Six of One 23/6/2023
Samak Seafood and five other recommendations
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Six of One is a new column dedicated to London restaurant recommendations. In each newsletter, we send out a tip from six writers for six different restaurants, bakeries, cafes or takeaways that deserve to be better known.
You can find previous Six of One’s below:
Six of One 26/5/2023 - Polentina and five other recommendations
Six of One 2/6/2023 - Inihaw and five other recommendations
Six of One 9/6/2023 - Kulcha Express and five other recommendations
Six of One 16/6/2023 - Triple One Café and five other recommendations
Todays recommendations are from Zayneb Al Asaadi, David Jesudason, Shekha Vyas, A.L. Noonan, Branca Lessa de Sá, and Rohan Jones
1. Samak Seafood
The fish offerings of the region stretching from the Levant up to North Africa may be the lesser-known dishes of their respective cuisines for the average Londoner, but they aren’t new to the city for those who know where to look. During the recent heatwave I found myself transported to Alexandria, by way of Willesden, at Samak Seafood, an Egyptian restaurant on the (already stacked) High Road. From the outside you can see a window display of fresh fish and seafood above pictures of the cooked dishes on offer.
Don’t be deceived by the few tables at the front, keep walking through and you’ll find a large outside area at the back that celebrates all things Egyptian – from the usual Pharaohs to the legendary Umm Kalthoum and the new Egyptian King, Mohammed Salah. With dramatic Egyptian soaps playing on the TV, it feels like you’ve wandered into someone’s living room. I ordered the family platter with some modifications that truly humbled my overestimated Egyptian dialect language skills. Plates of tahini, shatta, salad, babaganouj and pickles were quickly laid out followed by the main course: a plate of fried cod, prawns, calamari and Sinjari seabass, butterflied and topped with tangy parsley, tomato, peppers, onions and carrots. You can order anything they have fried, grilled or oven baked; it’s often best to defer to the chef’s recommendation.
Samak has not yet been open a year but has already garnered an approving audience: among them, discerning 70-year-old Iraqi men gathering over white fish and black tea. Though they would never agree to see masgouf knocked off its prime spot, their repeat custom at least suggests the Alexandrian fish of the Egyptian is a worthy competitor. For everyone else, what are you waiting for? The revolution is coming and you can have it any way you want, served with chips, rice and salad. Zayneb Al Asaadi
164 High Rd, NW10 2PB