One would assume that when eating in traditional British restaurants one would be eating traditional British food. In London that can take the form of many guises from cheap cafes selling English breakfast to the very best eateries in the best locations.
There can be no food with a longer history in the British Isles than game. From the pre-historic Britons have been feeding from the land and during the ages it has actually led to some species dying out. During the Second World War eating game rose in popularity as rationing made other food stuffs rare. Hunting has always been associated with eating game but nowadays game is actually farmed so game has certainly made a come-back in the capital.
Mac and Wild in Great Titchfield Street just off the Oxford Street specialises in selling venison and traditional Scottish dishes. The restaurant gets its deer from owner Andy Waugh’s family estate, just north of Inverness in Scotland. It is sourced on the estate and then shipped to London where it is transformed into dishes like the “veni moo” burger and venison “steak frites”. The E Pellici may not have a traditional British name but it has been serving food in the same premises off the Bethnal Green since 1900. The food is produced today by the “Queen of the Kitchen” Mama Maria who has been doing this since 1960.
The fish and chips, the daily grills and of course the Italian specials are served up by other family members and just proves that you don’t have to break the bank to get a fantastic meal in London. The traditional full English breakfast is famous around the world for starting the day in grand style. There is so much choice in the style and the amount that customers want to pay.
Perhaps the best value can be found in Pimlico at the Regency Café. Bacon, herb sausages, golden eggs, black pudding and builder’s tea will set the customer back just over five pounds in surroundings that have been in operation since 1946. At the other end of the price spectrum can be found the Berners Tavern. Situated in the new Edition hotel in Fitzrovia, the surroundings are plush with elegant chandeliers with the walls being covered with framed art. The menu is not cheap but gives a modern take on traditional British dishes such as tender pork belly, braised halibut, and egg ham and peas. This is an example of fine dining at its best. The Sunday Roast is another institution of British cuisine. When owner Gordon Ker opened the Blacklock, his intention was to produce Sunday roasts “like your mum’s”.
The restaurant in Soho regularly attracts sittings of 300 diners in an area of London that was renowned for being quiet on a Sunday. The vast mixed platter with side dishes combines pork, lamb and beef and comes at a cost of twenty pounds. This is such a small selection of the traditional food that can be found in London. There has been no reference to fish and chip shops, or pie and mash shops, as it is impossible to cover every type of British cuisine What is clear that if you love food and you look hard enough London will deliver the plate of food that you will desire the most, and at a price that you are happy to pay.