Explore London: dine by borough

July 15, 2014 9:00 am

Want a unique tour of London? Keep reading… London is a city rich in culture, history and flavours. As a tourist and newcomer to London, we know it’s hard enough getting your bearings let alone finding somewhere really decent to eat. Let’s be honest, the UK’s not well known for it’s cuisine, is it?

However – London’s a different kettle of fish. Here, the city’s culinary offerings make the rest of the UK seem unseasoned and bland. So to make it easy for you to find a hearty feast – and it’s fun, too – we’ve thought of a different way of doing London: dining by borough.

To get a well-rounded experience of the city, we went ‘outside the box’ for a new tour of London and all it involves is you and a healthy appetite. We challenge you to throw away the guidebook, ignore your recommendations and be led by taste and smell. We promise you won’t be disappointed!

Camden

Camden is synonymous with the outlandish, the garish and the out-of-this world. Although nowadays it’s slightly more commercial it still prides itself on being one of the most popular boroughs in London, boasting a plethora of pubs, bars, restaurants and food stalls. If you go to Camden you can’t miss Camden Lock and Camden Market. Made up of hundreds of artisanal shops, trinket traders and crazy fashionistas the market is also home to some of the best street food. Enter into the chaos of Camden Lock and embrace the food frenzy in the urban wilderness. There’s Chinese noodles, Mexican burritos, Japanese dim sum, French crêpes, American donuts and Lebanese falafel to dine on. Take in the smells and tuck into the delicious array of culinary delights that there is to offer (just don’t forget small change). If you’re veggie – there’s plenty of options as well, you’ll even find a vegan and gluten free café on the bridge, too, to cater to more selective palettes.

City of London

Home to the bankers, the financial district, aka the City, isn’t your average borough. With clean lines and high-rises, reflecting windows and revolving doors, this area is the opposite of colourful Camden. Expect haute-cuisine, chic and sleek dining and usually child-free zones (an unwritten rule, of course). If you’re looking for something a little more at the top of end your budget, then head to the hub of the City of London. Look out for authentic delis, fresh-cut sushi, champagne bars and Michelin stars. If you look hard enough, though, it’s not all high-end and haughty. Tucked in between the glass-walled office blocks are old traditional pubs that ooze London life. Echoing the working world of the past, listen to the old ‘geezers’ and their tales and tuck into some proper pub grub. You can’t go wrong with Fish and Chips, if ever you’re in doubt.

Note: the City is out of action on the weekends as it mainly caters to the busy bankers in the week.

Soho and Chinatown

Another one of London’s more colourful and vibrant areas, Soho is renowned for its eccentricity and somewhat seedy undercurrent, however, in terms of food – there’s nothing frowned upon here. From exclusive eateries to celebrity hot-spots, there’s everything from tongue-in-cheek themed bars and restaurants, to high end haute-cuisine with a waiting list as long as your arm. But, in between these ‘know before you go’ places, you can find the best individual nooks to settle down for a quiet bite or some something a bit more wild. Sample simple Thai to rich Swiss cheese fondues – there’s something for every taste. Right in the heart of Soho you’ll find London’s Chinatown, too. Draped with red lanterns and gold dragons guarding the entrances of authentic Far Eastern restaurants, you’ll enter into China’s home away from home. Explore the markets of fresh produce, herbs and tea galore and take a seat in one of the many restaurants all vying to provide you with impeccable service. There’s nothing more persuasive than knowing you’ll be dining amongst the locals, too – always a good sign!

Richmond

One of the more expensive boroughs, Richmond is arguably one of the most beautiful. Set on the bank of the Thames, in the most western part of London, enjoy this leafy borough for all its convention and class. The high street is lined with your typical cafes and restaurants but down by the river you’ll experience some of the best of London’s offerings. If you’re after a pre-dinner drink, stop in at one of the riverside’s pubs for a pitcher of Pimms to share. The ultimate British summer drink, there’s no better place to indulge in a refreshing tipple than in Richmond. Take this tour of London offshore and dine on the roof of a fishing boat and enjoy some local caught seafood with views over the river. If you’re after something a little more meaty and upmarket, why not indulge in a succulent Argentine steak right on the bank of the Thames as you rub shoulders with some of London’s elite.

Hackney

Take it down a notch and head to Hackney for those with a smaller budget. We’re not sacrificing on quality though, this tour of London is all about the best. Hackney is home to the hipster, trend setter and experimentalist – and we’re talking about food not fashion. With pop-up restaurants, street food and a world of the ‘just opened’ and exclusive, get involved with some of the newest names and most exotic flavours in the city. Kingsland Road is home of the Vietnamese dish. No Londoner would go anywhere else for a spring roll or chicken dumpling. Box Park has a wealth of newly opened eating joints and promises healthy and hearty Caribbean meals and American diner style burgers. If you’re around the area at the weekend – or plan to be – head down to Brick Lane and try one of the area’s famous curry houses. The hub of the Indian area, Brick Lane isn’t shy or two of some real mouth-watering flavours. We dare you…

Note: expect some strong spices!

Southbank and Bankside

Although not technically a borough, Borough Market is London’s oldest and largest markets and is nestled just behind London Bridge. Open every day except Sunday this market is ingrained in London’s food and trading history. Active since the 11th century when it was selling fish, livestock and fresh produce, now there are over 100 independent stalls and sellers selling everything from French cheeses, exotic truffles, Italian ice cream, Scottish fudge and good old BBQ sausages. A foodie haven, it’s the ultimate go-to for a culinary tour of London – just be sure to go on an empty stomach.

 

 With the London Pass & Travelcard you can use this ticket to travel the city from top top bottom – including Richmond out in zone 4. Discover London by borough and treat your tastebuds in this unique tour of London.

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