Eating London Tour – A Cultural Melting Pot of Deliciousness

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I know I annoyed lots of regular readers last Friday, I made lots of you very hungry, I made some of you reach for the biscuit tin – you let me know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I was invited by Eating London to experience an eight stop foodie tour of East London, an area steeped in history and made rich by waves of immigration. Today I can reveal the eight best places to eat in East London!

First let me introduce my tour ‘partners in crime’.

Eating London Tour - gathering outside a house used as a Victorian Film set

Here we are gathered outside a dilapidated house in East London that’s left this way as it is used frequently as a Victorian film set. You see the tour is about so much more than food, we even visited the spot where one of Jack the Ripper’s victims was found.

Next let me also introduce my partner in documenting this foodie heaven, the Samsung NX Mini, complete with flip selfie screen – which Currys kindly asked me to test. I normally use a Sony NEX 5T for this blog, so this feels like a step back. But for a busy day in London, and as I was staying in London for a night out, the NX Mini is perfectly pocket and handbag sized!

samsung-nx-mini

Right, we have people, camera, we are good to go!

The tours are small and personal and start with everyone going round the circle, introducing themselves, their country and what food they love best. 20% of tour participants are from the UK, some even East End locals wanting to find out more about where they live. All of my tour were from the US and Canada. I love meeting new people and was made very welcome.

The ice was broken, time for bacon butties, well not for vegetarian me, but the rest of the crew tucked into what has been voted the best bacon butty in the UK, served with a home made ketchup, of which the recipe is very closely guarded secret. I’m closely guarding the venues too as a) I think you must do the tour, and b) I don’t want to give away the giveaway answers! I will share the Eating London site below, so you can check them out.

bacon butties at the St johns

I enjoyed a delicious plum, atop rich creamy yogurt and served with home made brioche. Perfection. Whatever meat eaters think, I will never be converted by a bacon buttie – not with this taste sensation. The NX Mini coped really well with close ups on the food.

fruit compote at the St johns

I loved the interior, but I was a little too hestitant, seconds before a proper hipster complete with felt hat and tortoise rimmed glasses posed nonchalantly in front of the counter. The hipster is one of many groups to migrate to the East End and add to its flavour. I think the ever so shy chef, who has no reason to be, cooking feasts like this, makes for a great shot though.

St John East london

Next stop the best Bread and Butter pudding in the world.

Best bread and butter pudding in London! The English Restaurant.

My Grandma always made Bread and Butter pudding, but sorry Grandma, even yours wasn’t this good. Pudding alchemy, and that’s before the hot custard flooded the bowl!

Best bread and butter pudding in London! The English Restaurant.

The interior here is one you must see too, check out the amazing booths – these were full of gorgeous Australian men having breakfast. But the style is quaint and very British. One of the first British restaurants to open up in the East End and start the foodie revolution here. Brits do have some food heritage to be proud of.

Best bread and butter pudding in London! The English Restaurant.

We ate together round four bar tables, lots of mumbled mmmmms.

Best bread and butter pudding in London! The English Restaurant.

Next stop cheese. This French shop is within Shoreditch market. We even tasted a Stilton, which is made very near to me in Nottinghamshire. I gave a big cheer.

Say cheese! Selfie one on the NX Mini, I love the 321countdown feature – it gives you enough time to get your cheesy face just right!

Next we stopped for the best independent fish and chips in the UK, according to this year’s Fish and Chip Awards. The Texans were impressed with British fish and chips, especially the delivery.  The paper is specially printed as you are no longer allowed to wrap chips in newspaper.

Find the best Fish and Chips in the UK!

The non veggies got a neat portion of fish and a few chips, just right given this is only half way round the tour.

Find the best Fish and Chips in the UK!

 

I on the other hand got a huge vegetable pastie, chips and well we all shared the mushy peas, you have to taste them right? I am not complaining, the pastie was great but I was already filling up, so I started the doggy bag for my brother who I was meeting later.

Find the best Fish and Chips in the UK!

