Outside of a big city, such as London, you would be forgiven for having a slightly limited knowledge of food. I did. I grew up in the countryside, Surrey, going to Giraffe, Prezzo and Frankie & Benny’s, loving their satisfying dishes, without really thinking about what meal satisfaction meant to me.
Moving to London widened my horizons to a lot of things: fashion, culture, lifestyle and food. It did not take much to persuade me to look further than the restaurants I had frequently visited. Now, I’m not a food snob. I promise. Whilst I appreciate good food and enjoy more authentic hidden gems to your average chain restaurant, I can dine at Wagamama! But in London, why should I? I can have a far more authentic ramen at many other destinations… And more authentic does not necessarily mean more painful to my pocket. Beginning to see my point?
Gourmet Burger Kitchen will rarely disappoint anyone, but have you tried the mouth-watering patties at Bleecker Street Burgers? Or Patty & Bun, where the meat can stand on its own two feet? These options are not always available outside capitals or big cities, where smaller boutique restaurants choose to set up shop.
I can happily get on board with a meal at Zizzis, and the frequent deals and offers entice the best of us! But now, when I want pizza, I think Franco Manca or Princi. Real Neapolitan and Milanese pizzas: cheap and cheerful without any compromise between quality and quantity.
Through the commanding advice of a foodie friend, Time Out reviews and word of mouth, I learned more and more about where to eat and, more importantly, what made that particular spot worth visiting over others. Again, there is no arrogance to this filtering of restaurants, deeming certain places worthy of eating at as others get a pass. You wouldn’t fly economy if a first class ticket was cheaper. You wouldn’t buy Topshop shoes if Louboutins were just as beautiful and cost the same, would you? I love Topshop, just as I enjoy the food at many restaurants, but if I can find better for a similar price… Why the hell not?
Being a foodie does not mean you love every dish. I cannot stand oysters and originally hated burrata (I like it now, don’t kill me). But the words ‘foodgasm’ and ‘best sh*t ever’ are frequent reactions and of course, your Instagram proudly displays the latest dishes that saw to a well-treated tummy.
London enlightened me to foodie culture: it opened my eyes and appealed to my senses. It introduced me to pho, coconut calamari and crab fries, and it is something I feel is worth my time and money. Two years ago, I tried pig belly skewers, feeling enriched; and recently I ate Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Meat Fruit’ (foie gras encased in mandarin jelly, giving the appearance of an orange). Just as a fashionista enjoys creating new looks and witnessing new styles, foodies relish at the though of cool and creative combinations. Sticks’n’Sushi, a Japo-Danish company has a ‘Black cod dragon roll’ on its menu, which marries miso-marinated black cod with cream cheese. Many guests choose to eliminate the cheese element, finding the thought of it a bit ‘odd’. I probably would have wrinkled my nose a few years ago, but now I could not imagine the roll any other way – although, let’s be honest, cheese makes everything better!
Even if these dishes are not necessarily ones I would sample again, I feel that I should take advantage of what London and its chefs have to offer. For me, it is part of experiencing the city.
Note the definition and standard of satisfaction from food has changed now.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Spitalfields Arts Market
Address: 5 Horner Square, E1 6EW – Tel: 020 7422 0052
Address: b, Pavilion Building, E1 6EA – Tel: 020 7998 8650
Patty & Bun
Address: 22/23 Liverpool St, EC2M 7PD – Tel: 020 7621 1331
Address: Broadgate Circle, EC2M 2QS – Tel: 020 3538 0780
Address: 135 Wardour St, W1F 0UT – Tel: 020 7478 8888
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Address : 66 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LA – Tel: 020 7201 3833
Sticks N Sushi
Address : 11 Henrietta St, WC2E 8PY – Tel: 020 3141 8810
Amira Arasteh is a 22 years old aspiring fashion journalist, who just recently finished her BA in English language and communication at King’s College London. Being the fashion editor of King’s Tab newspaper and a contributor reporter for Roar!, her university newspaper, are only a brief overview of her past accomplishments within the journalistic world.