- Food and Cooking
Dining Out in London - Not Just Tea - Hints on What, Where, and How Much?
When in London...
Scones and Everyday Tea
It is widely rumored that British food is bland and awful. I'll attest to the fact that this is contrary to my discovery--the person stating this untruth should be considered having a post World War II mentality.
I found British food to be an infusion of many different cultures. I can honestly say I did not have one awful meal during my recent visit to London.
I was forewarned, and I did fall in love with: toasted scones, clotted cream and jam. I am a teatotaler (don't laugh, there are many famous people who choose this practice) and so I was happy to have tea at any time of the day. (If you saw the outrageous price of a glass of wine, £ 8, you would become a teatotaler too!)
British Love Their Tea
A Spot of Tea
According to WorldWideWords.org, the term 'a spot of tea' has many different meanings:
1) On this side of the Atlantic, Americans may use the term to describe a small amount of tea.
2) In the UK, the phrase may refer to only a drink of tea or even a drink of tea with food.
Let's face it, the British have a love affair with tea; there's afternoon tea and high tea, depending on your socio-economic class. (Please don't discuss the Boston Tea Party with someone from the UK, they will have their own convoluted interpretation of this historical event).
My Favorite Foods
Surprisingly, the foods I most enjoyed in London were not what you would consider British.
Aside from scones, which have an obvious UK heritage--risotto I found to be plentiful at most restaurants--and we all know that dish is Italian.
Tarts or tartlets were served as a meal (grilled veggie tartlet for example) or as a dessert (fruit tart in photo).
Wasn't Juila Child from France? Who taught the British to bake such wonderful tarts?
Food in the UK --What, Where, and How Much?
As promised, I have a list of my favorite foods in London. (You would think I ate my way through the country. Actually, I didn't gain one pound.)
The first amount is in British Pound Sterling (GBP), the second price is its US Dollar equivalent (USD).
Scones (Costa Coffee) 2.10/3.33, Cheddar Ploughmans Sandwich
(Costa Coffee, Heathrow) 3.60/5.71, Belgian Chocolate Brownie (Starbucks) 1.45/2.30, Pistachio Gelato & seat (Leicester Sq) 3.00/4.76, Macarons (2 in box) (La Maison du Chocolat, Picadilly) 3.50/5.55, Grilled Vegetable Tartlet (Harrod's Food Hall) 3.95/6.26, Marzipan (3 pieces) (Harrod's Food Hall) 10.00/15.86, Traditional Fish and Chips with mushy peas (The Brasserie at the Guoman Tower Hotel) 14.50/23.00.
One Unsatisfactory Meal
I certainly don't want to speak poorly of any airline, but my first 'unsatisfactory' meal of the entire trip to London (and Paris) was on the return flight to the US.
My dining advice: don't eat pizza on an airline and don't order one in Rome.
All photos in this article are by the author, Camille Gizzarelli.
No goods or services were accepted in the preparation or writing of this article.
I absolutely loved the food I was served in London. Soon after, a friend visited the UK for the first time and particularly enjoyed the fish and chips (with Guinness beer, of course).
When in London...
When in London, do as the Brits do. They love their fish and chips (with smashed peas, of all things) and their tea. Even now, years later, I buy mostly British tea. It tastes better than most ordinary brands and it's a reminder of the city I love.
I love love love London, and surprisingly, I found it not as expensive as New York City. I can't wait to return to this delightful city that speaks my language.
On a recent trip to NY, I found what cost £10 in the UK cost $20 in New York City.
I think you would jolly well enjoy a trip to London and the UK. Ask your travel agent to alert you as to when overseas flights might be on special. This could save you a bunch.