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Old 04-10-2006, 10:51 AM   #1
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ENGLAND - Restaurants In Britain

Why not have a thread about the places anyone here has been to in Britain.
I'll start off with a place i went to just last week.

Gilpin Lodge Country House and Restaurant.

What a lunch this was, to be honest, my first high class meal, i'm only 16, and we havn't really gone out to places like this before (we've vowed to choose the best quality ahead of amount of times we eat out now).

For the starter, my dad and I both had a confit duck and foie gras thai salad, whilst my mum had a wild smoked salmon salad. I'm not a huge salmon fan, so i didn't try that. But the duck was beautiful. An intense citric flavour from the grated raw carrot base, and the duck was cooked beautifully. However, the foie gras went missing really, but the tastes were excellent nonetheless.

The main course was incredible. Fillet of dexter beef, with truffled mashed potatoes, and a red wine sauce. I had my beef medium rare, and it came out stunningly tender and juicy. Easily the best beef i've eaten, and the almost pureed potatoes were creamy and rich, with a lovely buttery flavour, no doubt assisted by the truffle. Under the potato was some wilted spinach, a nice colour contrast, and the sauce was rich and meaty with a very good stock im sure.

I'll post the dessert later, i need to go for a bit now, but i hope you enjoy reading, please do visit this place if youre around the north of England.

http://www.gilpinlodge.co.uk/winedine.html

Cheers.

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Old 04-10-2006, 12:29 PM   #2
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I have been to the UK several times, though not in the last 5 years. However, I have eaten at Simpsons in the Strand in London...a famous roast beef and lamb house, and the reputation is well deserved. This is a classic old world dining establishment. I've also eaten at the Royal County in Durham, a four star establishment where I had very fine wild boar, and On the Crescent in Bath, another hotel with a fine dining room...exquisite lamb.

My general take on pubs was always go with the local brew and the special of the day. If the pub serves full meals, their special will be fine and fresh, prepared with care and local ingredients. They want return customers. Look for a wine bar, order a liter, a baguette, and a plate of local cheeses!

The rag on English cooking is a hold over from WWII rationing and slopped together cans of this and that...the same thing many Americans do here. The average blah UK restaraunt is no worse than the average American diner or casual eating establishment. As convenient as Cracker Barrell or Denny's might be, I wouldn't want visitors thinking it was the best in dining that the USA had to offer. ditto for them. So risk new flavors and check out the local scene.
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Old 04-10-2006, 01:21 PM   #3
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Cooking in the UK, just like in the US, has come a long long way over the years - mostly due to the influence of other cultures.

The British comedienne Tracey Ullmann did a funny skit once on "traditional" British cooking, demonstrating how she cooked for the cast sometimes by putting food in a pot of boiling water, leaving it, & then serving it the next day.

There's also a quote from Lord knows who along the same take: "First you put things in boiling water, and after a long while you take them out again. . . ." ~ French definition of British cooking.

Needless to say, none of these things are true today.
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Old 04-10-2006, 02:46 PM   #4
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We get to GB every year or two, and have for a number of years.

Our favorite restaurant in the UK is Number One in the Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh. Tried it for the first time early last fall, we both had the taster's menu paired with the wines.

We went out for Mrs. Auntdot's birthday, usually a mistake because we usually get burned on special occasions, just our luck, but this was more than spectacular.

It was pricey (one hundred pounds per head, including the wine pairing which we would strongly recommend. The the pound was going at about $1.83 at that time, so you can almost double the price in pounds for the meal in US bucks.)

It was one of the most delightful meals we ever had in the UK, or anywhere else for that matter.

A more down to earth place, this time in London, is Rules. It is on Maiden Lane in Covent Garden and is supposed to be the oldest restaurant in London.

It specializes in game and traditional British fare. Is nicely appointed and not too expensive. Just Googled for a menu and most main courses were about 20 pounds. Have recommended it to a few people who have fallen in love with it.

A number of years ago we went to Le Gavroche, a Michelin two star (We try to blow out one meal).

