Having lived in London for about 10 years, and also working in Media for 7 of those, meant that I was able to visit some amazing restaurants and sample some fantastic food. London is becoming a great food Mecca and English food is rapidly shedding its reputation for bland food! So below are the top 5 things that I have eaten in London. Warning – this post will make you hungry!
This was a tough list to compile, there were so many great things I have eaten, so honorable mention goes to: Stuffed Courgette Flowers from Fino, Mac and Cheese with Braised Beef Cheek from Berners Tavern (exceptional, but ridiculously rich), The Roast beef at Simpsons on the Strand (carved at the table), Pig’s trotter baked beans from Duck and Waffle and of course Pret’s Christmas Sandwich!
So, I hear you ask with anticipation what did make it in. In no particular order my top 5 are:
Meat Fruit from Dinner
OK so this is kind of a showy off one to start, but Heston’s Meat Fruit had to make it into the list as it is so iconic, so delicious, so rich and just a truly astonishing achievement. This starter took the creamiest, richest chicken liver and foie gras (what a combo!) parfait and turned it into a perfect looking Satsuma. Seriously, look at the pic, they absolutely nail it. I have a real love of rich food and can honestly say that this delivered on both design and flavor – something truly memorable!
It’s a pretty ridiculous process they go through to make this thing (it is Heston so of course it is!). This article lists in detail how they do it – worth a read if you are a geek like me.
This was a hell of a starter and kicked off a wonderful meal at Dinner. I hope one day to make it to the Fat Duck to sample some more of this kind of gastronomy, although I may have to re-mortgage the house to pay for it!
Black Cod from Nobu
When I first tried this back in 2008, apparently I didn’t stop talking about it for a week (yes I am that boring!) and I was lucky enough to go back to Nobu for an amazing dinner in November last year, and again remind myself of how truly unforgettable this dish is.
Nobu is a wonderful Sushi restaurant serving up a huge array of wonderful fish and meat dishes (the lamb chops narrowly missed out here as well). But their signature dish has to be the Black Cod. As you can see above this is served simply on a plate, with a simple garnish – they know you don’t need anything else with something like this.
The cod is buttery and flaky, you just touch it with a chopstick and pieces peel off. The outside is slightly sticky and crisp, but the inside you have this incredibly moist, buttery and flavorsome fish you will ever taste. It practically melts the minute it touches your tongue, but you are left with a buttery taste with subtle fish undertones (not sure I am selling this very well). Lots of places now sell this, and thanks to the Nobu cookbook you can try this at home – although you do need 4 day (yup) of marinating to get this as close as possible – Challenge Accepted!
And from personal experience this goes well with this cocktail – yes it does come with a strip of bacon in it which is undeniably awesome!!
Smoked Margarita Cocktail
Maestro Dobel tequila, Orange Curacao, and smoked water, Shaken and served short with a strip of bacon
Kedgeree from the Wolsely
The Wolsely is a London institution. It is a stunning restaurant situated right by the Ritz and it serves great English classics day and night. It is breakfast though where this place really stands out for me. Full of politicians, no doubt expensing this pricey breakfast (political!!) when I went I had to have the Kedgeree, which is one of my favourite dishes and I had heard that this was supposed to be the best one in London.
Kedgeree is an Indian dish that was brought back to the UK by the colonials in Victorian times, where it quickly became a staple breakfast dish. Whilst its popularity has waned since then, it does seem to becoming more popular popping up on more menu’s both as a breakfast option and as a starter. If you haven’t tried it I do recommend it, it is really delicious.
Kedgeree is made up of rice, smoked fish (usually haddock), boiled or poached egg, fresh parsley, curry powder, butter and in the case of the Wolsley cream, so much cream. Scroll to the bottom of this article here to find a recipe from 1894 for Kedgeree
I am happy to say the Wolsely didn’t disappoint and is the best Kedgeree I have eaten, it was very creamy, so did send me into a food coma for the rest of the day! But it tasted wonderful, a perfectly poached egg on top of creamy buttery rice, with the lovely smoky haddock adding some depth of flavor.
Brisket on Toast from Pitt Cue
One of the Joys of going to Pitt Cue is the 2 hour queuing. I’m serious! Pitt Cue is a tiny restaurant in London, it has around 30 covers so no matter when you arrive you will always have to queue. However queuing is not so bad when you can drink half pints of meantime beer and sample every starter on the menu whilst standing on a busy street in the middle of London – and best of all those tried so far goes to the Brisket on toast.
Pitt Cue’s menu changes constantly so unfortunately you can’t guarantee having this if you go, but this was simply spectacular and the most memorable thing I have eaten at this exceptional BBQ restaurant. Slow cooked, smoked Brisket, perfectly smoked and so so tender, shredded and mixed with a light bbq sauce. This was served on top of slices of thick white toast which had by the taste of it been marinating in butter for about a week. Last time we went they had replaced Beef with Hogget (a young sheep), which was equally delicious.
Tangy beef, rich with a punchy meaty flavor, mixed with the buttery toast. Perfectly complemented with a nice crisp beer – Well worth braving the cold winter weather for!
Dead Hippie Burger from Meat Liquor
Last, but by no means least is the mighty burger! Now this will be the most controversial on this list I am sure, as everyone has their own favourite burger, and I am sure I am probably totally out of touch in the booming London Burger scene, but this for me is the best burger I have ever tasted.
This is what a burger should be, 2 mustard-fried patties covered in melted cheese, served with the Dead hippie sauce (no idea what it is but its gooooood) on top of lettuce and pickles. Simple, as all good burgers should be. This is a messy burger (again a pre-requisite for a good one in my mind) and you will get it everywhere – so a good thing they have kitchen roll on the tables. The beef is melt in the mouth, the patties are perfectly cooked, well done but still juicy. This is a meaty, juicy and tangy delight that has depth of flavor you wouldn’t think you could get from a burger. To go along with this I highly recommend the Deep Fried Pickles (Gherkins) or the enormous onion rings as in the pic above– they are fab!
For me it’s the best ever – but I’m always happy to be proved wrong!