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Jul 1, 2006 04:53 AM

Boston hound does London

I am visiting London for a total of ~2 weeks and would like to carefully plan my chowhounding, so as not to waste any of the oh-so-precious calories. I would tremendously appreciate if you could help me with my planning. I will be staying around the London Bridge area but, as a true chowhound, I am more than willing to travel. I am looking for the best places in the following categories:

* your favorite whole-in-the-wall, mom-and-pop, or shady joints. If the topic of whole-in-the-walls was already covered, I would greatly appreciate a link. Either ethnic or not is fine, but I will probably stay away from chinese and mexican (since I have had enough of these cusines at home). I already have the shady pubs mostly covered from the "Worst pub" link below.

* the best place for puddings (steamed, sticky date?), steak and kidney puddings, meat pies, fish and chips, and other very traditional British food items (I already found


* adventurous eats: offal meats, not your usual meat and potato stuff. I already know about St. John. Can I try haggis anywhere in London?

* beer pubs with a fantastic selection of English beer (preferably on tap: real ales, imperial stouts, Imperial IPA, etc.; I already know of the Market Porter @ the Borough Market)

Of course places that satisfy all four categories would be ideal. Since I am a lifetime student ;-) I am looking for reasonably priced locales.

Many thanks in advance, guys!

P.S. This is my list so far:
1) Brown's for afternoon all-you-can-eat tea
2) Market Porter @ Borough Market for great beer
3) Borough Market for Neal's Yard Diary, the crazy chili pepper people, Monmouth coffee shop, clotted cream fudge, the meat pies; see the cathedral
4) St. John for offal
5) Gallery pub on Lupus Street in Pimlico (shady pub)
6) The Rising Sun in Cloth Lane (shady pub; near St. Bartholomew's and the Smithfield Market)
7) Geales (for fish and chips, fish pie, toffee pudding), Sea Cow, or Sea Shell for fish and chips
8) Canteen for traditional English grub (
)9) launceston place for a neighborhood restaurant
10) The Lamb for a beautiful historic pub
11) Lamb and Flag for great traditional jazz and blues on Sunday night
12) The Grenadier for a country pub-like gem
13) Sam Smith's pubs
14) Dog and Duck for a tiny and beautiful Victorian pub

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  1. Paul, I think you're doing very well with your research. I happened to be in Sotheby's auction house yesterday and it was too early for tea, but they have a very nice, small cafe there with decent prices. I'll return! If you're at all interested in art, it's fun walking around and viewing the walls and furniture that will be auctioned.

    The food at the Tate Modern is quite nice, too, for a lunch as you stroll the South Bank or see the museum.

    I recently read about a chain called Leon's. They have a website and apparently serve reasonable, good food in 4 central locations.. one near Spitalfields and another in Soho.

    Have a wonderful trip. Get out of London, too, and explore some of the countryside. Trains are easy and I want to promote the country pubs!!

    1. We opened the door to the Rising Sun and closed it immediately. The wave of cigarette smoke that came crashing out of the door was strong enough to knock us off of our feet. If you are not a smoker I would avoid it. But do walk Cloth Lane and see St. Barts.

      1. I was impressed by a couple who reported earlier this year on the Chwohound International Board that they frequented "The Eagle" gastropub and the husband always ordered the Bife Ana sandwich: a Portugese/Mozambique spiced steak sandwich. I researched it on Google and found this German Link that describes it (make sure to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see the spices):

        If I was going to London, that would be one sandwich I'd want to try.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JBC

          That was me, and having used that recipe at home (The Eagle has a great cookbook), I've decided that there is an error in the amount of wine called for. If you make the recipe as written, there will be no marinade left once it hits the pan to moisten the bread. Try something more like 1/4 cup red wine -- not 2 tsp.

        2. if you really want proper well kept ale, forget market porter in borough market and go to the dove in hammersmith. its a historic pub, right next to the thames and it was allegedly where hail britannia was written. lines need to be squeaky clean for ale, and i haven't seen any pub wash theirs so religiously as the dove.

          as a matter of fact, forget borough market all together. it is now a tourist trap. go to neals yard dairy in neals yard for their cheese and go to monmouth coffee house in monmouth street for the best coffee in london (they are in adjacent streets).

          if you want pies etc, go to lidgates on holland park. without doubt, the best butcher in london. their buttery, flaky every so light pastry encompassed pies are to die for. in all all honesty, i can't eat the ginger pigs stuff anymore and i used to be a big fan. this is the real, real deal.

          why isn't mohsen, the iranian on warwick road, on your list? its a bit hole in the wall, but its sensational. go sunday night, byo, and get the abgoosht (meltingly tender lamb served with a broth like soup and mashed potatoes). on any other day, see what their daily specials are or simply get the kebabs and the naan.

          and you can't go to london without trying lebanese. check out ishbilya in william street, knightsbridge (if you do a search and look for a post by melanie wong, you'll be drooling in a nanosecond). also get the chicken shish taouk sandwich from al-dar in kings road, right near the sloane square side. tell 'em, you want it toasted and with extra garlic sauce.

          try the (turkish) lamb steak at bosphorous kebab house on old brompton road (right next to the tube). very good and yer classical hole in the wall scene. also try new tayyabs in whitechapel ONLY for pakistani (=north indian) seekh kebabs and tandooi roti (i'd go for lunch).

          as for haggis, i'm sorry to say the best i've had in london has been at a bit of a tourist trap called boisedale in victoria. they specialize in scotch beef and rare scotch. its a bit pricey, but what the hell.

          2 Replies
          1. re: howler

            The Dove is indeed a great place and another favorite of ours. But I still say Market Porter is a MUST for the range of beers and especially for the ability to get Harveys. About the only other place we've found it in London is another good pub in the Inns of Court, the Seven Stars.

            1. re: Joan Kureczka

              Happy to report that the Harveys is flowing at the Talbot, N1, Mortimer St

          2. Hi Paul,

            certainly, the Bosphorous which howler recommended is good (hmmm... mixed grill, mixed grill), but to ignore chinese in London would be a crime. And of the capital crimes punishable by death by Celine Dion, surely missing out on the Roast Duck at the Four Seasons in Bayswater must top the list.

            I've had roast duck just about everywhere I can- even braving bird flu in Indonesia and Vietnam, yet I can say that the Four Seasons' duck is still the best.

            Put it this way, you've got to place a reservation for dinner, turn up to have your name checked off, joustling past teeming hordes of fans only to wait another 20 mins to get your table.

            I recommend the braised Tofu, garlic Kai Lan and the Mince Pork with Mui Choy to go, along with for a group of 4.