It was good but did not make us wish to return. But it was just one meal, and many adore the place. But bring your charge cards, it is definitely on the pricey side.

Used to like the Dorchester Hotel grill room but grew a bit tired of it, it serves very traditional British food. It is, or was, very nicely appointed. A bit of a stodgy place though.

And went to the Connaught in the days before Gordon Ramsay held sway, so cannot comment.

There are many fine cheaper places.

We love Indian cuisine, and there are a lot of good ones.

Pubs are great places, we love them for food, particularly Sunday lunch/supper. And there are a number of tapas bars that are quite nice.

OK, this is getting long. Will only mention one lovely restaurant that is not very prices (11 to 16 pound main courses) and that is the Ognisko Polish Club. Yep, it is a Polish club, but it has a restaurant in a Georgian mansion, and serves to the general public (we are not Polish).

The food is Polish/continental and is great. The service is fantastic.

It is just a bit down from the Victoria and Albert Museum in S. Kensington.

And well worth a visit.

Could go on, but you will find there are many fine places to eat in the UK.

Enjoy.
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Old 04-10-2006, 07:44 PM   #5
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From what I understand London has some of the best Curry Houses in the world.My problem is I dont like to fly but I have no problem getting around in a different country its the stupid airplane that totally freaks me out.I will do it but I need a prescription to fly and actually it does not work that well for me either.
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:36 AM   #6
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I am usually in various parts of the UK a couple of times a year, I prefer pub lunches and curries and fish and chips and mushy peas. This is because I don't get it here.I prefer places like TGIF, the Harvesters and especially Harry Ramsdens.
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Old 04-11-2006, 04:25 AM   #7
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Local pubs!!

Last year I did two weeks of independent travel around North Yorkshire and Derbyshire and was astounted at the quality of food at the local pubs. And I am talking about being in tiny villages. I tried many dishes, fish, lamb, beef. The presentation of the meals in the pubs was excellent. We also had several meals in homes, and was treated to a high tea at one woman's home. The top meal honors went to a home in Derbyshire, I noted the entire meal; tender beef over yorkshire pudding, carrots, potatoes, broccoli soup, bread, 5 cheeses and grapes and strawberries with cream. And did I mention the alcohol? mygawdmyrt do they put away the alcohol, any kind of alcohol, any time of the day.
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Old 04-11-2006, 06:33 AM   #8
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In London, my frequent joints are Food For Thoughts on Neal Street near Covent Garden, and Manna, a bit off to the north west near the Chalk Farm tube station. Also I love experimenting around the indian joints and curry houses which are everywhere, but this can be a drastic hit and miss, as there are too many touristy places that are plain rip off. It maybe a better idea to sort of chat around while you are in a pub and get some inside info from the locals to find out the good spot. Outside London most of the time I ate with the family of my friends, but occasionally I enjoyed pub grubs, especially I was very fond of Yorkshire pudding. I love also British bakeries for little snacks, their scones and cheese&onion pasties are just so sinful...
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:51 AM   #9
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wow Urmaniac, the mention of cheese& onion pasties left me with a feeling of 'I want something that greasy right now'!10 days to go and I will be in London, can't wait.whenever I arrive at my in-laws the first dinner is a take-away of fish and chips and mushy peas.After that, I am happy to do a bit of cooking or eat anything else.
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Old 04-11-2006, 04:44 PM   #10
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I don't care about the food that much. I just want to go and see all those places I have been reading about since I could read.

As Samuel Johnson said back in the 1700s - "A man who is tired of London is tired of life."
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Old 04-14-2006, 02:09 PM   #11
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Theres something good about Britain's food right now, it's almost like we're leading something special. There's been an influx in high quality food in the last 10 years, The Fat Duck and Anthony's are leading in the unusual sides of food. But theres the downright brilliant food places too, Ramsay at Claridge's, Chez Bruce. It's pretty exciting really.
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Old 04-18-2006, 05:52 AM   #12
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As someone else mentioned, the curry houses are quite nice. Our favorite is The Punjab, London. In Convent Garden. Neal Street, maybe? That pedestrian street. I know the restaurant is quite well-known and popular.

