British, Traditional Restaurants in London
1. The Bow Wine Vaults British, Traditional restaurant in 10 Bow Church Yd - EC4
2022 Review: “A stalwart for lunches in the City”, this “unpretentious” venue in “lovely Bow Lane by the famous church” has “kept its standards up” for 35 years. The outdoor seating was a major attraction during the pandemic restrictions, and prices are “very reasonable” for the area, while “the boisterous tables make it easy to have confidential chats without being overheard”.
2. Sweetings Fish & seafood restaurant in City 39 Queen Victoria St - EC4
“Sitting cheek by jowl at a counter that dates from the 19th century… bliss!” – this “City legend amongst fish restaurants” is “such a haven of bygone days, which gives it its special ambience and devoted following”. Founded in the 1830s, and on its current site since the 1920s, it’s “still serving sensational oysters (washed down with a pewter tankard of Black Velvet) after all these years” alongside “very traditional fish cooked simply and well” (e.g. “divine whitebait”). “It’s a bit pricey and you can’t book but otherwise excellent.”
3. Simpson’s Tavern British, Traditional restaurant in City 38 1/2 Ball Ct, Cornhill - EC3
This “unique” institution – a traditional City chophouse founded in 1757 – is “the sort of place cooking the kind of food that doesn’t exist any more… except it does here!”. Guests seated in 19th-century oak-panelled stalls feast on full English breakfasts and grills or pies for lunch followed by the signature stewed cheese pudding (there is no evening or weekend service). “My father took me there 65 years ago – it’s hardly changed, but there’s no longer an open fire!”
4. Epic Pies British, Traditional restaurant in 53-55 Carter Lane - EC4V
2022 Review: The name says it all about this new ‘Britisserie’ (an ‘authentic British patisserie’), which opened on a corner site near St Paul’s in December 2019. Owners Daniel Jobsz and his mum honed their classic pie-making skills at markets, festivals and pop-ups from 2015 before they found the site, which incorporates a small courtyard. Full English breakfasts (in a tart, of course), plus epic mash and a good list of beers and other drinks complete the formula.
5. Paternoster Chop House British, Traditional restaurant in City 1 Warwick Court - EC4
A dependable steak remains the menu highlight at this D&D London grill, but some regulars are “disappointed that it has moved location (from Paternoster Square to Ludgate Hill) and is no longer overlooking St Paul’s”. Oddly for a restaurant catering to City business diners, the previous venue became famous for hosting reality TV show ‘First Dates’.
6. The Swan at the Globe British, Modern restaurant in Southwark 21 New Globe Walk - SE1
The “amazing setting” – part of Shakespeare’s Globe with “spectacular views” over the Thames – is the USP of this venue. There’s an “excellent range of cakes, sandwiches and teas” (including the oddly named ‘Mr Falstaff’s’ savoury afternoon tea… forgetting Sir John’s knighthood). But more generally, while the food’s fine, “it’s not a serious challenger for the title of restaurant rather than gastropub”.
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