The Best of British: A London Food Guide
London is full of different tastes, smells and flavour when it comes to food. It’s a melting pot of fantastic cuisines from all over the world. Fresh Italian pasta, tacos from Mexico, burgers from the states and tapas from Spain. It’s a celebration of food from around the world.
Needless to say, Britain has its own identity when it comes to special delicacies. From the magnificent Yorkshire puddings to dainty scones, we know our food. So, when visiting London, where should you go to try the very best of British?
Here at The Original Tour, we wanted to find out. We took to social media to see which restaurants, cafes and eateries in London get people talking. By counting 5000 hashtags for 10 different British foodie favourites, we were able to discover which places in the city most warrant a tweet or an Instagram post.
Crispy battered fish, soggy chips with a splash of vinegar and mushy peas. Simple, yet so tasty. In London, there’s no shortage of fish and chips. However, there are some establishments were mentioned more than others in our Twitter analysis.
Poppies Fish and Chips came out on top, securing 813 hashtags out of the 5000 we analysed. Poppies is renowned for authentic fish and chips, which come wrapped in faux-newspaper. The 1950s inspired establishment has three locations across London, with shops situated in Spitalfields, Soho and Camden.
With 205 hashtags, The Golden Union in Soho was the second most talked about chippy in London.
Rock & Sole Plaice, which is thought to be one of the oldest fish and chip shops in the city, claimed third place with 175 hashtags.
The crowning glory of any roast dinner is the Yorkshire pudding. What makes a successful pud? Well, it’s got to be crisp, sodden in gravy and most importantly, take up a large percentage of your plate.
The Pig and Butcher is located in Islington in a lovely 18th-century building. This place prides itself on cooking with the freshest ingredients. They even butcher all of their own locally sourced meat onsite. Responsible for 174 Yorkshire pudding hashtags out of the 5000 we analysed, it seems that their Yorkshire’s also cut the mustard too.
Hawksmoor was responsible for generating 104 hashtags, making it the second go-to place for a quality Yorkshire pudding in London. The popular steakhouse chain is known for its quality well-butchered beef. What better way to accompany a majestic pudding?
The Latchmere in Battersea came third in our quest to find the most tweeted about Yorkshire pudding in London with 70 hashtags.
Ah, the classic scone. These baked little beauties are a must if you’re looking for a quintessentially British experience. Best served with butter, lashings of jam and a dollop of cream (not necessarily in that order), London offers endless places to enjoy a good scone.
The Queen’s favourite is also the people’s favourite- or so it seems on Twitter. Fortnum & Mason racked up 239 hashtags. First established in 1707 as an upmarket department store, it is now also home to a celebrated tea shop.
Bea's of Bloomsbury is a quirky boutique, renowned for its scrumptious cakes and afternoon teas. With 191 hashtags, it seems that people really appreciate their scones. Bea’s has 5 stores across London, with Maida Vale and Farringdon providing a takeaway service.
The London based coffee shop Caffe Concerto emerged in third place with 119 hashtags.
Controversy ensues when it comes to curry. It seems that we have adopted it as a national British dish. However, while we can take some credit for spreading the popularity of the dish, it certainly was not invented by Britain. That being said, there’s no denying that if in London you’d be foolish not to venture into a curry house.
With 269 hashtags, Dishoom makes the most noise on Twitter. Paying homage to Irani cafes that were once a huge part of Bombay culture, Dishoom offers a fresh take on cafe culture. According to tweets, the food is pretty special.
Tayyabs first opened in 1972, where it started life as a small cafe. It was eventually swallowed up by the pub next door. This Punjabi style restaurant was responsible for 123 curry related hashtags in our Twitter analysis. It’s a cheap and cheerful type of dining experience, not a place you go for a quiet meal. Always busy, this place is apparently best known for their fiery lamb chops.
Aladin on Brick Lane is said to be one of the best curry houses around. Winner of Best European Restaurant Awards, it’s not surprising that they featured highly in our study, with 98 curry based hashtags pointing back to them. Serving Bangladeshi, Indian and Pakistani inspired dishes, Aladin has an extensive menu which caters to a whole range of different tastes and dietary needs. Serving delicious food since 1979, this place is definitely worth a visit.
It’s such a simple indulgence. The Full English Breakfast- or fry up! We associate the good old fry up with a couple of key components. The instrumental ingredients are sausage, bacon, egg, beans and a good helping of buttery toast. However, times have changed and some cafes and restaurants like to change things up a bit- add an element of surprise.
Regency Café was triumphant in securing the most breakfast related hashtags in London, with 114 posts pointing to its name. This classic cafe has been serving the public top quality, homely food since 1946. It has even appeared in BBC television series Judge John Deed and the 2004 British crime thriller, Layer Cake. If you’re looking for an authentic British experience, this place will give you a warm welcome.
With 76 English breakfast related hashtags, Duck and Waffle secured second place in our Twitter analysis. Located at 110 Bishopsgate, it is situated in one of the city’s tallest buildings and serves up British cuisine with a bit of a twist. Their house breakfast is the closest thing to a traditional greasy spoon fry up, which consists of sausage, egg, bacon, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, hash brown and a cheddar and buttermilk scone. If you do head to Duck and Waffle to enjoy breakfast with a view, they have an extensive menu to choose from.
Balans Soho Society came in third place with 57 breakfast related hashtags. The popular 24-hour chain offers an incredible amount of variety. We should probably point out that this is no greasy spoon experience, however, there’s a great balance of traditional and adventurous choices on the menu.
