Got 24 hours to spend in London? Try these 4 halal food hotspots

SHAFAQNA – When you jet to a non-Muslim destination for a very quick stay, it makes sense to choose convenience at meal times and opt for something vegetarian or seafood-based. However, with more and more halal restaurants and takeaway options popping up, finding good cuisine is becoming a lot easier.

One of the destinations witnessing a burgeoning halal food scene is London. A cosmopolitan city that’s home to thousands of Muslims, London offers a host of cuisine options to choose from. If you’re in town for 24 hours, you’ll want something central and near the right stations. Here are four must-tries that are as British as you can get. No point highlighting Lebanese or Turkish restaurants here, right?

1. PIE AND MASH

This is arguably one of the most difficult things to find in halal form in the UK, so we cheered when we heard of The Pie Factory, located in East London’s Whitechapel area, just opposite the mosque.

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Steak and mushroom pie with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy at The Pie Factory, London

And after trying it, we’re definitely big fans. We went full pie-and-mash mode and chose the steak and mushroom pie with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy (£8.25). There’s also a chicken tikka masala pie, a “very hot” minced beef option and a kofta pie. All pies are made on site.

The Pie Factory also does a full English halal breakfast. Bonus.

2. AFTERNOON TEA

It doesn’t get more British than a fancy, traditional afternoon tea. If you have a few hours to spare, then there’s great news: more top hotels in the city are offering a halal option now.

But the one to go for is at The Langham, which has been serving afternoon tea since 1865. Available daily from 12.15pm to 4.30pm, the Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood certainly doesn’t come cheap at £55, but ultimately, the experience is worth it.

It is split into three parts: you’re first served the sandwiches, including a selection of classics like Burford brown egg, classic English cucumber and cream cheese, beef pastrami, Scottish smoked salmon and classic prawn cocktail. This is followed by a selection of plain and raisin scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, which is the highlight of the experience, in our opinion.

UK London_Afternoon at the Langham_Scones and tea

Plain scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve at Afternoon Tea at the Langham, London. 

To finish, you’re offered a selection of pastries, including a delightful caramelised puff pastry and salt caramel and mascarpone cream. An afternoon tea wouldn’t be complete without the tea, of course, and the staff are on hand to advise on the best pairings of white and black tea.

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Pastries at Afternoon Tea at the Langham, London. 

Note that it is advised that your choice of halal for the afternoon tea should be specified while reserving.

3. FAST FOOD DONE RIGHT

Okay, so this one isn’t strictly British, but when travelling, don’t you sometimes feel like a nice, juicy burger? Well, here’s one restaurant you need to visit.

Stax Diner is conveniently located just off Oxford Street, which makes it one of the top food hotspots in central London for halal food diners. We arrived around 7pm to find that it was full, so we were asked to come back later; however, we just chose to wait around until a table was free (reservations aren’t offered). It’s quite a small space, so prepare to feel very cosy.

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Bring Home the burger at Stax Diner.

My dining partner opted for Bring Home the Bacon (£10.75), a burger with a choice of cheese and maple-glazed beef bacon. I didn’t feel like beef, so I went for the glorious chicken and waffles (£12.95). Portions were huge, the burger was very meaty, and the fried buttermilk chicken was cooked to perfection. Thoroughly recommended.

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Chicken and waffles at Stax Diner, London. 

The only downside to Stax Diner is that they do serve alcoholic drinks despite only offering halal food, so that’s something to note. When we were there, however, everyone seemed to be having milkshakes instead.

4. SAVELOY, SIR?

It would be criminal to visit the UK without having fish and chips, but many Muslim diners worry that the fish may be fried in the same oil as pork items. Thankfully, London is home to many a halal fish and chip shop, including Eddie’s Fish Bar near King’s Cross tube and railway station.

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Halal beef sausage and chips at Eddie’s Fish Bar.

As it’s 100% halal, we went for a sausage and chips (£2.70), because halal beef sausage is so much harder to find than fish. The traditional fish and chip shop saveloy is usually made of finely ground pork, so we were happy to tuck into a halal beef one.

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