: from the bar with its ‘living ceiling’, the exposed kitchen and high energy sushi bar, to the terrace overlooking The Piazza below, and the private dining room with its own entrance and terrace. Book for a pre-theatre meal and dine on delicious toro tartar, sashimi hanataba and more.
Jinjuu is a Korean restaurant in Soho, founded by chef Judy Joo. It is influenced by traditional and contemporary street food – signature dishes include the famous Korean fried chicken and house made kimchi. The bibimbap is great too – Jinjuu works well for date night, pre-theatre, meeting friends or just about anything.
Alex Peffly and Z He, co-founders of popular Asian eateries Bun House and Tea Room, have opened Pleasant Lady Jian Bing Trading Stall on Greek Street serving China’s most loved street food – jian bing. Jian bing is sort of like a super-stuffed crepe, that’s wrapped and folded right in front of you. Everything from eggs, fried dough (that’s right) to lamb goes in there. It’s seriously filling, and cheap, too. This may be less of a restaurant and more of a hole in the wall, but it’s great.
A big site, this place is always busy for good reason. The Maki Mondays are good value for sushi, and the buns themselves are light, fluffy and delicious – we like the salmon teriyaki option. The restaurant has an on-site smoker should you wish to go for something heartier, and the Smore’s for dessert are unmissable.
Michelin starred chef Andrew Wong’s eponymous restaurant pays homage to China’s 2,000 years of culinary history. Small plates include dim sum, seabass with fermented tofu sauce, wok-seared wagyu beef and pancake wraps, all designed for sharing. Try the ‘Taste of China’ set menu that celebrates the country’s regional cuisine, from Chengdu to Shanghai. Teas from small farms complement sophisticated cocktails, many using the restaurant’s own customised gin infused with Sichuan pepper.
Yen serves up London’s first handmade Soba (noodles) from master chefs. There’s also a sushi chef, as the menu showcases Japanese dishes alongside Soba, which are prepared twice a day in the restaurant’s dedicated soba room (London’s only glass-fronted Soba room). Choose from à la carte (sushi, tempura, sashimi and robata), or a daily changing omakase menu chosen by the chefs, for the freshest dishes around.
Atul Kochhar is the first Indian chef in the world to receive a Michelin star. His new restaurant, Kanishka, on Maddox Street, explores lesser known regions of Indian food. Cooking methods include salting, smoking and fermenting, made necessary by the remoteness of the regions. He has also been inspired by the influence of bordering countries such as Nepal, China, and Bangladesh – expect soya and dumplings, as well as locally sourced British produce where possible. Mains include a Seafood Alleppey Curry and drinks are a key element – the Roast Banana Old Fashioned is made from Tandoor roasted banana and the more savoury Ingrita is, somewhat unusually, served alongside a chilled lightly spiced tomato broth.
Disclaimer: this doesn’t really qualify as a restaurant as it’s an extremely casual to-go option, but is worth mentioning as it’s new and offers extremely affordable Asian options. Bambusa on Charlotte Street offers an array of Asian flavours – Japan, Singapore and Laos – with fermented and umami foods like kimchi and miso. Good for a convenient midweek take out lunch, but remember the interiors and atmosphere aren’t the focus here.
Tandoor Chop House is the meeting of a North Indian communal eatery and a classic British chop house. It brings together the very best of both worlds, combining the distinct flavour of the tandoor with Indian spices and marinades, select prime cuts of meat, all within a vibrant, lively atmosphere. Highlights include the sea bream, black pepper chicken and the green saag.
Main photo: Hoppers
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