The best BYOB restaurants in London (and what to take with you)

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Whether you want to keep it cheap and cheerful or savour a treasured bottle, Joanna Taylor knows all the best restaurants where you can bring (and guzzle) your own booze...

Mangal 1, Dalston

Counting Gilbert and George, Jamie Oliver and Ottolenghi as longtime fans, this Dalston spot is certainly no secret. Regularly cited as one of London’s best kebab shops, make haste to this 30-year-old Turkish haven for the expertly grilled, mighty juicy cöp şiş (lamb skewers) served with salad and warm, pillowy, freshly baked bread. Full disclosure, though: if you’re looking for soft, romantic lighting, this is not the place for you.

10 Arcola Street, E8 (@mangal_ocakbasi)

Wondering what to bring to Mangal 1?

Sommelier and co-founder of Sune, Honey Spencer, says...

“Mangal I is all about those Turkish and Middle Eastern Spices which can be both juicy and dry. As someone who enjoys playing with spice and wine combinations, I’d bring my orange wine of the moment, Deux Couleurs, a bewitching Gewurtztraminer by Yannick Meckert in Alsace. The low level tannin works to ramp dry spices up, whilst the floral, juicy character of the grape add a quenching sign off to each bite.”

Deux Couleurs 2022 by Yannick Meckert, £38 (

Maries Cafe, Waterloo

Yes, it’s missing an apostrophe, but Marie doesn’t care about grammar —she cares about serving cheap and cheerful Thai food, which she pulls offwith flying colours. Situated behind Waterloo station on buzzing LowerMarsh, it’s here you’ll find classics that lean towards British tastes, includingcrispy spring rolls, a green chicken, pork or beef curry for £5.50 anddrunken noodles from £6.50. There’s corkage of £1 per person, which is,quite frankly, a steal.

90 Lower Marsh, SE1 (

Maries Cafe (Courtesy)
Maries Cafe (Courtesy)

Wondering what to bring to Maries Cafe?

Wine expert Ellen Doggett says...

“I love the Framingham ‘Classic’ Riesling. It has a tickle of sweetness on the palate that offsets the citrusy acidity, complimenting the gorgeous, aromatic spices and heat kick we all love in Thai food. Having a bit of residual sugar is a match made in heaven for spice!”

Framingham ‘Classic’ Riesling 2021/22, £19.99 (

Tayyabs, Whitechapel

If a restaurant can stick around for more than 50 years, you know its owners are doing something right. Beloved by the likes of Pedro Pascal, Kumail Nanjiani, Jon Favreau, Big Narstie, Gemma Collins and Sadiq Khan, this Punjabi eatery is famed for its succulent lamb chops that arrive on a sizzling cast-iron hotplate. The Whitechapel stalwart is the perfect place to fuel up before a night on the tiles.

83-89 Fieldgate Street, E1 (

Wondering what to bring to Tayyabs?

Charles Brown, restaurant manager at Aulis, says...

“I’d highly recommend a deliciously mourish expression of Gamay from the reputable Domaine of Lapierre in the Beaujolais region of France. Made from younger vines on the domains various vineyards, it’s full of fresh, fun crunchy red and dark fruits. It has a fresh acidity and distinctive floral aromas, too. Overall, it’s super tasty, delicious, and great value for money.”

Domaine Marcel Lapierre, Raisins Gaulois Gamay, £21.60 (

Xi’An Impression, Highbury

Football fan or not, this fuss-free noodle joint situated opposite Arsenal station is well worth a visit. No, it’s not the type of place where you’ll receive service with a smile, but you will be smiling when faced with a bowl of signature lip-smacking liangpi cold noodles — featuring chilli, cucumber, beansprouts and seitan — and succulent boneless chicken in ginger sauce.

117 Benwell Road, N7 (020 3441 0191)

Wondering what to bring to Xi’An Impression?

Charlie Carr, co-founder of Papi, says...

“If I was on my way Xi'an Impressions, I'd be sure not to leave the house without picking up a bottle of Julian Scheid's Late Release 2020. From the Mosel and 100% Riesling, it's a wine that goes through extended lees aging for two years, this gives it a salinity and power, expressed through a subtle but consistent smokiness, that supports the vibrant fruit.

Mosel Riesling and the food from Xi'an impressions is an obvious match made in heaven because there’s enough power in the wine to stand up to the spice (lees ageing is comparable to skin contact with the weight it lends a wine). The small amount of residual sugar brightens the fruit, playing very nicely with dishes like the ginger chicken and the Biang Biang noodles.”

