But as far as a foodie scene goes, 10 years ago England really wasn't considered very highly reputationally. Bangers and mash, fish and chips, likker and pie, jacket potatoes maybe. It was all beige. beige, beige, beige. (No, I take that back, call it up and coming - obviously not absolutely everywhere was so limited.) Take my English husband for example - before I accidentally skidded into his life, he had never tried sweet potato, pumpkins were for Americans celebrating Halloween and his favourite treat was a piece of bread doused in vinegar. Admittedly he still does that even now (usually when I'm distracted with blog stuff) you can take the boy out of Grimsby...
But, in the last few years we have effectively travelled the world via the medium of knife and fork (and chopstick) barely leaving the comfort of zone 2. I guess it's mostly due to the multicultural population boom and emergence of cheap travel; bringing new exotic immigrants and taking more of the mass populace to exciting new destinations. Is that a ridiculously overblown simplification? Yes, probably.
Take Kings Cross. Going through an amazing new development stage (rainbow swings for the win) lifting the less than salubrious reputation it had, you can now have an amazing variety of meals before skipping onto a train to the continent. If you have to. I would just stay and wander on to your next meal.
We tested the limits of an antipodean brunch at Caravan, chalking up a mammoth 8 hours chatting, drinking the awesome coffee and forking into their sweetcorn fritters. With a Kiwi accented menu (or should that be 'icksinted') Caravan is kinda industrial in decoration, but very comfortable nonetheless for the Kiwis, Pirates, Spaniels and brunchers flocking there.
We nipped into the German Gymnasium quite late on a Sunday morning, and unlike the surrounding hour-plus wait times for brunch, we were tucking into a very respectable Eggs Benedict on rosti and schnitzel within 25 minutes. With a rather opulent interior and a gorgeous mezzanine space (we popped our heads in one evening just to have another peek and the maitre'd was upset we didn't go up higher... the staff were just so lovely) I want to revisit.
...to lunch...Grainger & Co.
We watched people queue for over an hour for these waffle confections. An hour. But, it has to be worth it otherwise why would they return time and time again?
Last night's evening sun was perfectly paired with @TheLightermanKX on the canal.✨ pic.twitter.com/dyzk6GHWld— Annie Montgomery (@MontgomeryFest) July 21, 2016
I have it on very good authority that the gastropub Lighterman is lovely at sunset, overlooking the canal with glass of vinho verde in hand.
...to cake and cocktails...St Pancras Renaissance
Yes, it's a hotel. But it's one of the prettiest, light and bright spaces I've ever seen, and one of the quirkiest. Go on, So tell me what you want, what you really, really want, you wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah.
Recently a gaggle of bloggers descended on the probably usually peaceful, and rather beautiful Grain Store. We had been invited to sample a menu of their favourite dishes and in between sipping a glass of Death in Venice (a campari, prosecco and grapefruit bitter cocktail) and listening to the passion of head chef Bruno Loubet we were treated to a feast for the senses. (But as a gluten free diner with menu alterations to the set I was a little teeny tiny bit disappointed, with serious food envy for the dishes arriving around me.) The menu consisted of Atlantic Kitchen Seaside Toast - potato bread topped with seaweed butter and delicate seaside leaves, a vegetable stuffed ravioli in tomato consomme, the beautifully cooked venison served with raspberry vinegar pickled vegetables, grilled squash and some corn brioche (which I adored) and a peach melba served with a beautiful sugarwork lattice. I already need to re-visit.
As soon as you cross the busy threshold you step into the beautiful time-warp of a colonial Bombay cafe. With a glorious bar in the basement, a mezzanine floor for diners and ceiling fans hanging from a dark oak ceiling, not to mention the glory of their addictive cocktails, black daal and their Ruby Murray, a tender chicken in a rich silky ‘makhani’ sauce. Dishoom is perfect for organizing a 6-person strong gaggle of your favorite people - that way you'll avoid the queues but you may find yourself fighting over the okra fries.
And this doesn't even begin to mention Honest Burgers, Drink Shop Do or the Fortnums shop...
What are your favourites?