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Jan 25, 2014 07:49 AM

Summer family English must tries in London?

Heading to uk this summer with dh and kids(9,7). Will go out of our way for good places to experience food we don't get in the states, but need to do as a family. Will have about 8-9 days in London, staying in south Kensington/notting hill/Chelsea area but will be exploring all over. Have one night with sitter, so maybe recommendations for good fare as fam and suggestion for a one-night special with dh? Have done high end us/French restaurants, but looking for great experience, not just hype. Any kinds of food will do!

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  1. Ledbury for your special night. One of the country's best restaurants and just near you in Notting Hill.

    As for the family nights, I note you want to be able to experience cuisines that you can't easily get at home. It might be helpful if you could give an idea what that might be (although "British" food is presumably a given in this).

    14 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      British would be my first pref, although not sure what that means these days-pubs, fish & chips, etc. if there are must try sandwich/burger/street foods, that would be welcome too. We do sushi, tex/mex, Thai, Lebanese, and I get to drag them to Indian every once in a while (but one of my favs) also do fish/seafood, Italian...pretty varied but that's why I left it open. Didn't know if there were some more casual fare spots that we wouldn't know about that would be good experiences!

      1. re: lml3800

        Please look beyond the stereotypical national food of stuff like fish and chips. Yes, of course we eat it. But it isnt what we regularly eat. It would be like me visitng America and asking about good burgers.

        Good pub food will be more representatiev of modern British food. Can't help with recommendations, I'm afraid - I like at the other end of the country and only visit the capital as a tourist, when I'm not looking for pub food. You'll need to check that a pub's dining arrangements are such that they will aloow the youngsters to be there - the alcohol licencsing laws are not straightforward in theis respect and it'll be much better to check with a place than turn up and have difficulties.

        1. re: Harters

          Americans basically eat burgers all the time though.

          1. re: brokentelephone

            I *was* about to say that, BT, but you beat me to it. In the US, Americans *will* ask other Americans where to get the best burgers when they are new in town :-D

            1. re: klyeoh

              I think a lot of Americans assume they'll get a good burger almost anywhere decent they decide to eat. :-)

              1. re: zuriga1

                Not necessarily true! I can only speak about our experiences, but you usually find the best variants in the smaller, independent, lesser known (not posh) places. (That's why you ask!)

            2. re: brokentelephone

              So I'm giving you the benefit if the doubt because I can't believe that you'd be so rude about someone who is making a genuine effort to have a good experience in UK. That would be not be so very polite or setting a very nice welcome, would it? Not all Americans are the same, nor do I hope are all the Brits!

              So then, if it's gauche to ask about burgers, what do fellow Brits ask about when they locate to a new town? What do they like to find a local favorite of?

              1. re: lml3800

                I suspect Britons might well ask about the "best" Indian food. And then they'll be disappointed with the responses. Such a subjective subject.

                By way of illustration, the (urban) village where I live has three Indian restaurants. The local forum had a discussion about which was the best. It was pretty much a tie in votes between all three. I've eaten at all three and take the view that the food is pretty much the same and that it's not very good.

                1. re: lml3800

                  When moving to a new town, Brits might ask about the best fish and chips or the best pub. I'm not sure. I'm an American, but I've lived in England a long time now. Maybe that's why I don't know much about hamburgers.

                  1. re: zuriga1

                    First priority (for me anyway) is always to find a good local pub. A decent chippy and Indian would be nice but if they're not available locally I just the eat at places that are good. No good fish and chips or regional Indian restaurants locally but very good Sardinian and Venuzualan places so I go there. and get my other cuisine "fixes" elsewhere.

                    1. re: Paprikaboy

                      Good pub is probably even more subjective than good Indian.

                      There's two pubs in the village. One is where I had my first legal pint (August 1968 FWIW). The other is the generally acknowledged "most popular" - but described by Mrs Harters as the place where "certain types of men go to belch and fart in public". She's not wrong, you know.

                      1. re: Paprikaboy

                        Totally agree - the pub is key. Not certain anyone in the UK would be too concerned about a good F&C shop these says. If there is one its a bonus but they are not on every street corner.

