Eating the Classics in London

My favorite food day was back in 2003, on the day I graduated from The Courtauld Institute in London. I grew up a foodie, the son of foodie parents (we once took a multi-week holiday built around eating at legendary barbecue joints in the American Midwest, and once drove four hours to get French fries from a stand on the pier in Baltimore), and wherever we went, we would map out our meals, long before we shifted gears to consider such mundane things as visiting people and seeing sites.

I inherited this trait from my parents, but in truth I usually left it to them. My father loves researching restaurants, and specialty dishes, and so when I moved to London for my post-graduate studies, I knew that I could place myself in his hands, with regards to restaurant recommendations.

Through many years of visits to the great city of London, we developed regular favorites to which we returned whenever we could. But of all the culinary expeditions we undertook, that graduation day was most memorable. As a special treat, my parents took me to my two favorite classic London eateries: Rules for lunch and The Ivy for dinner.

It was heavenly excess, and allowed me to compare the two greatest sticky toffee puddings of my life in direct, head-to-head competition. Here is my personal list of the must-eat classic restaurants of London, those that have endured, stood the test of time, and continue to produce at the very highest level.

Simpson’s in the Strand

Eating the Classics in London

Part of the Savoy Hotel building on the Strand, this is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, and still the best classic establishment to taste a traditional Sunday roast (though who needs to wait for Sunday?). It opened as a smoking room in 1828 and began to serve roast meats in 1850, while it was also the premiere venue for chess players to test their mettle.

And just in case you still doubt its cultural resonance, the king of traditional British comic fiction, P. G. Wodehouse, called it “a restful temple of food.” The roast beef, gravy and Yorkshire pudding are the draw. Nothing light, nothing nouveau, just good, old-school British fine dining, white tablecloths and all.

The Newman Arms

Eating the Classics in London

Part of the appeal is that it’s tricky to find, and seats only about a dozen customers, and you probably should reserve. The dollhouse-sized upstairs dining room of a traditional dark-wood-paneled pub down an alley off a side street in Fitzrovia that no tourist would stumble upon serves killer savory pies. Beef and Guinness. Chicken and ale. The combination of meat and veg, cooked in beer and sealed in buttery pastry is hard to beat. Or, I should say, was hard to beat. In researching for this article I found, to my dismay, that the Newman Arms is for sale and currently closed. But such a legendary, long-standing establishment (so entrenched in London’s cultural history that it appears in two novels by George Orwell) means that someone will surely buy it and bring it back to life.

Rock and Sole Plaice

Eating the Classics in London

A fish-and-chips shop has been present on this spot since 1871, so it is fair to call this an enduring legend. There are loads of good local places, serving up perfectly-cooked white fish, battered and fried, with fries, in a cone of newspaper, needing only a dash of malt vinegar.

But I’ve never had fish-and-chips as light as these, with none of the weight and grease associated with frying. Plus, located between Covent Garden and Seven Dials, this is in the heart of tourist London, as spot easy to find and return to. Often.


Eating the Classics in London

In 1798 Thomas Rule opened what would become London’s oldest continuously-running restaurant. The walls look like a Victorian drawing room, covered in Vanity Fair cartoons, old photographs, and oil paintings, with a warm, golden glow brought out by perfect lighting and ochre walls. A doorman in a top hat and overcoat smiles as you enter, and the staff makes you feel like landed gentry, even if you’re a plebeian like me.

The restaurant owns an estate up north that provides much of their meat. They do nothing particularly original, just very fine versions of very traditional dishes, in an atmosphere that simply feels wonderful. Don’t forget to leave room for sticky toffee pudding.

The Ivy

Eating the Classics in London

London’s most beloved restaurant (good luck getting reservations) has maintained its astonishing quality of food and service, in a stylish Art Deco interior, for decades, as well as its fiercely loyal clientele, a who’s who of London stars (one time I was eating there opposite Stephen Fry, Salman Rushdie and Mick Jagger). There are certain restaurants I’ve been to that just do everything right. It’s almost as if they pump laughing gas through the vents, because everyone has a brilliant time, every time they go. Il Latini in Florence, Da Luigi in Rome, Union Square Café in New York and, in London, The Ivy, all have this aura about them—I would build a holiday around eating at any of them (and have). The Ivy does not allow phones (so the ever-present celebrities can relax), and has a dress code. But that’s part of the fun. So, too, is the Poulet de Landes, probably the single best dish I’ve ever had, anywhere, and which I would request as my last meal. Special, happy French chickens are stuffed with foie gras and truffles (lots of them) and drizzled with a Madeira reduction sauce. It is simply incredible and unreproducible. My father and I bought the fanciest chicken we could find in the US, and followed the recipe in the official Ivy cookbook. The result was good, but it wasn’t the same. You’ve got to have it there. Bucket list. And don’t forget to save room for sticky toffee pudding.


Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

Ricotta is a lovely light and creamy fresh cheese that lends itself to both sweet and savoury recipes with ricotta.

Hailing from Italy the traditional curd cheese, made from whey, literally means 'cooked again'.

Good ricotta is very delicate and although it can be happily eaten on its own, it also makes for delicious stuffings for pasta or pancakes when combined with herbs or spinach, as well as added to pastries and even in baked into cheesecake.

Here are some of our favourite recipes with ricotta, that take this wonderful cheese through the sweet and savoury spectrum. And if you can't eat dairy, we've even got a solution for that!


Can't eat dairy? No problem, try making this vegan ricotta alternative prepared with soya milk, salt and apple cider vinegar.

Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

Ricotta and asparagus are a match made in heaven set on a layer of puff pastry. Perfect for brunch, a light lunch or spring picnic. Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

For a tasty and light filling try wrapping ricotta and herbs up in crepes along with Parmesan for some added depth of flavour.

Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

Love cheesecakes? Try this luscious Italian version made with a creamy sheep’s milk ricotta, sweet marsala wine and raisins.Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

For a mouth-watering decadent dessert try this Sicilian deep fried fritters with a creamy ricotta filling.

Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

Ricotta and spinach are a classic combo stuffed into these delicious pasta tubes topped off with a creamy bechamel sauce and baked to perfection.

Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta

If you enjoy ravioli try making your own in this authentic Italian pasta recipe with a light ricotta and herb filling for a light and tasty dish.

Meatless Monday: 7 Sweet and Savoury Ways with Ricotta


London's First Naked Restaurant Has a Waiting List of 25,000 People

There’s a naked pop-up restaurant coming to London and it’s not a joke.

Adventurous Londoners are about to get a chance to dine in the buff at the city’s first ever naked restaurant.

Called The Bunyadi - named after a Hindi word meaning ‘natural’ - the three-month pop-up will offer guests the chance to “experience true liberation.”

Speaking to the The Washington Post[1], founder Seb Lyall said it’s a social experiment as well as a restaurant that has been stripped of all unnecessary, industrialsed items.

This means no artificial lighting, no plastics, metals or smartphone and an option of no clothing for the guests. Guests will eat with edible cutlery and candles will provide natural lighting. Pictures will be banned.

A picture of naked furniture posted on the project Facebook page. [2]

London's First Naked Restaurant Has a Waiting List of 25,000 People

The website for the projec[3]t promises “a secret Pangea-like world” and shows two sections within the restaurant, one for the ’non naked’ and another for the ‘naked and pure’.

The food will be be served as a five-course meal costing between $80 to $90, including wood-flame-grilled meats and vegan options.

Anyone questioning the popularity of such an idea should note there has been a serious amount of interest. The waiting list for tickets currently sits at over 25,000 people.

The idea of stripping a restaurant of modern trappings and trying to go back to a fully natural experience is an interesting idea and one that’s sure to offer a very different type of dining experience. Here’s hoping for gazpacho over soup.


  1. ^ The Washington Post (
  2. ^ project Facebook page.  (
  3. ^ The website for the projec (

Food and Herb Pairing Made Easy

Herbs can make a great addition to a dish but it only truly works when the herb matches the food that is being cooked. 


Lamb and mint is a great example of a perfect herb and food pairing. Basil and tomato works much better than bay leaf and tomato. 


This food infographic from Personal Creations[1] takes a closer look at exciting pairings between different foods and herbs and offers useful pointers for the next time you’re cooking. 


There are 13 different herbs listed and matched with 34 different foods. 


This is a really useful resource for anyone wanting to improve the harmony of their cooking. 


Food and Herb Pairing Made Easy



  1. ^ Personal Creations (

8 Crave-Worthy Vegan Condiments

Many are oblivious to the fact that some of the most delicious condiments out there are vegan.

That means no animal products - no eggs, no milk - just vegetables or fruit and, in some cases, a touch of sugar or oil. Nothing else.

What about mayonnaise, tartar sauce or Hollandaise sauce? These favorites can also be transformed into luscious vegan sauces. In reality, the world of vegan condiments and sauces is ever expanding. Let's take a look:


hummus salsa vegana

It's delicious, healthy and vegan: hummus is made from chickpeas but you can use any bean as a base. For a fun twist toss in colorful veggies like red peppers, peas or beats. Hummus is great served with fresh vegetables, pita bread or as a sandwich spread.

Here's a tasty hummus recipe[1].


burro di anacardi

While some nut butter recipes call for honey, which isn't a vegan ingredient, but this can easily be swapped for sugar, agave or, better yet, coconut sugar.

Here's a quick tutorial on making cashew butter[2] that you can use as a template for your favorite nut.



Yes, ladies and gentlemen, mustard is vegan. Making this tangy condiment at home is fun and easy. You'll need 150g (3/4 cup)  of mustard seeds (can be yellow, brown or  mix of the two), 120 ml (1/2 cup) of apple cider vinegar, oil, sugar and a bit of oil. Combine the mustard seeds and vinegar in a non-reactive bowl and soak until the seeds have absorbed all the liquid (anywhere from 10-16 hours). Add sugar and salt to taste. Blend in a food processor, adding just a touch of oil for body.


salse vegane

Hot dogs and burgers come to mind when we think of ketchup but the fact is this classic condiment is vegan. What's in ketchup? Mainly tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. Make it at home and skip all the mystery ingredients.

Try this great recipe from Chefsteps[3].


Even sweet and sour sauce is originally vegan. As you'll see in this video the ingredients are very simple: rice vinegar, potato starch, sugar and tomato paste. Serve it as a dipping sauce for these delectable spring rolls[4] and life will never be the same.


guacamole vegana

All hail to the queen of vegan condiments: guacamole. This creamy avocado sauce is great with chips, slathered on toast and perfect in sandwiches.

Here's our favorite guacamole recipe[5].


salsa olandese vegana

Traditional Hollandaise sauce is made with eggs, tons of them, but they can easily be substituted with mustard. Watch how vegan Hollandaise sauce is made[6].


This zesty sauce is usually served with fish and chips but can be transformed in a luscious vegan condiment. Here's a must-try recipe from Edgy Veg[7].

Follow Fine Dining Lovers on Facebook[8]


  1. ^ Here's a tasty hummus recipe (
  2. ^ cashew butter (
  3. ^ Try this great recipe from Chefsteps (
  4. ^ delectable spring rolls (
  5. ^ Here's our favorite guacamole recipe (
  6. ^ vegan Hollandaise sauce is made (
  7. ^ Edgy Veg (
  8. ^ Follow Fine Dining Lovers on Facebook (