Riesling Trocken Late Release 2020, by Julian Scheid, £29.95 (

Singburi, Leytonstone

Securing a table at this hyped-up restaurant is harder than getting Ben Affleck to wave at the paps. But you know what they say: God loves a trier, and eating here is certainly worth a try. The perfect place for a big group of pals, it boasts a changing menu of hyper-authentic, effervescent Thai food by chef Sirichai Kularbwong that makes each visit more exciting than the last. Be sure to get the clams and carry cash, as your card ain’t welcome.

593 High Road, E11 (@singburi_e11)

Wondering what to bring to Singburi?

Emma Denney, head sommelier at Claridge’s Restaurant, says...

“A wine with a fuller body, with bright acidity, savoury spices and lush fruit profile makes Domäne Wachau’s Grüner Veltliner Smaragd an excellent pairing for food with spice, and it’s one of my favourite pairings for Thai dishes. Going for a Smaragd style means you will have more richness in the wine to soften the spice of the dishes. Grüner is a very mineral grape, meaning no matter how rich the wine is, you'll have a lift of freshness throughout.”

Domäne Wachau, Grüner Veltliner Smaragd 2021, £17.99 (

Mystic Burek, Sydenham

Spasia Pandora Dinkovski has made it her mission to make the capital fall in love with Balkan cooking — and she’s well on her way. After launching her hit borek delivery service in 2020, she blessed Sydenham with a café in September last year. Head here in the early evening for deliciously flaky, hot filo slices containing creamed spinach, parmesan, potato and Kurdish chilli, or smoked lamb and confit garlic new potatoes.

227 Dartmouth Road, SE26 (@mysticburek;

Wondering what to bring to Mystic Burek?

Erika Haigh, founder of Mai Sake, says...

"I would recommend people bring a bottle of Mai Mai Junmai sake. Wth its fruity undertones, hints of vanilla, and a subtle nutty character, it pairs seamlessly with the creamy and cheesy ingredients of their pies, as well as the spices used (i.e. smoky lamb). Its rich and smooth profile ensures a harmonious balance with the flavour intensity and heartiness of their food offering."

Mai Mai Junmai sake, £26.90 (

Burnt Smokehouse, Leyton

Founded by Romanian fire obsessive Tiberius Tudor (who trained among the greats of the Texas barbecue scene), this eatery is your other excuse to venture way out east. Based under the railway station, the entirely halal spot has achieved cult status in less than a year thanks to its juicy, 12-hour smoked beef brisket, lamb ‘riblets’ and epic double-stacked smash burger piled high with onions, dill pickles and cheese.

161a Midland Road, E10 (@burnt.smokehouse)

Wondering what to bring to Burnt?

ES Magazine drinks columnist, Douglas Blyde, says...

“Given that the Texan BBQ at Burnt Smokehouse isn’t exactly introverted, considering its inherent smoke and bold spice mix, I opt not for wine nor beer, which could get lost, but an extravagant, strong, sticky rye whiskey. Originating from the USA, Never Say Die rye reaches our shores via a 4,000-mile sea voyage undertaken in the original cask, resulting in hyperbolic spirit-to-oak contact. Best sipped neat over ice, the result, like the best BBQ, unites power and finesse.”

Never Say Die Rye, £64.95 (

Little Georgia, Hackney

If you’re not familiar with the joys of Georgian fare, this is the perfect excuse to rectify that. Promising comfort food at its finest, head to this hot spot just down the road from Broadway Market for the legendary adjaruli khachapuri (boat-shaped bread filled with golden cheese, topped with an egg), khinkali (pork and beef dumplings), and ladles full of chashushuli (a beef stew cooked in rich tomato sauce). Corkage is free if each person spends over £25, otherwise it’s £5.

87 Goldsmiths Row, E2 (

Little Georgia, Hackney (Courtesy)
Little Georgia, Hackney (Courtesy)

Wondering what to bring to Little Georgia?

Co-owner of Bar Levan, Mark Gurney, says...

“The first place to start is with fantastic wines of Georgia. They have a deep history of winemaking and are famous for their skin contact wines, especially from Kakheti in the east of the country. One of my favourite that we serve at Bar Levan is John Okro’s Zvari which is a delicious orange made with the Rkatsiteli grape and has amazing notes of dried apricots, white blossom, and a hint of walnut. But importantly has lovely acidity to help cut through the rich Georgian cuisine.”

John Orko ‘Svari’ Rkatsiteli 2021, £19 (

Andu Café, Dalston

On the other hand, if you don’t like making decisions, Andu is the place for you. Offering entirely vegan Ethiopian food, the restaurant offers each diner a choice between rice or traditional injera — a delicious, slightly sour fermented flatbread with a similar texture to a crepe-like pancake — alongside a selection of six stews and vegetables, including the lightly spiced red lentil misir wat and comforting collard greens cooked in garlic.

528 Kingsland Road, E8 (