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Good British Food...Is there such a thing?

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To all U British Folks, please pardon my limited culinary exposure to British food.

All I know and have been craving a good/great pasty or a minced meat pie. Not a big fan of Fish & Chips, but willing to try other things. Please point me in the right direction for primarily, pasties, minced meat/shepherds pie, and other British/English treats in L.A. Area. I guess it'll be safe to assume that most recommendations will probably be in the Santa Monica area.

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  1. Tally ho, tea and strumpets and all that sort of thing!

    You'll want to head to Ye Olde King's Head on 2nd and Santa Monica for British food, just pop round the corner from the Promenade and Jack's your nuncle, there you are!

    In the Valley, the best choice is Robin Hood near Woodman and Burbank. The fish and chips are absolutely ten-eight, as are the bangers and mash, and it's much more friendly than the Pig and Bollocks (or whatever that place near Vineland and Ventura is called).

    If you do end up having to eat at the place on Ventura, just lie back and think of England and it'll be all over soon.

    Pip pip!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      I love the black pudding at Ye Olde King's Head! I asked the waitress what was in it and she seemed really hesitant to disclose the use of blood. I was like "!#)* woman, I don't WANT it unless there IS blood!"

      1. re: Pei

        Yes, last time I had breakfast there I specifically requested a side of the black pudding...you'd THINK that would make it clear enough that I wanted it, but of course, it never came....

      2. re: Das Ubergeek

        I agree. The King's Head rocks. It is sometimes hard to find Scottish-style minced beef pies outside of Highland games, but the bakeries/tea houses surrounding the King's Head have little pasties and sausage rolls.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          The place on Ventura is called Fox and Hounds, I've never been there. We go to Robin Hood since it's in our 'hood. The food is good but the service is deadly slow, so be prepared.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                We went there because we wanted a good dose of English tukka and apint or two (dual citezin child of ex pats talking here, I've been brought up with good English food here and when back "home" ). We normally go to Robin Hood, but figured we'd try fox and hounds.

                It was dinner.

                It was full of pretty young things and desperatly hip guys, drinking very non-English beer (they had a few Guinneses, which is Irish, anyhow), and eating food that had nothing to do with England. The menu was uninspiring, the place was overcrowded, the music was deafening, and the crowd was tiresome as the food.

                I know a few real English pubs are like that in England..but I wouldn't go to those, either. A telling thing about the Fox and Hounds is that no one there when I visited was English, not the staff, customers, no one. Some lady had a Bulldog, but it was a French Bulldog (sacre bleu!)

                The OP asked for GOOD english food. Fox and Hounds doesn't deliver that.

                Robin Hood does. With a few English beers, staff and patrons to boot.

                1. re: Diana

                  Amen to that! But people with real interest in "ethnic" bars and cuisine aren't going to be there or at Fado or any other place like that. They know that what makes a pub is comfort and geniune experiences being had with people who can appreciate what really makes places like that fun and special.
                  If I'm at a "Irish" or "English" pub and I see a lime wedge go into a beer bottle or between someone's teeth it's just not a pub to me.

                  1. re: Diana

                    Well, I agree about the non-English staff. The food's not bad at all -- certainly I have chosen to eat there (though I lived closer to Robin Hood most recently)... they DO have quite a few English beers at the Pig & Boll... er... Fox & Hounds.

                    Robin Hood IS better, there's no doubt there, but I don't think F&H is bad.

          1. Hello... I greatly enjoy the take-out counter/case at the Tudor House, at 2nd st. and Santa Monica Blvd. They have available all manner of savory meat pies, curry pies, sausage rolls, etc., plus english pastry items, desserts and triffles (sp). The small grocery store in which this take-out counter is located carries many many british products, from bizarro candies to canned sauces to beverages. The actual on-site Tudor House is a two room english tea house, for brunchinton. But the take-out case and grocery store is the real find here...

            2 Replies
            1. re: silence9

              I love that take out case at the Tudor House, all those little Brit pastries and the chicken and mushroom pie make me very happy.

