Considering just how culturally diverse and constantly evolving the English capital’s culinary scene is, it’s no mean feat compiling a list of the best food experiences in London. But after much deliberation – and a thorough investigation into the coolest cooking classes, best spots for afternoon tea and the most unusual restaurants in London – we reckon we’ve narrowed it down to ten of the tastiest. Bon appétit!
Billingsgate Market’s Catch of the Day Course
Loud and smelly, fish markets can be intimidating places to visit – especially if you’re not a seafood savant. At Billingsgate Market though, the UK’s largest inland fish market, the Billingsgate Seafood School run weekend Catch of the Day courses that are specifically designed for budding fishmongers. Keen participants will learn what to look for when buying fresh seafood, master the basics of fish preparation and gain a few new recipes to add to their repertoire. The course requires an early wake-up call (it kicks off at 6.15am), and also involves an hour-long market tour, the opportunity to fillet and scale your own fish, plus make your own take-home fish stock. It’s certainly one of the more niche food experiences in London, that’s for sure!
Afternoon Tea at Claridge’s
Afternoon tea is a British institution, and while the Ritz, Langham and Sketch all receive honorary mentions, one of the finest places to indulge in scones and finger sandwiches would have to be in the Foyer at Claridge’s. For the past 150 years, this distinguished Art Deco space has been charming everyone from A-listers, to those who just love a good cuppa with fine china, dainty place settings, gracious service and a delectable array of sweet and savoury treats. With classical musicians accompanying the service, and the option to also enjoy a glass or two of Laurent-Perrier Rosé, you’ll feel like a member of London’s high society in no time. Is there a fancier London dining experience for two? We doubt it.
Chef’s Table at Murano
Get up close and personal with one of London’s leading female chefs via an extraordinary chef’s table experience at Michelin-starred restaurant, Murano. Angela Hartnett and her team will take you on an unforgettable gastronomic journey in Murano’s private dining room (which can seat up to 12 people), with a special tasting menu that draws heavily upon Hartnett’s Italian upbringing. Dishes include everything from crab ravioli to buffalo mozzarella, and matched wines can also be arranged. An enormous glass window offers a glimpse into the magic unfolding in the kitchen, while a retractable curtain means the final dish can be served as a surprise. As far as indulgent fine dining experiences in London go, this is hard to top.
The premise of Moonshine Saloon is a simple one: to gain entry all you need to do is bring a bottle of your favourite booze. Oh, and you must be prepared to get swept up in the wheelin’ and dealin’ of the Wild Wild West. This hilarious drinking experience will see you kitted up in full cowboy gear, smuggled into an East London saloon and invited to take part in the revelry (which could include card games or interacting with one of the colourful characters). And that liquor you brought along? It will be turned into multiple bespoke cocktails that you can enjoy throughout the evening. File this one under part secret London adventure, part unusual bars and restaurants.
Bread Ahead Baking Course
Bread, glorious bread. If you’re a fan of all things dense, doughy and delicious, a baking course at Bread Ahead should be top of your to-do list in London. Carb connoisseurs Matt Jones and Justin Gellatly run both the Bread Ahead shop and baking school, located at Borough Market, and offer courses specialising in making doughnuts, bagels, sourdough, pretzels, croissants and flatbread. There’s even workshops dedicated to Christmas, Italian, French and New York-style baking. You don’t need to be a whizz in the kitchen to join either; amateur cooks are more than welcome!
You’ve heard of a pub crawl, but what about a cheese crawl? Embark on a brie-licious two-hour exploration of London in search of the smelliest, tastiest and finest fromage the city has to offer. You’ll sample world-class blue cheese at Fortnum & Mason (a cheese counter that counts the royal family as regular customers), try Prosecco cheese, tuck into a classic cheese toastie, devour a baked Camembert and finish things off with a swoon-worthy artisanal cheese board at Covent Garden’s Champagne + Fromage. This mouth-watering cheese crawl has definitely got our vote as one of the best London food tours going around.
Dining in the Dark
It’s the foodie phenomenon that has swept the world, so where better to relinquish control of your sight than at a dining in the dark outpost. Dans Le Noir is not only one of the most immersive dining experiences in London, but it’s also one of the most unique restaurants in London. Upon arrival you’ll choose from a mystery menu (the only hints given are meat, fish and vegetarian), before moving through to a pitch black dining room. The wait staff are all blind – the original Parisian restaurant was created to provide more opportunities to vision impaired people in the hospitality industry – and after a few moments of initial hesitation you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to let your other senses take over.
KinoVino Supper Club
If you’re looking to combine your love of cinema and food, you’ve come to the right place. KinoVino is a (former) secret supper club in London (word on these monthly gatherings has well and truly gotten out now) that throws unforgettable movie viewing nights accompanied by a menu inspired by the film that is being shown. For example, a recent event hosted a screening of Head-On, a German-Turkish film, that included an incredible sharing feast whipped up by Kurdish chef Melek Erdal. Every KinoVino session is different, thought-provoking and (perhaps most importantly) delicious, making it one of the best supper clubs in London.
Twilight Soho Food Tour
Soho is a bustling, lively neighbourhood crammed full of restaurants, bars, pubs and quirky eateries – but how do you find the hidden gems among the tourist traps? Join the Twilight Soho Food Tour, of course. From gorging on tacos and margaritas at a super authentic Mexican joint, to hitting Chinatown in search of dumplings, scoffing a range of Spanish tapas and washing it all down with the perfect British gin and tonic, this four-hour extravaganza – one of the top London food tours in the evening – showcases the very best of Soho’s varied gastronomic offerings.
Hackney City Farm
Located on the site of an old brewery, Hackney City Farm offers city slickers the chance to experience a taste of good old-fashioned farm life. And while the cute animals are reason enough to visit, it’s the food that will have you planning multiple return visits. On-site cafe Frizzante serves amazing meals using meat, veggies and herbs grown entirely on the farm, and you can partake in beekeeping or apple-pressing workshops or even stock up on honey, eggs and other goodies from the Urban Farm Shop. It’s the surprising and practically secret food experience you definitely weren’t expecting to find in London.
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