Co-founded by Simon King (ex-Ramsay and The Fat Duck) and Matt Larcombe (ex-Heston), the champions of Victoria have elevated classic pub fare with a creative twist. Enjoy salt-aged beef tartare with horseradish and chicken egg, plus a mushroom parfait to start, followed by a traditional pub dish of fish and chips, or flank steak wagyu if you fancy something more refined. All washed down with a good wine list and craft beers.
The Victoria, High St, Oxshott, Leatherhead KT22 0JR; 01372 238308; thevictoriaoxshott.com
Gold, Notting Hill, London
At the gates of Portobello Road, Gold’s small but ambient terrace acts as an oasis of tranquility away from the bustling market crowds, and its menu is even more impressive. Octopus carpaccio, Iberian black tomato porchetta and grilled broccoli, to name but a few dishes, this is the perfect place to enjoy a selection of small plates over a glass of wine for lunch or dinner. Larger plates include leg of lamb with Datterini tomatoes and ravioli with nettles.
95-97 Portobello Rd, London W11 2QB; 020 3146 0747; goldnottinghill.com
Wilds Kitchen, The Greyhound, Hampshire
For a peaceful riverside dinner, Wilds Kitchen offers a charming space right next to River Test. Hosting a variety of different evenings for patrons to relax with friends and family, Wilds specializes in wood-fired pizzas, gourmet burgers and classic fish and chips. Plant-eaters can enjoy veggie hot dogs, zucchini pizza, and breaded tofu options.
31 High Street, Stockbridge SO20 6EY; 01264 810833; wildsevents.co.uk
Chishuru, Brixton, London
Taking center stage on Market Row in Brixton, Adejoké Bakare’s restaurant offers a mix of modern and traditional West African dishes. Plates include ekuru with pumpkin seed pesto and scotch bonnet sauce and goat shoulder with peanut sauce. While the outdoor terrace will certainly be put to good use this summer, diners should also try to catch a glimpse of Bakare working in the open kitchen.
Unit 9 Market Row, Coldharbour Ln, London SW9 8LB; 020 3915 1198; chishuru.com
Lochleven Seafood Cafe, Fort William, Scotland
A hidden gem that you could literally walk past without realizing it, Lochleven Seafood Cafe is a small seafood restaurant and shop on the west coast of Scotland. Serving delicious freshly caught seafood – we recommend the scallops, mussels, clams and lobster – you can sit out on the terrace and enjoy stunning views over Loch Leven. Kind of a no frills place but well worth the visit.
B863, Onich, Fort William PH33 6SA; 01855 821048; lochlevenseeafoodcafe.co.uk
Chimney, Shoreditch, London
This American-style barbecue restaurant remains a long-term favorite for a bite to eat in Shoreditch. While its brisket buns and beef cheek croquettes remain signature dishes, other smoked meats such as pork chops and lamb merguez are also strong contenders. Also not to be underestimated: the potato dressed in rarebit mustard (yet we still cry mushrooms on toast). Sticky caramel pudding, while not always the ideal dessert on a hot day, is worth starting an argument if your dinner partner refuses.
35 Sclater St, London E1 6LB; 020 3873 1733; smokestak.co.uk