              My answer to the OP's question: No, there is no such thing as good British food! Except I had the best roasted potatoes ever at the Brighton Palace.

              1. re: slacker

                Oh dear - no such thing as good British food..? I'll admit, it's almost impossible to find in SoCal where all the supplies are brought in by just two importers, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist! Get hold of an early Keith Floyd book or a Delia Smith classic, have your butcher give you some beef suet and off you go. This website is pretty good too, especially for stews: http://www.britannia.com/cooking/reci...

            2. *giggling* Das Ubergeek, I'm cracking up because a "strumpet" is old-fashioned slang meaning slut -- I think you meant to say "crumpet" which is like an English muffin. :) But hey, if you want tea with your strumpets, go for it!

              O'Briens Irish pub on Main Street in Santa Monica also offers a mean fish and chips, and also bangers and mash (which for some reason my little Chinese mother LOVES).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kishari

                Well, you may keep your crumpets (and your Devonshire cream) if you like, I'll take your share of the strumpets!

                O'Briens Irish Pub has (had? haven't been in forever) a great ploughman's lunch.

              2. chicken tikka masala can be had just about anywhere =P

                1. Btw there is a Brit place in Pasadena on the south side of Colorado just east of Lake (I think). I pass by it and keep meaning to check it out, but haven't yet. Sorry can't remember the name nor the exact location! But just to let you know there's a place there if you're in that part of town.

                  Just did a quick search, I think this is the place, Brit's Fish and Chips, 1770 E. Colorado: http://www.pasadenacitycenter.com/din...

                  There's also Beckham Grill in Pasadena. I've only been there once a very long time ago, and don't recall thinking much of it then, but really just don't remember the food very well, the decor was very old dark English, as I recall.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: slacker

                    Brit's is really good. Much too tidy and clean to be a proper pub, and the food's too fresh to be trad pub grub as well (the peas are bright GREEN??? Egads!), but the fish'n'chips are as good as it gets.

                    After checking out the C&F menu below, I'll add that Brit's is a bit cheaper than that as well.

                    1. re: slacker

                      There's also Lucky Baldwin's on Raymond in Pasadena, just south of Colorado. I haven't been in a few years but I remember the food being good and pretty authentically British pub menu (ie, they do have curry and they do have jacket potatoes).

                      1. re: slacker

                        I second Brit's. Like I've said in the past, it doesn't have the charm that Lucky Baldwins has, but their food is spot on. Easily the best fish and chips in the area. Here is their site..

                        There is also the Old Ship (two locations, Santa Ana and Fullerton
                        )http://www.theoldeship.com/ - This place is the real deal.

                        1. re: spankbot

                          But there's also that British place across from Parsons in Pasadena that BLOWS! I forget what it's called, but I had the misfortune to be taken there on a business lunch and it was horrific!

                      2. You also made me giggle, Das Ubergeek - I thought "tea and strumpets" was good until you mentioned "Jack's your uncle". The phrase is "Bob's your uncle". I assume your post was intended to make us Brits laugh and you succeeded.

                        1. The Cat & Fiddle on Sunset in Hollywood has decent English fare.

                          www.thecatandfiddle.com has a menu

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: liegey

                            Had a pretty good shepherd's pie last week at Whale & Ale in San Pedro, just about as good as what I had in London a couple of months ago. My chowmate found the breading on the fish and chips very heavy, though, and not as good as King's Head.

                            1. re: CynD

                              I liked Whale and Ale better in terms of the Food than Kings Head. But you are right Kings Head does a better F&C...


                              1. re: CynD

                                Whale & Ale's F&C are my favorite in LA. I haven't tried Kings Head but I like that Whale & Ale's stay very crisp throughout the meal. I also like their side salad with sliced mushrooms, walnut, and bleu cheese

                                Their non-F&C items sound great too, seems the chef likes to come up with good variations on traditional Brit foods

                              2. re: liegey

                                Cat and Fiddle bummed me out last time I was there. Bad steak and kidney pie. It was depressing.

