Food,  travel

Eating in England

The main reason that the husband didn’t want to go to England with me is because he declared that there was no food in England. That surprised me because I haven’t heard of their famine, the poor souls. He likes to pick vacation destinations based on the local cuisine. When I travel with him, meals are a huge part of the days.

On the other hand, my mother doesn’t eat. Actually she has breakfast and then around 3 PM she has a meal and declares herself done for the day.

I think that we ate very well in England. We were staying in apartments through airBnB so we had a kitchen in London. We were across the street from a small grocery store so we picked up some fruit and oatmeal for breakfasts.

Lunches and Dinners

Ping Pong

Ping Pong is at St. Katherine’s Dock near the Tower of London and easy walking distance from our apartment.  It is a dim sum restaurant.  I love Chinese food but can’t eat it much because of the husband’s sesame allergies.  We had a lovely meal with vegetable sticky rice and spring rolls being among a whole lot of vegetarian options to choose from.  I celebrated the fact that I was openly eating Chinese food without worrying about brushing my teeth and lips and washing my hands and clothes before talking to the husband.

CAU (Carne Argentina Unica)

This restaurant is also at St. Katherine’s Dock and yes, it is all about the meat.  I would usually ignore it but they actually had some great vegetarian options.

I had one of each of the vegetarian empanadas and they were fabulous. I also had some bruschetta.

Pret a Manger

My mother fell in love with Pret a Manger for lunch.  They have soups, sandwiches, and salads made up in coolers and you go grab what you want.  She would have eaten there every meal.  She was also fascinated with the people watching there.  Most people grab and go but we’d fight for one of the limited tables and she’d be amazed every time with how many people were going in and out.

All About The Pies

When I posted about going to Bath, I got a comment recommending The Raven as a great place to eat.  I looked at the menu online and got very excited.  When we got to bath we tried to go for dinner but it was so crowded that we couldn’t get in.  It is a small place.  We came back for lunch the next day right as they opened.  That was a good choice because it got crowded soon after.

We were here for the pies.

Look at that!  If you aren’t vegetarian you may not notice what I saw right away.  Not only is there a choice of vegetarian pies but ALL THE GRAVIES ARE VEGETARIAN!  Yes, I will cross an ocean for you.  Being a vegetarian means asking for no gravy on everything in restaurants.  I bring my own gravy to Thanksgiving.  Here is a restaurant serving 3 — count ’em THREE — vegetarian gravies as the only options.

I had the Heidi Pie with sage and onion and my mother had the fungi chicken also with sage and onion.  This place also inspired me to make a cabernet gravy I found on pinterest at home.  Vegetarian gravies are awesome.

I emailed this picture to the husband with the caption. “I’m eating amazing food with small sprinkles of death on top!”

Riverside Restaurant at the Carlton Mitre Hotel

This restaurant is across the road from Hampton Court.  There is an outside eating area right on the Thames.  There were people rowing boats and a swan hung out near us.

There were many vegetarian choices but I went with the Veg Pie.  Field Mushrooms, Wilted Spinach and Hazelnuts, PanFried In White Truffle Oil, Topped With A Layer Of Béchamel Sauce Encased In Short Crust Pastry. My mother had fish and chips because she said she would have felt wrong not trying it.

So, eating in England went much better than my husband thought.  I got my scandalized, tee-totaling mother into a few pubs.  A few times we were too tired to care and grabbed prepared food from the grocery store for dinner.

We never did quite get the hang of restaurant etiquette.  We could never figure out how to pay.  We’re American.  We expect to have the check dropped off after the food to pay at our leisure.  Here we never saw a server after the food came so we had to flag people down and beg to pay.  There is probably some British procedure for this that we were flagrantly flouting and adding the image of crass Americans.  Sorry.

 

Linking up to British Isles Friday and Weekend Cooking.

18 Comments

  • Moira

    Glad you found such yummy food here. It doesn’t sound as though you flouted any of our arcane procedures too badly!

    If the bill is put down on the table, that’s code for “time to go, we need your table/we’re closing”. If it’s not put on the table, you have to catch someone’s eye and say “Can/May I have the bill, please?” If they are too far away to hear, I usually make a writing movement in the air to indicate the bill. It can make for a slightly jumpy end to a meal sometimes, I suppose.

  • Brona

    I was pleasantly surprised during my last visit to the UK how the food situation had improved since my last visit in 1991. Of course, my financial position had also improved tremendously in that time, so that may explain why I enjoyed the foods more on my second visit – I could afford to eat the good stuff not just McDonalds!

    The pies look fabulous – great cool weather food.

    We loved the array of pub foods as well as the great choices of Indian food. Next visit I’d love to go to Ottolenghi’s restaurant – fingers crossed!

  • jama

    Oh my — what a great post! Those savory pies look delicious. Longing to visit England again. The food there has never deterred me. Thanks for taking us along!

  • Vicki

    Your first 2 sentences cracked me up!

    The food does sound yummy, but my son and his family are vegan, so I’m wondering if they have options for them too.

    I’d love sitting outside the restaurant along theThames.

  • Trish

    Those pies look DELICIOUS! I just asked my husband (who is all about the grub) whether he enjoyed the food better in London or Ireland…he looked at me like I was foreign. Ireland. Meat and potatoes for that guy, though I bet he would devour some of those pies. Glad you had a great trip! I cannot understand just eating one meal a day. 😉

  • joyweesemoll

    We had some great food in England! Take-out from hole-in-the-wall places was an unexpected pleasure.

    I had St. Katherine’s Dock on my list but we never made it over there — sounds good!

    We were in Bath a year ago today! We had lunch at Garrick’s Head (a pub, not sure about the vegetarian main dish options, but the salad was yummy).

    We had a kitchen in London and made good use of prepared foods, too. Much better than anything I can get at home. We tried after we got back thinking we might have missed something, but it really seems the English have healthier and tastier options in meals that you heat up in a microwave.

    We had the how-to-pay problem in Ireland so were used to it by the time we got to England. As far as I can tell, it’s impolite for the waiter to act as if s/he wants the customer to leave. So, flagging them down for the check is exactly the right thing to do.

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