London Olympics for foodies
“Half of the world” will be in London in those days. Needing any suggestion where to go to eat?
London is not only a beautiful city, it’s also a city which unites the widest variety of cultures than any other city in Europe and also only few cities worldwide can compare with it. This variety on one side and the fact that London is (still!) the economical capital of Europe are reasons that also on the culinary side you will difficultly find any other city with such variety and richness of gourmet experiences. From street food to haute cuisine – London has it all and from all nations and cultures. Bellow are only a few of my suggestions, but as I’m also still only discovering London myself, the list is not yet complete. Look at it, but then decide on your own and enjoy also discovering new places. I wish you to enjoy wonderful gourmet experiences.
If you like Indian food you shouldn’t miss Benares (http://www.benaresrestaurant.com/) – the first Michelin starred Indian chef Atul Kochhar is never a disappointment. Great food (Indian but with European influences) with a great care regarding ingredients and a very equilibrated sensitivity regarding spices is a must. You will for sure enjoy the tastes which he creates. The restaurant’s added value is the service, which is excellent, and location – right in the prestigious Mayfair, attached to Rolls Royce showroom. Benares has also chef’s table and sommelier’s table dedicated to all who want more.
If you love Italian food, don’t miss Casa Batavia (http://www.casabatavia.com/) in the beautiful Kensington. Italian chef Nicola Batavia who’s primary restaurant is in Torino (http://www.birichin.it/) is a chef who has never forgotten that primary base of food is taste. So beside being a celebrity chef (who works with top designers like Tom Dixon and who is Olympic chef for Nike already since Beijing) he is putting all his attention not only into the function of creativity but most of all to taste and excellent ingredients. Nice ambient where you feel like at home is enriched by the “La Linea” illustrations by the artist Osvaldo Cavandoli.
Always a legend (well deserved to be called legend – I deeply appreciate and respect him for the depth of his studies of the ingredients and techniques) and innovator is Heston Blumenthal. Deciding for his legendary “Fat Duck” (http://www.thefatduck.co.uk/) might be too late (reservations about 3 months in advance, unless you are lucky and somebody has cancelled) but it for sure offers a food experience which involves all the senses. The alternative (check if there’s still some place) is Dinner in Mandarin oriental (http://www.dinnerbyheston.com/), which is expression of his studies of old British recipes, some of them even from the 15th century. An experience of the British roots of the cuisine is unique and has brought him already in the first year between the top 10 of San Pellegrino list.
Looking for something very contemporary ? Try the Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens (http://www.tomaikens.co.uk/) in his really relaxed atmosphere restaurant in Chelsea. Based on genuine ingredients (many of them grown in his own garden) and with simple cooking techniques which anyway reevaluate tastes and let them shine in a good way he is an excellent alternative. Beside that quality/price is in a very good relation. I suggest to try his tasting menu with wines.
Looking for surpluses? Go for The Ledbury (http://www.theledbury.com/) if you’re lucky to find a free place. Brett Graham, with two Michelin stars, is the fastest climber of the San Pellegrino list and somebody I can warmly suggest you to try his cuisine.
Are you in love with french cuisine?
Then try Waterside Inn (http://www.waterside-inn.co.uk/) the classics of French cuisine in London which influenced strongly the modern British cuisine. The family Roux is a legend. British people even describe British cuisine as the one before and the one after the Roux family. So this means something.
For the traditional French cuisine, under the guidance of the famous French chef Daniel Boloud who has his flagship restaurant in New York (http://www.danielnyc.com/) don’t miss the Bar Boloud (http://www.danielnyc.com/barboulud.html) in Mandarin Oriental in London, which offers an excellent classical gourmet experience in the heart of the city (Knightsbridge) for a very fair price. Even I have never tasted their hamburgers but went for another choices, I’ve heard that their hamburgers are best in the city. I have to try it next time as it’s becoming a place which I often visit.
Ready for new experiences? Visit The Modern Pantry (http://www.themodernpantry.co.uk/). I was enjoying their natural wine tasting menu. In the trendy Eastern part of London the restaurant of the talented chef Anna Hansen is for sure a place which deserves further visits. Relaxed atmosphere and intensive tastes inspired by different cultures + an interesting wine list with nice selection of natural wines have enchanted me.
Looking for a really very British gastropub experience, but a really special one? Take a trip a bit out of London and enjoy Hand & Flowers (http://www.thehandandflowers.co.uk/) where Tom Kerridge, awarded with 2 Michelin stars, creates an exquisite British cuisine which you’ll never forget. A gastropub with haute cuisine. Beside the good food Tom offers also wonderful rooms. Think twice before reserving somewhere else.
And if we talk about the rooms: have you ever thought to rent a room or apartment instead of going into a hotel? I had excellent experiences with https://www.airbnb.com/, so I suggest you to try …
And one more hint: lunches, even in Michelin starred restaurants will not cost you (without wines) more the 35 pounds per person, so that’s a nice possibility to discover more more places without spending a fortune, even if I recommend some 5 or more courses tasting menues in the evening. That will for sure give you even better possibility to taste what a restaurant really has to offer.
Enjoy discovering tastes of London!