Today the city teems with eateries that reflect the diversity of the local population – beyond the corner curry joint, to refined and exotic flavours from Bangladesh and China. However it's prepared, and whether enjoyed on a white tablecloth or at a counter, the consummate meal in London is made with seasonal, fresh ingredients, sourced from Britain's farms and seas.
Traditional dishes and potent drinks to warm the heart
British cookbooks have always been filled with tasty dishes, from the Beef Wellington and Dover sole that graced fine dining rooms, to Welsh rarebit or sausage and mash “down the pub.”. Trout, salmon, and Cornish cod (fried for fish and chips) shared space at the table with steak and kidney pie and... for the brave... jellied eels! British cooks filled kitchens with the mouthwatering scents of warm scones, biscuits, fruit crumbles and crumpets, to be enjoyed with a steaming cup of Earl Grey or Darjeeling tea. It wouldn't be Sunday without roast beef served with Yorkshire pudding, or tender lamb with mint sauce.
As home of the pub, Britain of course poured beers for thirsty patrons, often dark ales, porters and stouts. Ciders from the countryside's plentiful apple orchards were a deliciously tangy alternative, while on sunny summer days, a classic Pimm's or crisp gin and tonic provided ultimate refreshment. In the 20th century cocktails, ceremoniously prepared by dignified bartenders at London's most elegant hotels, were the smart way to kick off an evening.
Flavours of contemporary London
A great meal in today's London can combine the heritage of traditional British cooking with inventive and exciting flavours from around the world. The new generation of London chefs earned their celebrity and many Michelin stars by insisting on, and working magic with, the finest and freshest ingredients. The cuisine may be classically British with a twist, haute French, creative Italian, unparalleled Indian or carnivore-pleasing nose-to-tail – or an ingenious fusion of many elements. Artisan bakers and coffee roasters add their personal touch to the scene.