Think of England and food, and what comes to mind? Fish and chips? Boiled vegetables? Tea and scones? All these were certainly available, but I don’t think I had any of them. The food was quite satisfactory, if a little on the expensive side.
Sandwiches are very popular in the UK. Any coffee shop, cafe, grocery, or stand has a wide display of sandwiches packaged as “take-aways.” Of particular popularity seem to be sandwiches in baguettes – these were advertised prominently! Since wheat is not my friend, I can only guess that they must be good.
Nandos is a chain restaurant in the UK that serves marinated chicken (Puri-Puri, they call it) and sides. The seasoning was nice…I am not a huge chicken fan, but can see why it’s so popular if you do like chicken.
Dinner in London Wednesday night was at EV, a Turkish restaurant near Waterloo. This vegetable stew of aubergine, corgettes, carrots, tomato was vaguely reminiscent of ratatouille. Very tasty, and the restaurant had a really cool industrial but refined vibe. It was located under the train tracks. That really was not as unpleasant as it sounds.
This was the main (only) offender of my trip – in a hurry in Kings Cross Station to catch my train to York, I needed something quick. These pasties looked so good, and warm, and crispy that I threw wheat caution to the wind and got one filled with veggies. YUM! Regrettably, I paid for it for the rest of the day!
A vegan and gluten-free restaurant in York called El Piano beckoned on Saturday. The morning had been cold and misty, and soup sounded perfect. This Thai-inspired sweet potato soup was the best thing I’d eaten since arriving in the UK. The bread and cornbread were pretty decent, for not having wheat in them.
El Piano’s menu also feature several different kinds of fritters. I chose the “tinas” and the felafels. The tinas were really, really good little fried bits of vegetable heaven. The felafels were not the best I’ve had. They were the first I’ve had with whole chickpeas inside.
There are things I wish I’d tried in the UK, but did not. I do wish I’d had fish and chips and a cider at a pub, but I can’t imagine the fish and chips could beat what I had a couple of years ago fresh off a boat in Gloucester, MA. I also wish I’d had some curry – it is supposedly excellent there.
And, if I did not have to avoid certain things, the pastries all looked amazing – scones, croissants, filled pastries, “biscuits.” Very tempting. It was nice to find lots of fresh vegetables and the same focus, at least in many places on sourcing locally and using natural ingredients.