Food photography is probably my least favorite kind. It always strikes me as a bit strange or maybe I just always wish I had a full lighting kit with me (not subtle). But I did enjoy a few classic meals while in Britain so I thought I would share. I recommend reading this with a snack or just after lunch.
The majority of my meals were eaten at home, cooked on my own little hob. I got quite creative with my preparation since I didn’t have a paring knife or oven, but all of the grocery stores here have reasonably priced sliced veggies, so I made it work. I find that pureed garlic adds dimension to lots of meals. Grocery shopping for a couple days at a time seemed to work better here than a big grocery run once every two weeks like I would do in the States.
Most restaurants offer an afternoon tea, but NW persuaded me to join her at Balthazar for their exquisite spread. We had scones with clotted cream and jam, a variety of sweet pastries and savoury sandwiches in addition to the tea, of course. Everything was delicious and beautifully presented.
Fun facts: Afternoon or “low” tea is supposed to be a snack between lunch and a late dinner and is usually eaten from the coffee table or another “low” table. “High” tea is a meal unto itself and usually includes more savoury dishes, eaten at the “high-er” kitchen or dining table. It seems like these definitions have been merged with modern restaurant portions (read: huge). You definitely hear people refer to their dinner as “tea.”
I also had a cheese tea while in Cornwall at the Minack Theatre – a simpler spread but just as delicious. The tea was the same, but the scones had cheese baked in and were served with chutney and local brie and cheddar.
Of course you can’t go to London without having fish and chips, so I ducked into a pub one evening to indulge. The chips were crisp; the fish was delicate and perfectly cooked inside its crust; and the atmosphere was lively. You really can’t ask for more.
MD discovered a really great Mexican diner that we thoroughly enjoyed – DF (acronym for Distrito Federal, or what locals call Mexico City). I am usually skeptical about Mexican food outside North America, but this turned out to be really fresh and authentic.
NW found a pizza place called Saporitalia on Portobello Rd that makes bar-none the best pizza I’ve tasted outside of Italy and better than some of the pizza I had in Italy, come to that. It was huge, but I wanted to lick my plate when I was done. I refrained, but mostly because I was with a group and attempt civility in such situations.
Several of my trips to Chatham House resulted in my grabbing ramen at Shoryu Ramen around the corner. The variety of add-ins and the quality of the ramen made for an excellent meal each time.
I also enjoyed trying savoury pies of various kinds when presented with the chance, including one in Belfast at the Titanic Museum alongside a delicious local stout.
One place NW and I tried was a little jarring, in the best way. The front of house was a regular English Pub, the Churchill Arms. The back of house was a conservatory garden with a Thai restaurant. The curry was excellent.
Title quote: Sign on the wall at the Bushmills Cafe in Northern Ireland