A London Food Guide – The Best Places To Eat!
London is one of the top ranked cities in the world for fine dining, holding over 70 Michelin stars, so it comes as no surprise that the standard of food in this wonderful city is outstanding. But you don’t have to sell a lung to afford the best grub in London, there are plenty of great restaurants, cafés and markets to get you salivating.
We recently took a trip to the nation’s capital with the intention of loosening our belts and settling in for a weekend of top-nosh, after doing our research and feeling overwhelmed by the choice. It’s hard to know what type of cuisine you will actually fancy a few weeks from now, or even which district of London you’ll find yourself in when your belly rumbles, so we just wrote them all down for future reference. And then forgot the list! Still, imprinted on my canny cerebellum were enough facts and keys words to re-find the food data required and we proceeded to eat our way around London.
Brunch in London
Situated just around the corner from our hotel in Clerkenwell was the botanical paradise of the Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings Restaurant (the B&H to locals). Hallelujah to Pinterest for this amazing find – a holiday for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Like some wealthy old country estate which has gone to seed you can take your tea in the garden room amongst the flora or find a comfy low arm-chair with worn blooming prints in the cosy restaurant area. Such a beautiful restaurant and bustling with cheeriness from the attentive staff and happy punters alike.
The menu for brunch is fairly substantial and all impecably prepared. Booking is essential, this kind of high quality food in beautiful surroundings is always going to be a winner with locals and visitors alike. Find more information on their website. So, how do you like your eggs?
Food Markets of London
Street food in London wonderfully represents the enormous diversity of cultures you find yourself rubbing shoulders with in this liquorice allsorts of a metropolis. Cuisines from countries I’ve never even heard of (and I have a map wall I devote hours of day-dreaming to!) and dishes that I can’t even pronounce. That said – you don’t need to speak Uzbekistanian to eat Uzbekistanian.
Most people have heard of Greenwich, Cambden or Borough Markets, in fact, most people have been, but don’t forget the little guys. Leather Lane has been around 400 years and has a royal history – the wager of a bad debt made by destitute King Charles II. Enveloped by Little Italy and once a place for artists and instrument makers, these days you will be spoilt for choice when you come for lunch. Or Broadway Market, rumoured to have inspired the set of Eastenders, is a foodie-heaven frequented by local hipsters and fashionista’s. Or Berwick Street Market – just around the corner from Oxford Circus, you’re bound to be passing at some point so take a left turn and pick up some tasty morsels.
Dinner In London
In the Muir household we love a good Indian. Nottingham spoils us for choice with its Asian supermarkets and curry-houses, home to some of the best in the country with many food-awards to their names, so when it comes to our Masalas and Daal’s we’re a bit fussy. We were once of the notion that the best curry-houses in London must surely be of the ‘small family business’ kind, where little attention is paid to the decor and more to the ingredients, where the greasy haired waiters must surely be an indication of the quality of ghee used in-house, yes? Well, I’m sure they’re out there, and I’m not averse to a formica table or shared-loo once in a while, but I think for the time being we shall be sticking with Dishoom when it comes to scratching that Balti-itch. It really doesn’t get much better. From the minute you enter their establishment in Shoreditch your nose sends out party invites to various other body members seducing you with scents of cardamom and clove, cassia and cumin. Once upon a time the old Irani cafes of Bombay welcomed business men and sweaty tuk-tuk drivers alike and Dishoom replicates this unassumed era with its classically simplistic decor and quality ‘without fuss’ food. I dare say there are better curries out there but in this instance the sum is greater than its parts and all that Dishoom offer add up to a perfectly pleasing affair.
The calamari small plate and the Chicken Ruby, mopped up with a Roomali Roti won’t disappoint. Wash it down with a mango and fennel seed lassi and jobs a good’un.
Reservations are taken for breakfast and lunch, but if there are less than 6 of you at Dinner you can’t book and may have to wait a short while. Get their opening times on their website.
Posh Picnics in London
If you’re hankering for a picnic but feel like cheese and ham sandwiches just don’t make the grain then find yourselves an Ottolenghi Delhi and pick up some of their amazing salads and even more amazing cakes and pastries. As if they didn’t look good enough anyway, they’re even healthy too, it’s pure clean eating – although maybe not all the cakes. There are 6 establishments across London to purchase your posh picnic. These pictures are going to sell it to you…
La Piece De Resistance – Dinner by Heston
So, I’ve shared some London food gems with you my friends, and all places I wouldn’t hesitate to take my most critical of foodie-friends (who shall remain nameless, but you know the type – never compliment your cooking, always name-drop their latest extravagant nosh-up, call the chefs by their Christian names). Well, if you need a retort then book yourselves a table at Heston’s (see what I did there) at the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. ‘Dinner‘ ranks number 7 in the Worlds Best Restaurants this year and it’s really easy to see why. The menu is inspired by the History of British cuisine – contemporary takes on old recipes which show that our obsession with food is not just a modern marvel. Every mouthful will leave you humming with delight and wonderment at how something can taste so good, and that’s just the bread they bring you to nibble on as you wait on the ultimate dining experience! You may well be surrounded by rich Chinese business men and their bag-laiden teenage daughters, only here to pick up their new horse-hair Manolos, but Dinner doesn’t request that you own half a football club. Of course it’s high-end and you probably want to dress up but the staff are gracious and don’t differentiate, there are still many diners there for special occasions who wouldn’t ordinarily be so lavish and this is much respected.
A 3 course lunch from their set lunch menu costs £40 (available Monday – Friday) and the á la carte considerably more, but I promise you it’s worth every penny. This is the seventh best restaurant in the world!
So go on, book your London foodie break and don’t forget to drop me a comment, have you eaten anywhere great in London? Got a favourite London food market? I’d love to know!
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