Explore the best meals to munch on your next trip to London, with my ready reckoner of top-notch delicacies in Big Ben City.
The Breakfast Buffet at Rubens at the Palace
British breakfasts are a wonderful tumble of pastries, scones, pancakes, all kinds of sourdoughs and of course, the full fry-ups (read sausage, bacon, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, fried bread and eggs). But among the parade of dishes at the Rubens, the Eggs Benedict is celebrated like no other. The voluptuousness of the poached eggs is only matched by ribbons of smoked salmon and a luscious Hollandaise sauce anchored by lashings of butter.
Lunch at The Wigmore, The Langham
Step into The Wigmore, the re-imagined British pub inside the five-star Langham, billed as Europe’s first Grand Hotel that started welcoming guests way back in 1865. A-list celebrities who have drifted into its hallowed portals earlier include the likes of Diana, Princess of Wales. Its menu is an ever-changing procession of Snacks, Mains, Sides and Desserts, each item more clamorous with flavours than the other. I had the fortune of digging into their falling-off-the-bone confit rabbit leg, braised pearl barley and violet mustard but you will find something equally imaginative in your next visit. Don’t forget to accessorise your meal here with fat chips with Bloody Mary salt. They have been created in spud heaven with a lot of care and whimsy.
Fat chips with Bloody Mary salt at The Wigmore. Image credit: Susmita Saha
Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Ritz
For an authentic slice of British history served with a glass of bubbly, head to The Ritz, Mayfair’s hottest address. The Champagne Afternoon Tea is obviously a lyrical affair, boasting of a menu ruled by both indulgence and glamour. Nibble your way through freshly cut finger sandwiches, warm baked scones with Cornish clotted cream and strawberry preserve, as well as a roll call of cakes and pastries that share a kinship with the storied British baking tradition. The tea ceremony is to be savoured over a long fade of time, with the musical accompaniment from resident pianist Ian Gomes. Along with the transformative power of its food, the 114-year-old hotel also casts a spell on you with tales of its celebrity patronage (the Russian Prima Ballerina Pavlova, the Aga Khan, Paul Getty, Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle and many more).
Champagne Afternoon Tea at The Ritz. Image credit: Susmita Saha
Scotch Eggs at Fortnum & Mason
If running around London while ticking off its major attractions has amplified your need to refuel, head over to Fortnum & Mason. A byword for top-of-the-pile global produce, the British department store is a hat tip to the bounty and diversity of luxury ingredients. Of ancient vintage --- it has been a fixture in Piccadilly since 1707 --- Fortnum’s is also the place for toothsome Scotch Eggs, that are available as part of the luxury emporium’s hampers. A collage of umami flavours, the Scotch egg has a hidden cache of a free-range egg bandaged with a layer of British outdoor-reared pork and a coat of crisp homemade breadcrumbs. The company has also acknowledged the possibility of the nargisi kofta, an Indian dish of a hard-boiled egg under a wrapper of minced meat, brought back by East India Company employees, being the ancestor of this famed delicacy.
Fortnum & Mason
Dinner at The Foyer Private Dining Room, at Claridge’s
The art deco hotel started its hospitality journey in 1856 and since then has been a darling of the glitterati. If you are a fan of indolent dinners, a meditation of conversations, laughter and musings, Claridge’s is where time stalls. Bite into the roast halibut, that’s anointed with langoustine, courgette, pea and parmesan broth to experience flavour fireworks. Round it off with the holy trifecta of chocolate tart, Venezuelan single origin Araguani chocolate cremeux and Jivara milk chocolate mousse.
Blog contributed by independent journalist Mrs. Susmita Saha.