Christina writes and edits Travelling Companion. Her writing covers expeditions, food, and culture for the blog.
With food like that, no wonder the Brits conquered the world.
Trip Overview: European Adventures 2018
Flight Review: American Airlines A330-300 Economy CLT-LHR
Hotel Review: London Marriott Regent's Park
Food in London
Flight Review: British Airways A319 Economy LGW-BCN
Hotel Review: AC Hotel Irla Barcelona
Train Review: Renfe Clase Turista Barcelona-Valencia
Exploring Life in Valencia
Exploring Life in Barcelona
Flight Review: American Airlines 777-200 Economy BCN-JFK
Flight Review: American Airlines A321T Business Class Seats JFK-DCA
Local cuisine is important. Food is one of the most comprehensive ways to understand a culture. Food can give a context of a new place and their way of life. London is a cosmopolitan city with food from around the world. However, English food does not have the best reputation. The British lived up to their reputation.
During our visit, we tried a traditional English pub call Nicholson's. It's been around since 1875. The pub had two levels, a bar on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor. We decided to eat at the bar. We went during lunch time at 11:50 AM. It was nearly empty, but that wasn't too alarming since it was still early in the day. My first impression was that the bar on the first floor of the building was much nicer than expected and clearly had been well maintained or renovated recently. The bar, floors, and tables were made of dark oak wood. Ramon ordered the Jaw's Orchard Cider which was very good. It was sweet, bubbly, and tasted like crisp apples.
Ramon ordered the chicken, ham hock, and cheese pie while I ordered the slow cooked beef amber ale and mushroom pie. Ramon's pie had very small pieces of chicken and ham which were overwhelmed by the cheese. He thought the dish was fine but wished that it had more meat. My slow cooked beef pie was very bland. I thought the best part was the crust. Both meat pies came with carrots and salad on the side. The carrots were overcooked, rubbery, and had a soft texture. The salad was mediocre. It was a mix of light and dark romaine leaves. The service at the pub was great, which I guess it was to be expected since we were the only customers. Overall the pub had a nice atmosphere and service with good drinks, but the food was bland.
We checked out Golden Union in SoHo for dinner which served traditional British fish and chips. Ramon and I both ordered fish and chips which came with tartar sauce and a lemon wedge on the side. Ramon generally likes fish and chips but was unimpressed with Golden Union. He found it to be too greasy. I thought the fish and chips were okay. The fish was fresh, hot, and crispy. The french fries were thick. Overall the service in the restaurant was fine and the atmosphere was casual. I thought the meal was good but not really memorable. SoHo seems like a fun spot that we would love to explore more next time, but will definitely skip Golden Union.
The Wolseley was the most formal restaurant we checked out in London. We went there for breakfast, and we saw a ton of business people in suits having early morning meetings. The waiters were also dressed much more formally which added to the formal ambiance.
The Wolseley had an extensive menu including two pages dedicated to breakfast food. Ramon ordered The English with a hot chocolate and pan chocolate. I ordered porridge and the Wolseley Fishcake with poached egg along with a latte. The latte was the best part of my breakfast.
Porridge is a traditional British breakfast food. It tasted like oatmeal, but even more boring. I did enjoy the fishcake which I found to be full of herbs and spices. My poached egg was overcooked. Ramon really enjoyed the pan chocolate and his hot chocolate. I ate his sausage which I found to be mediocre. His bacon was crispy and his beans were very sweet. Ramon found his scrambled eggs to be the most interesting part of his dish as they were different than scrambled eggs either of us had ever seen. The eggs seemed to be whipped and were light and fluffy. They were very good. We both tried Ramon's blood sausage and we both hated it. I had a visceral reaction and will never eat that dish again.
The decor at The Wolseley was strongly influenced by Chinese artwork. This seemed out of place in a traditional British restaurant. Still, it was a beautiful restaurant. One thing which was very impressive at The Wolseley was the service. The waiter who served us was very very quick and attentive. Despite some British dishes which we did not enjoy, like the blood sausage, we enjoyed The Wolseley and would probably check it out again if we found ourselves back in London.