 

I love everything about this place, from the cockney rhyming slang on the wallpaper border to the waitresses, who just ooze style. “Can I take a photo?’ I asked shyly of the manager, he called to a waitress and she walked straight up to the camera and struck a pose. Isn’t she gorgeous!

Vintage and Delicious - Fish and Chips at Poppies, London, in the UK!

 

After our fish and chips we were ready for some light refreshment at a typical British pub.

Local beer, East London pub

 

We tasted beer and cider, both were delicious, but the cider was surprisingly refreshing. It was smooth, gently bubbly and fruity, not sickly, sweet and fizzy. Cheers! Selfie number two, they are coming out nicely!

Tasting local cider, East London pub

By now we were on Brick Lane, so it was time to eat at the best curry house. Even Prince Charles has eaten here. Last time I was in the Spitalfields/Shoreditch area it was my hen do, over nine years ago, so I was pretty amazed at how much the area has changed.

‘Gentrified’, was the word I kept hearing. We walked past lots of design and interior events, pop up shops, markets and street art, this is where trends start. It’s the place to be if you visit London. It’s absolutely buzzing.

The curry was delicious. I ate vegetable, the others also sampled lamb and chicken. All were pronounced amazing, just so rich in taste.

Brick Lane curry

There are so many stories behind the street art in Shoreditch, I could write a whole post on it.

Shoreditch street art

Our tour guide Nicole, an amazing local who researched and put the tours together herself, was able to point out some iconic ones and tell the stories behind them. It isn’t easy to get a picture of Nicole, she has so much energy and her delivery is so energetic and animated, the NX Mini couldn’t keep pace, but I later worked out how to do a continuous burst of shots!

Shoreditch street art and our Eating London tour guide

Around this point my brother popped up, he works in Shoreditch and so joined us for lunch. I donated the rest of my pastie and chips and my beigel from the 24 hour beigel bakery. This is the one place we had both eaten before in our time in London, it’s very special indeed. The vegetarian option would have been cream cheese, my brother had the salt beef, which he tells me is very tasty. Time Out vote this one of the 100 places you must eat in London.

He was starving. Let me at that beigel!

Beigel Bakery, Shoreditch, Eating London Tour

We finished for the most sublime French dessert, Salted Caramel. A taste volcano. Just incredible! My friend Vanessa popped up, she’d been stalking my Instagram and was working in Shoreditch that day, you can see some of her great photos of street art from her day in Shoreditch here on her blog.

Absolutely the most incredible tour, and do you know what, I didn’t feel sick or stuffed, I was just right. I had learnt so much, eaten in the eight best places in East London, seen so much and had so much fun. I was sad to leave and watch everyone disperse back to hotels.

But not for long, I jumped on the circle line and hot footed it too a makeover and the MAD blog awards. Watch out West London, I’m coming to eat you now! Selfie taken while walking, pretty cool camera!  You can find out more about the tour and its eight venues here.

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Camera Verdict

Find out more about this camera at Curry’s here.

Samsung NX Mini Compact System Camera with 9 mm f/3.5 Wide-Angle Prime Lens

RRP £269 at Currys (24/9/14)

I think the pictures speak for themselves here, taken under considerable time pressure and on the go!

Upsides – This is a great pocket/handbag size camera that takes reliable, crisp shots under tough conditions. It looks great and is very easy to use. The selfie flip screen is a useful and fun feature, and has different modes to help you get different types of selfie! It’s packed with features, including wifi, NFC, auto, manual, smart auto. The no zoom wasn’t a big issue on this trip, it was easy to move myself for close ups of food, shots of people.

I managed to use the NFC function, tapping my phone against the camera to transfer a shot to my phone and from there to instagram, great for sharing high quality shots on the go. If your phone doesn’t have NFC you can use wifi to do this.

Downsides – It froze a few times, at one point I had to remove the battery to get it working again. I missed having a zoom at first, although fixed lenses can be a great discipline, teaching you about framing shots, and you can, I believe, get a zoom lens separately for this camera.  The Samsung app seems limited compared to the Sony one I use for my other camera, and I struggled to find where it had downloaded the photos on my phone to share them. But this could be because I use a Sony Xperia, which isn’t a phone is mass usage.

