Similar to many of the world’s most prominent places, there are several dishes which are native to London. Perhaps the most famous of traditional London dishes is pie and mash served with parsley gravy. The unusual, and it has to be said stomach-tuning ingredient of the London pie is the filling, eel.
The dish gained popularity during the 18th century and although tastes have changed with the passing centuries and the thought of eel today is not what everyone wants in the centre of a pie, it has to be said that it is a wholesome, nutritious and healthy meal and it must at least be tried if you want to get into true traditional London spirit!
Not far behind pie and mash for eye-opening and time-honoured gastromonomic delights is London are Jellied Eels.
The eels are cooked in spices and vinegar and are left cooking slowly in order to reduce into its own jelly. The eels are then refrigerated and served chilled with a slice of lemon.
Another traditional London dish favourite is Pease Porridge or Pease Pudding as it is sometimes known, which is made with strained split peas mixed with egg. In fact so traditional is Pease Pudding that it even has a nursery rhyme sang about it:
“Pease porridge hot, Pease porridge cold”
“Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old”
“Some like it hot, some like it cold”
“Some like it in the pot, nine days old.”
Whilst it might sound revolting it has to be said that the dish is extremely healthy and is still served up today at many restaurants in London.
In fact there are a good number of restaurants serving these traditional London dishes such as pie and mash and jellied eels. Castle’s on Royal College Street, Camden, Cockney Pie and Mash on Portobello road, F. Cooke near Liverpool Street Station, Harringtons of Selkirk Road, Tooting, G. Kelly in Bethnal Green, and M. Manze of Tower Bridge Road, which is London’s oldest established pie shop, to mention a few.
These three traditional London dishes are robust, rustic, practical, healthy and, what’s more, fairly cheap to buy. So the next time you visit London why not try the food which Londoners have been eating for several centuries?
Of course, if you fancy something a little bit more contemporary, may we suggest the excellent Chelsea Riverside Brasserie at The Wyndham Grand?!