Winter in London tends to be cold and damp, and as we move into January, it’s even more important to fill our lives with warm and cosy things. Though London was once a destination to avoid if you valued your food, it has now claimed its place amongst other major European cities as a hub for gourmet, experimental and simply delicious grub. If you’re craving something hearty and tasty to get you through the chillier months, London has you covered. Be warned: these are not going to help you stick to your January diet!
British food is historically stodgy and filling, perfect for staving off the winter blues. If you’re not sure what constitutes traditional British food, look for hearty staples like roast beef with Yorkshire pudding – served with roast vegetables and lashings of rich gravy – or “pie and mash”, which means a single-serving pie filled with beef and gravy, served with buttery mashed potatoes. You’ll find plenty of variations on these themes served in pubs and restaurants all around London, as well as any good hotel near Lancaster Gate – best served with a pint of English ale to wash it all down. And you can’t go past a good feed of fried battered fish and hot chips, liberally sprinkled with salt and vinegar with creamy tartare sauce on the side. The English love fish and chips for a summer day at the seaside, but it hits the spot on a cold winter night too – reminding you that the sun will be back one day.
For something a little less familiar, it’s time to try out some traditional Japanese ramen. This noodle dish is much more than the instant noodles you often see in grocery stores – the real thing involves a rich broth made with pork bones, cooked slowly for up to 20 hours for maximum flavour. Once the noodles are added, your ramen is quickly topped with a selection of tasty additions like tofu, fish, beef, chicken, pork, eggs and green onions. Don’t be shy about slurping it up straight away – it’s meant to be enjoyed right then and there. Slurping is all part of the ramen experience! A few tasty gyoza dumplings on the side, and this dish should fill you up for hours to come.
No one does comfort food quite like the American South, and plenty of their best work has spread across the Atlantic – Londoners are now very well acquainted with the delights of buttermilk fried chicken, mac’n’cheese, cornbread and beignets. You can also find plenty of barbecue pulled pork, added to everything from chili to burgers. Some of America’s most famous burger chains have also made their way here, paving the way for smaller local businesses to try their hand at proper Yankee fast food. For richly marinated meat and deep-fried everything, you can’t go past the States.
We highly recommend making the most of the food offerings here in London – with its hugely diverse multicultural population, you can find almost anything here from every country in the world.