Part of an ongoing series exploring the world of cuisines on offer in London, created in honour of Taste of London’s most international year yet and a truly global summer for London.
This strand of blog posts has seen me get all excited about the world of international cuisines available in London. I’ve already raved and drooled over Thai
offerings. Before I continue my travels, it seems only right to take a moment in appreciation of our own culinary talents. The best of British.
Not so long ago food in Britain wasn’t anything to brag about. Countries such as France would mock our paltry offerings. And probably our poultry, too. But this has well and truly changed. London is now amongst the greatest cities in the world for eating out. And what’s more, it’s no longer the case that it has to be French or Italian or Asian to make a fuss. In the foodie world right now there’s nothing cooler than being British.
One of the Taste of London exhibitors this year is Kensington Place
, set in Notting Hill. When it opened 25 years ago, this restaurant was at the heart of the British food movement, arguably becoming the first modern British brasserie. Where it led, others followed, and though it’s still going strong all these years later, there’s certainly more contenders for its crown.
, sister restaurant to Kensington Place, is one such contender. Here seasonal British ingredients are served with modern flair, and a finesse that might once have been reserved for French food. No more is this the case.
Elsewhere in West London, Hereford Road
gets down to its British roots with a meaty menu that focuses on less usual cuts and offal. And heading East there’s the Michelin-starred Godfather-like St. John
in Farringdon, headed up by Fergus Henderson who famously coined the term ‘nose-to-tail eating’
- and no doubt gave some inspiration to the Hereford Road team.
A similarly historic grounding can be found at Heston Blumenthal’s altogether more modern restaurant Dinner
. The molecular maestro has (for the most part) left dry ice to the side, and instead placed Ashley Palmer-Watts
at the helm of a menu based on dishes from as far back as the sixteenth century.
They may lack the glitz of Heston, but one of the biggest champions of British food has to be that cultural institution the pub. And though you still wouldn’t have to look that hard to find a spot selling re-heated bangers & mash or soggy fish & chips, the industry has certainly pulled its socks up. The term gastropub may be a controversial one in many circles, but being able to get some decent grub with our grog is no bad thing. There’s several gems such as Anchor & Hope
in Waterloo, The Harwood Arms
in Fulham and The Gun
in Docklands bringing food to the table that would trump many fancier restaurants.
So, be it a pub lunch or a fine-dining dinner, you now know how to celebrate this coming Monday. Put your dragon slaying sword away and toast good old St. George over a plate of proper English nosh and a pint of ale. or English wine
Any recommendations of British restaurants fit for the occasion? As ever, please leave suggestions in the comments or tweet @TasteofLondon
By Ben Norum