London's best new restaurants: Where to go for the ultimate burger, steak and lobster

Ever woken up with a craving for turkey? Me neither. But should that occur, and you happen to be in the London suburb of Shoreditch, you're in luck. In June husband-and-wife team Amir and Limor Chen opened Strut & Cluck, a restaurant specialising in turkey. They claim it's leaner and healthier than chicken and is packed with proteins, amino acids, zinc and magnesium. They use free-range birds sourced from farms in East Anglia and marinate the meat for 24 hours before slow cooking it in a secret family blend of herbs and spices.

I try the ''classic slow-roast thigh'', a generous serving of meat on a bed of caramelised onions with sweet potatoes and barberries. It's delicious – tender, flavoursome and moist, which, let's face it, aren't words often used to describe turkey.

The restaurant is the latest in an avalanche of London eateries that focus on a single product. Studies have revealed customers are often put off by long, complicated menus, so why not remove the agony of choice altogether? Focus on one thing, do it well and you'll be the ''go to'' place for that dish or ingredient.

It's a formula that's worked well for Flat Iron, a chain of four London restaurants that serves just one item – a £10 ($16) steak. Some people might complain it removes the fun of trying your partner's dish. The flip side is there's no crippling food envy when they order something tastier than you.

Other restaurants have combined two hero ingredients, as is the case with Burger & Lobster (no prizes for guessing what they specialise in). Their simple, one-page menu features two sizes of burger and three sizes of lobster, which come with "chips & salad" or "chips, just chips". When the first restaurant opened in 2011, many critics denounced it as a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. Today, there are 12 in London and outposts in New York, Stockholm and Dubai. 

While there are obvious financial benefits in launching a restaurant with a limited menu – less wastage and the ability to order in bulk for starters – finding a chef who's happy to churn out the same dish day-in day-out can be a challenge.

Some places counter this by providing an ever-changing array of accompaniments. Balls & Company, a meatball restaurant in Soho started by MasterChef Australia finalist Bonny Porter, only serves five types of meatballs, but the sides change twice a week. Strut & Cluck's starters and side dishes are influenced by what's fresh and in season.

Specialising in one dish doesn't need to mean a lack of choice. Cereal Killer Cafe in Shoreditch only serves cereal, but it has more than 120 varieties, which can be ordered with 20 different toppings and 30 different types of milk (who knew there were 30 types of milk?). 

It's a similar story at Mister Lasagna in Soho. The restaurant offers more than 20 types of lasagne, ranging from the unusual (pumpkin and blue cheese) to the decadent (truffle) to the just plain bizarre (Nutella). Interestingly, the most popular option is still the traditional bolognese.


It's tempting to think of this as a new phenomenon, but we've had steakhouses, pizzerias and fish 'n' chip shops for decades. What has changed is the rate at which new restaurants are opening and the variety of options now on offer. Think of a dish or an ingredient and chances are someone's already specialising in it. Have a hankering for eggs? Check out the eggstravagant range of egg-based dishes at Egg Break in Notting Hill. Dying for a hot dog? Bubbledogs in Charlotte Street has 17 different types (try the decadent BLT with bacon and truffle mayo) washed down with a wide range of champagnes. What about chips? Hip Chips in Soho has your back with five different handmade varieties and dipping sauces ranging from Moroccan yoghurt to salted caramel. 

Of course, by the time you read this, other options will have popped up. A cafe that specialises in toast perhaps? A bar that only serves ginger ale? A restaurant that champions cucumber? 

It's hard to tell how sustainable all this is and which of these eateries will still be around in five years' time. So in the meantime, enjoy the variety. And who knows, once you've had your fill of lobster, meatballs, lasagne, chips and cereal, you might just wake up craving turkey.




British Airways flies from Sydney and Melbourne to London via Singapore. Phone 1300 767 177,


Formerly the Old Street Magistrates' Court, this imposing Grade II-listed Edwardian building re-opened as a luxury hotel in May. Rooms from £199 ($322). See

Rob McFarland was a guest of British Airways, Strut & Cluck and the Courthouse Hotel Shoreditch.