Lovely London

Eye was in London!

London never disappoints me when it comes to going on a culinary road trip! Whilst visiting earlier this summer I took in some of the city’s main tourist attractions and sampled a huge range of the local food available there. It really ticked all the boxes for me in terms of being a multicultural city, producing an excellent variety of culinary offerings. Basing myself in the East End I found some really interesting local cuisine there that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.

Selection of highlights from my trip:

1. African Cuisine – Spitalfields Market, East London

Jollof Box is family run business that offers a taste of Africa in a box http://www.jollofbox.co.uk

Based in one of London’s oldest markets – the Spitalfields Market in East London Jollof Box produce a selection of sumptuous rice dishes that their mum has been cooking for over 40 years. These dishes come from a closely guarded family recipe, passed down from her grandmother.

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2. Fish and Chips – Hanbury Street, East London

Poppie’s Fish & Chips restaurant http://www.poppiesfishandchips.co.uk is an authentic British restaurant renowned for top-quality fish and chips. All of the seafood available on their menu is sustainable and responsibly-sourced, caught on day boats and then delivered to the shop by third-generation Billingsgate fishmonger. Jellied Eels were also on the menu, served cold with eel-flavored gelatinous jelly and sprinkled with chili vinegar. These were washed down nicely with some local Camden Pale Ale which is brewed by the Camden Town Brewery which is also located in the city.

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3. Strawberry Tours – London Food Tour

The Strawberry Tours free food tour is a must! It runs every Tue, Thu, Sat & Sun at 10.30am (with the exception of Christmas Day and St.Stephen’s Day) from Shoreditch High Street Station. The tour covers both the history of the area and also the history of the food offerings that have developed in the area. The tour guide Adam informed us about all the different communities who arrived and settled in the East End and how they each in their own unique way contribute to the cosmopolitan East End food scene.

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The only cost involved with the tour is purchasing the food that you would like to sample on the food trail. I decided to sample a delicious salted beef bagel from one of the oldest Beigel shop’s on Brick Lane. Whilst enjoying this we also learn about the different arrivals of Jewish people escaping persecution from Eastern Europe throughout the 19th century.

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Our next stop was a Bangladeshi deli where I sampled a tasty samosa and also discovered how Indian cuisine has had such an impact in British culture, so much so that curry has now become a national British dish!

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It was  then time to indulge in some wonderful West African chocolate from Dark Sugars Chocolates https://www.darksugars.co.uk

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Dark Sugars Cocoa House stock an amazing selection of chocolates and truffles and they also cater for vegan customers. My personal favorites were the Hazelnut Crunch and the Cardamon & Orange Truffles. The business first operated out of the Spitalfields Market and then moved onto the Borough Market. After spending a few researching cocoa in South America the owner Nyanga also spent some time and on her family’s farm in West Africa before returning to London to open the Dark Sugars Chocolate Shop on Brick Lane with her partner – Chocolate Man. The store has been successful in bringing the culture of West African cocoa production to the East End of the city.

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How to join the Strawberry food tour: 

  1. Reserve online http://www.strawberrytours.com/london
  2. Show up at the meeting point
  3. Look for the guide with the Strawberry Umbrella

4. Cay Tre

If you like Asian food Cay Tre is a beautiful Vietnamese restaurant in Soho. It’s a chic and impeccably smart restaurant with minimal decor and I was delighted with their use of fresh ingredients on the menu, with impeccable provenance.

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I ordered the Devon Crab wrap with crisp lettuce and perilla leaves and the grilled Cornish Scallops in spring onion oil, roasted peanuts and nuoc cham.

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The menu was peppered with imaginative combinations, such as grilled squid stuffed with duck pâté and braised ox cheek pho with lemongrass & coriander. It’s definitely worth a visit if you would like to experience authentic Vietnamese food.

My culinary visit to London was a fun-filled few days in which I learned a lot about the food history of the East London area. I was also lucky to be exposed to a fantastic range of mulitcultural food dishes and I would most definately recommend it for a #culinarytrip.

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