The Best Halal-Friendly Restaurants in Central London
Arabica KX is one of the plentiful halal options now available in London | Courtesy of Arabica KX
A growing Muslim population and a steady stream of tourists from Muslim-majority countries have caused the halal food offerings in London to increase in recent years. The city now offers numerous restaurants with halal options, from traditional Malaysian family recipes to Indian tapas.
Restaurant, Malaysian, Halal
Courtesy of Normah’s
Hidden away in the Queensway Market shopping centre, this little nook offers some exceptionally comforting Malaysian food. Normah Abd Hamid, the namesake owner and chef, often greets and mingles with her diners, recounting how her recipes have passed through the generations. The incredible laksa is particularly noteworthy, as is the beef rendang, and there’s nothing quite like her flaky, buttery roti to soak everything up. Chicken and beef are halal. No alcohol is served.
Relatively new to the scene is Ooty, a high-end South Indian restaurant near Baker Street station. You could go solely for the unmissable dosas, especially the eral poriyal, or stir-fried spicy shrimp. Also worth trying are the tiger prawn biryani, the soya palak (a tofu spinach curry) and the warming tadka daal (spiced lentil curry). It’s a good spot for a fancy date night or celebration. All meat is halal, except game. Do check with the staff in case the menu has been updated since the time of writing. Alcohol is served.
Bar, Restaurant, Fusion, Halal, Street Food, Indian, $$$
Dishoom is a London institution that couldn’t be left off this list. Must-try dishes include the chicken ruby and house black daal, with a side order of cheese naan to scoop up every last mouthful of curry goodness. Dishoom has five branches across London, although the Granary Square (King’s Cross) branch is a favourite – housed in a former railway warehouse, it’s a beautifully converted space. Be mindful that Dishoom remains very busy; if you want to walk in without a reservation, you should expect to wait more than an hour for a table during peak dining hours. However, you can make lunch reservations for a party of any size and dinner reservations for groups of six or more. Chicken and lamb are halal. Alcohol is served.
It’s worth pointing out that Hankies’ non-alcoholic cocktails are unusually good – at least at the Marble Arch branch. The Smash Berry tastes like a fruity yoghurt in cocktail form, and the Angoori Ginger is a beautiful mix of sweet and tart. Hankies serves up an equally excellent selection of Indian tapas; popular dishes include the chilli lamb chops, mantu (spicy chicken ravioli), dum aloo khumbi (stuffed baby potatoes) and ‘sweet potato bomb’. The signature dish here is the roomali roti, a hand-spun Indian flatbread folded into a handkerchief – hence the name Hankies. Chicken and lamb are halal. Alcohol is served.
Kutir is on the higher end of the scale for this list of restaurants; however, it’s definitely worth parting with your well-earned cash for a meal here. The menu includes a refined and modern take on some Indian classics – truffle kachadi (kedgeree), a rogan josh lamb shank and a rich sea bass coconut curry. With well-known chef Rohit Ghai at its helm (think Jamavar and Gymkhana), you can expect bold and vibrant flavours. The desserts are delightful, too, and the falooda is a definite must-try. All meat is halal except game. Alcohol is served.
This little-known spot in West Hampstead serves up freshly made sushi and donburi accompanied by halal-certified soy sauce. The head chef and director spent 25 years working at various Japanese restaurants, including Nobu, before setting up Sushi Tokoro a few years ago. Housed in a tiny converted garage with only a handful of tables, it’s also great for a take-away. While you wait, you’ll be served a beautiful green tea blend, which is infused with brown rice. Both the salmon and chicken teriyaki donburis are fantastic, and the best maki is arguably the spicy salmon dragon roll. Chicken is halal. No alcohol is served.
If you’re a conscious consumer, you’ll love The Great Chase. The restaurant carefully selects its suppliers to ensure ingredients have been responsibly and ethically sourced, with a focus on local and seasonal produce. The standard isn’t just halal, but ‘tayyib halal’, which means the animals reared for their meat and dairy are treated with care and dignity on free-range farms. The Great Chase offers fine dining in a cosy central location and a menu that changes regularly. The restaurant also provides tea-pairing and a creative selection of alcohol-free cocktails, with great service to boot. All meat is halal. No alcohol is served. A small prayer room is available.
A family-run Eritrean restaurant with buckets of character and warmth, Mosob is really something quite special. As the food is made for sharing, it’s a great spot for a group dinner or a date. There are plenty of vegetarian options, and all the meat is halal. If you’re new to Eritrean cuisine, then consider ordering one of their set group menus or the chef’s selection of vegetarian dishes. The staff are incredibly friendly so you can also ask for their advice. Some standout options include hamli (sautéed spinach), timtimo (spicy lentils) and zigni (lamb stew), all wrapped up in their delightful injera(sour, sponge-like bread). All meat is halal. Alcohol is served. Some desserts also contain alcohol.
Stepping into Behesht on Harrow Road is like stepping back in time – the whole restaurant is decorated with antiques, copper lamps and Persian rugs (on the walls and the chairs), and the smell of freshly baked bread in the tanour oven permeates the air. The restaurant is always pretty full and has a large Iranian customer base, which can only be a good thing. The mixed grill platter is a firm favourite (it’s massive, so perfect for sharing), but the weekly specials and stews, especially theghormeh sabzi, are also a hit. All meat is halal. No alcohol is served.
With a pan-Mediterranean selection of dishes, there’s something for everyone at Arabica KX. In expanding to this new location in the Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross – the first site is in Borough Market – the restaurant is focused on sourcing the best grass-fed lamb and beef from suppliers who adhere to ethical rearing and slaughtering practices. All plates are best shared, and you’d be well-advised to order a few things from each section of the menu (dips, hot meze, clay oven and charcoal). If there’s one thing you absolutely have to try, it’s the muhammara (hot pepper dip). Beef and lamb are halal, chicken is not. Alcohol is served.
There’s been a lot of buzz about The Mantl among London’s halal food bloggers, and it’s not unwarranted – with considered Turkish dishes, this Knightsbridge hotspot is definitely worth a visit. The mocktails are also a real treat, especially the Halfeti, which is an interesting mix of rose tea and almond syrup and unlike anything else. The kunefe is also a firm favourite, which you can enjoy with a nice cup of fragrant Turkish coffee. All meat is halal. Alcohol is served.