Fourth of July Special: A Salute to the Brits!
Yes, as we all hoist a glass to toast Independence Day, let’s also recognize the folks on the other side of the pond and their delicious cuisine.
Now, I know what many of you are thinking, and stop it right now!
We are not talking about notorious favorites like the Bacon Butty and Chip Butty (an overstuffed French Fry Sandwich) or things many would consider oddities, such as jellied eels.
And we are not poking fun at Spotted Dick (it’s a baked pudding with raisins, people), Bubble and Squeak (a delicious vegetable and potato dish) or Toad in the Hole (sausages in a Yorkshire pudding casing having nothing to do with amphibians).
Take Lamb Faggot, which MyMEGusta enjoyed recently at the excellent Rex Whistler Restaurant at the Tate Gallery, London. A braised lamb roulade on a perfectly crafted brown sauce, this was accompanied by a trio of sparklingly fresh spring vegetables: pureed peas, fava beans and pea shoots. This truly world class dish could compete with any offering, anywhere .
And that’s the whole point.
British food has been revolutionized, and London is a world class dining destination. While you can find a bad meal there (particularly if one seeks out Wimpy’s Burgers and the cheapest possible pub grub), it is remarkably easy to find truly excellent food.
Take a walk through the Borough Market and environs, sampling a sausage or two from the aromatic stands or popping into Wright Brothers Oyster Bar for perfect European shellfish. You’ll find a huge range of just about everything good to eat, including a stand with gorgeous paella and other cooked dishes, and there’s an extraordinary (and huge) cheese store across the street.
Consider Indian food, a British favorite since the Raj, and what used to be generalized as “going out for a curry”. Make a bee line for Café Spice Namaste, where Chef Cyrus (a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) and Pervin Todiwala create extraordinary renditions of Indian Classics.
They also feature Indian influenced British classics like Country Captain, vibrant Indian seasonings in the form of a classic shepherd’s pie which was invented many years ago to satisfy the yearnings of homesick British officers. This dish, which myMEGusta was fortunate to sample, was Chef Todiwala’s contribution to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee luncheon in 2012.
And, as a final salute to the Brits, don’t forget that there are lots of good things to do between meals in London, like the theater, the zoo, the London Eye, the museums. I’m ready to go back!