London’s Memorable Meals
Like, what the hell is blood pudding? Meat pie, huh? Prior to visiting London, I ignorantly assumed all British food would taste bland or be tiny finger sandwiches that wouldn’t satiate my American hunger. So, imagine my surprise when I touched down in one of the poshest cities in the world to find its food as attractive as its residents!
This is the beautiful thing about travel, once you visit a place you are liberated from your preconceived notions and expectations about a culture and their food. Even as a seasoned traveler, who should know better, I still find new cultures smacking me over the head saying “You dummy!”.
If you are a foodie, this city is for you! With each bite, London happily changed my foodjudice (Yes, I made this word up) against British cuisine and I know you will feel the same once you try the nibbles mentioned below! Without further ado, let’s get to the food.
This crunchy little egg-filled meatball is an absolute must-have snack while in London! Why, America, do we not serve this crunchy, protein delight everywhere? Traveling to the U.K. would be worth every penny just to try one of these. My first introduction to the egg-delight and was at the Saturday Market near Sloane Square in Chelsea. I had never seen nor eaten one before so my friend, Justin, insisted we split one! It was a cool October day so we chose to eat our eggs warm. The over-easy yolk oozed onto the cooked whites surrounded by spicy sausage and onto the crunchy shell. A perfect blend of savory flavors!
I’m a sucker for food with a story and love to try them at their origin! Luckily the place of their creation is also a famed 18th-century department store where the Queen places orders! Inspired by the Indian dish narcissus, Fortnum & Mason claims to have invented the boiled egg, wrapped in pork sausage then rolled in bread crumbs before being baked to crunchy perfection. When you visit their flagship store on Picadilly (A MUST VIST) head to the Food Hall level and pick up a traditional or black pudding egg. Your tastebuds will thank you!
Several of my friends from London and abroad insisted that I have a Sunday roast when in town. I was so excited for this meal! I had traveled throughout Asia for over two weeks and was ready for a hearty, meat-based dish! When Sunday finally rolled around, I was ready to have this familiar meal. Having grown up Ohio and the granddaughter of two farmers, I am very familiar with the roasted meat, root vegetables, and popovers that make up a traditional roast. The only challenge… which Gastropub to choose?
After reading about numerous locations, we finally settled on The Pig & The Butcher. What won us over? The locally-sourced meats, on-site butcher, the promise of a delicious bloody caesar, and regional wines! Stupidly, we did not make a reservation, nor arrive before 12 pm for their opening queue so getting a table was not an option. Thankfully the manager made room for us at the small bar where we happily ordered our food and drinks directly from the barkeep.
I am proud to say we chose locations wisely but have a feeling these other roast locations are just as divine in their own unique way.
The poshest of all afternoon nibbles and an absolute MUST if your schedule allows, High Tea will have even the least dainty individual feeling like quite the lady! I’ve had a few afternoon teas and once treated my mom to Peacock Alley in D.C. but the magical treats created by The Berkley’s pastry chefs make an afternoon spent at Prêt-à-Portea absolutely unforgettable!
Afternoon tea became popular in polite British society in the mid-1800s and originally served to ladies climbing the social ladder. It’s purpose was to stem hunger until the late 8 pm meal. It was Queen Victoria who further popularized the mid-afternoon snack composed of delicately cut finger sandwiches, jams and pastries. Today, Afternoon Tea is a form of celebration for birthdays or special events.
For Justin and me, it was a just a Monday but we celebrated anyway. We booked the fancy tea knowing we would be served three courses paired with several teas. The first course comprised of gazpacho, the second sandwiches (gluten free options are available), but the real treat would be our final course! All made to look like classic designer pieces: they chefs created a vanilla Burberry trench coat, Louboutin hell and the list goes on. We tried our best to behave, sip our champagne and nibble the cookies while holding back giggles over the cuteness of it all.
If you are girlie or want to pretend to be, this is the place for you! TWO TIPS: book your tea online in advance and don’t eat all your cookies. The staff will politely box the remaining designer wear for you to take home.
Price: £52.00 – 62.00 per person
When I hear the words “meat pie” I can’t stop my mind from replaying images of Sweeney Todd and Miss Lovett working in tandem to turn unsuspecting men into meat pies. It’s a horrible image! So, when my friend suggested we visit Borough Market, I was a bit skeptical but conceded. Justin had visited the day prior and expertly navigated us from the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, past the tower of Big Ben and into the London Underground.
Upon exiting the Tube we simply had to follow our noses to the large food fair situated beneath Tower Bridge. The market was packed! Said to be in operation for over 1,000 years, this market had it all, from charcuterie to roasts, vegan Indian cuisine to the most delightful chocolates, but we stayed focused, bound for the meat pie line! And, it was a line!
But the tellers worked quickly to move the 25 person deep queue quickly! When it was my turn I ordered my own, personal Chicken and Pea Pie. Starved, I broke the golden crusted shell of the pie to find a steaming mix of creamy chicken, peas and potatoes. Standing there, in the crowd I stopped and savored the rich flavors. Amazed by the complexity of the dish!
Market Hours: 10 am – 5 PM | Monday – Saturday
Fish and Chips
What visit to the U.K. would be complete without an order of Fish & Chips? On our final day in London Town we seated ourselves at Golden Union. It’s a quintessential British Chippy that serves up several fish types battered and fried to golden perfection! Fresh, fast and flavourful! Golden Union isn’t the only place in town serving up this delightful dish but if you are in SoHo check them out. I recommend ordering the Cod & Chips in a Large! The cod is so flaky and perfectly flavored with a squeeze a lemon that a small order just wasn’t enough!
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