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A foodie’s guide to London

The former head chef of the iconic River Café, Theo Randall, tells Chantal Borciani his top eats in London

Having spent the vast majority of his career in London, Theo has a who’s who of favourite places to eat. “My daughter goes to school in South Kensington and I’m very familiar with south west London. The Aux Merveilleux de Fred bakery makes the best croissant and French brioche in London. I pretty much have breakfast there four or five times a week. My daughter and I always try and leave a little bit early on the school run so we have time to get a croissant and a coffee there.

“Macellaio RC in south Kensington is the best place to get steak in London,” he continues. “The meat is just so good. My friend Roberto Costa owns it and he’s such a great restaurateur – when you go there it's like going to a little part of Tuscany. He has fantastic wines in his cellar and in my opinion there’s no better place to have a bistecca alla Fiorentina.” Fortunately Macellaio RC has also opened on Clapham’s Northcote Road, which like its Kensington sibling also boasts an on-site butcher.

“The other place I love going is Bottega Del Pane on Wimbledon Park Road. It’s just so Italian. It’s a great café and they make proper Altamura bread, which makes the most incredible bruschetta. They supply loads of top places including the River Café and they make the best panettone I've ever tasted.”

On summer evenings, Theo says there are fewer better places to escape to than Chelsea’s Physic Garden. “The Tangerine Dream Café does a lovely pop up dinner offering on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the summer and it is incredible value for money. Chelsea’s Physic Garden is like an oasis in London and the café is lovely during the day as well. It does great cakes.”

Theo Randall says ingredients are everything. “I'm not a fan of over complicated food. Simple as that. I like the ingredient to taste of the ingredient and menu descriptions not to sound like planning permission,” he explains.

It was under his direction that the River Cafe won its first Michelin Star in 1997 and today Theo Randall at The InterContinental on Park Lane is still consistently voted one of the UK’s best Italian restaurants. Read more in an exclusive interview out in our October issue, or catch him in person at this weekend’s Go Organic festival.