                                1. re: therealbigtasty

                                  I wasn't wowed with the food at C&F either. It wasn't bad but I wouldn't seek it out at all... and they didn't pour me a proper pint, either.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    It was just kind of depressing to me. Brit food is so simple, it shouldn't be something that could be easily screwed up. Having spent a portion of my life in Britain I know that shepherd's pie doesn't look or taste like the one there...I don't know.

                                    It's sad because I live so close.

                                    The beers don't bother me, though.

                              3. What about Pasties????? Everyone is replying to everthing else but pasties.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Ollie

                                  Then pardon my lack of clarity. When I suggested the Tudor House's take-out counter/store and its meat pies much earlier in this thread, I thought 'pasties' was understood as synonymous with meat pies. Perhaps it is only synonymous in my vernacular...

                                  1. re: silence9

                                    Well, they have fruit pasties also. I know of a pasty shop in O.C. Los Alamitos, off Katella which serves both. Just too far for the drive.

                                2. If you can count afternoon/high tea as British -- there are quite a few British tearooms that aren't bad in the LA area.

                                  1. No Fish'n Chips?! Come on who doesn't love any chance to dip into tartar sauce! Well don't know if you've ever been...but Lucky Baldwin's Pub in Pasadena (in old town) off Colorado and Raymond Alley has great Brit cuisine. I LOVE their fish'n chips, but they also have an awesome plougman's lunch, shepard's pie, baked potatoe with all, amazing soups...not to mention unbelievable beers! They also have a great outdoor area with lights where you can smoke ANYTHING and enjoy their truly adult jukebox! Brit Appetit... ;)

                                    1. I drove by Buchanan's British Cuisine at 8450 Reseda Blvd (near Saticoy)in Northridge (818) 772-8100. Although this Big Daddy is an amateur on British food, my good friend from across the pond had good things to say about the authentic prep of their food. They have a banner out front $2 beer during sporting events!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: bigdaddyindavalley

                                        I live a few blocks from Buchanan's and I'm sorry to say, the only thing I like there is their beer on tap. Head West to Robin Hood's as someone else suggested.

                                        Also, Bestie's in Hermosa Beach has good "pub grub".

                                        1. re: bigdaddyindavalley

                                          bigdaddy, don't pay attention to Elise. Go to Buchanan's and try the fish n' chips, steak and kidney pie, or liver and onions...VERY GOOD! I have tried a few other of their dishes but those are my favorites, and the beer is good too...

                                          1. re: JoeMamma

                                            I stand by my opinion, but people's tastes vary, so check it out and report back. I'm curious.

                                        2. Agree on Robin hood's and Tudor House. Pasties available in los Alamitos on Katella - it's all they make
                                          Pasty Kitchen
                                          3641 Katella Ave,
                                          Los Alamitos, CA 90720-3106
                                          Tel: (562) 431-9747

                                            1. Sorry to say that I've yet to eat good fish and chips here. You can find passable, pub-style versions but the equivalent of a chip shop doesn't exist here. Those establishments have gallons of oil hot at all times and will fry to order as you wait. As the day goes by the oil takes on a fishy taste that finds is way, subtly, into the batter itself. Same goes for the chips - the frying is the key and the flavour-filled oils...Sorry you're just going to have to fly back to the UK for some.
                                              I guess the point is that we get good pub-equivalents of things here - pre-frozen and reheated standards like steak-and-kidney pie and so on. They are the same as you would find in any cheap pub in London. We Brits have an endless and inexplicable nostalgia for them and love them as much as the rest of the processed filth that you find in the grim English shops 'round here. For a lovely butterflied kidney, a tasty hotpot, a jugged hare, a game pie or a suet pudding, you must cook at home or take a long trip back over the Atlantic.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Fatnat

                                                The two traditional British foods which to garner international acclaim (and deservedly so IMHO) are their cheeses and beers. The other foods mentioned may appeal to some but for a nation whose empire once the sun never set upon, their other traditional foods should have made a stronger impact outside of the UK by now (if any were truly remarkable).

