Go for Gold with Quality British Food!
I’ve got a number of friends coming from various countries overseas to London in July to see the Olympics. They’ve asked me where they can find traditional English food, that is hearty, tasty, not too expensive,and relatively near to the Olympic Park venue of East London. Although to be honest the transport is so good- particularly the buses and tubes (underground) that you won’t have any difficulty getting from A to tasty B!
English food hasn’t always got great press, especially with Europeans, but I enthused about some places that I know, and so we’re going to have some culinary visits during the events. I thought I’d share some of these with you. Forget McDonalds which is building a massive 1500 seater in the Olympic Park- get out into the real streets of east London and explore the city during the London Olympic Games!
I explained that one of the great traditional English lunches, dinners and suppers, is Fish and Chips. While you can eat it “in” inside a Fish Bar, you can also have it take away, when it is wrapped in paper (sometimes old Newspaper) and liberally sprinkled with vinegar and salt, for you to munch away while walking down the street, or sitting in the evening London Summer sun (I can hope can’t I?).
Try Poppies of Spitalfields- a place with great food and a real sense of history. It’s reckoned to serve the freshest and the best fish n chips in all London, and it’s been doing that since the last year of the war- 1945! It has an amusing and informative website which tells you all you want to know about its history, the menu and the prices. It’s at 6-8 Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR. Shoreditch High Street and Aldgate East are the nearest stations.
Team GB Olympian Gemma Bennett visits Poppies fish and chips, Spitalfields
Next up, if you’re up for a meal on a Sunday is the good old traditional English Sunday roast. That consists of roast lamb, pork, chicken or beef, accompanied by Yorkshire pudding (made from batter and roasted) horseradish, mint sauce, roast potatoes and parsnips, and vegetables- usually peas, carrots and cauliflower. There are restaurants which provide this, but to my mind the best place as a carvery attached to a pub, or a decent roast menu served in a pub. There’s something great about British Beer and roast. Many pubs will advertise with blackboards outside on the Sunday- watch out for them.
Try the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms if you want to go slightly up market (still less than £15 for a roast) Nearest stations- Moorgate, Barbican or Old Street.
The East End of London is famous for its Indian Restaurants as parts of it have a high ethnic Indian population, which means that I will often go out for a quality Indian meal in Brick Lane. There are too many great places to pick one out, but the “curry” is really a staple diet of many Londoners, particularly the ubiquitous Chicken Tikka Masala, or for me the hotter Lamb Madras.
Here’s my favourite vegetarian Indian restaurant, a little way away in NE London, Stamford Hill, Stoke Newington. Set meals for about £15, and you’ll be taking some home in a doggy bag, because the portions are very generous!
55 Stoke Newington Church Street N16 0AR, a walk from Stoke Newington station.
Finally, Jellied eels. I’m sorry, I can’t tell you anything about them, except that they look disgusting. I’ve never been able to pluck up enough courage to try them. Yes it is traditional East End food, but you’re on your own with this one!
You will find more information on the Olympics in general here.
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