London Trip Report

well, it’s late, I’m jetlagged, but two dinners, one coffee shop and one pub in, the best meal of the trip so far is…the char sui noodle dumpling soup I had on singapore airlines :joy:

more to follow.


Well that sounds like a big food disappointment, sorry to hear (though Singapore Airlines does serve legitimately good food, so maybe I’m wrong… I hope…)

So where did you end up going?

On the plane to London right now! :slight_smile:


for our first dinner, I thought we would go to 40 maltby, a well-reviewed wine store/bar about seven minutes from our hotel in bermondsey but we were terribly lagged and my wife announced, since we were in london, she wanted fish and chips.

I had decided against fish and chips in london…many pubs in NYC have decent fish and chips and my past experience has been that pub-fried fish in nyc is on par with london but the chips are better in nyc. Unfortunately, the fish at the pub we chose had neither fish nor chips on par with the nyc standard. The meal wasn’t a total loss as the beer was uniformly excellent and the service incredibly friendly.

0 for 1

ps as @Saregama deduced, the food on singapore airlines was excellent though the wine selection seems to have moved from $75 to $25 bottles. Or maybe I’m conflating some of my singapore airline work trips in first class with bus class.


Up the next morning, we don’t eat breakfast, usually coffee/cappuccino and maybe a pastry, we walked over to the watchtower roastery/coffee shop in bedmondsey. Hip baristas, check, cool space carved out of train arch, check, fresh roasted beans check, great coffee making equipment check, coffee and cappuccino terrible. the cappuccino was watery and bitter, my wife’s coffee not much better. She declared her croissant slightly stale, perhaps a day old.

0 for 2, more to come.


We like to walk everywhere rather than take buses/underground/taxis so after a long, cold, rainy day of tromping around london we decided to stick close to the hotel again and opted for Kin and Deum thai, named to eater’s “11 superb place to eat in bedmondsey” and generally well reviewed. First up were massaman prawns, unfortunately seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg to the point the of cloying. Next dish was Banana Leaf Chilli Seabass, heavy on soy to the point of inedible saltiness.

Interestingly, the watchtower roastery/coffee house and Kin and Deum were both popular with the locals which leads me to believe there’s a significant difference between what a Londoner vs a NYCer appreciates in thai/coffee . I’ll add that we’ve been to LA, reputed to have the best thai in the USA, Sydney, reputed to have the best thai outside of thailand, and bangkok. The food at Kin and Deum doesn’t seem to align with any of those places. I’m starting to understand how King Edward III felt about British cooking.

0 for 3.


Next morning we tried a well-reviewed coffee place, Fuckoffee. As one might expect from a place named Fuckoffee, they display a number of signs running the gamut from poor taste to mild chuckle. My wife’s coffee was terrible but cappuccino was just a little worse than mediocre for nyc, at this point, a huge win. I also had an excellent cinnamon bun and the barista was nice enough to share the name of the local bakery from which it was sourced.

actually, this is a good point to mention the excellent service we received everywhere we went. Maybe I’m imagining it but it’s always seemed to me Brits have an affinity for Americans and everyone we met was patient and good natured.

I’m gonna call this 0 for 4 because we had no desire to return but getting close to a win.


another cold, rainy day in London, we decided to stop at a lovely old pub for a beer and snacks. True to form, the beer was incredibly delicious but somehow not all of the triple fried chips were cooked through. The chips were topped with incredibly tender brisket but the sauce was far too sweet for human (ok NYC) consumption. The tables around us eating the same dish didn’t seem to notice, again pointing to a fundamental difference between our palates.

With apologies to George Bernard Shaw, two countries divided by a common cuisine.

0 for 5.


I started pushing my wife towards my standard operating procedure in london, Indian and Chinese food, but we passed a moderately priced steakhouse chain on the way back to our hotel called Flat Iron. We started debating Flat Iron vs Hawksmoor but, given our experience to date, decided to take less of a monetary risk with Flat Iron.

we shared a chili cheeseburger, sirloin steak, chips and creamed spinach. I thought the cheeseburger was going to be served with chili, instead it was some sort of spicy chiles and OMIGOD, it was delicious! The meat was done perfectly, fantastic melt on the cheese, just a perfect cheeseburger, in fact one I’d happily eat over every cheeseburger I’ve had in NYC, and I’ve had more than a few.

I was a little less sanguine about the steak, how could they possibly cook 200g of steak properly but it was pretty good! In retrospect, I wish we’d tried hawksmoor.

again, fantastic service, they offer everyone a very good, free, homemade soft serve ice cream cone on the way out.

yay, 1 for 6 with better reports coming.


For sure, you will find better coffee in Madrid! I have been roundly teased by my English friends about this particular complaint (I simply don’t like tea), and I feel particularly exonerated by your comments. Similarly difficult, for some reason, to find decent coffee in France, though there are at least some spots with decent brew.

Laughing still over your description of prawns, “unfortunately seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg.” Pretty sure you could have done better with your S.O.P., but glad you at lest found some good red meat and soft serve!

I lived in the UK for four years and although I loved a great many things and was sad to come back to the US, I can’t recall a single good cup of coffee. Lucky for me I love tea.

40 Maltby is excellent. Sad you missed it so far.

I’m usually in London for work, so I get my coffee in the office. However, the Wolseley makes a mean cappuccino.

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As I mentioned above, a barista shared with us the name of bakery where they sourced my cinnamon bun, Comptoir Gourmand Bermondsey. my wife had a fresh croissant and, as an added bonus, the cappuccino was fine, certainly miles better than the watchtower roastery.

2 for 7 with the best meal coming.

