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T/j Allatsea and Abandondad in London

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Chrysalis123 posted 6/30/2014 11:28 AM

OK guys...spill it.

I am going to be in London soon for my first visit. What typical British FOOD should I not miss?

[This message edited by Chrysalis123 at 11:33 AM, June 30th (Monday)]

TrustNoOne posted 6/30/2014 14:21 PM

I gotta tell ya - I spent 3 weeks working in London and in Basingstoke late last year and, after years on Americanized food, food in the UK was a let down.

I tried pubs, diners, medium high-end restaurants.

It seems their food is much more bland than I'm accustomed to. There doesn't seem to be much emphasis on flavor or spice.

Now, in all fairness - I like intense flavors and very spicy food, so perhaps my disappointment was inevitable. But many of my meals in the UK I found - lacking.

I did try Ox for the first time. Not bad. You must try fish N chips while there.

Also, if you're in the Basingstoke area - try The Gamekeepers restaurant. Lots of new, different, and highly unusual dishes to try. And the owner is a hoot.

MelisssaZZZ posted 7/1/2014 05:11 AM

hey, London has the most amazing resturants :).

Most of them you need to book in advance, and hmm portions are not as big as the US.

Let me know what sort of food you like, can recommend various places :).

english pubs - try The Enterprise on Walton Street SW3; there is lovely peruvian place called coya in picadilly w1; 34 is great for steaks; for something crazy - bubbledogs near charlotte st (hot dogs + champagne)

bigskyblues posted 7/1/2014 05:31 AM

I lived in Scotland for 2 1/2 years, lived mostly on beer and fish n chips! Really miss the fish n chips not the same here in the states!

allatsea posted 7/1/2014 06:50 AM

English food is not spicy. British food which now includes food from all around the globe is spectacular.

If, however, you don't always have to eat spicy food, there is much to enjoy with English food
Abbondad has been subjected to some home cooking too.

If you want to experience Englishness then you should try the following:

1) Fish and Chips from a proper dedicated shop - Not a shop that also sells pizza and kebabs.

2) Full English Breakfast - From a workman's cafe. Not a restaurant but a proper cafe that bricklayers, electricians and plumbers go to

3) Steak and Ale pie with chips (fries) and veg. A good country pub will offer this. Do not expect a pub in a city to offer good food.

4) Roast beef dinner - See country pub

5) Toad in the hole (sausage and yorkshire pudding)

6) Cream Teas - Clotted cream and jam scones with a pot of tea.

7) Shepherds Pie or Cottage Pie - Lamb or beef mince with mash topping

Snacks

Cornish pasty (authentic not mass produced)
Pork Pie(authentic not mass produced)

Foreign
Curry - Varies wildly in quality. Go to an asian area
Chinese - All very similar, generally.
Pizza - Pizza Express (Avoid Pizza Hut commercial rubbish

Abbondad thinks my local chinese is better than anything he can get in Florida


As with any city, it will be full of restaurants all offering seemingly similar fayre. If you go to a chain restaurant such as Wetherspoons Pubs, expect poor quality food.


bbee posted 7/2/2014 01:14 AM

Twiglets. Twiglets. Twiglets.

Chrysalis123 posted 7/2/2014 07:38 AM

Thank you so much for the tips!!

Crescita posted 7/2/2014 11:14 AM

Abbondad thinks my local chinese is better than anything he can get in Florida

I love trying Chinese food abroad! It's always so fascinating how it is tweaked to match the local customs and ingredients. In Italy it was arranged as five courses, in Armenia they used ramen style noodles I suppose the region of diaspora is also a factor, but it's always been great.

Lyonesse posted 7/2/2014 21:41 PM

@ Crescita: My H has some kind of radar for Chinese food - no matter where we go in the world, he will suddenly insist that he smells Chinese food, and sure enough, there will be some hole-in-the-wall eatery just around the corner.

When we were in Tijuana, I fully expected to eat some Mexican food, until H got one of his "feelings." Yup, around the corner was a Chinese restaurant, and he looked at me beseechingly and asked, "Can we?" So we went in, and it turns out he is expecting me to order for him in Spanish! Somehow I muddled through, and after our meal I was surprised when the owner brought out fortune cookies (which, as you know, are not a Chinese tradition). I asked her if the fortunes were in English or Spanish, and she said "Both." Sure enough, they were bilingual fortune cookies.

Enough t/j...

@Chrysalis: If you can get to a good cheese shop, I adore British cheeses!! Great Cheddars, Double Gloucester (and Wensleydale for you Wallace and Gromit fans).If you are traveling around, there are often local cheeses that are so much better than plastic-wrapped supermarket cheese.

[This message edited by Lyonesse at 9:43 PM, July 2nd (Wednesday)]

Harriet posted 7/4/2014 09:49 AM

99s!

sinsof thefather posted 7/5/2014 02:53 AM

I second all of allatsea's suggestions but wanted to add that I don't think any trip to England that includes time in London would be complete without experiencing Pie and Mash with plenty of (green) Liquor and vinegar!

Don't expect this to be highbrow food though, it's a *very* unique and old fashioned traditional London working mans' type meal but I absolutely *love* it.

However if you try it expect it to be a genuine 'love' or 'hate' experience ..there is no in-between with pie 'n' mash...

Here's a link for you to see it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_and_mash

These shops also do a 'Jellied Eels' meal - but my advice if you go is to stick to the pie and mash - I've managed to live in London my whole life and have NEVER been tempted to even try the jellied eels...

..and I agree with the 'proper fish and chips' shop suggestion too. There's nothing quite like it.. (with plenty of vinegar of course!)

UKgirl posted 7/5/2014 05:49 AM

My Dad loved jellied eels. In his last month of life, he wanted and ate jellied eels! I think they are yuck and give me the shivers. Although roll-mops are quite nice. And then there are cockles and mussels to go with the eels and herring.

AAS's advice is pretty spot on. Go down side streets to find better places - or stalk a local!

Try this, it's comprehensive:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_cuisine

http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/food/dishes.htm

Luverlee!

MrsDoubtfire posted 7/5/2014 06:03 AM

If you want to experience Englishness then you should try the following:

1) Fish and Chips from a proper dedicated shop - Not a shop that also sells pizza and kebabs.

2) Full English Breakfast - From a workman's cafe. Not a restaurant but a proper cafe that bricklayers, electricians and plumbers go to

3) Steak and Ale pie with chips (fries) and veg. A good country pub will offer this. Do not expect a pub in a city to offer good food.

4) Roast beef dinner - See country pub

5) Toad in the hole (sausage and yorkshire pudding)

6) Cream Teas - Clotted cream and jam scones with a pot of tea.

7) Shepherds Pie or Cottage Pie - Lamb or beef mince with mash topping

Yup- you pretty much summed us up here

Fish, chips and mushy peas are a must...but out of the paper and not on a plate.And go to a chip shop and not a kebab shop for them otherwise you won't get the real deal!

And you simply HAVE to try a Greggs sausage roll.Their shops are all over the place.

Also try pork pie with pickle (Branstons though) and Scotch eggs.

For a real British treat you need to have a Carvery roast dinner with all the trimmings.

For a highbrow experience you need to book an afternoon champagne tea where you get champagne; a pot of tea, triangle sandwiches and cakes with a scone and clotted cream, jam and butter.

You MUST try the afternoon tea but make sure you go somewhere like the Ritz or Claridges for this (you will need to prebook it though as it gets booked up months in advance!!)

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