When people talk about British Cuisine to me it usually entails words like bland, boring, unimaginative or worse they say it’s horrible. I can honestly say I’ve NEVER had a bad meal in London, England (just to clarify for my Ontario readers) all the food I’ve eaten there has either been good or better then good. My weekend in London with Expedia.ca was filled with new restaurants (for me) and a few old ones (for me).
I’m going to take you through every restaurant we hit that weekend and hopefully when you decide to go to London these recommendations will help you. I have to stress that our hotel, Melia White House, was in a great location with amazing restaurants within walking distance or a quick tube ride.
Sketch – Sketch opened its doors in December of 2002 and has quickly become a place to go for food, decor, ambiance and service. Christina and I went for Afternoon Tea on Friday. If you want to experience Afternoon Tea at Sketch on a Saturday or Sunday please make a reservation as soon as you know you will be in London. I waited too long and the only option we had was for Friday. At first I wasn’t happy with Friday but once we checked into the hotel we bee lined it for Sketch and had a great experience. The decor in the tea room is plush and pink. The servers were very attentive and the sandwiches were very good. The desserts were lovely and not too sweet (in terms of comparisons Christina and I both agreed that the food was better at the Toronto King Edward Hotel afternoon tea service, we found the food at the King Eddie exceptional). We were allowed to have as many sandwiches we wanted and the tea flowed forever, this is what makes Sketch great for men as well, they don’t need to worry about leaving hungry. Most interesting thing at Sketch? I’ve never seen bathrooms like those in Sketch.
Fish Bone – Located within walking distance of the Melia White House, Fish Bone restaurant has great traditional English style fish and chips with a side of mushy peas (I am not a fan of mushy peas but recommend you try them when in London). Out of the three fish and chip restaurants I’ve been to in London this was my favourite. The biggest surprise was how delicious their hummus is.
Heddon Street Kitchen – This Gordon Ramsay restaurant located in the heart of London’s west end is a casual dining experience big on taste and imagination. We went for breakfast. Christina ordered avocado on pumpernickel toast with poached egg and she loved it. I ordered the sweet corn and green chilli fritter, red pepper relish, avocado and creme fraiche which I loved and would order again. Our meals were very tasty and the right portion size. These are not American portions so please be aware.
Mayfair Pizza Co. – this cute little Italian restaurant in Mayfair is located down an alley way. I was there last year and it was hard to find, this year wasn’t any easier. I gave up meat this year for lent so my food choices have been limited this trip. I ordered the dorset crab and chilli risotto and salad. This was my least favourite meal of this trip, the risotto was just ok. Now that is more a reflection on my limited choice here. Last year Nicole and I shared a pasta and pizza and loved both dishes and that’s why I am not disappointed with this restaurant. Christina ordered a Margherita pizza and it was very nice (I had a slice or two).
The Ivy Market Grill – Last year Nicole, her husband Dan and I stumbled upon The Ivy Market Grill on our last night in London and decided to eat there. (We had asked the concierge at our hotel for restaurant recommendations and they were of no help, it was disappointing). It was my favourite restaurant last year (we also ate at the Wolseley and that’s a London institution) and it is still my favourite restaurant this year. We had mushrooms on toast to start and it is amazing. It’s creamy and smooth and a perfect topper for toast. My only complaint is that there is not enough toast. Christina ordered the butternut squash with grains and it was a tasty vegetarian option that was sweet and nutty. I had the seared scallops which is an appetizer but they made it for me as a main. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the creamed potato was a delicious side. We shared truffle and parmesan chips and they were generous with the truffle and parmesan which fused nicely with the chips. This restaurant was completely booked and very busy on a Saturday evening. It is a popular restaurant located in the theatre district. If you want a good table make sure when you book you ask. Our server was lovely and he made very honest recommendations which I appreciated.
Taste of India – Having a good concierge is key when booking any hotel in London. Christina and I had never had curry in London, she has been five times and this was my second. We both decided on Sunday that we wanted curry and asked our concierge where we should go, we were having a very late lunch/very early dinner. He initially recommended several popular tourist restaurants that were in high traffic tourist locations. The problem was they didn’t open till 6 pm and we had dinner reservations at 8:30 pm. Once he realized that we weren’t adverse to hitting a local restaurant he recommended we try out Drummond Street by the hotel that has several Indian restaurants. We decided to try Taste of India and were really happy we did. The gentlemen who served us were very kind and attentive. We ordered the vegetable platter which offers 5 different vegetable appetizers, all of them were excellent. Next we shared chana masala and naan. We both agreed that the chana masala had the perfect amount of spice. The naan had a nutty taste that we really enjoyed. Our craving for curry had been fulfilled
Berners Tavern – The decor inside Berners Tavern is my favourite in all of the places I’ve been to in London and is very grand. It is an open space with (what feels like) 50 feet ceilings and the walls are covered with gold framed art/pictures. You really need to take a minute to two to take it all in. Berners Tavern offers a contemporary British menu that really is simple but elegant. We weren’t too hungry and ordered accordingly. Christina had the braised chicory, celery and butternut salad which she didn’t love. This is more of an appetizer and is not a “dinner” salad. I had the roasted stone bass and it was wonderful. The service here is impeccable. There was a misunderstanding when I was ordering and didn’t order what I thought the waiter was describing. My order was quickly changed and I got exactly what I wanted. For desert we had the dark chocolate tart with mint ice cream and cookie crumble. It was a delicious desert and a favourite of mine in London. For me this is a must see restaurant even if you can only go for a drink at the bar. Going during the day will guarantee some of the most stunning photos you will take on your trip and they will be Instagram brag worthy.
What do you think? Any restaurants you would recommend when visiting London?