If you love food, London has to be one of the most glorious places on the planet to visit. In fact, you can just about get any type of cuisine there, cooked lovingly and very authentic. Actually, it’s likely that the main problem you will be deciding what to eat from the vast array of choices on offer, but hopefully by reading my post below, it will help you decide what to choose when you are there.
East End Treats
The one dish that is synonymous with the East End of London is Pie and Mash. You can, of course, try this at locations; like G. Kelly on Roman Road with gravy, but if you want to be a purist then liquor, a white sauce with parsley is the only choice. Feel free to augment your meal with another East End favourite too, known as jellied eels, and yes they are pretty much exactly as they sound.
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In fact, it even possible to buy Jellied Eels in some of the higher end shops in London now, as they such delicacies. Something that marks them out as definitely worth trying at least once, even if they are something of an acquired taste.
Of course, if you are looking for something a little more modern, the East End has much to offer as well. One place in particular that foodies will want to try is Pidgin on Wilton Way in Dalston. Located on a residential street you may be forgiven for not realising Pidgin is there at first glance, but rest assured once you have tried the food; you won’t be able to forget it.
Unlike many more traditional restaurants, Pidgin offers a new menu each week with four courses and a separate one for vegetarian patrons too. Expect to find beautiful plates of food, along with help on wine recommendations from this single room restaurant, and you won’t be disappointed.
West End Eats
Unsurprisingly, with so many theatres located in this area of London, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from as well. Steer clear of the chain places such as Pizza Express and treat yourself to a well-cooked meal in one of the independent venues instead.
Those that stick out as worth a mention include the Opera Garden where you can feast on Spanish tapas with a modern twist. The menu includes crab bisque, ham and Manchego croquettes and a fantastic selection of authentic Spanish cheeses too, which will delight any lover of queso.
Then there is Joe Allen an American Style Brasserie where you can dine on delights like glazed short rib of beef with pea and spring onion champ, and steamed sea bass fillet with Kalamata olives, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and a basil dressing, all in intimate and atmospheric surroundings.
Of course, it would be daft to not combine your gastronomic experience with seeing one of the top shows in London on the same night too. Luckily, there is always many to choose from, from the avant-garde productions like Dust to the more established musical favourites such as Wicked and the ever popular Lion King.
Just be sure to book your table with enough time to eat before your performance, or go for a place like Joe Allen mentioned above that is open late enough to visit after the show is over.
Trendy and delicious
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You can’t get much more trendy than street food right now, and a great place to sample the gastronomic delights that London has to offer in this category is Borough Market. In fact, the whole place is cathedral devoted to the religion of food, and in between the stalls selling everything from vegetarian pastries to authentic Ethiopian dishes, you will also find traders offering tasty delights that you can take away and use in your own recipes.
Highlights include the wild mushroom sellers, where you can pick up paper bags full of delicious and seasonal fungi that are just as good tossed in a little butter and served on some sourdough, as they are gracing a risotto.
You will also find some rather exotic meat sellers as well, that offer everything from European Alpine smoked sausages to ostrich meat, and even some rather tasty Pork Pies from the famous town of Melton Mowbray.
If you are looking for an on-trend sit-down meal than search no further than one of Ottolenghi’s offerings located in Islington, Spitalfields, or Notting Hill. There you will find a fusion of Mediterranean and North Africa cuisine, with a focus on divinely delicious salads, and pastries to die for.
The simple decor compliments the simple but delicious dishes, and for the quality, you are receiving the price are very reasonable as well.
Heard of French dip sandwiches? You probably have if you are a fan of the American fast food shows that grace our television. They are meaty subs that are dipped in rich gravy to provide a moist and chewy sensation. Also, apart from having a go at making them yourself, they are pretty impossible to find on this side of the Atlantic, that was until Dip & Flip arrived.
Sadly, not yet in a central location, you may have to go a little out of zone one for your dip or flip experience, but if you are a real foodie a short train journey won’t prevent you from seeking out this delicious and hearty delight. Choose from beef and lamb French dips or even go for the flip, which is a cross between a grilled cheese and burger. Oh and don’t forget to ask for extra gravy on the side for dipping.
A simple steak
London is a great place to enjoy the pleasures of a simple steak.
Believe it or not, getting a simple steak that doesn’t cost a fortune in London can be something of a challenge. Of course, there are some wonderful places to indulge in a beefy treat, whether it’s a rare rib eye, a medium fillet, or the spiral cut steak made famous by Gaucho and served with their chimichurri sauce.
That is unless you go to Flat Iron, a place that has six central London locations. You can’t pre-book a table though, and there’s the rub, but if you don’t mind waiting you can get a decent steak, cooked well, at a price that doesn’t require you to remortgage your house. Something that makes Flat Iron a restaurant company that every gastronome should know about if they plan to visit London any time soon.