The best halal restaurants of 2019

I would say 2019 has been a year of discoveries when it comes to restaurants. I was lucky enough to eat at lots of new halal restaurants that have only opened this year. Although this list is not exhaustive, these are some of the best halal restaurants of 2019 that I’ve eaten at. Some are oldies but were worth visiting again!

Zen Lounge — Purley

Zen Lounge is a new addition to Purley/South Croydon, and one of my stand out restaurants of the year. It is beautiful from inside – think marble, leather, flower walls and that’s just downstairs in the restaurant area. It’s all a bit much but great for the gram, if you can get the lighting right. Upstairs is the shisha lounge where you can also eat, and here the decor is much nicer. Dim lighting, blue velvet seating and a private area (VIP area, minimum spend £500). The second time I went the food was fantastic. Specialising in fully halal Japanese food (no alcohol on the premises) the best dishes here are the dynamite prawns (like PF Changs but smaller portion) sushi, udon noodles, veg tempura, soft shell crab, and the fillet steak. The food is great, but you’re paying mainly for the ambiance. Added bonus: they have a prayer room!

Halal status: All halal, no pork or alcohol.
Prayer room: Yes
Cost: £45 pp. Shisha: £20

 

 

Afternoon Tea at Buddha Bar — Knightsbridge

One of the best afternoon teas I’ve had, I would go back here in a flash. The reason why I loved this SO much was because there was a lot of food and it wasn’t sandwiches and scones. After a traditional afternoon tea, you’re often full and bloated and need a nap. Then a few hours later you’re hungry again! That’s me anyway… But this tea wasn’t heavy, and of course being Buddha Bar, there was not a scone in sight. Instead we were served the most delicious steamed duck buns, wontons, deep fried sushi and salmon fishcake. The desserts were even nicer! You can buy this as a gift, and the recipients will love you forever! The Afternoon Tea also includes one free mocktail too which was much needed as we went during the 2019 heatwave. (Their A/C is not great!)

Halal status: All meat halal. (Re-check status as it does change)
Prayer Room: No. Nearest Mayfair Islamic Centre, 19 Hertford St
Cost: Approx £40pp

Lunch at the Ritz – Mayfair

The Ritz is really something else and if you haven’t been then this is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. The waiting staff go above and beyond and just treat you so nicely it’s worth every penny. Being halal diners, the staff went out of their way to accommodate even telling me one of the amuse bouche is made from vegetarian gelatine so don’t worry. They were fantastic. In fact the amuse bouche, starters, petit fours and dessert were phenomenal. The mains not that much and that’s because we didn’t go for one of the three choices on the lunch set menu. The choices didn’t appeal at all. So they made us a lamb and chicken dish especially but it was pretty bland. Everything else made up for it though and we were really full afterwards.
A gift for my husband’s birthday, we finally visited the Ritz a few weeks after its expiry date (they let you extend your voucher if they’re fully booked). The Ritz also threw in a small birthday cake at the end which was also delish. You must book this in advance as it gets really busy especially over the festive season.
Halal status: Halal chicken & lamb. Pork and alcohol served.
Prayer Room: Ask staff for a room to pray.
Cost: £120 for two people.

Tibits — Bankside

I was invited to try the new menu here one afternoon and found Tibits has a really different concept. It’s a fully vegetarian buffet restaurant but you pay for your food in weight which eliminates wastage. That is one of my main beefs (excuse the pun) with buffets. Suited for lunch Tibits is a great place where you can just go and eat anything on the buffet bar without thinking twice. There’s over 40 vegetarian dishes including lots of vegan options. Tibits specialises in seasonal produce so the menu changes every season! The desserts are also great here and include some British classics like fruit crumble, if you leave enough space for them that is.
Halal status: No meat served here.
Prayer room: No. Nearest Guys Hospital, London Bridge or KCL Waterloo Campus
Cost: £2.10 per 100g.

Kahani — Chelsea

I’m always a bit weary of going to fancy Indian restaurants, some of the local curry houses are pretty good so why? But it’s a thing and people love going for special occasions. A friend’s birthday brought me here and I had a great time! The starters and dessert were top notch — the mains not so much. The mains were pretty standard desi fayre but the chops and the prawn starter was beautifully presented and hit the spot. We went for the Dawat menu with an addition of cute and tasty, but expensive (one venison) samosas (£11 for 3). But hey we’re in Chelsea so what do you expect?
Service was great except for the sneaky samosas which we thought would be on the house for some reason! Anyway the lovely log fire and surroundings makes Kahani a great venue for a special night out. There is also a private dining area for ten people.
Halal status: All meat halal including venison and game. No pork. Alcohol served
Prayer Room: No
Cost: £75 pp

Giggling Squid — Wimbledon & Kingston.

