British Foods in London
British foods were once associated as being plain and boring. It was not always like this but food rationing during the World War II and the post war period resulted in its poor reputation. Times have changed and there has been a revival and interest for British cuisines especially for classic dishes. London is the epicentre and gastronomic capital for British cuisines and not just confined to the British-style restaurants, pubs and gastro pubs but also extends to the humble takeaways and food stalls. The following are some of the popular British dishes you’ll find in London.
Fish and Chips
Fish and chips or Chippy as the Brits affectionately call it is probably the most internationally well-known British dish. Introduced in the 1860s, it was a dish consumed by the working class and gained wide popularity in the 20th century. It principally consists of fried battered fish and hot potato slices. It’s a common takeaway food in London and across the UK, though now many fine dining restaurants also serve this popular dish.
Fish and chips by Charles Haynes
This is a meal traditionally eaten on Christmas day with families and friends. The meal is rich and hearty, served in large portions. There are variations of Christmas dinner around the world and the British version consists of stuffed turkey, mince pie, roast or mashed potatoes and steamed or boiled vegetables (usually Brussels sprout) accompanied by Christmas or plum pudding for dessert.
Sunday roast is a less grand version of the Christmas dinner. It’s a typical British dish served by many pubs and some restaurants on Sundays, which gives its name. Sunday roast comprises of roast meat (such as lamb, beef or chicken), Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, various vegetables (such as peas, carrots, cabbages and broccoli) cooked in a variety of styles and topped with plenty of thick brown gravy.
Sunday roast by Ewan Munro
Bangars and Mash
Bangers and mash (also known as sausages and mash) is a traditional British dish consisting of sausages, mashed potatoes and topped with generous amount of green peas. The sausage comprises of any variety of meat such as beef or lamb and flavoured with herbs and spices. This hearty working class dish is a popular pub grub but you can find upmarket versions served by the gastropubs and restaurants.
Steak and Kidney Pie
The Brits have a love for meat-filled pies and among the popular pies is steak and kidney pie. The traditional savoury filling primarily comprises a mix of diced meat and kidney (such as beef or lamb), onions, mushrooms and thick gravy encased in a firm crusty pastry. Mash potatoes and steamed vegetables complement the dish. Modern versions of the pie may use seafood instead of meat and there are even vegetarian versions.
Steak and kidney pie by Hellahulla
Another popular pie dish in London is shepherd's pie, which is a meat pie topped with mashed potato. There are various versions of the pie but the filling for the traditional version uses minced lamb or mutton cooked in gravy with onions and vegetables such as peas or carrots. Cottage pie is similar to shepherd’s pie but uses beef instead of mutton. The Cumberland pie version uses beef or lamb and a layer of breadcrumbs topped with cheese.
Yorkshire pudding is not a sweet dessert but a batter dish consisting of eggs, flour and milk or water and often topped with onion gravy. The food is very versatile and can be eaten or served in numerous ways. It accompanies many dishes such as Sunday roast and sometimes eaten before the main course. As a dessert, you can add or top Yorkshire pudding with jam or cream.
Full English Breakfast
A full English breakfast (shortened as ‘full English’ and also known as a ‘fry up’) is a very heavy breakfast unlike the lighter continental breakfast that typically comprises of bread rolls, tea or coffee, fruit juice and fruits. A ‘full English’ includes sausages, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans, toast and served with tea or coffee. It is a popular breakfast at many cafes and pubs and some even serve it throughout the day.
Typical English breakfast by André Zahn
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