Saturday, June 23, 2012

London food: a personal guide

I already posted many stories about London, but now it's time to bring it all together. Once again, I'm not pretending it is comprehensive as that would be impossible with such a city. These are just the great places I discovered in London during my first trip. It still has so much more though, that I think I'll keep coming back forever.

London street food and casual eating

Street food was the first and strongest impression I had in London. I had never seen so many different options just popping up randomly along my way. Though perhaps most of all you will see sandwiches from either Pret a Mange or from Eat, please do dig a little deeper. Sometimes way more interesting options are just next door. Sometimes you need to go just a little off the main street. Read more...

London gastronomy markets and shopping

After London's street food which just finds you on your way the second huge discovery for me were London's gastronomy markets. They are so pleasant to walk around, full of local farmer's products as well as of lovely artisan products from other countries. To add to that, they are also packed with delicious street food and casual eateries. Just one thing to remember - markets are open on market days only, so do check the opening times on their websites before going. Read more...

London bakeries and cake decorating

I got to visit just two bakeries so far, though London obviously has more. With all its amazing street food options it's hard to cover everything. But there could be no holiday without a good bakery in the capital of five o'clock tea. Read more...

London gastronomic restaurants

I was so consumed with street food that I didn't make it to many gastronomical restaurants in London. The one we did visit though became a true highlight of my stay. NOPI is a restaurant of Yotam Ottolenghi (also author of Ottolenghi take away food shop chain). I'm not the one to judge, but whatever I see Yotam doing amazes me. Everything is full of unique style and beauty and brings the traditional Middle Eastern cooking together with the newest trends in gastronomy.

We visited NOPI for a week day dinner and ordered from their tapas menu. There were three of us thus we got to try around nine different mini dishes, some meat, some fish, some vegetarian. There wasn't any dish I didn't like, but the greatest for me were these three:
Valdeon cheesecake, pickled beetroot, thyme honey
Confit press duck, burnt miso butterscotch, pickled mixed mushrooms
Roasted aubergine, black garlic, harissa, pine nuts

I didn't manage to get good pictures from NOPI, but here are some pictures, to give you an idea.

Next time I'm in the city, I'll be looking forward to visit many more places, including: L'Atelier 
de Joël RobuchonGordon Ramsay restaurant, Jamie Oliver's FifteenRochelle canteenSingapore gardenSedapItadaki Zen (Japanese vegan), Mildreds (vegetarian), Sagar (Indian vegetarian)

London cooking classes

I really enjoyed an Italian cooking class I took at Cicina Caldesi cooking school. The school belongs to Caldesi family, also running Caldesi Italian restaurant nearby. Katie Caldesi is a beautiful and inspiring lady. The class was about "Cucina Povera", which is Caldesi family food philosophy. Katie told us about their approach to eating healthy and using ingredients wisely and respectfully. We made a lovely extended Tuscan dinner, which included spring onion and leek pie, babbo's eggs (eggs poached in tomato sauce), pear salad with pecorino, celery and honey dressing, asparagus and spelt risotto, chicken with salsa verde and cannellini bean mash and jam tart with amaretto cream. Here are more pictures of the class.

Another class I loved was "Best of British" at L'Atelier des Chefs. The school is originally French and has many branches in France. It is now also doing well expanding internationally and I got to visit their first London studio. I was mainly attracted by the British topic of the class and I it turned out indeed very insightful. With a very interesting chef, Andrea, we made a very tasty dinner, including pea soup with garlic croutons, seared rump of lamb with pickled fennel, pearl barley and wild garlic risotto and jam roly poly vanilla custard and mini orange jellies. All of that left me in love with some of the British classics. Here are more pictures of the class.

Some more cooking schools I'd love to visit next time I'm in the city are: Enrica Rocca, Leiths, Angela MalikJamie Oliver's RecipeaseCakes 4 fun, Ms Cupcake


More Gourmet travel guides

British / American food in Moscow: Upside down cake bakery, Montalto (NY style pizza), Corner Burger, Coffee bean cafe

Apple cobbler with Cheddar cheese
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Pearl barley and cheddar risotto
Sticky toffee pudding
More recipes for British / American food