Wednesday, February 11, 2015

10 Traditional British Foods and Where to Try Them in London

London is a multicultural and vast city, full of restaurants catering to a variety of cultures and taste-buds from every corner of the globe. However, amongst the delicate Italian pastas, the flamboyant Indian curries and huge American beef burgers, the traditional British food can get forgotten. We have listed 10 British foods that you have to taste when you come to study English with us, and where you can find the best restaurants serving them.

Start your day off with...

Start your day the British way, with a full-English breakfast. Britain’s trademark brekkie is packed full of delicious goodies including, eggs (fried or poached), bacon, sausages, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, black pudding, baked beans and toast. This hearty breakfast is perfect for when you’re hung-over, but rubbish if you’re on a diet or want to eat healthily. It is acceptable in most British cafes and restaurants to “mix and match” the exact food you get on your plate, which is great if you love baked beans but can’t stand mushrooms. Enjoy your full-English breakfast with a splash of tomato ketchup or brown sauce on your food, and wash it down with a glass of orange juice with the bits in or a cup of English tea.

Where to try it:
This dish is best enjoyed every once in a while, so make sure you have the best full-English breakfast… 
Caravan, King’s Cross. Think: a proper breakfast with options of sourdough toast, boar sausages and tomato compote.

Munch this at lunch...

The Cornish pasty is the King of the pastry world in Britain. This tasty delight originates from Cornwall in the South West of England, and is filled to the brim with sliced or diced potato, swede, onion and diced or minced beef. The fillings are enclosed in pastry, moulded into a “D” shape and crimped on the edges. You can eat them when they are cool if you want to save your pasty for later, but they are best-enjoyed when they are piping hot and fresh from the shop. This pasty is comfort food at its best, perfect for keeping you going throughout the afternoon.

Where to try it:
Grab a delicious Cornish pasty on the go from:
West Cornwall Pasty Company, various branches across London. With its crispy pastry and flavoursome beef, you will be visiting this shop time and time again for a traditional Cornish pasty. 

This unusually named dish dates as far back as the mid-eighteenth century, but it is a surprisingly modern and popular dish in Britain. Bubble and squeak is the Nation’s favourite leftover dish, best enjoyed for brunch or lunch the day after your Sunday Roast, (see below). It is so simple to make, as it just consists of frying leftover vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, swede with mashed or fried potato. A few people are quite creative with their bubble and squeak and like to add in extras such as bacon, and serve it up with cold leftover meat. The weird name is said to have some from the bubbling and squeaking noise the food makes when it is being fried. Despite having the unusual name however, this dish is a little boring, but in any case it tastes good and is an excellent hangover food.

Where to try it:
This dish is best enjoyed at home using the leftovers after a big roast, but if you want to try it in a restaurant, go to:
Roast, Borough Market. Get excited for a good fry up served with bubble and squeak cooked in beef drippings.

Fill up at dinner with...
A true seaside classic, fish and chips are Britain’s favourite take-away food. This tasty dish consists of fish (usually cod, haddock or plaice), which is deep fried in batter and served with chunky chips and mushy peas. Fish and chips are not normally home-cooked, but bought in a “chippy”, (fish and chip shop) to eat on-the-go or to take away. It is also often sold in many traditional pubs across England, and is usually served up on grease-proof paper with a newspaper design on, as original fish and chip shops used to put the meal in an old paper. Fish and chips are best enjoyed with a dash of malt vinegar, ketchup and a sunny-seaside afternoon- delicious

Where to try it:
Golden Union Fish Bar, Soho. This 50s-style diner is decorated like a traditional British fish and chip shop and has the authentic food to match.
Prefer to take-away? Try Fish & Chips, Soho. Their fish and chips are cooked to perfection, and are served in the traditional paper.

Sundays in Britain are not complete without feasting on a traditional roast at lunchtime or dinner. Families in Britain usually put a lot of effort into the Sunday roast, as everyone sits down at the table together to tuck into roasted meat (usually chicken, beef, pork or lamb), vegetables, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and plenty of gravy! The Yorkshire puddings are usually the best part of the dinner, as this tasty food made up of flour, eggs and milk, is perfect for mopping up the juices of the meat and left-over gravy. A traditional way to enjoy a Yorkshire pudding is to make a large, flat one, which you put the meal inside.

Where to try it:
Get your family and friends together on Sunday and head to: 
Duke of Wellington, Marylebone. This pub and restaurant serves proper Sunday lunches with real ale.
This all-time British classic consists of hearty sausages sticking out of Yorkshire pudding batter, usually served with vegetables and onion gravy. Don’t worry, you won’t find a toad amongst your Yorkshire pudding – the unusual name is said to come from the fact that the dish resembles a toad sticking its head out of a hole, (we don’t get it either). This dish may seem strange to look at, but it tastes great: comforting and filling, it makes a fantastic dinner during winter, and also goes down well on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Where to try it:
Hush, Holborn. A relaxed restaurant with a modern twist, Hush serves a really delicious toad in the hole.

The steak and kidney pie is the most flavoursome and popular pie in Britain, just taste one bite of it and you will be hooked. This glorious dish is comfort food at its best, and is made up of succulent beef, seasoned kidneys, a sprinkling of mushrooms, thick gravy, which is all topped with a crispy pastry lid. This classic pub dish is usually served with chunky chips and vegetables, and is washed down with a good pint of ale. If you are looking for a traditional British dish to fill you up, then the steak and kidney pie will not disappoint!

Where to try it:
The Windmill, Mayfair. Being “pie specialists” and boasting their own “pie club”, it’s no surprise that this pub serves an incredible, award-winning steak and kidney pie.

The Lancashire hotpot is full of tasty goodness is one of the most popular dishes in the North of England. The hotpot, originates from the days of heavy industrialisation in Lancashire, and is now a very popular dish, which is typically served in pubs. This comforting casserole-style dish consists of a generous portion of lamb or mutton, topped with sliced potatoes and left to bake in the oven all day in a large heavy pot.

Where to try it:
To properly taste this dish, you should go up North, but if you can only stay in London, then go to:
The Strand Carvery, Strand. This restaurant serves up fantastic meat dishes, and the Lancashire hotpot should not be missed.

Satisfy your sweet-tooth...

Consisting of fluffy and light sponge, sweet raspberry jam and rich vanilla cream, the Victoria sponge cake is absolute pudding heaven. Named after Queen Victoria, who was known to enjoy a slice of cake with her tea, this cake is perfect if you are looking for a sweet treat to enjoy in the afternoon. Reach for a slice which has golden brown sponge and a light dusting of icing sugar to taste a true traditional Victoria sponge cake.

Where to try it:
Betty Blythe, Shepherd’s Bush. Enjoy the glamour of the 1920s in this cute cake cafĂ©, and choose the Victorian Afternoon Tea menu to try the best Victorian sponge cake. 

This tasty cherry-flavoured tart is a traditional British cake native to the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire. The tart consists of short-crust pastry covered in jam and topped with a sponge-style filling, which is enriched with ground almonds, (this is called Frangipane). Be sure to sink your teeth into this beauty with a cup of English tea in the afternoon – perfect!

Where to try it:
Lily Vanilli, Columbia Road. Based in a tranquil courtyard just behind the Columbia Road Flower Market, this cute bakery sells the best Bakewell tarts.

We hope this article made you hungry...Can you think of any other traditional British foods? Start a foodie discussion with us on our Facebook page or on our Twitter!

Written by Alissa Johnson

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