British food is the underdog of European cuisine. One could argue that pie is a little less sophisticated than, say coq au vin or pasta carbonara and it's an undeniable truth that the British serve chips with pretty much anything – even in sandwiches. But who doesn’t prefer chips to a side salad anyway, especially when fried to golden perfection?
In recent years, when the French and Italians have relied solely on their culinary heritage, the UK has caught up by way of ingenuity and playfulness. In London alone, there are 52 Michelin starred restaurants, and across the country a growing army of inventive celebrity chefs are turning once stodgy and old fashioned dishes into the latest restaurant trend.
Are you visiting London as part of our Teacher Development or Internship Programmes? Here's our team's guide to an authentic British food experience, from the morning fry up to jellied eels and afternoon tea. Who's hungry? Let's begin...
Regency Café (£)
You haven't been to the UK until you enter the sticky interior of a "propah" British caff. Popular with hungry builders and party-goers alike, the fry up takes the concept of brunch to another level. Bacon, eggs, chips, sausage, toast... you name it. It's all there, waiting to get splattered with HP sauce and washed down with a hot cuppa tea. This particular greasy spoon, The Regency Café, is an art deco institution that's been around since the 1940's and has been the filming site of several BBC adaptations. Be aware that this isn't the spot for a quiet conversation, as the lady behind the counter has a knack for screaming out the orders.
Option 1: G Kelly (£)
Pie and mash have a rich history in London. The first pie shops popped up as early as the mid-19th century and provided an important source of cheap food for the working class as well as during the rationing of the Second World War. G Kelly on Roman Road in the East End is no different. It earned its name from founder George Kelly in 1937 (although it had operated as a pie and mash shop since the early 1920s) and has now been in the hands of the same family for three generations. Despite London being one of the most expensive and gentrified cities in the world, you can still grab a pie and mash or serving of hot eels - we dare you to try it! - for just over a fiver.
Option 2: Golden Union (££)
Fish and chips is actually more of a seaside specialty here in the UK, but that doesn't stop tourists and natives alike from queueing up to this Soho joint, serving sustainably sourced cod and haddock. Pop by Golden Union for a filling lunch before braving the crowds of Oxford Street.
High Tea of Highgate (££)
Care for some afternoon tea? Give Claridge's and The Ritz a miss (unless you have a spare £100 lying around) and head to quaint Highgate in North London. With a vast selection of original tea blends and homemade cakes and scones, High Tea is the pit stop you crave after hiking up the steep Highgate Hill or after a saunter in the nearby Highgate Cemetary, where you'll find Karl Marx's grave.
Option 1: Lamberts (££)
The pick of our very own Deputy Director, Lamberts serves seasonal British food in a relaxed and modern environment. Located in south London neighbourhood Balham, the prices are local and reasonable. How does mackerel escabeche with fennel, carrot and orange sound for £8?
Option 2: St John's Tavern (£££)
The term 'gastro pub' was coined in the 1990's as pubs around the UK were remade from drinking establishments into pub-style restaurants. The St John's in Archway is one of the very early examples. The old Irish pub now serves a high-end mixture of British and continental cuisine. Start with an ale or glass of wine at the bar, exchanging a word or two with the friendly bar staff, before settling for dinner in the beautifully bohemian restaurant area.
Option 3: St John (££££)
This famous eatery in Smithfield, Clerkenwell, is a little pricier, but nonetheless worth a visit if you're interested in food and wine. St John, opened by three Brits in 1994, specialises in "nose to tail eating", meaning they offer cuts of meat ordinarily not served in restaurants. Dishes include crispy pig skin, roast bone marrow and grilled ox heart.
ADC College organises Internship and Teacher Development Programmes in London, eligible for funding from Erasmus+. Don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about what we do and how to get funding. Call a Country Manager today on +44 2084249424 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.