“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” – George Bernard Shaw
If the above statement is true, I wonder how the English fare in their romances since their traditional food is something to consider. We have all heard the trials and tribulations of English cuisine: pub food, fish & chips, warm beer, meat pies, creamed peas, bangers and mash, the list goes on. However, with the diverse people and cultures that have immigrated to London these past 200 years, contributing dynamic cuisine and culture, has London finally found true love?
Public houses, or pubs, historically are anchors of the community. Folks and neighbors would meet to grab an ale or cider, spend time outside of work and home for a pint. I visited four out of five oldest pubs in London, you can see that post here –> historic pub run (it is in the February 2019 section).
For this essay, let’s explore the other side of London eats through restaurants, markets, and of course, vital, historical areas such as Brick Lane.
During February 2019, I was in London for seven days and on the fifth day, discovered where to find edible, delicious cuisine: Brick Lane Sunday Market. A food hall boasting over ten savory stalls featuring everything from Vegan Ethiopian food to delicate Italian pastas. This isn’t including the sweet stalls that featured small fruit pies to French crepes. Once you’ve finished devouring all the meals you’ve purchased (most meals are under £6), head over to the artisan and craft areas. Interested in just reading about Brick Lane? Check out this post –> Food that matters are on Sunday.
In-between February and November, Netflix premiered their sixth season of Chef’s Table and featured Asma Khan’s newly minted Michelin star restaurant, Darjeeling Express. Khan is the first English chef featured on the Netflix docuseries. Through a stroke of luck, I was given a table at Khan’s restaurant during the earlier dinner service. Khan was present to begin service but had to leave early to prepare for an interview scheduled the next morning. How do I know this? Because for a short time, Asma Khan was my dinner date. Would you like to read more? Check it out here –> My dinner date with Asma Khan.
Without much further ado, here are some food posts from Brick Lane Market, Borough Market, Spitalfields Hall, Columbia Road Flower Market, Harrods, and Covent Garden.
Let’s just get this one out of the way. This is standard Pub fare, a toasted sandwich with cubed potatoes, much needed coffee versus tea and yes, I was reading British Vogue. Nothing too exciting here folks.
Across from St. Paul’s Cathedral, a French brasserie called Café Rouge offers a standard English Breakfast for £8. Again, I chose coffee (don’t worry, I drank tea most of the time). Although I don’t eat pork, sausage and bacon comes with everything. As you can see, it’s quite boring, the mushroom and eggs weren’t bad.
I had better luck in Covent Garden for some variety in breakfast. A fried egg over roasted hash, caramelized onions, and toast wasn’t bad. If you’re not eating a standard English Breakfast, then it’s a scone with clotted creme and jam. Although, what is the deal with the sprouts?
The English and their sweet tooth. If anything, desserts and sweet deliciousness is a great plan B, since their baked goods rarely disappoint! L-R Scone w/clotted cream & jam, creme pat filled pastry, (Borough Market), sweet stall (Brick Lane Food Hall), Bake Shoppe (Columbia Road Flower Market).
Various cannoli, donuts, & pastries from Spitalfields Hall!
I decided to have lunch first prior to ravaging dessert. Sesame noodles with julienned vegetables, and a steamed dumpling!
Founded in 1871, Maison Bertaux is the oldest patisserie shoppe in London! I would recommend ordering as much patisseries as you can – you won’t be disappointed since technically, they’re all French. Oui!
Harrods Food Hall is exquisite; especially, if you’re able to find it, lest afford it. You’ll need some stamina to exit the building, if you decide to not have dinner, at least have a snack – you will need it.
I had the most fun spending my Sunday morning at Columbia Road Flower Market. Not only is the road transformed into an endless vision of beautiful flowers, the cafes and shoppes don’t disappoint either!
I do enjoy the infinite availability of chai tea throughout London. Chai is simmered in a sauce pan with fresh herbs and spices, served in a terra cotta cup!
EIGHTHREE MEDIA would like to thank:
Columbia Road Flower Market
Harrod’s Food Hall
Brick Lane Sunday Market
Copyright 2020 ERICA HILARIO
Copyright 2020 EIGHTHREE MEDIA