One of the best discoveries of 2019, Giggling Squid is a Thai restaurant with beautiful decor. Flower walls and arches, it’s great for romance and family outings. My kids love the food here especially their tapas menu which has four little dishes in a tray. I really liked the satay chicken and the Thai Green Curry here. The lunch menu is really good value for money too.
Halal status: Chicken and lamb only.
Prayer Room: No. Nearest Kingston mosque
Cost: £15 pp

Khas London — Tooting

A refreshing new addition to Tooting, Khas London’s menu has been created by an award winning chef. Khas have tried to go with a more upmarket contemporary feel with chic decor and gourmet style presentation of classic Pakistani food. I attended an educational event here and really enjoyed the menu. The desserts weren’t Pakistani which I really liked (yes I said it, I prefer European desserts to Pakistani) , the panne cotta and tiramisu being especially good. They serve nihari and haleem here every day. Bonus.
Halal status: All meat halal. No alcohol or pork.
Prayer Room: Yes
Cost: £20pp

Syon Lounge — Brentford

Another sushi and shisha place (apparently Zen have copied Syon Lane). Thankfully it’s not style over substance, the Japanese food here is actually really good! You will find a slightly pretentious instafamous kind of crowd here but for me it’s a great location, situated between North and South London. Of course the flower wall is very popular but it’s worth visiting for the food especially the sushi and gyozas.
Halal status: All meat halal. No pork. Alcohol served.
Prayer Room: It’s part of the Hilton so you should be able to request a space.
Cost: £30 pp

The Mantl – Knightsbridge

One of my favourite new restaurants of the year for sure! At first I thought, do we need another Turkish restaurant? If it’s Mantl, the answer is yes. Mantl is a small restaurant which serves ‘Turkish’ inspired cuisine. The best dish, the pistachio lamb chops, are served on a bed of pureed potato with asparagus. For me that is the best of Turkish and British food and I loved it. SO good..the spices and flavours used in the chops were really something else and so different. The other dish that really impressed me was the Pachanga and I’m planning on going back for these two dishes alone. We also had Kunafa which wasn’t mind blowing but accompanied with Turkish coffee it was a real treat.
Halal status: All meat halal. No pork. Alcohol served.
Prayer Room: No. Nearest Mayfair Islamic Centre, 19 Hertford St
Cost: £50pp

Burgeri — Regent’s Street

I was wondering whether I should add this to my list! My kids, niece and nephews really enjoyed it and for that reason I’ve put it on here. Now we all like to have family days out in London every now and again, and there’s no better way to end it than going to Burgeri. Kids love burgers as do I! Now Burgeri is really similar to Shake Shack so if you’re into that you’ll love it. The Qatari chain only has one branch near Regents Street so it’s often packed but persevere and you will get a seat. It is fast food after all! What can I say except that they offer Wagyu beef and make a really yummy burger.
Halal status: All meat halal. No pork or alcohol.
Prayer Room: No. Nearest is Islamic Centre 10 Berwick Street, Soho.
Cost: £15pp

Shola — White City

I was invited to Shola Kitchen to a supper club by the folks behind the London Halal Food Festival and The London Muslim Shopping Festival. Shola is another new restaurant, boasting traditional Karachi cuisine. The owner and chef Aida Khan has brought the best of home-cooked Pakistani food and all the passion behind it to West London. The aubergine dip (roasted aubergine raita), crispy parathey and the slow roasted lamb shoulder finished over coal were my favourite dishes at Shola.
There’s also a lot of dishes on the menu which I make at home like khatti daal, tomater ka cut and kaale chaney but I’ve never seen these on a menu so that’s really exciting. All the spices are roasted and grinded in house so everything tastes really fresh. If you’re after authentic Pakistani food without the unnecessary bells and whistles, then Shola is the place to be. You can also get fresh naan khitai and doodh pati here! If you know, you know…
Halal status: All meat halal. No pork. Alcohol served.
Prayer Room: No. Nearest is Westfield prayer room.
Cost: £20 pp

Cyprus Mangal — Victoria

A great Turkish restaurant with North Cypriot influence, you can’t really go wrong with coming here for lunch or dinner. The owner knows his food and has been in the restaurant industry for decades. Good quality meat, huge portions and fresh salads and veg is what makes Cyprus Mangal worth the visit. It’s fairly large so great for big groups and it’s family friendly. More importantly it makes baklava and kunafe fresh in house and it’s delicious. I would recommend the set menu because you get a lot of variety and food for only £27. My favourite dishes here were the kibbeh, the salmon, all the cold mezzes..was actually too full to eat some of the meat in the main course!
Halal status: All meat halal. No pork. Alcohol served.
Prayer Room: No
Cost: Lunch menu: £11pp. 4-course menu: £27pp

So that’s my choices for the best halal restaurants of 2019. What are your most memorable eating experiences of 2019?

 

 



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