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London is Delicious

by Krista


Americans, stop it. Of London, you often say, “Boy I hear the food is really terrible there.” Stop it, stop it, stop it. Perception is NOT reality, my dear American friends. Yes, you will hate me when I tell you that I like the food in London better (generally speaking) than food in Chicago and that there is more more quality, more care, more variety, more fun. You will not believe me. You will speak poorly about me when I leave the room, the house, the event. But it’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I like the food in London better, with the exception of the need for the rare quesadilla, the rare chardog, the rare blueberry pancake. I go back to London to staunch the wound. It is deep. Very deep. Here’s where I ate in London last month, roughly in geographic order, west to east:

Terroirs, Charring Cross. We lucked out and had the best server ever in this well-kept little wine bar, especially in comparison to my past visits. Plus, our charcuterie and wine all on point. Great choice by Trafalgar Square.

St. John Hotel, Chinatown: Apparently under administration?? (That’s bankruptcy for the Americans.) But I love the bar, tucked up above Chinatown. A destination in an area of windows of dead ducks. Even if just for wine in the bar.

Four Seasons, Chinatown: I needed some crispy duck and prawn crackers. This place is a MACHINE. In, out, in, out. And everyone seems drunk. But maybe that was just me. I’m a cheap date, really. Not a destination, but fun just the same.

Koya, Soho: Simple and beautiful, affordable udon in intensely aromatic broth. Finally, finally finally. Liked it so much, I went twice in 10 days. Sprightly, attentive, and happy service. Wonderfully informal. Go.

Barrafina, Soho: Razor clams. Bar seating. Croquetas. That is all. Go.

Bubbledogs, Tottenham Court: Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Hot dogs! Champagne! Tiny little space! No reservations! And, um, sweet potato fries. (Been there, got the t-shirt.) This place is fun, although waiting for your table for over an hour on a Saturday night might not be so fun. I dig it. For now. I will probably not like it later, when there are 40 of them.

Drapers Arms, Islington: Stopped in on a busy Sunday afternoon to meet my friend Ben for a pint. Great to see it so packed and popular. A lovely neighborhood destination. Perfect for Sunday lunch.

Polpo Smithfield: Perky service, darkly romantic in the evening, and fun small plates. Even though I’m just so very, very tired of small plates. MEATBALLS. Casual and reliable and poised to become an empire.

St. John, Smithfield: Bone marrow. That is all. Go.

Busaba Eathai, Shoreditch: Don’t hate me. It’s close to my office and it was a work lunch. My Thai green curry was absolutely fine! I’d do it again. Does that make me less of a person?

Grab Thai, Shoreditch. A stalwart, as it’s right by my office. I love it here. This is mainly a take-out place. Super cheap and likeable Thai. Nice staff. Great for lunch on the go.

Not enough time for all that I want to do. I’m coming back for you, London. I am.


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Just Food Tweets (@JustFoodTweets) November 16, 2012 - 6:55 pm

Food Blog – London is Delicious:
Americans, stop it. Of London, you often say, “Boy I hear the food is really t… http://t.co/YfGNu2cI

London Chow November 17, 2012 - 1:18 am

Ah… Drapers Arms, one of my local favourites. They do a mean fish dish (just love the light sprinkle of sea salt over it) and like you said, it’s hard to get a seat during the weekends! But glad that you’ve covered this much during your trip this time round. There’s a slew of new openings in Soho area too. Bone Daddies (ramen) is one of them. Excuse the name but its ramen is surprisingly good.

Kavey November 17, 2012 - 2:38 am

It’s frustrating that so many people are not only content but actively take some kind of perverse pleasure in perpetuating really outdated stereotypes of British food.

Certainly, one can still eat badly here, and I wish that that were more of a rarity.

But one can also eat fantastically well and the sheer diversity, quality and availability of great food is incredible – nothing like it was 20, 30 years ago.

So, yay for spreading the word!

Ashley @ Hop Skip Jump November 17, 2012 - 4:02 am

It bugs me so much when people ask how bad the food is. They are going by tourists who don’t know or who only ate at local pubs I think. I try to blog about restaurants to show people just how amazing the food is in London!

Odo November 17, 2012 - 7:03 pm

Nice post, and great list, finally back in London and Bubbledogs is in my list… will take your advice on Koya need some udon…

Sam November 18, 2012 - 11:30 am

Well said, I am amazed that this opinion of London and the UK still persists. If people did a little decent research then it would be obvious to them that London is one of the greatest places to eat out. I’m always astonished that people don’t seek out advice when they visit new cities.

kaszeta November 21, 2012 - 3:39 pm

Yeah, I’ve grown really tired of people making snide comments about British food every time I come back from the UK (which is often, especially since I have family there). Oh, I’ve had one or two meals that evoked the image of bad British food, but overall, I eat much better in London and the rest of the UK than, well, most anywhere else I travel. There’s a reason I’ve got dozens of British places on my blog….

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