Beat the Brexit blues: Eat and drink your way around the EU’s 27 countries in LondonJune 19, 2017, 9:36 am
It’s been almost a year since the UK voted to leave in the EU referendum, and finally today sees the start of Brexit negotiations.
For the many Londoners who didn’t vote to leave, the Brexit blues have been very real, and as the long political process of disentanglement gets underway there’s no sign of resolution any time soon.
The solution? Eat and drink those blues away.
Working alphabetically, we take a tour around where you can get your fill and drown your sorrows in the style of each of the union’s 27 other member states — without reaching for your passport or going anywhere near Eurostar.
Head to Corbin and King’s Viennese-style grand café Fischer’s in Marylebone and indulge in schnitzel and strudel among other specialities. Was them down with Austrian beers and martinis made with caraway-flavoured liqueur Kümmel.
What better way to commiserate with Brussels than with Belgian beer? London has plenty of it, but you can’t beat quirky pub The Dovetail in Clerkenwell where you can try more than 70 diverse beers, along with dishes including moules frites.
Bulgarian cuisine isn’t the most renowned in Europe, but if you want to indulge then Bulgarian House Restaurant in Surbiton is popular with expats. Alternatively, head to Highbury wine shop Zelas and pick up a bottle or two of some excellent Bulgarian wine.
Head to Borough Market’s Taste Croatia shop where you can stock up on all kinds of delicious, sundrenched deli products and Croatian wine.
Clerkenwell’s Kolossi Grill has been doling out smoky suvlaki and Greek-Cypriot mezze dishes for years. It also offers Cypriot beer Keo to accompany it for the full effect.
The simply but outdatedly named Czechoslovak Restaurant in West Hampstead is often bustling with expats. Boiled sausage, chicken broth and beef goulash all feature on the menu, as well as a number of sweet dumplings. Alternatively pop by The Duck & Rice in Soho where you can enjoy a pint of unfiltered Pilsner Urquell fresh from the tank.
Golborne Road’s Snaps and Rye is London’s only all-Danish restaurant. Perhaps go for a brunch of house-cured salmon with scrambled eggs on homemade rye bread. Or opt for dinner when dishes include wood pigeon with black pudding, burnt apple, beetroot and walnuts. Danish craft beer is served along with akavit shots. Feeling more Scandi? Call by a branch of Nordic Bakery for a pastry.
Estonian food hasn’t had its turn in London’s limelight, but the region is well represented by Baltic in Southwark where the menu includes dumplings, stews and blinis. The bar goes all out on vodka, with more than 30 flavours available along with different styles.
For a taste of Finland in London you’re est to head to the Finnish Church in Bermondsey. It’s not your normal church — you can stock up on Finnish foods such as rye bread, salted liquorice and cloudberry jam while you’re there, and there’s even a sauna.
Where to start? Londoners are well-versed in enjoying the best of French food and wine across town. Take a look at our guide to London’s best French restaurants.
The German beer flows freely at bustling Vauxhall pub Zeitgeist, and there are plenty of sausages and pretzels on hand to soak it all up.
If you want to soak up the cuisine of the country which managed to avert an EU exit, head to King’s Cross restaurant The Greek Larder. Mezze, salads and charcoal grills are paired with Greek wine and craft beers — and you can buy the produce to take home, too.
Hungarian restaurant The Gay Hussar has been on the scene in Soho since 1953, and despite recent threats of closure and a change of ownership it’s still holding on. It has typically been popular with Labour MPs and many of their caricatures still grace the walls, but ignore the pictures of politicians and focus on the gutsy Hungarian fare. The marinated herrings and roast duck are particular specialities.
There’s only one way to celebrate our nearest European neighbour, and that’s with Guinness. See our guide to London’s best Irish pubs for where to get the best.
It’s hard to know where to start when seeking out Italian food and drink in London as there’s just so much of it. Top-notch pasta is made before your eyes at London Bridge newbie Padella while there are no shortage of great pizza options. Also check out Italian craft beer bar The Italian Job in Chiswick.
If you want to soak up Latvia in London, then you need to head to London Latvian House, just off Queensway. It’s part of a hotel, but has a bar and restaurant open Thursdays to Saturdays where you can tuck into meaty soups and other homely food along with Latvian beers and herbal liqueurs.
Walthamstow’s Krantas is probably London’s best Lithuanian restaurant — alright, there aren’t loads of them — and serves dishes including marinated herring, pork stew and baked carp. Do try sweet-but-lethal honey liqueur krupnikas while you’re there.
This tiny EU country isn’t represented on London’s food and drink scene, but perhaps that’s because its own cuisine is a mix of French, Belgian and German fare. If you go to “Mittel-European” restaurant The German Gymnasium in King’s Cross you can happily blend German dishes with French wines and Belgian beer.
Hammersmith café Parparellu serves a range of Maltese specialities, including broad bean dip bigilla and ricotta-filled savoury pastries pastizzi, along with some Maltese wine.
Where else to go for a slice of Holland in London than De Hems? The Soho pub was the home of the Dutch Resistance during WWII and it now honours that history by serving Dutch beers such as Amstel, Grolsch and Oranjeboom alongside those of its neighbouring countries.
Smart, white tableclothed Ognisko has been bringing a taste of Warsaw to South Kensington since 1940, catering as much for expats as curious locals who go for borscht, pickles, pumpernickel and dumplings. And vodka, of course. Try the black pudding-filled pelmeni.
At Taberna do Mercado, Nuno Mendes champions the best of Portuguese ingredients, cooking and wines. Highlights include exemplary selections of cheeses, cured meats and tinned fish along with traditional pork bifana sandwiches – albeit with the less traditional additions of yeast mayo and fennel.
One of the most popular places in the capital for Romanian cuisine is Noroc up in Wood Green. It serves the full range of traditional, home-style Romanian dishes including roast pork with mămăligă, a type of polenta. It also offers tuica, a fiery plum brandy that’s a real institution over there.
Czech & Slovak Bar & Restaurant in West Hampstead is the real deal when it comes to authenticity. Rustic dishes include goulash, pork knuckle and roast goose, while the atmosphere is closer to an estranged family member’s kitchen than a restaurant. It is housed in a building acquired after World War II and originally used as a meeting place for use by Czech and Slovak immigrants.
Visit Karantania in Covent Garden Market for all kinds of Slovenian deli-goods, bakes and some especially wonderful cakes and pastries. Look out for gibanica, an intricate walnut, cheese, apple and poppy seed layered cake, as well as doughnut-like krofi.
This is another country that isn’t short of representation in London — and quite right with its heady blend of cured meats, cheese, wine and tapas. Visit Bar Tozino on Maltby Street for top quality hams in a setting that’s much more Barcelona than Bermondsey. Alternatively indulge in sherry and tapas at one of London’s Brindisa restaurants, feast on exemplary croquetas at Barrafina, or tuck into supreme Galician beef at Marylebone’s Lurra.
Head to Brick Lane’s Fika, where gravlax and meatballs are served alongside akavit, Swedish beers and ciders and good coffee. Also head to Fitzrovia’s Scandinavian Kitchen for open sandwiches, or to stock up on any ingredients to make your own with.
Here’s to the EU.
Via Evening Standard