Sometimes, you book a table at a specific restaurant for the luxurious pull-your-chair-out, fold-your-napkin and intricate sommelier service that’s on offer. You want to work your way through a Bible of a wine list and try to decipher the list of ingredients that make up the complex, texture-testing, scientific dishes on offer. But sometimes, just sometimes, you simply want to eat. To pull up a chair, catch up with a friend and tuck into genuinely good, fuss-free grub and friendly service. Here’s where The Handbook recommends you go:
Free-range rotisserie spit chicken
This growing chicken restaurant serves just that – chicken. There’s no fuss deciding what you want to order – there’s chicken by the quarter, the half or the whole, and a small selection of sides for you to enjoy alongside. A seriously affordable price point means two of you can share every side dish going and half a chicken for less that £15 per person – even less fuss! And with new neighbourhood openings popping up – Crouch End’s the most recent, with St John’s Wood opening at the end of the month – your travel time could be fuss-free too if you live in the area!
What better way to be fuss-free, than to only offer one set tasting menu for your customers? Pidgin does just that, offering only one dish per course so you don’t have to fret choosing from a selection. They update the menu every week, so you can still make it your local haunt every Tuesday pre-Happy Valleys (we know, James Norton even as an evil kidnapper is just swoon-worthy!) – sign up to Pidgin’s weekly newsletters for the latest menu, news and events so you know what’s on offer. Expect dishes such as Manti dumpling with chicken consommé and cep butter, and liquorce ice cream with beetroot soda and brandy snaps.
Yes, there’s a fair few bits on the menu, but The Handbook recommends you keep it simple and veer your eyes straight towards the ‘On the Bab’ section at this casual dining venue in Shoreditch, Covent Garden and Marylebone. Here you can choose to enjoy bulgogi beef, spicy pork, spicy chicken or vegetable fritters on the rice, on the soup noodle or on the buns (we’re on the buns every time…). It’s quick, easy and most importantly, utterly delicious, with generous portion sizes for a very accessible price point – £7 for two large, juicy, jam-packed, soft-fluffy buns… Yum.
You won’t be overwhelmed at Franco Manca – there are only six pizzas to choose from and one style of red or one style of white on the wine list. No questioning whether you want pasta, or steak, or salad… Just pizza. Merlot? Shiraz? No question – simply red or white (you could get a bottle of each at under £15 a pop). And similar to Chicken Shop, these pizza places are popping up all over London – keep your eyes peeled for one near you so that getting to and from becomes fuss free as well!
A little like Franco Manca but with burgers – there’s also only six options on this menu barr sides – Patty & Bun simply serves burgers, making your decision on what to have for your main as fuss-free as possible. Paired-back, shack-style interiors with communal dining tables and big wooden benches set the tone for relaxed, informal dining, so when the gorgeous gooey cheese and P&B mayo drip all up your arms and down your chin, you’ve no need to fuss or fret over table etiquette! Side-wise, get chips and the Nun’s Salad – grilled & fresh baby gem lettuce, anchovy dressing, chopped egg and croutons.