Three Weeks in Europe - London through food
I’ve heard in the past that England doesn’t have good food, but I beg to differ! We ate quite well while we were there.
Our first stop after finding our Airbnb (after customs, and an hour long Underground commute) was an Italian restaurant just a block away called Il Bordello. We showed up 10 minutes before they closed, ordered quickly, and ate way too much, but that meal was such a satisfying one after a day of traveling. Nathaniel got the carbonara and I got spaghetti bolognese, which we just paired with their house red wine. I would totally eat here again. The staff all seemed to speak Italian, too, which added to the authenticity.
The next morning we met a friend (who has lived in the UK since we all graduated high school) at a coffee shop called the Taylor Street Baristas. Delicious coffee just tucked away into the small streets near the Thames - it was a cute little place with eclectic decorations and a nice local vibe.
Our friend gave us a couple recommendations, and since we were going to need lunch, she told us about the Borough Market, which is near the London Bridge Underground stop. This place was amazing - we went all three days we explored the city. The first day we got pulled pork sandwiches from a stand that actually had a whole hog roasting on a spit. The second day we got duck confit sandwiches which were to die for. The third day I got a scotch egg and Nathaniel got an amazing donut. We found some lovely macarons, as well, and it made me want to try to make an Earl Grey flavor myself! I also found The Colombian Coffee Company's stand which uses amazing raw cacao in their mochas. That was hands down the best coffee I had the entire trip. We found a stand that sold beer, where we bought a bottle of The Kernel Export India Porter, but we also found beer from Boulder! They had Oskar Blues and Left Hand - so cool to see the reach of our hometown.
In Boulder we don’t have markets like this. I suppose our farmers market is the closest thing to it, but the Borough Market is up all the time, not just on weekends or special occasions. I think we could have eaten there/gotten groceries for every meal for days on end and gotten something different every single time. In addition, going to a market is probably going to be a little cheaper than sitting down for a meal, and you’re getting quality food from local businesses. Also, if you’re with people who don’t want to eat the same food as you, you can all go to a different stand. I will definitely be going back here many times in my life 😋 Hope the next time is soon!
One evening another friend and his lady cooked dinner for us - having a delicious home-cooked meal of ravioli, butternut squash sauce, roasted potatoes and a caprese-esque salad perfectly hit the spot, and it goes to show that you can find great ingredients to cook your own meals if your hotel or Airbnb has a kitchen. We also checked out a couple pubs while in Cambridge with them - one that stuck out to me was The Mill - they had local beer on tap, and gave us our pints to-go in plastic cups, and we sat outside while we drank - watching the river and the ducks!
While exploring Hyde Park one day, we stopped for a bite - Serpentine Bar and Kitchen has classic British dishes like fish and chips, but I just wanted some ice cream 😊🍦
At the Harry Potter Studio Tour, they have a little food area about halfway through called The Backlot - we got some mac and cheese, Butterbeer, and Butterbeer ice cream! Anything Butterbeer is great in my book!
I’m a bit ashamed to say that one late night we could find nothing open nearby except a gas station and a McDonald’s… so McDonald’s it was. I guess at least the food tastes the same, so we can count on their consistency.
One afternoon we decided to find some dumplings in Chinatown! We ended up going to Dumplings’ Legend, where we had duck, truffle, and pork dumplings. It had been a bit chilly, and we hadn’t yet gotten used to walking SO MUCH, so sitting down for this meal helped energize us a bit.
The other place my friend recommended was called Dinerama. It’s in Shoreditch and it’s made of shipping crates! There was a small cover of £3 to get in, since we got there after 7pm, and once we were in, we had several stands to choose from. There were sliders, BBQ, pizzas, donuts, bars and more! We ended up having a tandoori chicken sandwich, some duck nuggets, fries and sliders, along with a few cocktails. They do end up playing loud music and it gets a bit of a club vibe, so if you’re looking to avoid that, you should probably go earlier in the day, but the food was great, the style was cool, and with all the options, you’re bound to find something you like.
Of course this only scratches the surface of what the food scene in London has become, but hopefully my experiences can prove helpful for someone, or at least entertaining for you all to read 😉 I know I had fun!