Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Top ten London foodie tips

I'm very excited about the Welsh contingent coming to visit at the weekend and have been busy hatching plans to keep them entertained.

I thought I'd share some of my top London foodie tips, which are guiding our weekend plans.

1. Borough Market
Hardly a secret, in fact it is usually teeming with people.  Nonetheless it's well worth a visit.  Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I recommend avoiding Saturday if at all possible, as this is when the masses descend.  London Bridge is the closest station.

2. Toptable.com
Some amazing offers to be found - particularly during the week.  You can book online and the site also provides useful reviews.  A good way to eat out on a budget.

3.  Brick Lane
Best known for its curry houses but also home to an amazing array of food stalls on a weekend.  An inexpensive way to sample food from around the world.  Also lots of vintage clothes shops to poke around, once you've filled your tummy.

4. Selfridges food hall
Usually quieter than the rest of the shop.  The cake selection is droolsome.  You can always find random ingredients that you didn't know you needed but have to buy on the spot.  Truffle salt was my last purchase.

5. Food festivals
London seems to play host to a large number of food festivals and events - from thai to tapas.  It's always worth checking what's on before you visit and Time Out is a reliable source of info.

6.  Billingsgate Market
The biggest fish market in the UK is open to the public.  Opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 05.00am to 08.30am - so be prepared for an early start. 

7. Bermondsey Street
After a visit to Borough Market, why not stroll down Bermondsey Street.  It's a super cool street - with boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants.  I like the Garrison, with it's shabby chic interior, the Woolpack, for decent pub grub and Village East, for a taste of Manhattan's East Village (and the best cocktails in London)

8. Underground supper clubs
I have to confess, I've still not quite got round to going to one of these but I'm desperate to go.  They seem to be gaining in popularity all the time.  Ms Marmite Lover is at the vanguard.  A great opportunity to try some innovative cooking in interesting surroundings without damaging your wallet.

9.  Michelin star dining on the cheap
Most of the top restaurants in London offer a reasonably priced lunch menu.  The added bonus is you're much more likely to get a table at short notice.  It's usually best to look at the websites of whichever establishment you've been dreaming about.

10.  Get out of the tourist spots
It might seem obvious but there are some terrible restaurants in the prime tourist spots of Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Oxford Street.  I think it's worth doing a little online research before you visit, so you don't end up somewhere overpriced and distinctly average

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