Six of One Goes to Barnet
Bali Satay House and five more restaurants to try in London this week
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Six of One is a 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 the full Six of One back catalogue below:
Polentina and five other recommendations; Inihaw plus five; Kulcha Express plus five; Triple One Café plus five; Samak Seafood plus five; Lakehouse Hungarian; Restaurant plus five; Salteñas Martin plus five; Best Foods Supermarket plus five; Thenga Cafe plus five; Charcoal Champ plus five; Chai Kadai plus five, Fine Cut Butchers and Steakhouse plus five, and Souvlakiland plus five.
Today’s recommendations are from Jonathan Nunn, Montague Ashley-Craig, Gavin Cleaver, Adrienne Katz Kennedy, Ned Sedgwick, and Shekha Vyas.
1. Bali Satay House
I recently noticed some sass over on Twitter when someone suggested that Barnet might be nominated as the next London Borough of Culture. I say sass – what was actually said was that Barnet is “a place without any culture, a desolate wasteland of intellectual despair, a place where literally nothing interesting has ever happened”.
Now this is patently unfair – Barnet has the Brent Cross Shopping Centre ferris wheel, Arsène Wenger's house and ClownTown – but it contains a kernel of truth. If Enfield is a boring borough where insane things frequently happen, Barnet is a boring borough where boring things happen. This means that all the interesting restaurants in Barnet tend to stick out like a sore thumb: Fuji Foods, for example, a sushiya that two of my Barnet friends reckoned served the best-value sushi in London and was a strong contender for a full review until it had the temerity to close for good in May. Luckily, I had Bali Satay House as back-up – a new Indonesian restaurant in High Barnet specialising in Balinese cuisine. I turned up at 6pm one evening to an empty restaurant only to be told by a white guy in a kopiah that he was fully booked for the whole evening. I didn't quite believe him, but the groups of Indonesian diners turning up in hatchbacks proved me wrong.
Incensed but also intrigued, I returned a month later to find that you can eat very well at Bali Satay House, like most of London’s Indonesian and Malaysian restaurants, if you know exactly what to order. Here, it’s in the name: satay is the thing. What sets it apart is that each satay – chicken, tempeh, beef, prawn, lamb and fish – is prepared slightly differently. The chicken comes, as you might know it, grilled and covered with a crunchy, intensely mahogany sauce that is to other satays what Koeze's Cream Nut is to lesser peanut butters. Fish satay is served as a turmeric-heavy mashed fish skewer with chopped garlic and chilli on the side. But the standout is the beef: thin, intricately threaded needles of crispy, dark caramel; bittersweet and aromatic, it’s everything you could want from satay. You could happily order 20 skewers and ignore the rest of the menu, although you won't be able to ignore the two dancers who are unleashed halfway through service to the bafflement of everyone. This is Barnet at its best: the 2027 London Borough of Culture award awaits. Jonathan Nunn
4-5 Western Parade, New Barnet EN5 1AD