London and the UK in general are not known for outstanding cuisine. The good news is that Britain’s reputation for bad food may still exist, but the reality is very different.
Because London is so very cosmopolitan, almost every ethnic cuisine from Ethiopian to Mongolian via authentic Italian pizzas is easily found. Indian curries have, in fact, become Britain’s “other” favorite dish next to the Sunday Roast. There is a plethora of fast food shops, too.
While the typical pies & mushy peas or fish & chips can still be found in London, famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver have transformed the image of the heavy British cuisine into an innovative fusion of old and new. The traditional fish & chip shops are sadly disappearing in London, but the local “Greasy Jo”, a café offering food, has evolved with the times and is still going strong.
Full English Breakfast served in cafés, B&Bs, hotels, and restaurants until 11.00am consists of bacon, sausages, eggs, fried bread, mushroom, baked beans, and toast. Breakfast footnote: Marmite, almost always available, is rightly advertised with the slogan “love it or hate it”. There is nothing quite like Marmite, it is impossible to describe. Instead, take a look at its own website: http://www.marmite.com.
Pubs serve food usually from 11.00am till 14.00. Gastro pubs will serve up-scale, lighter, fresher British favorites with a twist. Fresh lemon will replace bottled tartar sauce and garlic mayonnaise and chutney might replace the old ketchup you would ordinarily find in traditional British cuisine outlets.
The Sunday Roast – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunday_roast: A favorite British dish, the Sunday Roast traditionally includes roast beef, lamb or chicken served with potatoes, Yorkshire pudding (a savory pastry) and gravy. Most pubs around London offer a Sunday Roast.
Sandwich shops are numerous in London, often being the lunch option. The large chain Pret A Manger offers fresh sandwiches and coffees for those on the go or anyone interested in sitting down for a quick bite.
As for home-cooking, it might take a bit of adjusting but all your favourite products have a substitute or will be sold in specialty shops. At first, you might be puzzled by the vocabulary, for example eggplants are aubergine, but you will soon get the hang of it, don’t hesitate to ask.
A nice cup of tea: though coffee is widely consumed there is nothing like “a nice cup of tea”. More than the beverage, the tea-break is an institution whereby people will cup their hands around a mug of hot tea. However, “afternoon tea” refers to a light mid-afternoon meal with sandwiches or cake. The meaning has been extending to the evening meal so it could be confusing, unless it is obvious, check the state of play when “invited for tea”.