Yipin’s menu covers a lot of the map of China, but you should concentrate on the Hunan and Sichuan sections – that’s where the chefs are from. This is upscale Chinese in an upscale area and therefore not cheap, but big portions mean you don’t have to max out your plastic to get well fed. Many dishes contain massive quantities of chilli, fresh and dried. You can eat them all or just swallow a mouthful of napalm - it comes to the same thing. Order spiced fungus (a kind of wild mushroom), numbing and hot beef, and stir-fried pig knuckle.
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El Inca Plebeyo serves Ecuadorian food in a simple space that’s covered in colourful paintings, tiles, and tablecloths. Be sure to get the hornado.
Llerena is a straightforward but excellent tapas spot in Islington, serving products direct from the family farm in Extremadura, southwest of Madrid.
Alpino is an old-school caff in Islington that serves enormous breakfasts and lunchtime pastas. And all at crazy low prices.
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Bento Ramen is a multi-talented Japanese restaurant in Camden. It’s a quick-fire, go-go-go kind of place that will have you seated and fed fast.
Murger Hanhan is a very useful Mayfair restaurant serving excellent and inexpensive Xi’an specialties like biang biang noodles and murger.
At Hunan, a Chinese restaurant in Victoria, you don’t choose the menu - the menu chooses you. Their ‘trust me’ tasting menu is a classic.
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