Food and Eating

Food and Drink

The British are not remotely parochial when it comes to food. Although we have good supplies of home produced goods, we are happy to import and enjoy food from all over the world. Most supermarkets now carry a wide range of food from Italy, India, China, Thailand, Japan, Mexico and other countries, whilst in the larger towns and cities, specialist shops are easy to find.

British meat is well regarded, amongst the best in the world. Our proximity to the coast ensures plentiful supplies of fresh fish, whilst local and imported fruit and vegetables are available throughout the year.

In the summer, our home grown strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are excellent, not to mention cherries, plums, apricots and other orchard fruits. ‘Pick your own’ fruit farms are well worth a visit. We have good dairy farms and, in many towns, it is still possible to get a milkman to deliver milk, butter, eggs and more to your door every morning.

We love our bread and our puddings and in all towns and supermarkets you will find a bewildering array of baked and sweet goods. Try them in moderation! They are dangerously addictive.

We don’t really have the climate for making wine, but British vineyards are becoming more common so why not try something different. Wine from Europe and the new world is readily available and can be very reasonable in price.

Where the British really come into their own is in the brewing of beer. Each area of the country produces its own locally brewed beer and some are exceptionally good. Visitors are recommended to enquire about local pubs selling “real ale”. In the West Country (Cornwall, Devon and Somerset) the local cider, an alcoholic drink made from apples, is particularly good.

Restaurants - Eating Out

The options for eating out are full and varied with something to suit all budgets and tastes: from fast food, traditional Sunday roast and “pub grub” to a vast choice of foods from around the world. Your options will depend on your location but you can usually rely upon finding Indian, Chinese and Italian restaurants at the very least.

In addition to hotel dining rooms, which are usually open to non-residents, London and all the major cities have a wide variety of restaurants. These range from Michelin-starred and very expensive to chains of fast food outlets. Many pubs and small country restaurants serve excellent food at lunchtime and during the evenings. Information is available from local Tourist Boards, through the local press and from food guidebooks such as the ‘The Good Food Guide’.

An informative and interesting website is the Restaurant Guide, each restaurant contained within the guide has either been listed in a major guide, is personally known to the author, or has been recommended by food writers.

Whether to leave a tip or not is completely up to you. The norm is 10% although you can leave more or none at all to reflect the level of service you have experienced. Some restaurants will include a service charge on the final bill. This is usually referred to somewhere on their menu and there is no need to add another tip unless you feel compelled to. Indeed, you can ask for the service charge to be removed if you have not been satisfied.

Great British Menu

British food has a reputation for being somewhat bland but when prepared in the correct way you will be pleasantly surprised as to what the great British menu has to offer. Some fine examples are:

English Breakfast

There is nothing quite like a full English breakfast to start off a busy day. These are served in numerous cafes, restaurants and hotels throughout the country. The typical contents comprise bacon, sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, toast or fried bread, egg and black pudding.

Fish and Chips

A great British dish that can probably be best enjoyed when visiting our miles of coastline. The freshness of the morning catch combined with the fantastic sea air complement each fantastically. Visit a seaside restaurant or a local ‘Chippy’ and sit on the sea front.

Sunday Roast

It is the tradition in Britain for the family to sit down together on Sunday and enjoy a roasted joint of meat, roast potatoes, yorkshire puddings and a mixture of vegetables. Whilst many choose to meet at the family home there are a fantastic range of restaurants and moreover public houses which offer a great ‘Sunday Roast’. Give it a try you will not be disappointed.

Sausage and Mash (Bangers and Mash)

There are a great variety of premium butchers or farmers sausages all over our fair isles. These blend the select cuts of meats with a range of wonderful herbs and spices which once cooked are often served with a healthy portion of creamy mashed potato. These are available to cook at home from most quality supermarkets or are possibly best enjoyed in one of our many ‘Gastro Pubs’.

Afternoon Tea and Cream Cakes

This is a great British tradition and involves a range of traditional teas served with cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches before a wonderful array of scones and fresh cream cakes.

You can enjoy these in a variety of top class Tea Rooms in London or by visiting some of our historical villages and towns. Polly’s tea rooms can be found in such locations as Marlborough: Betty’s tea room in such locations as Harrogate and Sally Lunns tea rooms in Bath.

Further English favourites include Curries, Toad in the Hole, Shepherd’s and Cottage Pie, Steak and Kidney Pie, Cornish pasties, a variety of Stews and Hotpots and so much more...