My besties know that the only obsession that matches my interest in travel is my love of food. London is my favourite culinary city and London Foodies are fun and gregarious companions.
London has been a melting pot for cultures since the early 17th Century and all of those cultures brought their own spices, flavours and tastes to the capital of the British Empire. At its height, the British Empire was, by far, the largest that the world has ever known. In 1920, the British Empire covered an astounding 35.5 Million square kilometres (13.7 Million square miles) and held 412 Million citizens – 23% of the world’s population! Representatives of that vast community came to the capital to transact business and the food of their cultures soon followed them.
Indian curries are the nation’s favourite
Here’s a pro-tip: Dishoom doesn’t take bookings for dinner and there are always long queues. So, book breakfast or lunch if you want to guarantee a curry!
The second best example of imported tastes in London must be Chinese food. London’s Chinatown offers many authentic examples of the Far East’s notable delights. I prefer something a bit more nouvelle in my Chinese food and my favourite is Hakkasan, which has two locations in London. Hakkasan always reminds me of Xi’an because of its opulent style. You can often find me enjoying a cocktail at the bar in Hakkasan Mayfair right before enjoying a fabulous meal! The chefs at Hakkasan produce modern twists on classic dishes and their sommeliers have produced a fantastic wine selection to accompany the food treats. A close second for me is Park Chinois, which is in nearby Berkley Square. This upscale restaurant recalls the heyday of Shanghai in its décor and has an opulent menu and wine list!
Sushi makes Miso happy!
Here’s another pro-tip: Not all high-quality sushi needs to be from a pricey restaurant. Try Sanjugo in Shoreditch, Sushi Samba in Covent Garden or SticksnSushi in Soho for a casual atmosphere and fantastic quality!
Arabic flavours are so versatile and tasty!
Moving to the New World, London has a fantastic range of Caribbean food and Latin American restaurants. My favourites include the ultra-casual Rudie’s where you can experience the ultimate in Jamaican food while enjoying that country’s music. I recently wrote about my love for Jamaica and Rudie’s transports me instantly to that relaxing locale! A close second for me is Mama’s Jerk because it features “Biriyardie” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Middle Eastern Biryanis which combine rice-n-peas with jerk chicken, sweetcorn, plantain and pepper-pickle. It is delicious!
Market food is excellent!
The introduction of BoxPark in London has seen this ever-growing London food culture rise to unprecedented heights. The BoxPark concept came to London’s Shoreditch in 2011 and is constructed entirely from old shipping containers! It brings together street food and shopping and is reminiscent of the “Ruin Bars” in places like Budapest. Since the success of their first venture, they’ve opened two more locations in Croydon and Wembley. You will find young trendy crowds enjoying food and drinks on every night of the week!
Borough Market is great for shopping and food!
The British Empire may be receding, but London is still the Capital of Food!