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BryanZ

Student in London for the Semester

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Selfridge's in general for food and shopping.  She plans to explore it in its fullest.

Please, please, please don't send her to Selfridges food hall - it's abysmal. I mean really bad. It used to be great, but the quality of at least some of the food has gone seriously downhill, though the prices are the same. I had a piece of inedible game pie from there a month or two back. I mean really inedible, as in despite being starving, I didn't eat it. Dry, tasteless filling; limp tasteless pastry. I'd have taken it back, but I was half way across town by the time i came to (not) eat it. And I've had conversations with friends who've been equally shocked by a drop in standards.

Harrods food hall, now that's a different matter entirely ...


One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf

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Bryan, I'm joining this thread late so I might second a lot of the other recommendations but I have a few new ones.

Marlebone Farmer's Market is not so far from Marble Arch and if the friend is interested in cheese then she should definitely go to Fromagerie (Neal's yard is also not to be missed but Fromagerie is closer). Pork Pies and other wonderful goodies can be bought just a hop down the street from Fromagerie at Ginger Pig.

A bit farther away there is great seafood (on the more expensive end) at J Sheeky.

Dim sum here is generally better than in New York and (in my opinion) just as good as in Hong Kong. Hakkasan does it very well, go at lunch, no dim sum at dinner. Royal China is also decent and not too far from Marble Arch - Get the peking duck here that everyone seems to be so crazy about in London. I don't know why New York doesn't seem to do it.

There is a variety of Indian food here that is not available in New York, I second the rec for New Tayyeb and if there is interest, maybe trek out to Southall to see the area and eat what they have to offer (I like the street food at Gifto's).

And if more foie is of interest, Comptoir Gascon does very decent tapas style smal plates of different preparations of foie (at least they did the last time I was there a few months back). But while not wildly expensive, this will end up being a more pricey meal depending on how much you eat.

Harrod's food hall is fun to gape at but even better is on saturdays at Borough market the cheese sandwich that people have already talked about and the chorizo one shouldn't be missed. Try not to let the crowds make you crazy.

Its really hard to find good cheap eats in this city, especially when you come from the states and the exchange rate is currently so hurting!

Oh and I agree that St John's and/or St John's Bread and Wine shouldn't be missed for true English food... Anchor and Hope is another good one for gastropub English/French style home cooking but the no reservation policy there is very annoying.

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It wasn't Lord Michael Lewis by any chance was it? I wouldn't listen to what he has to say :laugh:

Nah, LML would have said the Fat Duck is an evil conspiracy theory by Heston McBlumenthal to sell snail porridge which was actually invented by a spanish chef.

Or words to that effect.

Ah well. There only seems to be a few of us antediluvians left who remember the good old days... ;-)

J

I miss Lord Michael Lewis - I have fond memories of realms of entertaining posts

edited to add sorry I know it's off topic but I know you'll allow me some nostalgia


Edited by Romaney O'Malley (log)

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I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this thread and to the eG UK community in general. I recently visited and had a great meal based on the recs in this thread and others.

I made it to Borough Market and a couple other markets, The Fryer's Delight, Ranoush Juice, Harrod's food hall, Royal China, Tayyabs, tea at the Dorchester, St. John, Anchor and Hope. I even got to see a few cultural sites and, more importantly, ride the slide at the Tate Modern.

For those interested, I'm chronicling my meals in an eG travelblog, seen here.

Thanks so much again.

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I'd like to thank everyone who contributed to this thread and to the eG UK community in general.  I recently visited and had a great meal based on the recs in this thread and others.

I made it to Borough Market and a couple other markets, The Fryer's Delight, Ranoush Juice, Harrod's food hall, Royal China, Tayyabs, tea at the Dorchester, St. John, Anchor and Hope.  I even got to see a few cultural sites and, more importantly, ride the slide at the Tate Modern.

For those interested, I'm chronicling my meals in an eG travelblog, seen here.

Thanks so much again.

If you,re friend is planning to make trip to Ireland, some planning and recs would be needed, drop us a line. Great blog.