Thanks to Currys for supplying the camera and to Eating London for having me.

Join the conversation @pennyalexander_ @CurrysOnline @EatingLondon #eatinglondon

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88 Comments

  1. 26/09/2014 / 1:45 pm

    Fab post, love the pictures and wish I could have joined you! I love the sound of Eating London too, what a great idea, especially appeals to a greedy guts like me 😉 Will be hunting down that Salted Caramel! x

    • The Alexander Residence
      26/09/2014 / 4:36 pm

      Uju you must do this, even if you are a Londoner, it’s FAB!

  2. michelle kay
    26/09/2014 / 2:50 pm

    sounds like great fun and different

  3. Paula Barker
    26/09/2014 / 3:51 pm

    The English Restaurant, their story sounds interesting and the interior looks welcoming and homely, I also love the spitalfields area

    • The Alexander Residence
      26/09/2014 / 4:36 pm

      It really is 🙂

  4. Julia Linsley
    26/09/2014 / 3:59 pm

    This is fantastic ! I did not know about it at all and will definately want to do this with my family !! I would love to Discover the wonderful world of English cheeses at Androuet, London’s expert cheese mongers as we are real cheese people ! What a great idea and opportunity this is I feel very excited about introducing my daughter ( new student in London ) to this so she can go on and keep her Dorset foodie roots and discover the best London has to offer!

    • The Alexander Residence
      26/09/2014 / 4:35 pm

      Brilliant idea for a parental visit to the big smoke, you would have so much fun together and she will have all the insider knowledge on the East End to impress her friends with! I LOVE CHEESE too 🙂

  5. Greig Spencer
    26/09/2014 / 4:00 pm

    English Restaurant, IT LOOKS VERY INVITING AND COSY

    • The Alexander Residence
      26/09/2014 / 4:34 pm

      I paced myself, didn’t finish everything, and my brother helped, but they are taster portions, not whole meals! I didn’t have breakfast…the walking helps too! Yeah excuses, I am just greedy 😉

  6. Lester Dadford
    26/09/2014 / 5:45 pm

    Brick Lane for the curry, best in London

  7. Jennifer toal
    26/09/2014 / 7:56 pm

    English restaurant in the capital of england perfect

  8. Karen Usher
    26/09/2014 / 8:00 pm

    Poppies! The fish and chips looks amazing and just looking at the photo of it is making my mouth water! I def am going to book this for my parents when the come to London to visit me (from Australia) my Dad will love this tour, I didn’t know it existed!! Thank you so much.

  9. Natalie Crossan
    27/09/2014 / 2:06 am

    The english restaurant – mmm lush x

  10. kellyjo walters
    27/09/2014 / 6:34 am

    ANDROUET we love cheese, than second has to be the English restaurant… looks a great adventure to try different foods and meet people along the way

  11. clair downham
    27/09/2014 / 11:01 am

    brick lane for the curry and and i would also love the fish and chips yummy

  12. Denise Blythe
    27/09/2014 / 11:06 am

    Androuet – I love Cheese so much, I think I may have been a mouse in a past life 😉

  13. jennypaulin
    27/09/2014 / 4:35 pm

    wow Penny what an amazing tour the type i would LOVE although i think a pair of materniuty trousers would be needed lol
    i would be tirb between Poppies fish and chips as it looked so much fun and quirky, but that salted caramel tart looks divine too so Shabby Chic would also be a contender x

  14. 27/09/2014 / 5:51 pm

    I had no idea you could no longer serve fish and chips in newspaper! When did that happen? Sounds like a wonderful culinary tour. *runs to book herself in*

  15. John Jones
    27/09/2014 / 6:54 pm

    Aladin’s is a place I would love to try as I love great curries.

