British cuisine has gone through a metamorphosis built on awareness, creativity and passion about local food – and today, there’s nothing hotter than local in Great Britain.
By Kalle Bergman
Click to hear what some of the greatest Chefs in the world have to say about British cuisine, and the British food scene.
For long, the outsider’s view (and perhaps even the insider’s view) of British cuisine was largely restricted to beans, bangers and bad, wobbly gelatinous desserts. And even if London has been considered an amazing food city for decades, it was always largely built on classic French gourmet food in one end, amazing Indian and Pakistani food in one end and pub grub of varying quality in the middle.
But times are a changing in the heartland of the Empire. The British food scene today is more confident than ever, and scores of interesting British restaurants are popping up across the country. Facilitated in part by the “gastropub” trend of the 90’s and early 00’s, the inwards looking was spearheaded by personalities like Fergus Henderson and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, and made popular by restaurants like Roast and St John – Henderson’s pioneering British eatery. Today, unlike just a few years ago – local Chefs seem more proud of their heritage than ever.
And why shouldn’t they be? The British Isles are filled with access to great vegetables, fruits, herbs, game and dairy – and with the climate, it is almost the perfect country to indulge in seasonal cooking.
The movement behind the “new” British cuisine isn’t all focused on being “new”. On the contrary, there’s huge pride in the British classics. Dishes that have been part of everyday life for ages and ages are gently escorted into the future, and it’s not unusual to see things like Cornish pasties, sunday roast, fish and chips and many other traditional plates on even the more upscale and creative of new British restaurants. Upgraded and updated, of course – but still with a fond eye to the past.
Here are 5 of our favorite British restaurants in London for the culinary tourist:
1. St John
The restaurant that pioneered awareness of British cuisine, and created a whole new wave of casual but utterly delicious eateries.
2. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
The highest newcomer on this year’s World’s 50 Best list, and the proof that the man behind The Fat Duck isn’t on his way down. Dinner is based on historical British cooking – with modern takes on a culinary past.
Iqbal Wahhab of the Cinnamon Club shows that he’s just as comfortable with updated traditional British food as he is with Indian cuisine.
Not 100% British (there’s some French there as well), but this restaurant is a inspired follower of the Church of Henderson – with their own identity.
5. The National Dining Rooms
They call themselves a “hidden treasure”, and they’re not completely wrong – even if they can hardly be considered unknown today. What is true, is that their British cooking is something to treasure.
This post was written by Honest Cooking as part of the GREATBritain Campaign