                                              2. If you are willing to do Irish instead of English, Casey's in downtown LA has decent Shepherd's Pie, Beef and Guinness Pie, etc in the "Traditional Fare" section of the menu.

                                                Casey's Irish Bar & Grille
                                                613 S. Grand (between 6th & Wilshire)
                                                Los Angeles, CA 90017
                                                (213) 629-2353

                                                Also, I think that the (Scottish, not English) Tam O'Shanter has Toad in the Hole on the menu.

                                                Tam O'Shanter Inn
                                                2980 Los Feliz Boulevard
                                                Los Angeles, California 90039
                                                (323) 664-0228

                                                1. My favorite British Pub is waaaay out in Thousand Oaks, called Crown and Anchor. Their Toad In The Hole is best, and while the serving size of their shepherd's pie has decreased over the years, it's still very good, along with pasties, fish-n-chips (of course) and beef wellington.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                    I found a really great place in Santa Monica. Had a great meal and watched some world cup.

                                                    Had a great time there.

                                                    1. re: Fat Billie

                                                      Ye Olde King's Head, on 2nd and SM Blvd. It's really great.

                                                  2. If your out in the Valley, try Buchannan's Arms, in Burbank. LOVED their fish and chips, and the atmosphere. They are on Burbank Blvd.

                                                    1. You ask if there is such a thing as good British food, and then you specifically ask about pub grub ("pasties, minced meat/shepherds pie, and other British/English treats in L.A. Area"). Not surprisingly, then, all of the responses deal with pub grub, which is fine. But as good as pub grub can be -- and it can be very good (as well as very, very bad) -- it certainly does not define "British food." When I was in England last summer I was astounded by both the variety and quality of British food (well, let's say English food, since I didn't go to Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland). Just one example, and a fine one, is the Michelin-starred West House restaurant in the tiny village of Biddenden, in Kent (southeast England). This place is way, WAY out in the boondocks, but served absolutely amazing, innovative British food, made with wonderful fresh ingredients. Not cheap by any means -- dinner for two, with wine, was in the $120 range -- but worth every penny. Check out their website, which is interesting and informative:


                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ozhead

                                                        I agree that there is exceptional non-pub-grub food in England - St John's, and the more haute places in Rye and Bath. But I think it is so based in local fresh ingredients, like The French laundry, that it would probably be difficult to replicate here.

                                                      2. Maggie's Pub, Santa Fe Springs

                                                        The best Fish & Fritters and great Bangers too.

                                                        Also super fast service.

                                                        1. The British contribution that stands out to me is the fiery curries. I'm a fan of Olde Ship in Fullerton or Santa Ana, they have a chicken curry over rice or chips that is the best I've had, plus they actually make it spicy if you ask.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: irishkevbo

                                                            The King's Head does a good 'real' British curry - ie that is served over chips. Rice, chicken curry with a resonant peppery curry served over fries reminds me of the curries I have eaten in a North London truck stop where you leave with a moustache of red curry juice on your chops. I always have a glass of cider for the authentic swill down.

                                                            1. re: irishkevbo

                                                              Counte me in as a fan of the Olde Ship too. However, I much prefer the one in Fullerton; it has a much cozier, local feel.

                                                              Most everything on their menu is solid; from their curry, to fish-n-chips & sticky toffee pudding. During the weekends, there's a line out the door. They also serve b'fast.

                                                              1. re: OCAnn

                                                                I agree, Fullerton is much cozier, the Santa Ana location has less of a local crowd and the place is too big to get the British vibe going. Great fish with the fish and chips, the chips suck though, too soggy.

                                                            2. there is this little shop called the British grocer in Fullerton...
                                                              carries mostly united kingdom imported product... try it
                                                              the British grocer
                                                              villa del sol 305 N harbor blvd Fullerton ca

                                                              1. Like some others above, I enjoy the take-out counter at Tudor House.

                                                                1. Waterloo & City considers itself traditional pub food. Food is great too.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                    On Sundays and Mondays, W&C now is offering a 2 ($20) or 3 ($27) course pub menu which includes the option of a terrific fish & chips.