  16. 27/09/2014 / 7:57 pm

    I’d love to go to Pizza east, as that salted caramel tart looks delicious

  17. Michelle Twin Mum
    27/09/2014 / 8:25 pm

    What a great idea fo a tour, it looks like lots of fun and ncie to meet some new people too. Mich x

  18. 28/09/2014 / 3:55 pm

    That sounds a fantastic tour. It is interesting to hear about it from a vegetarian prospective too. I am partial to a cider too 🙂
    Was lovely to see you so happy at the MADs 🙂

  19. Katie M
    28/09/2014 / 6:39 pm

    Poppies looks amazing, I grew up beside the sea & have been searching for the perfect Fish & Chips in London for some time, the chips look so delicious 🙂

  20. Sam Williams
    28/09/2014 / 6:45 pm

    St. John Bread & Wine, as I do love a bacon sandwich!

  21. John Seaman
    28/09/2014 / 10:58 pm

    Androuet

  22. David
    01/10/2014 / 1:05 am

    Brick Lane for their amazing curry, definitely best in the country if not the world!

  23. Amy PJ
    01/10/2014 / 4:07 am

    I’m sure I’d enjoy fish and chips at Poppies!

  24. Phil Darling
    01/10/2014 / 7:46 am

    I like it spicy – so Brick Lane for a curry

  25. sam bailey
    01/10/2014 / 10:12 am

    English restraurant too for me, This is fabulous to read, My partner is from the East end originally and he keeps saying he will take me there one day and show me his stomping ground, i could show him a few things with this too

    • The Alexander Residence
      02/10/2014 / 11:38 am

      Oh you must!

  26. 02/10/2014 / 7:17 am

    Love how people were worried about how they’d fit it all in. I’m just there already – I’d make it work! Love the idea of meeting new and different people along the way as well. Brilliant!

    • The Alexander Residence
      02/10/2014 / 11:38 am

      Me too Liz, meeee toooo!

  27. Luke Tutt
    02/10/2014 / 10:48 am

    Ok, now I’m hungry… damn you…

    • The Alexander Residence
      02/10/2014 / 11:39 am

      Sorry Luke, NOT! 😉

  28. Steven Morris
    03/10/2014 / 10:53 am

    So difficult to decide…but Brick Lane I think as I went their many years ago (when the Watneys Brewery still brewed beer) and it would be nice to see if the standards are still kept up.

  29. Courtney I
    04/10/2014 / 12:23 pm

    Aladin- I love love love curry!

  30. Julie Booth
    04/10/2014 / 12:56 pm

    ANDROUETas we all are massive cheese lovers in this house- the stronger and smellier, the better.

  31. Emily Carter-Dunn
    04/10/2014 / 2:59 pm

    Brick Lane! I love going to Aladin. Great food.

  32. Rebecca Hopkins
    04/10/2014 / 5:27 pm

    OMG we go to London a lot and never thought of doing something like this, you’ve definately inspired me for our next trip.

  33. 04/10/2014 / 6:13 pm

    the east end is full of such yumminess! great post x

  34. Trudie Forde
    04/10/2014 / 10:13 pm

    Poppies fish and chips, mhmmm looks delicious!

  35. 05/10/2014 / 8:00 am

    Poppies Fish and Chips! Can’t beat good fish and chips! 🙂

  36. 05/10/2014 / 10:17 am

    The English Restaurant, looks amazing could murder a good pud

  37. Susan Hoggett
    05/10/2014 / 9:26 pm

    Poppies Fish and Chips!

  38. Joanna Sawka
    05/10/2014 / 10:16 pm

    I a ma cheese lover, so Androuet

  39. Emma Davies
    06/10/2014 / 11:04 am

    Pizza East and the salted caramel look amazing!

  40. Maria Jane Knight
    06/10/2014 / 11:17 am

    ST. JOHN BREAD AND WINE – a bacon sarnie with doorstop freshly cut bread!!! My idea of food heaven!

  41. 06/10/2014 / 11:32 am

    Has to be Brick Lane, I love a good curry

  42. meena
    06/10/2014 / 12:31 pm

    that bread and butter pudding looked so good. I quite liked the sound of all the food on this trip but now its cold the bread and butter pudding is calling me

  43. Sarah
    06/10/2014 / 3:25 pm

    Beigel Bake – I’ve had a beigel from there once and can still remember how amazing it was

  44. Alison Barker
    06/10/2014 / 3:41 pm

    Pudding at the historic English Restaurant , this looks like a must do on the next trip to London.

