My favourite restaurants: John Chantarasak

The man behind Southeast Asian flavour bomb AngloThai shares a few of his favourite places to eat.

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

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My favourite restaurants: John Chantarasak

John Chantarasak is a man in demand right now. With a much-awaited restaurant in the pipeline and an award-winning book on the shelves, the chef-owner of AngloThai is partnering with Outcrop at 180 The Strand this summer, bringing his full-throttle modern Thai cooking to central London. It’s already set to be one of the best London pop-ups of the summer.


And yet, John and partner Desiree’s AngloThai brand started from relatively humble beginnings; initially as a pop-up, word of AngloThai’s greatness spread like wildfire across London before a potential restaurant beckoned. His unique cooking style blends English and Thai influences - John grew up in verdant Wye Valley, but his father is originally from Bangkok, and John trained and worked in Bangkok (including a stint at David Thompson’s world-famous Nahm) before returning to the UK.

That imaginative, kaleidoscopic style caught the eye of TV producers too, and John brought a welcome, fresh approach to BBC’s Great British Menu, creating a sharp juxtaposition with the classic, modern European cooking that often features on the programme.

That trailblazing path makes him the perfect person to take over the kitchen at Outcrop this summer. The multisensory pop-up experience pairs John’s distinctive food with an Amazon-inspired art installation, live DJ sets, and a drinks list that celebrates British spirits, infusions, and ingredients, as well as typical, characterful wines from John’s partner Desiree. All very exciting, but what we wanted to know was - where does John Chantarasak go for inspiration, and what are his favourite places to eat? He gave us a cracking list, including a one-of-a-kind, genre-less London star, and an unassuming neighbourhood wine bar in Sheffield (which is also one of our best restaurants in Sheffield, don't you know).

Ikoyi, London

dining room and dish from ikoyi

John says: ‘Ikoyi has to be the most thought-provoking, mind-bending restaurant in the UK right now. Not only does chef Jeremy Chan manage to create refreshingly imaginative dishes here, but he does so without compromising flavour and quality of ingredients. A firm favourite.’
Where: 180 Strand, Temple, WC2R 1EA
Book now: Ikoyi

Bench, Sheffield

bench restaurant wine bar in sheffield

John says: ‘This unassuming wine bar and restaurant in Sheffield’s Nether Edge ward is run by two of my closest friends - Ronnie and Jack. Bench’s cosy dining room is centred around a large communal table where guests are treated to delightfully innovative and delicious sharing plates, all washed down with a stellar line up of low-intervention wines and in-house made cocktails.’
Where: Nether Edge Road, S7 1RU
Book now: Bench

Carter’s of Moseley, Birmingham

carters of moseley fine dining in birmingham

John says: ‘Carter's of Moseley is run by husband and wife hospitality superstars, Brad and Holly Carter. Brad takes care of the kitchen while Holly manages Front of House and the Wine List. The food is a willy wonka adventure of eclectic super hits that smacks with flavour and technique. Not only this, but Brad prides himself on sourcing almost all his produce from the British Isles. The mostly biodynamic and organic wine list is equally hard hitting with non-stop bangers.’
Where: 2c Wake Green Road, Moseley, B13 9EZ

The Ninth, London

dining room at the ninth london#

John says: ‘Consistently brilliant cooking from chef Jun Tanaka and his team in the heart of Fitzrovia. The menu sees classical French technique paired with the vibrant flavours of the Mediterranean. I recently ate at The Ninth and it was a standout meal of 2023. Everything is always delicious and the seasoning is spot on - no surprise given Jun’s experienced CV working alongside a number of industry heavyweights.’
Where: 22 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2NB
Book now: The Ninth

Samrub Samrub Thai, Bangkok

acclaimed restaurant Samrub samrub thai in bangkok

John says: ‘Chef Prin Polsuk is one of the best, if not the best, Thai chef out there right now. This chef counter restaurant focuses on breathing new life into ancient Thai recipes that Prin collects on his travels around the kingdom. Every dish is cooked with flavour precision and the menu theme changes each month, so it’s rare you’ll ever try the same dish twice.’
Where: 39/11 Yommarat Alley, Silom, Bang Rak, Bangkok

Craving a pad thai or a rich thai curry? These are the best Thai restaurants in London for our money, from easy-going neighbourhood hangouts to premium fine-dining extravaganzas.

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