Filthy. Dirty. Mucky. But blissfully comforting. You’ll get pretty close to the Quebecoise hot mess of chips, curds and gravy at burger spot Dip’n’Flip and Hampstead’s Garden Gate pub. But you’ll nail it – oh boy you’ll nail it right between the eyes – at The Poutinerie, a Brick-Lane-On-Sunday stall run by an actual, real-life, in-the-flesh Canadian called (phrasebooks out) Paul. It goes full-blown puritan and uses proper curds in the unholy trinity.
If your response to “How would you like your steak, sir?” is “Utterly corrupted, yo!” then grab one of these hellbeasts. Ribbons of prime rib-eye of beef get sordid with spoonfuls of Cheese Wiz, then sent to the doughy depths inside a soft Italian "hoagie roll" sub. And nobody’ll give you the authentic post-dish sweaty regret like the Philadelphian ex-pats of Liberty Cheesesteak, who fry up greatness at Spitalfields Market.
You like the thrill of pizza. And you like the frivolity of pancakes. And you like the sophistication of saying you “went Japanese” for lunch. Well take a seat son, life’s about to take a stonking great turn for the better. Okonomiyaki are pretty much all three in one – cabbagey/eggy/battery things with loads of toppings piled high. And from Japan. Abeno’s your place for these – Europe’s only specialist restaurant.
Two spots now, duking it out for your Po Boy allegiance. In the red corner, jumping on the spot, cracking its neck is Stax – the American diner with a big bruising Cajun-spiced popcorn shrimp and tangily sauced sammich. Its challenger? Hank’s Po Boys – wearing the colours of KERB and with an array of Po Boy versions to bring the pain, including the pulled pork, brisket and creole gravy "Poor Boy".
Narcos taught us two things: one, that the word “puta!” covers all the sweary bases, and two, that Columbia’s national dishes sure did get the better of our Pablo. Terribly jumpered Pablo, with his belly like an oil drum, might have gotten away if it wasn’t for those empanadas and adobo wings slowing him down. Pour one out for the big man as you chow down in tribute at Colombian Street Kitchen at Green Rooms Hotel, and Maize Blaze at Camden Lock.
What's your suitcase secret weapon?
We know you have one: a square space in your luggage reserved for the King Shirt – but what to fill it with? Here's a few primo suggestions
The five most eye-wateringly beautiful Pret-a-Mangers in Zone One
There are 850 branches of Pret A Manger in central London. Each is exquisite. But as with diamonds, some will always glint more pleasingly than others...
Things restaurants absolutely need to stop doing this year
There are restaurant foibles that we wouldn't mind throwing headfirst out of the window