London Food and Drink
Eating out while travelling is not always about the food – sometimes a simple sandwich somewhere with a view is enough. Here we’ve tried to find choices which combine good food with a classic London experience – everything from standing in a lane licking salt beef juices off your fingers to sitting down to Michelin starred silver service and linen tablecloths. Like to enjoy a nice drink before you sit down to eat? You could live as long as London’s been around and still not get to the bottom of the number of bars, pubs, breweries and distilleries that the city has to offer. Some come, some go, others, such as the American Bar at The Savoy, become institutions.
Pie & mash
For a quintessentially London experience head into East London and try the food of the true Cockney. Minced beef pie with mash potato all smothered in a green parsley liquor. Add salt, pepper and vinegar. Try Cooke's in trendy Broadway Market, Hackney.
Fancy a taste of Michelin-starred dining in London? Try Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous 45-seater in Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, and Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in Park Lane. Or try the one-Michelin star lunch at Fera at Claridges for £39 (about $80).
Universally hailed as the first gastropub in London, The Eagle in Farringdon celebrated its 25th anniversary at the start of 2016. There are plenty more now but the original is still as good as ever. Great wine list, good beer, terrific food – and at heart it’s still just a pub.
Curry in Brick Lane
Long before bearded hipsters opened a cereal café in Brick Lane it was renowned for its curries. Come in from the Whitechapel end and it’s curry house after curry house and everyone has an opinion as to the best. Try no-frills Sheba and you won’t get far wrong.
Pull together a picnic lunch at Borough Market under the railway arches in Southwark. This is a must-do destination for international foodies and non-foodies alike. You’ll find great British meats and cheeses as well as stalls selling artisanal products.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz
The Ritz has served terribly British afternoon tea (smoked salmon and ham finger sandwiches, scones and cakes on a tiered cake stand) since 1906. Impeccable service in the elegant Palm Court, frighteningly formal (chaps must wear a jacket and tie) and not cheap (£52 per person) it’s a great experience.
For the full East London bearded hipster experience go to Broadway Market in Hackney on a Saturday morning. It also helps that the market itself is crammed with goodies, lined with great cafes and pubs, and is a short step away from a picnic-friendly lock on the resurgent Regents Canal.