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Sep 14, 2009 11:34 AM

One Weekend in London. What MUST I Eat?

I'd like to hit a few of the classics: English Breakfast Fry-Up, a curry, fish and chips and the like, plus some other things I shouldn't miss. Any suggestions?
I'd also like suggestions for the best places to go for the aforementioned classics.

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    1. The other thread is a good idea. But be prepared for the fact that, whilst it is possible to get good representations of what foreigners think of as classic British food, most offerings of the breakfast/curry/fish&chips are often cheap and nasty (and we do not, necessarily, think of them as part of our classic cuisine). It is as if I went to America wanting to eat a burger and pizza.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        Fair enough, but if you went to the US and didn't try to find the best burger and slice of pizza you could, you would be missing something important.
        So then, what IS your national cuisine?

        1. re: HankyT

          Well you definitely have to sample fish & chips, also curry. There's loads of reccs on this board for both - i like the Golden Fish Bar nr Farrington tube or the Fryers' Delight on Theobalds Rd - both are local to me, haven't changed their interiors for years and both a bit spartan-looking but they are an authentic version of the now-dying chippies. Re curries, there's much more better advice than I could ever give from other chowhounders on here, so do a bit of research...if you're only around for a weekend you won't want to schlepp around so you're probably looking to stick to the London postcodes with 1 or 2 at the end of them. I love looking in supermarkets when I'm in new places so if you haven't been in a M&S foodhall, or a waitrose or sainsbury's supermarket, you could take a look in there. Check out things like pork pies, crisps, cheeses, for a lunch on the run. M&S crisps are the best!!

          1. re: HankyT

            Local seasonal produce is the best of British cuisine. Right now you want to be eating game. But also in the meat line, look out for rare breed pork (particulary recommended as its just coming into our apple season as a great accompaniement). Also lamb which is now tastier than earlier in the year. But as you've only a couple of dinners, it's got to be game.

        2. This might help, though I was looking less for classic British dishes than for what I thought of as British cooking:

          Trip Report:

          1. Haggis, neeps and tatties. You can get this served beautifully at a decent restaurant which does classic british/scottish food. I've mentioned before about using a site called which is quite good for offers on lunches and early dinners.
            When it comes to currys, don't go for the cheap places, its gloopy food. Never ever go for all you can eat places....the smell alone should put you off! :O)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Soyabean

              'Don't go for the cheap places' - this isn't entirely true. There are many places that are rubbish, but some of the best Indian/curry (in the loosest sense) places in London are the 'cheap' places.
              I'd go for the recommendation from Harters around game - there aren't too many places in the world that have what Britain can offer. Also try a good Sunday roast at a pub - Harwood Arms in Fulham is excellent.

              1. re: pj26

                When I mention don't go for cheap places, I mean in terms of quality as they will surely not be using free range chickens or eggs. The meat standard will most likely be low quality as they need to keep their prices down.
                I probably watch to much panorama and very wary of these places.

            2. Hi HankyT

              Fry ups - these can be cheap and nasty. Great if you're a native and secretly love greasy, bready sausages, cheap white toast and tea that melts spoons, but possibly not for unwary tourists. For a nicer version, I love the breakfasts from Maria's stall in Borough. Great bubble and squeak, as well as black pudding, bacon, eggs, etc. Think it's open Wednesday to Saturday.

              Alternative breakfast - boiled egg and Marmite soldiers at Ginger and White in Hampstead. Lovely cafe. Good cakes, too.

              Fish and chips - Masters Superfish on Waterloo Road, Waterloo. None finer in my opinion. Make sure you have mushy peas with your fish and chips!

              Afternoon tea - no point coming here and not having a scone with cream and jam. A fancy hotel tea will serve you all your calories for the day in one luxurious sitting. I like Claridges for extravagant teas. For something a bit simpler, The Orangery in Kensington Gardens is lovely (but very popular, be prepared to queue), as is The Wallace Collection off Oxford Street.

              Game - a must to try if you're here soon. A friend recently ate at Rules and said the grouse was fantastic. It is expensive - £27.50 for grouse with game chips, bread sauce, etc – but it's the oldest restaurant in London and some things are worth paying for.

              Pie - because we are kings of the pie and pudding. The Pie Room at the Newman Arms in Fitzrovia is a small room above a tiny pub serves pies that need sleeping off, including steak and kidney pie or steamed suet pudding, beef and Guinness and so on. You can try following it with a spotted dick or apple crumble. Booking essential. Or I recently had a very British meal at the Fox and Anchor pub in Smithfield. They have a pie menu, do a pie and a pint of ale for £10 and they also have an oyster bar and daily roast carving trolley. Booking also a good idea even though it's a pub.

              Oysters - in season now. The Maldon ones at the Fox and Anchor were gorgeous. They were my first ones, so cant recommend anywhere else but sure others can chip in if they know somewhere.

              Puddings - The best apple crumble I've eaten anywhere for a long time was at the Waterloo Bar and Kitchen on the South Bank. The rest of the menu was fine but the crumble and custard, heaven. Also look out for sticky toffee pudding while you're here. I ate a killer version at The Garrison in Bermondsey, but there's no guarantee it will be on the menu.

              If you need help finding contacts for any of those places, just shout. Hope you have a good stay.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ginandcrumpets

                thanks for the great suggestions, everyone. I hope I can return the favor when you come to New York.
                I'll be sure to report back on what I find.
                best, HankyT