That's odd that I remember that. Our attitude is usally to just go with flow when traveling. We never plan to go to a certain restaurant.
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Old 04-20-2006, 03:55 PM   #13
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Landing in London tomorrow afternoon, girl's weekend out.(7 girls in total I knew since our teenage days all living all over the world...Canada, Germany,Baharain and the rest from Uk, forgetting me !It's my early birthday pressie. Thank heavens for your girlfriends always. They make one feel special att(All the time)Mine do.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:06 PM   #14
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U.K. particularly London what a great place for food lovers. I ate at three joints that were pretty memorable. I was there on business so it was all work but since I stayed right on the Embankment with Strand running right behind my hotel it was a great location to get to Covent Garden and other restaurants.

Sofras - A must try for those who like Middleeastern food. It's a casual place that is in Covent Garden and is open until really late. We made it there one night at around 2 AM after finishing a server install. We got to discuss work there at 2AM and enjoy some great food. I went there three times. If I could I would go even more times.

Sitar - Probably not the most authentic curry place but really nice. The decor, ambience and convenience. It was pretty pricey but worth it when you feel a little home sick (for a good Indian meal).

Thai Square - Was right on Strand and was good as well. Really authentic food, much more than the food I have had in US. They are not kiddin when they say it's hot unlike in US where hot is pretty tamed atleast for my taste buds.

I wanted to go for afternoon tea at Savvoy but did not get a chance. My husband was also there on work and stayed at the Savvoy for several weeks and praised the hotel and the tea. The hotel it'self is so beautiful I am sure all the goodies that go with tea are great as well. Oh well perhaps there will be a next time soon :-)

Jikoni, enjoy your trip and try some authentic curry, fish and chips and go to Sofras if you can. Its not upscale or expensive but the food is very good.
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Old 04-20-2006, 05:57 PM   #15
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girlfriends? weekend in London? I am so envious.....................
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:30 AM   #16
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Back from London! Had a great time, Mudbug you have every reason to be envious, We had a great time.Now what I need tonight is an early night for a change. I highly recomment 101 restaurant in knightsbridge London.For a special pre-birthday treat we went there instead of the local pubs for fish and chips. The food was great and the service excellent.Fish is their speciality.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:30 AM   #17
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Back from London! Had a great time, Mudbug you have every reason to be envious, We had a great time.Now what I need tonight is an early night for a change. I highly recomment 101 restaurant in knightsbridge London.For a special pre-birthday treat we went there instead of the local pubs for fish and chips. The food was great and the service excellent.Fish is their speciality.
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:33 PM   #18
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Jikoni, I am happy that you had a good time (but not estatic becuz you went without me!!).

So tell us everything that happened.
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:33 AM   #19
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Mudbug, where shall I start? Heathrow?Lets just say 7 girls in London for two nights meant I needed to sleep when I got back. dinner, pubs and clubs.I can't measure the fun and the emotions involved. We haven't all been together since 1995. We meet every now and then, but not all together considering we all live far from each other.I feel very blessed to have my girlfriends and that we have cherished each other over the years, and kept the friendship going.I remember my mum's words when I told her I was getting married, she said, 'Do not forget your girlfriends, many make that mistake. Marry him, but keep your girlfriends close'I obviously listened and passed the message to them and we do try to keep in touch.
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Old 04-27-2006, 10:40 AM   #20
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Hya!! I haven't had a chance to welcome you back, it must have been a very special occasion in a very special city!! I am so happy for you, and you will cherish the memory for the rest of your life I bet, but I also hope there will be more to come, even if it takes another 11 years to happen!!
You still haven't started telling us your lovely story and we are waiting!! (though you can omit the bit on Heathrow, one of my least favourite spot in London!! ... well, unless you have encountered Hugh Grant there or something... )
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