    • The Alexander Residence
      10/10/2014 / 10:47 am

      CONGRATULATIONS ALISON the lucky winner 🙂 You will love the pudding – it is out of this world!

  45. 06/10/2014 / 5:15 pm

    this is brilliant – got to be curry my fav

  46. liz ferguson
    06/10/2014 / 7:36 pm

    Brick lane because I have been before and would love to go again.

  47. Ms colleen Thomas
    06/10/2014 / 8:15 pm

    Brick Lane, I can taste the curry

  48. Liam Bishop
    06/10/2014 / 8:26 pm

    Poppies. Fish and chips are a classic!

  49. Yasmin Matin
    06/10/2014 / 8:49 pm

    I’d love to stop off at Poppies for some yummy fish and chips

  50. Tracy A-A
    06/10/2014 / 9:39 pm

    the English restaurant for me, it looks really inviting and homely.

  51. Claire Bbdiva Butler
    06/10/2014 / 11:41 pm

    Poppies – their fish and chips look lush

  52. Karis
    07/10/2014 / 12:07 am

    The English Restaurant, becasue I want to try their bread and butter pudding.

  53. katie witherington
    07/10/2014 / 10:05 am

    Androuet I love cheeses

  54. Sarah Cooper
    07/10/2014 / 10:37 am

    Brick Lane for a curry – but each of your photos look equally delicious so it’s very hard to decide.

  55. Chris Fletcher
    07/10/2014 / 4:53 pm

    I love trying different cheeses so Androuet really gets the mouth watering although many of the places sound amazing!

  56. 07/10/2014 / 5:48 pm

    A Brick Lane Curry sounds like the real thing

  57. Alisa Moore
    07/10/2014 / 6:47 pm

    St. John Bread and Wine – I want to try the bacon butty

  58. Breanne
    07/10/2014 / 6:58 pm

    I’d love to visit Aladin for their curry.

  59. Lauren Old
    07/10/2014 / 7:27 pm

    The English Restaurant for the hot chocolate fondant

  60. carol boffey
    07/10/2014 / 7:30 pm

    a brick lane curry

  61. Katie Walden Hall
    07/10/2014 / 8:35 pm

    Brick Lane curry sounds yum!

  62. Obadah Fahmy
    07/10/2014 / 8:57 pm

    A Brick Lane Curry

  63. catriona nation
    07/10/2014 / 9:07 pm

    The english restaurant cause jt all sounds yummy

  64. Fiona Foskett
    07/10/2014 / 11:10 pm

    Poppies – fish and chips 🙂

  65. Natalie Gillham
    07/10/2014 / 11:19 pm

    The English restaurant as I love puddings 🙂 x

  66. dorothy cavender
    08/10/2014 / 1:05 am

    the Pride Of Spitalfields sounds great for old fashioned athmosphere

  67. sharon williams
    08/10/2014 / 9:35 am

    oh they all sound so wonderful. The Aladin curry place would have to be the one Id be looking most forward to. Nothing beats a curry

  68. lynn neal
    08/10/2014 / 10:27 am

    Pudding at the English Restaurant sounds wonderful!

  69. Michelle lintern
    08/10/2014 / 10:41 am

    The English restaurant

  70. Dee Sherwood Wallace
    08/10/2014 / 11:45 am

    What a fantastic idea, The English Restaurant sound great.

  71. 08/10/2014 / 12:41 pm

    The Brick Lane curry sounds the most amazing!! But my mouth was watering reading this whole post!

  72. JACQUELINE ROBERTS
    08/10/2014 / 1:55 pm

    Absolutely brill loved the look of that pud yum yum.

  73. Maggie Osborn
    08/10/2014 / 4:34 pm

    Pizza East; because I’d love to try the salted caramel tart 🙂

  74. Paige Walsh
    08/10/2014 / 9:50 pm

    Pizza East because its already my favourite!! 😀

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