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There’s a lesson learned there. Never, ever, order fish & chips in a pub unless you’ve heard, from more than one source, that it has a good reputation for the dish. It’s just asking to have a crap meal. Many foreigners think of F & C as our national dish but it really is much easier to find an absolutely vile version than one even halfway good. And that’s even in the north. Goodness knows what the ratio must be down south.

It is funny how we must have different national tastes in coffee. I’ve been visiting the States periodically since 1980 and cannot recall having a decent coffee. It’s always been either thin and watery or overly bitter for my taste (but then Starbucks in the UK has overly bitter coffee - so much so that we won’t now go there). And, no, I’m not a tea drinker - awful stuff, can’t stand the flavour.


thanks but I think I’ll stick with my original premise which is we have excellent fish and chips in nyc, no reason to order it in London. It does leave one in a bit of a quandary about what to eat that’s local to England, perhaps we made a mistake not ordering steak and kidney pie? The beer has been fantastic, so there’s always that.

I hear you on the coffee front, actually we don’t like starbucks either but there does indeed seem to be a divide in what our respective countries look for in coffee and cappuccino drinks. And it is impressive that with all the great NYC steakhouses that Hawksmoor NYC is booming, so looks like there’s common ground around red meat and, as you’ll see in my next post, Indian food.


I like Fish & Chips a lot. I have ordered excellent Fish & Chips in Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland, Ireland and England, as well as local-to-me Fish & Chips made with Lake Erie perch or Lake Huron pickerel. I’ve had excellent Fish & Chips in London, Devon and Cornwall, and plan to try more Fish & Chips next time I visit Cumbria and Scotland.

I probably haven’t ordered fish & chips in NYC since I lived there a very long time ago.

While North American Fish & Chips can be excellent, I will still seek out Fish & Chips once or twice on every visit to the UK.

It’s a priority thing. I don’t seek out Chinese, Indian, Italian, burgers or steak when I visit London. I like those foods, but I can find good versions in Toronto, NYC, Italy, etc.

London has so many excellent restaurants, might as well focus on what you think will be a treat.

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I think that’s even more difficult if you’re in London. I think that, because it’s the capital and such a large city, it imports food from all over the country, not just England, so you don’t get as much sense of local as you might in other parts of the UK.

As anywhere, seasonal is the key to good eating. So, for example, lamb, rhubarb, purple sprouting brocolli would be things to look out for in March and should be readily available in restaurants. By way of illustration, we had dinner at a restaurant on Wednesday - it mentioned that the lamb was from the Herdwick breed, which is only raised in one county in the UK, here in the northwest, and the bread had Lancashire cheese baked in to it. Provenance would be the other key, so look out for other descriptions of product - whether Galloway beef, Goosnargh chicken or Gressingham duck - if a restaurant is so committed to its sources, it’s likely to be good.

Seafood is always an oddity here - bearing in mind we’re such a small island (with none of us living more than 70 miles from the coast). My understanding is that much of what is landed in the UK goes for export, whilst the seafood we like to eat here tends to be imported. It is utter madness. Even in coastal restaurants, it’s not always a guarantee that you’d be served locally landed seafood. That said, there are parts of the country, such as the southwest of England or Northern Scotland, where local seafood is rightly a Big Thing.

We have a Hawksmoor in the metro area. It was the first the chain opened outside London. First couple of times we went, it was OK. Next time, it was awful - steak so tough I complained. It was not only comp’d but they also offered a free one next time I went. So, a few weeks later, we went back. Another tough steak. So, we stopped going. That was 2018. But, in Janaury, we decided to give it another try. Food was OK but only OK we’ve no need to go back again.

All that said, I note your usual operating procedure is to go for immigrant cuisine in the form of Indian and Chinese, and avoid white people’s British food. Could be a good call if that’s more to your taste. I certainly like both cuisines and have four Indian (and one Chinese) places on our “regular visit” list. My only advice would be to make sure that you are actually visiting a restaurant run by Indians, rather than one of the very many places which might call themselves Indian but are Bangladeshi owned serving very Anglicised South Asian food.

Can’t advise on the beer as I don’t drink alcohol.


Im way out of date on London but have generally had best luck with indian, malaysian/singapore and carefully selected british grub there (Sweetings in the City comes to mind) . And of course more recently Ottolenghi outlets! Have enjoyed fish and chips but from chippies, not pubs. Definitely not. Fond memories of eating my fried skate wing on a tombstone somewhere in essex many years ago. Eater has a list dont know how good it is. We did have some fantastic french seafood plateaus and an amazing upscale lebanese dinner when on a business trip once…the large population from the Middle East, including every economic range makes for great food opportunities… We have never had good luck with Chinese, but its been quite a while since we tried, too.

Hope your luck improves!


British food

BRITISH - Fall 2020 (Oct-Dec) Cuisine of the Quarter

I love the foods I’ve tried in Britain.

I had a thread on Chowhound going back to 2004, trying regional traditional baked goods as I visit more and more of the UK.

I know where to find interesting food and delicious traditional regional foods in the UK. I also like seeking out seasonal foods in the UK which are typically better quality than their Canadian and American equivalents. North America doesn’t have asparagus that compares to Wye Valley (or German) asparagus. North America doesn’t have potatoes that compare to Jersey Royals.

Some people don’t want to take their blinders off.

I’m done defending British, German, Russian and Polish food to non-believers. :joy:

If you’re still there, try this as a guide:

Years ago, when last we visited London, my lasting food memories are of a Sunday Roast (mid-afternoon) dinner, of Indian food at Tayyabs ( & Neil’s Yard cheeses.