Father and 13 year-old go to London - review
My 13 year-old son (a newbie to travel outside the US) and I are wrapping up a 4-day London visit. His excitement about coming here was split between attending a football match and eating. I tried to explain the stereotype of Brits’ culinary standing, but he was having none of it. And thanks to Chowhound, he was correct!
Day1: in a bit of a jet-lagged haze, we wandered into The Endurance, a pub somewhere near Soho, and had excellent fish and chips. That evening, we tested out Yo Sushi! – as we are big sushi fans – and found that Yo Sushi’s best feature is that it is an interesting idea.
Day2: as we went to see the Tower of London, we had lunch nearby at La Rueda – excellent Spanish tapas. (Dad lived in Spain for a year 30 years ago, and was happily reminded of how much he enjoyed tortilla espanola.) In the evening, we went for Turkish food at Kazan, near Victoria Station. Again, a hit. The mixed Mezze appetizer provided a nice overview. Son had a chicken entrée, and Dad, lamb chops. We wondered why the waitstaff kept asking if we wanted chile sauce, so Dad got it and was very happy he did.
Day3: had upscale Indian food at Quilon, near our hotel by Buckingham Palace. While quite different from what we’re used to, it turned out very nicely. Son ordered dry-fried okra, and really enjoyed it. (Dad was kind enough to not speak of his hearty dislike of okra until after Son professed satisfaction.) Dad had the fish / seafood soup (really, really good) and a great lamb curry. Dinner that night was a big hit, as we enjoyed sushi at Tomoe, on Marylebone Lane. (The Chowhound London sushi string is incredible reading.) The scallop, marinated mackerel, and chu-toro all were very tasty, and Dad is not usually a mackerel fan. Son enjoyed the dragon roll and the tuna. If you don’t have reservations – and you probably should make them – arrive early!
Day4: ate dim sum at New World. We saw in Chowhound that there aren’t many Hong Kong-style (trolley) dim sum joints, but since that’s what we’re used to in Boston, we decided to compare. The result was, um, well, we look forward to returning to our Boston haunts. In the evening we went high-end pub, eating at the Anchor and Hope near the Southwark tube stop. We understand the high rating, as the rib of beef with béarnaise sauce was excellent.
We should point out that Dad is not always the most complimentary of fellows, and is concerned all the above favorables may come across as the comments of someone who likes everything. He doesn’t, but paid close attention to Chowhound and to good result, obviously. Thank you CH’ers!
Thanks for taking the time to report back. You obviously have done a great job raising your son! And I'm so glad you found, like I, that the old stereotypes about British food should be thrown out of peoples' thinking. I agree that New World is not the most exciting of places... coming from NY, I found it disappointing, too, and am anxious to other suggestions made on Chowhound.
Sounds like you had fun! Did he enjoy the football as much as the food?
British food has changed beyond all recognition in the past thirty years. I would say that it's pretty impossible now to find the overcooked meat/veg/brown windsor soup of yesteryear.
Glad you had a good time and were able to eat some good stuff. Now you've seen how we do Chinese, Indian, Mediterranean and sushi, hopefully on your next trip you'll be able to find more opportunities to try places with distinct "modern British" menus.
Anyone whose 13 year-old son orders okra at an Indian restaurant has clearly raised his son with an excellent culinary instinct! Almost all the Indian food one gets in restaurants is gravy-based "curries". But eating at home we eat dry-cooked vegetables much more often, or if they are liquid they tend not to be buttery, oily, rich gravies. Would like to hear your Boston Indian food recommendations, but am not sure how to ask this in a way that doesn't get me in CH trouble. BB
Thanks for the report! I live near Tower Bridge so have added La Rueda to my "to try" list on your recommendation.
Re trolley dim sum, for future reference — Chuen Cheng Ku on Wardour Street also has trollies, and I think the food is better quality than at the New World.
Chuen Cheng Ku
Wardour St, London, Greater London W1F 8, GB
New World is generally superior to CCK in my experience. ('than' should have been 'at'...) But to be honest, I don't eat in either that regularly. I just don't think that the trolleys are the best way to eat dim sum in London - there isn't enough traffic in terms of people. So, you end up with food that has been sitting on the trolley for too long. Or you discover that only a sub-set of the menu is available as they're just starting service. It's a shame - when it works, as it often does in Hong Kong, it's real theatre.
I'm not aware of anywhere else in London that currently has the trolleys. From a restaurateur's perspective they're generally considered too much trouble - the trolleys themselves are problematic to obtain, difficult to maintain and require waiting staff with a certain amount of skill to use.
Further afield, I think Gorgeous above Wing Yip in Manchester has the trolleys but I haven't been there in over a year.
Gorgeous does indeed have the trolleys, at least at lunch. I've only eaten there once and didnt have the dim sum. But the trolleys were doing a roaring trade. Place was packed and I was the only non-Chinese person there. Good sign, IMO (although I know other local CH's have not had a good experience.
Ah-ha, right, yes, I see what you meant now. I agree that the trollies don't have the best quality food, but they work out quite well for some of the groups I go out with (lots of people arriving and leaving at different times).
At some point I'm going to try out one of these cocktail bar/dim sum place mashups (d.sum, Ping Pong, etc) — I don't hold out great hopes though. I had dim sum at the Drunken Monkey in Shoreditch a few months ago and it was pretty awful.