A symbol of high society The Ritz Hotel opened in London in 1906. It’s a prestigious establishment with a great reputation- and an afternoon tea experience that is out of this world. With 335 hashtags linking The Ritz to afternoon tea, it is still living up to its reputation today. A trip to The Ritz is one for the bucket list. It’s elegant, extravagant and most of importantly- lip-smackingly scrumptious.
Hot on the heels of The Ritz Hotel is Fortnum & Mason, an upmarket department store that sells nothing but luxury. According to our Twitter study to find the most talked about foodie favourites in London, this should be on your list if you’re looking for a standout afternoon tea experience. With 313 people tweeting about finger sandwiches and cakes, it’s clear that a visit here won’t leave you feeling disappointed...or hungry!
It seems that afternoon tea doesn’t have to be enjoyed in a quintessentially British backdrop. Keep your bone china teacups and doilies. With 178 tweets dedicated to afternoon tea at Sketch, it would seem that people are embracing the alternative decor that this establishment has to offer. The ceilings are high, giving the place a certain feel of grandeur. However, the overwhelming presence of candyfloss pink and quirky artwork soon makes you question first appearances. Sketch welcomes casual attire but delivers a first class experience.
It’s such a simple concept. A humble egg encased in a generous helping of sausage meat, with a dusting of deep-fried breadcrumbs. It’s a classic that must be appreciated and admired. After all, it takes a special skill set to conquer the perfect runny yolk.
According to Twitter, there’s one place that rules above any other London joint when it comes to sourcing a quality scotch egg. If you head to Borough Market like 650 other people did in our study, you’ll find Scotchtails.This artisan market stall uses quality ingredients to create scotch egg sensations. They don’t just serve up traditional pork flavoured products either. Why not try the squid or the spicy chorizo?
Don’t be fooled by appearances. The Harwood Arms based in Fulham is certainly not your average pub, although it looks it from the outside. The Harwood Arms is the only Michelin-starred pub in London, offering award-winning food but in a casual setting. With 250 hashtags relating to the unpresuming scotch egg, it seems that The Harwood Arms impresses people with their bar menu alone.
The scotch egg is naturally associated with Scotland. Luckily, you can experience a slice of Scotland in London when you visit Mac and Wild. Paying homage to the Highlands, it’s no surprise that this restaurant has perfected their scotch egg experience. With 125 hashtags, it takes a bonnie third place.
If you’re looking for a warming meal, you can’t go wrong with pie and mash. In London, it seems that people craving this delicacy head to 150 Hoxton Street. Here they treat themselves to a traditional pie covered in parsley butter, courtesy of F. Cooke Pie & Mash. With 174 hashtags all praising pie, F. Cooke Pie & Mash which has been around since 1862, continues to be a longstanding favourite.
With 109 pastry filled hashtags pointing to G. Kelly’s East End Pie Shop, this particular establishment is also highly recommended if you want to sample a traditional meat pie. Temporarily closed for a refurbishment, this local favourite is set to reopen again before the summer.
Conveniently situated on Trafalgar Square, The Admiralty is a popular gastropub. As it’s located next to a popular London attraction, it’s often a lively place to visit. With a reputation for serving great lagers and tasty British cuisine, it comes as no surprise that their handcrafted steak pies appeared in 66 pastry related hashtags.
There is nothing- I repeat- nothing that is more British than a Sunday roast. Succulent meat (or nut roast of course), crispy roast potatoes and a feast of vegetables. The perfect way to round off your week.
There are so many places that serve up a decent roast dinner in London. However, it was Hawksmoor that took the crown with 180 hashtags. This place has already kicked up a Twitter storm about the quality of their Yorkshire puddings but it seems the rest of the roast dinner they serve up is pretty special too.
Second on the Sunday lunch list is The Rye, in Peckham. This relaxed gastropub claimed 82 Sunday roast hashtags. Bringing a taste of the countryside to an urban setting, this place serves up generous portions.
The Ship at Wandsworth is one of the oldest pubs on the River Thames. Bringing ales and hearty food to the people of South West London since 1786, it came third in our hashtag analysis with 66 mentions. Adding contemporary touches to the culinary classics, it doesn’t disappoint on a Sunday afternoon.
There’s childlike charm to devouring an ice cream. The waffle cone, a flavour-filled scoop of goodness and tasty toppings; it literally transports you back in time. London has a multitude of places where you can buy a decent ice cream. However, there are particular places that still encourage the most serious of adults to erupt in childish excitement.
For an ice cream that is sure to evoke a sugar rush, head to the Milk Train Cafe. This cute little ice cream shop in Covent Garden claimed 485 hashtags, scooping first place. It’s no surprise that the Milk Train’s cotton candy crowned cones get such a reaction. An ice cream from this place is a sight to behold as well as a taste sensation.
How can you make an ice cream more than just an ice cream? Add a humongous waffle for a cone. With 306 hashtags, Bubble Wrap Waffle in Chinatown has certainly captured the hearts of Londoners and tourists alike. Bubble Wrap Waffle describes their offering as a tasty street snack. Be warned, it’s much more than a snack.
With 278 hashtags, Chin Chin Ice Cream claimed third place. With locations in Camden, Soho and Street Feat SE16, this experimental brand offers sweet treats made from liquid nitrogen and a host of interesting flavours. Chin Chin Ice Cream certainly lives up to the hype and is guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth.
This study analysed 5000 positive tweets for each ‘British’ food type to see which London based establishments were the most tweeted about. Any tweet that did not disclose an exact location was discarded from the total. The aim of the study was to reveal the most tweeted about London establishments.
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