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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LONDON 2012: Pub Food!

I feel so honored that I was able to go to London for the Summer Olympics of 2012. It's such an amazing experience. Plus it was my first time to London and Europe in general! And we totally lucked out with the weather (clear skies 90% of the time we were there). I love the Olympics!!!! :D

My bf had won a trip (along with several other co-workers) from his company based on achievement. How amazing!! All his hard work has finally paid off... Trust me, he's a workaholic. hehe. But a free trip to the London Olympics?? Whoa! Yes please!

Just a heads up... everything in London is expensive. I thought Paris was expensive...London's worse! It's basically US prices but in pounds (x1.6). So you really have to just forget about the conversion and gauge everything relative to everything else in the city. For example, a sandwich for £6.95 is considered pretty cheap (but it's actually like US$11 for a sandwich). You just can't let it get to ya. And even though we were given food money, we tried to spend it sparingly.

We were warned by many that British food is bad. Unless you have ethnic food. So I was prepared to stick to Indian food. haha. But they are all WRONG. I don't know where people are eating, but everything we had in London was fantastic! We didn't really plan either since the event schedules were so last minute. We basically walked around, see a pub/restaurant, browse the menu and go in! Not one single meal was bad by any means. And my favorite meal of the whole trip was at a local pub!

I really question what kind of things people are ordering to say the food is bad...

The Charles Dickens - Free House - Bar & Restaurant
160 Union Street
London SE1 0LH
020 7401 3744

This was the first pub we went to. Another couple also on the trip with us wanted to check out their beer selection I think. And I really wanted to have authentic fish and chips for the first time. My first local British experience!

- Fish & Chips (beer battered fillet of cod; served with Tartar sauce & salad) £7.95 This was great! I was super surprised that everything was cooked well, seasoned well and really yummy. The fish was thick cut and juicy on the inside. The outer shell was nice and crispy. Nice crisp salad on the side. Now tell me how British food is bad again??

- Homecooked Gammon Ham, Eggs and Chips £6.95 My bf got this. Good flavor, meaty ham, eggs cooked well. No complaints!
- Homecooked Cottage Pie (with chips, peas and gravy) £6.95. Someone else got this. Looked pretty impressive! She said it was really good.

Later in the week, we were at the south end of the London Bridge. We came upon this place around dinner time and decided to check it out.
Nicholson's The Mudlark
4 Montague Close
Southwark SE1 9DA, UK
020 7403 7364

- Nicholson's Fish and Chips (best fish and chips. Premium line-caught cod fillet, hand battered with ale and served with skin on chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce) £10.95.
 Since they said they had the best, we'd thought we try it. AMAZING!! Even better than the first fish and chips I had at Charles Dickens. It was literally a whole half side of a fish, battered and fried. The beer batter was superb. Super crispy, never got soggy. The fish inside was fluffy and juicy and steaming hot. The fries were cooked to perfection. And I even liked the mushy peas! The mushy/creamy texture of the peas contrasted the fried foods well.
- Roasted Vegetable Tart (shortcrust pastry tart filled with caramelised onions, beetroot, butternut squash, mushrooms and asparagus, with a tomato dressing) £8.95

I also got this mainly because I wanted to eat more veggies and I liked everything they had in there. Also I know the British is very into their pies/tarts. I'm not a fan of meat pies so I thought a veggie pie would be cool to try. Great choice! It was huge and so colorful! All the veggies were cooked perfectly. The tart crust was buttery and held up to the toppings well. It was a very flavorful and hearty meal. I didn't miss the meat at all!

This was by far my favorite meal on the whole trip. Awesome!! I definitely recommend this place. The other menu items all looked really good too!
We got to go to Wimbledon for the Tennis finals!!! Sweeet! Even though we were only in Court I for the Bronze matches (instead of Center Court) but it was still a freaking awesome experience. After the event we checked out Wimbledon Village to get some dinner.

The Alexandra - Wimbledon Village
33 Wimbledon Hill Road
Wimbledon London, Greater London SW19 7NE, UK
020 8947 7691

- Sunday Roast: Roast Free Range Belly Pork with Homemade Stuffing (with seasonal vegetables, homemade proper gravy and goose-fat roast potatoes) £12.95

Since it was Sunday and seems like Sunday roast is a big thing here. We decided to share this. HUGE plate. 2 giant thick cut pieces of roast pork belly!! Am I in heaven? So fatty and tender. So much flavor...although the sauce was a little too salty. I really liked the side veggies too. You get a whole variety of things: mashed sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, roasted potatoes. Yum!
- Sticky Toffee Pudding with Caramel Ice Cream (made in-house) £5.25
The toffee in London was delicious. Since it's from there and all... It was like a moist bread pudding cake coated with toffee sauce. The toffee was surprisingly not too sweet. Mmmmmmm... sooo good!

So don't listen to whoever tells you British food is bad. And to give you an idea... none of these people were able to give me a specific example of what is bad... You think they are just following the stereotype?? Maybe so! I think as long as you know what you like and don't like in general and order accordingly, then you won't be disappointed. Like, I wouldn't go order a Kidney Pie knowing I don't like kidneys, right? That would be stupid... haha.


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