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Dim sum here is generally better than in New York and (in my opinion) just as good as in Hong Kong.  Hakkasan does it very well, go at lunch, no dim sum at dinner.  Royal China is also decent and not too far from Marble Arch - Get the peking duck here that everyone seems to be so crazy about in London.  I don't know why New York doesn't seem to do it.

I am inclined to disagree. Chinese food in london is generally dismal. Hakkasan is excellent, no doubt, but it is hardly authentic dim sum, and I do not consider such a trendy restaurant to be a great place to get dim-sum generally.

I'm from Vancouver in Canada, and we have an enormous ex-pat HK community. The food there is widely considered to be as good as HK because many of the top chefs moved there from HK prior to the handover. London chinese/dim sum isn't nearly as good as Vancouver, and Vancouver isn't as good as the best in HK.

That being said, for good cheap diner-style chinese food, I really like Cafe TPT in Chinatown~~

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Dim sum here is generally better than in New York and (in my opinion) just as good as in Hong Kong.  Hakkasan does it very well, go at lunch, no dim sum at dinner.  Royal China is also decent and not too far from Marble Arch - Get the peking duck here that everyone seems to be so crazy about in London.  I don't know why New York doesn't seem to do it.

I am inclined to disagree. Chinese food in london is generally dismal. Hakkasan is excellent, no doubt, but it is hardly authentic dim sum, and I do not consider such a trendy restaurant to be a great place to get dim-sum generally.

I'm from Vancouver in Canada, and we have an enormous ex-pat HK community. The food there is widely considered to be as good as HK because many of the top chefs moved there from HK prior to the handover. London chinese/dim sum isn't nearly as good as Vancouver, and Vancouver isn't as good as the best in HK.

That being said, for good cheap diner-style chinese food, I really like Cafe TPT in Chinatown~~

Subjectivism and personal opinion are strange things,arent they? For every HK Chinese student that loves London dim sum and chinese food for reminding them of home, theres surely another that craves the "real" thing back home. However, one thing my Chinese student friends are universally agreed upon is that dim sum and chinese food in London is vastly superior, in general to that found in New York. I havent eaten dim sum extensively in NYC, but from the snapshot I got, I was inclined to agree, hugely.

I havent eaten dim sum in Vancouver, so I couldnt compare London to Vancouver, and lets not forget that theres always a certain degree of tailoring taste to the local market. However, whilst the dim sum at Hakkasan is certainly very trendy, that trendiness I would argue extends mainly to the meats used in the preparation, and not the style of the dish being prepared. A la carte main courses are another matter. Champagne and butter are not natively Chinese cooking ingredients, as far as I am aware!

But the dim sum at Royal China, Phoenix Palace, Joy King Lau and Princess Garden (unbelievable this place, a modern posh and expensive Chinese opposite Truc Vert down the road from Selfridges - but the dim sum menu is the 'normal' dim sum price and the food is brilliant, even compared to Royal China).

In fact, some HK Chinese friends love going to Four Seasons in Bayswater for the crispy duck/roast duck cos the quality of the duck here is generally better than that to be found in HK apparently.

Anyways, with regards to recommendations in London as a student, you mentioned a crepe place, I dont know if anyone has mentioned it already, but across the park from Marble Arch by South Kensington tube station you will find the Creperie. Excellent crepes as far I'm concerned, with a range of sweet and savoury fillings. If your friend explores nearby Bute Street, you can find loads of French delis/bookshops and whatnot, and Oddoni's which is a nice Italian ice cream place. Very good. I also love Busaba, theres a branch next to Selfridges actually, next to the Gap.

Food halls...Selfridges/Harrods are good, but the small places like Ottoemezzo in Kensington, or Mia Riga, or the PieMan Shop and Truc Vert etc will be a nice alternative to the department store route.

Thanks

Raj

PS for Michelin starred places, Tom Aikens is prob worth a go. Something different to Le Gavroche and to Gordo. Italian in London wont be the same as Italian in NYC, particularly Locanda Locatelli, which I love, but if ur used to the Il Mulino type of Italian in NYC, this is gonna feel almost French in comparison.

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