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9 August 2011
As many food buffs out there will whole-heartedly agree, one of the best ways to get a feel for a place is to eat your way around it. From traditional local fare to the latest food fads, it’s not just a city’s personality that permeates its foods but also its history and the people and characters that shaped it.
So when you visit London, what better excuse can you have to eat your way into a food coma? You’re not ‘being greedy’, you’re ‘getting to know the area’! You’re a tourist, not a pig! Yeah yeah. Keep telling yourself that, whilst we tell you the best London attractions for your taste buds.
Hipsters and cool kids will already be more than familiar with Soho, with its uber-trendy clubs and piles of media offices. If you want to feel ‘with it’ for an afternoon, head down to Yumchaa for a tea-drinking experience like no other. This place is widely considered to be one of the best tea shops in London, with a selection of around 40 teas to choose from, comfy chairs and cake in abundance (apparently the lemon drizzle cake is a particular triumph). The staff are particularly passionate about their craft, with the ‘yumbaristas’ able to help you should the endless selection become too much. If you’re after a particularly ‘English’ experience, head here and drink tea.
Vegans and vegetarians should definitely head down to Saf in Shoreditch for the best veggie goodies in the east. Unlike some of the more disappointing veggie eateries, Saf has actual MEALS on its menu, including a fabulous vegan Sunday Roast that comes with a Bloody Mary on the side (great for hangovers!). There’s a large selection of different foods on offer, from snacks to full-blown three-coursers, meaning that for once, veggies can be spoilt for choice! And if
you’re interested in where the food actually comes from, you’ll be delighted to know that most of the food is created from scratch in the restaurant’s kitchen; very ethical!
Not technically London fare, but this makes our list for being just too yummy. My Old Dutch is a traditional creperie located in Holborn, offering more pancakes, crepes, waffles, and general tummy treats than you could ever hope to
cover. Not that you shouldn’t try of course. My Old Dutch is particularly well known for its HUGE portions (we’re talking 18-inch pancakes here!), meaning that you’re definitely getting value for money when you go, even if the diet has to be forgone for the day. There’s also a savoury selection and some traditional Dutch starters for when you fancy something different.
And of course, we can’t go without talking about steak, which London does like nowhere else. If your appetite is up for it, try out Sophie’s Steakhouse in
Covent Garden. Offering a massive range of meats for all tastes, Sophie’s also has a range non-steak options including pies, salads and fish; ideal if you’re dining with a big party: plenty of selection! Given that it’s slap bang in the theatre district, it’s a pretty classy establishment, with plenty of exposed brick walls and friendly staff, and you’ll be able to look out for any off-duty actors whilst you’re eating. And if you have room for dessert, give it a go; we’ve been reliably informed that the sticky toffee pudding is particularly delightful.
When you’re trying to decide what to do in London, the amount of choice can be a little overwhelming, even for those who’ve lived there their whole lives. It’s a very big city, after all. Naturally, your best bet is to take shelter in the nearest café or restaurant (perhaps the ones we’ve mentioned above) whilst you consider your options. You don’t want to faint from hunger and miss London altogether now…. Bon appétit!
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