Ask the average American what they think of English food, and they'll tell you that it's bland, boiled, or just plain bad. Admittedly, I went in thinking as much, but discovered a ton of unique dishes and international cuisines available in London. There's so much culture jam-packed into a relatively small city that it's impossible not to find something amazing to eat. See also my photos from Borough Market.
Other photo sets in this country include:
Photo Set Information:
- Date Taken: June 2014
- Camera Used: Pentax K5, Canon PowerShot S110
The first real sit-down meal we had was at Gallipoli Again, a Turkish restaurant in Islington. Wonderful environment, excellent food, and great service. My full review on Yelp. The falafel balls (pictured above) were amazingly fresh and crispy.
The "Upper Street Special", so named after the avenue on which Gallipoli Again is located. It was a platter of lamb, chicken and beef skewers with rice and mixed greens. Very satisfying.
Finished off my meal with a "Funky Pie", which was filled with cream. There are actually three different Gallipoli locations within a few blocks of each other in Islington/Angel, and though I'd only been to one, I highly recommend going.
London is also known for southeast Asian cuisine, as we found out when we went up to the Hoxton Square area. At Song Que, we were able to partake in some authentic Vietnamese beer.
Vietnamese style lemon grass chicken at Song Que. The restaurant was pretty no-frills and decent. Here's my full Yelp review.
We had heard from multiple sources that we just had to try pies and mash in England. G Kelly is one of the more historic locations to find this traditional dish, so we stopped by on a weekday afternoon. We were served by Theresa Georgina (the mother of the second owner). She was named after the original George Kelly, and took time to explain to us the history. A very lovely woman.
While Theresa was great, the pies were a different story, however. Whenever the person serving you tells you that the food is pretty tasteless without adding salt and vinegar, that should be a red flag. The green sauce is parsley liquor, which was also bland. My in-depth review.
Naan from Tayyabs, a Pakistani/Indian restaurant in Whitechapel. Probably the best naan I've ever had and the curries were also really good. Full review on Yelp.
A protester in front of the Burger King on Tottenham Court Road. There were a whole group of them trying to shame Burger King for slaughterhouse practices. I thought the juxtaposition of the window sign was particularly amusing.
Of course, we also had to try traditional fish and chips. We chose Fryer's Delight, in Bloomsbury, which came highly recommended on several best-of lists. The haddock was fresh and flakey, but rather bland overall. Full review.
Another food that we had read was unique to London was the salt beef bagel. It's exactly what it sounds like. We went to Beigel Bake on Brick Lane. The line was out the door, but it was highly efficient. Full review.
Couldn't resist taking a picture of these hot sauce labels, as part of the weekend Brick Lane Market.
The final piece of our London culinary bucket list was to have a traditional English breakfast. We chose E Pellicci in Bethnal Green, due to it being featured on Anthony Bourdain's Layover. It was a ton of food (including white sausage, bacon, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and fried egg on toast. We added blood pudding as well). A wonderfully quaint spot, and wonderful staff. Liv spoke to us at length about America, and would not let us leave without a very generous sample of his mom's bread pudding. Full Yelp review.
We had several local coffee spots in Shoreditch, but my favorite was the pop up shop run by Guardian newspaper in conjunction with Nude Espresso. I went several times. This was the cappucino.
The popup cafe was located as part of Boxpark Shoreditch (essentially a mall built from shipping containers). Each table inside had a tablet where you could read the day's top stories for free.
A photograph of Samuel Beckett by Jane Brown from her "Exposures" series lined the back wall.