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London’s 8 Best Restaurants for Traditionally British Food

Michael Catford | February 16, 2019  in

Traditional British food has long been the butt of jokes within the restaurant world, ribbed for its apparent blandness and lack of flair. But the tide is turning – Brits are becoming ever more proud of the stodgy, comforting fare that emanates from the classic English kitchen, with a wealth of restaurants inspired by classic British cuisine opening up across London.

A visit to the English capital isn’t complete without trying a few of its traditional British food recipes, and there’s never been a better time to eat local. Let’s look at the eight London restaurants that serve up truly great authentic British food.

Poppie’s

6-8 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields

Open 11am – 11pm Mon – Thurs, 11am – 11:30pm Fri – Sat, 11am – 10:30pm Sun.

While London might not be by the seaside, the classic portion of English fish and chips should still be on the menu of any London visitor. And no place does it better than Poppie’s. Local, sustainably sourced fish are served in an ultra-traditional and ultra-delicious way, covered in crunchy batter. Go for the fish, but stay for the caramel sticky toffee pudding!

The Ivy Market Grill

1a Henrietta St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8PS, UK

Open 8am – 12am Mon – Sat, 8am – 11pm Sun.

Having undergone a restoration in 2014, this London institution is looking better than ever. Fish lovers are advised to sample the deep-fried haddock, served with that most British of sides, mushy peas and roast potatoes, while carnivores will swoon over the veal chop. With an extensive list of champagne cocktails, The Ivy has one to suit every meal.

Battersea Pie Station

28 The Market, Covent Garden

Open 11am – 7:30pm Mon – Fri, 10am – 8pm Sat, 11am – 7pm Sun.

Pie and mash is one of the most popular British food you can find. Therefore, if you’re looking for a British dining experience that’s a bit more casual, cheap and cheerful, the meat pies of Battersea Pie Station should be on your British food list. Dine in or take away one of the glorious selection of traditional meat pies, served with ample helpings of mashed potatoes and gravy. Choose a beer-laden pie, like their steak and Meantime stout, for the most English of English pastry experiences.

St. John

26 St John Street, Clerkenwell

Open Midday – 3pm/6pm – 11pm Mon – Fri, 6pm – 11pm Sat, 12:30pm – 3:45pm Sun.

Head chef Fergus Henderson has built somewhat of a cult around St. John, a whitewashed smokehouse that serves as a temple to famous British food. Seeing a resurgence in offal, Henderson created the restaurant 20 years ago, offering up incredibly tasty morsels manufactured from the less adored butcher’s cuts. Try the grouse for your main, and the timeless bread pudding for dessert.

Berners Tavern

10 Berners Street, Fitzrovia

Open 7am – Midnight Mon – Fri, 9am – Midnight Sat – Sun.

Berner's Tavern - Interior - Credit Nikolas Koenig
Berner’s Tavern – Interior – Credit Nikolas Koenig

Featuring a high ceiling with dramatic chandeliers, historic Berners Tavern is as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the stomach. Pork pie is the house specialty, with an endless array of pickled veg and sauces available to pop atop your serving. But the cold meat perhaps plays second fiddle to the hot, with incredibly succulent British steaks dominating the menu. Berners Taverns is a great romantic spot for typical British food.

Simpson’s in the Strand

100 Strand, Covent Garden

Open 11:30am – 11pm Mon – Sat, Midday – 8pm Sun.

Simpson's in the Strand -  Grand Divan - Photo by Simpson's in the Strand
Simpson’s in the Strand – Grand Divan – Photo by Simpson’s in the Strand

Opened in 1828, Simpson’s in the Strand is a genuine slice of London history. Original fittings can still be found inside, and the service remains stoically – and pleasantly – traditional. Roast meat comes served with yorkshire pudding on silver-domed trolleys, and is carved right in front of you by the obliging waitstaff. The menu takes diners to every corner of the UK, with the Scottish scallops perhaps the headliner.

Roast

The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, Borough Market

Open 7am – 10:30am/Midday – 3:30pm/5:30pm – 10:45pm Mon – Fri, 8:30am – 11:30am/Midday – 3:45pm/6:00pm – 10:45pm Sat, 11:30am – 6:30pm Sun.

It’s not a Sunday without a Sunday roast – so say the British. And there’s no better place to head for a few freshly carved slices than the dish’s namesake restaurant, found in Borough Market. All roast dinners are exclusively British-sourced, with the restaurant taking pride in knowing the exact farmer that the meat has been purchase from. Choose one of the many roast options for mains, but leave room for a delightful take on the traditional British crumble for dessert.

Lyle’s

Tea Building, 56 Shoreditch High Street, Shoreditch

Open 8am – 11pm Mon – Fri, Midday – 11pm Sat.

Lyle’s – Interior – Photo by Lyle’s

The minimalist, stark interior of Lyle’s won’t exactly remind you of classic British stodge, and the food reflects the look. But patrons can rest assured that the helpings at this trendy eatery are as authentic as they come. Situated on the ultra-cool Shoreditch High Street, Lyle’s do fresh, tasty and seasonal takes on classic British food recipes. While meat dishes abound, Lyle’s is also the ideal choice for vegetarians looking to get a taste of what is typical English food.

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