the travels & travails of an escaped lab rat

London: Gastronomy

(or: “Nom, my good chap. Nom.”)

As few as 10 (and most certainly as many as 20) years ago, the words “London” and “gastronomy” had no place being next to each other except on a Scrabble board.

Today that’s all changed.

Londoners, having become more discerning, are demanding — and are getting — better food in shops and restaurants all over the city. Even the quality of typical pub fare seems to have improved by several degrees.

If you’re in search of the best and freshest “raw” ingredients, you can’t do much better than Borough Market. There has been a Borough Market since 1276 (though some claim it’s existed since Roman times), but it has been in its present location only since 1756 (with the current building being raised in 1851 and added to in 1860 and 1931). When Ebenezer sends the boy running to buy the goose at the end of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, it’s from a shop in Borough Market.

Unfortunately, I rarely have the opportunity to cook while in London, and thus rarely get the opportunity to avail myself of the goods on sale (though I do manage to stroll through and browse whenever I find myself in the vicinity). So I usually shop at places that stock prepared and non-perishable foodstuffs that I can take away and send off as presents.

For out-and-out convenience, I find myself relying on the Food Halls at Harrods for my gourmet ingredient forays while in London. While Harrods may be slightly more expensive than some other shops, I do find that I can rely on them for excellent selection and a fairly high level of quality and service (Harrods did start off as a grocery in 1834, after all).

Truth be told, sometimes I do find myself missing the old fish-and-chip stands off the high street.

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Harrods - Entrance (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++Harrods - Food Hall (2008)++

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Posted in Journal by madsci on March 19th, 2010 at 10:19 pm.

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