                        I think some maybe sensitive to have our national tastes characterised as F&C as that's probably more the result of the British Tourist Authorities efforts rather than reality......and yes curry is probably more accurate.

                        1. re: PhilD

                          Good chippies are an absolute rarity, even here in the north where we invented them (Lancashire town of Mossley, 1865). The vast majority batch fry their fish, keeping them warm in the steamer. Means that much of the batter's crispness is lost and, if you press it, it will ooze oil. Similarly, chips are fried at too low a temperature and then held waiting for customers. And, again, that means you're going ot be buying an oily, floppy piece of potato. Don't get me wrong - a "proper" chip should have an element of floppiness to them. After all, they are chips, not fries.

                          This is what most of us eat as fish & chips. However, if you find a place that fries to order, then you can be on a winner. A good way is to establish whether cod or haddock is the norm in that part of the of the world - and then order the other one. Pretty much guarantees a fresh cooked fillet.

          2. For family recs I would suggest Kopapa which is a fusion place and Dishoom , an Indian place based on the cafes of Bombay. Both would be fun places to go with kids , that have good food.



            4 Replies
            1. re: Paprikaboy

              Thanks! Dishoom looks fun! Now I just have to convince them:-)

              1. re: lml3800

                Loved loved Dishoom. I would have no problem going there with kids. There might be a line to get moves fairly quickly though.

                1. re: missylrn

                  Thank you for the feedback-it's on our list for sure!

              2. re: Paprikaboy

                Thanks for the reminder about Dishoom, where I haven't gotten to on my last two trips. This time I Will Get There. Looks better than ever. I wonder if I can just rent a room above the shop?

              3. One night special with dh:
                Japanese/kaiseki at The Shiori in Baywater (close to where you're staying)

                Good fare as family:
                If you're willing to travel a bit on the District Line, there are many excellent Indian places in East Ham, and all very casual, so should be able to accommodate your family easily. Chennai Dosa (Tamil), Hyderabadi Spice (Hyderabadi), Lahore Nihari (Pakistani) are some of the more recent places I've been to and enjoyed. But also check out the various chaat stalls.

                Been a long while since I've had the Brazilian at Barraco (Kilburn), but was great, plus they serve moqueca.

                Excellent Iranian kebabs at Mohsen in Kensington.

                No. 10 Chinese restaurant for Sichuan in Earl's Court.

                Tukdin near Paddington for Malaysian.

                Sedap near Old Street for Penang style Nyona.

                The kids might enjoy cooking at the table. Chinese hotpot at Royal Palace (near Canada Water) or Korean grill at Koba (Fitzrovia) are good options.

                3 Replies
                1. re: limster

                  Is it OK to say that East Ham might scare the family? :) Teasing...kinda. All I want to say is for fish and chips, please find out where the local chippy is. Pub and restaurant fish and chips are just not the same! Fun food experience for me - and fun for a family, I think - is to go to a street market where there's a lot of street food. For me, that's Brick Lane's Up Market on a Sunday, or Broadway Market on a Saturday. As well, picking up a bagel with salt beef or smoked salmon and cream cheese and eating it while strolling or sitting at the curb - from Brick Lane Beigel Bakery. But then I'm an East End girl!

                  1. re: Calam1ty

                    I see plenty of families eating in East Ham. I wouldn't hang out there late at night, but given children's bedtimes that shouldn't be an issue.

                    1. re: Calam1ty

                      I'd echo the mention of the Brick Lane Sunday food market. We went on our last trip to the capital - I've never seen such a diversity of ethnic foods in one place before. Really, really good.

                  2. Another suggestion for your special night: Rules. Quintessentially English, a great experience, and not just for the excellent food.


                    1. You say you like fish and chips. Notting Hill is home to Geales fish restaurant that has been a sit-down but casual and reasonably priced fish and chip place for more than 50 years. It is on Farmer Street just a short walk from Notting Hill Gate tube. It is always high on my list when I go back to London.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kagemusha49

                        Thanks! That's precisely the kind of feedback I was looking for-what are the favored places to get those "traditional" foods.