While in London on business last week I got to sample the Eating Italy Food Tours’, British cousin: Eating London.
And I have to say from the outset, if you’re headed there anytime soon and having trouble deciding on unique things to do or trawling through the many London tours on offer, please don’t hesitate to book this.
Gosh it was nice to be back in London town. As an Australian (and by no stretch a monarchist) it just kinda feels like home when I visit. And it sure was nice to be back on the right side of the road again (the left side!).
So on a classic London day (dreary, grey, ugly and rainy!), I met our larger-than-life guide Emily and a group of 10 others for a walk around the East End I won’t soon forget.
The hipster slash super cool slash artsy neighborhood of Shoreditch London was historically a union of its own and hence, left off most Victorian maps. As Emma so eloquently put it, it’s a colorfully rich neighborhood which has seen it all: crime, neglect and rebirth.
While the food was absolute stand-out, you really do feel like the cool kid at school walking around here. It’s home to the Spitalfields market (only a market area since 1638!), the site of numerous killings by the infamous Jack the Ripper and diverse migrant groups and artists. In fact, this part of London is known the world over for it’s vibrant street art displays that can be found on just about every corner.
Our day started at St John’s Bread and Wine (famous for its ‘nose-to-tail’ cooking – offal) with the best bacon sandwich I’ve ever tasted. Seriously. All freshly made white bread, loads of butter and succulent bacon. Not waistline friendly at all!
We tried the most delectable bread and butter pudding at the English Restaurant – the oldest home in the ‘hood. (Clearly a favourite – if the lack of in-tact pudding photo is anything to go by!)
Then came cheese, and lots of it, at Androuets cheese shop. Located within Spitalfields market, the scent will draw you in a mile away!
Next up – what English food tour would be complete without fish and chips? Ok, I admit it. I was wary – fish and chips in Australia are pretty amazing. But, I was blown away. Poppies has been voted #1 out 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK and the accolade is well deserved. Freshly fried cod and chips with potatoes sourced from fourth generation growers and you’re in heaven.
At the local pub, Pride of Spitalfields, we sampled two types of cider and at Beigel Bake – one of London’s most famous Jewish bakeries for a delicious salt beef bagel – basically corned beef or silverside. While not my preferred cut of meat, Emily’s poetic description plus the look on everyone else’s face as they dug in convinced me to try and was pleasantly surprised. So ‘pleasantly surprised’, I scoffed the whole thing!
Then it was on to Brick Lane for curry – pretty much the national dish! Apparently there are 15,000 curry houses in the UK and for a little more trivia – there are more located in London than in Mumbai. Go figure!
And what to do in London after a decadent morning of eating? Afternoon tea of course. The tour finishes up at Pizza East (a large warehouse space that embodies Shoreditch gentrification) with tea and a cheeky cheeky sugary treat – a salted caramel tart that will knock your absolute socks off.
If you’re still not hungry, watch this 15 second highlights video:[wpvideo 1zOTCAPG]
Some fast facts:
^Eating London runs two tours daily, 6 days a week (Mon-Sat)
^The tour is 3.5 hours long
^Cost of the tour is £59 and includes all food / tastings (dietary requirements are catered for)
^Eating London together Eating Italy, Eating Amsterdam, Eating Prague are part of one happy European foodie family!
^For more info and bookings: www.eatinglondontours.co.uk/east-end-food-tour/
^My hotel pick in this area is The Hoxton (thank me later!)
Signing off from Trastevere
(craving some bread and butter pudding!)
Note: When I’m not blogging away here, I work for Eating Europe (of which Eating London is a brand) but you couldn’t pay me enough to write about things I don’t love!