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high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Toronto, ONT
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high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Are there places that serve high tea, which I've read is kind of a light dinner, or is it more served at home?

london
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51. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Velvalee, basically yes a french fry sandwich but the chips are nothing like french fries. Thicker cut with more potato than crunch . The best come from a fish and chip shop (or chippie) and should be cooked in beef fat, although there is a lot if regional variation to this and vegetable oil is more commonly used. They are doused in salt and vinegar and for true authenticity wrapped in paper to take away. There is something about the effect of the trapped steam making them slightly soggy that adds to the favour. I have never seen anything like them in the USA, but they could maybe be described as a cross between a french fry and home fries?

Dripping isn't the same as gravy but you would use dripping to make the best gravy, if that makes sense. Basically the fat and meat juices left after a roast. When cold the fat solidifies and the juices turn to jelly.

The next time I visit the USA I might even be brave enough to try "biscuits and gravy". I haven 't managed to get my head around the idea, especially sausage gravy but I am sure it is lovely!

Seattle, Washington
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52. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Poynders, biscuits & gravy is a MUST if you come back to the Southern US. Although it's one of those things that if badly done can make you wonder what the heck people are thinking eating that mess...still, a fluffy, warm biscuit bathed in a ladleful of silky cream gravy studded with bits of salty, sage-flavored sausage is one of the most delicious and comforting (not to mention rib-sticking!) breakfasts you can imagine. I do a bacon gravy version that goes great on short biscuits (meaning they have more fat than flour and are not as fluffy, but have a crustier--if that's a word!--exterior) that the menfolk in my family prefer.

As a bacon-lover, I am excited to find and try a bacon butty while in London this October. Not sure about the chip butty though...still mulling that one!

UK
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53. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Seem to remember on another thread someone explaining that neither the biscuits nor the gravy were what would be classed as such in Britain. - the gravy being more like a savoury white sauce. Right?

Have also read on TA that US visitors are sometimes disappointed with our bacon - basically too much lean and not enough fat for transatlantic tastes. Is that the case?

Have to agree with Poynders that the best chips have to be soggy - not greasy, there is a subtle difference .

AAh the delights of 'fine dining' !! And no one has mentioned Bury black puddings yet...Boiled as a ring - never fried - and served with mustard they were a favourite tea in our house

Edited: 08 April 2014, 22:29
london
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54. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Velvalee, I pride myself that I will try any food once but biscuits and gravy did stump me when I was in Tennessee. It just looks so unpleasant and then to my british mind it is basically a bacon or sausage flavoured white sauce poured over scones!! Wrong on any number of levels!I did also struggle with the slight obsession with biscuits with everything! and then the fact that coffee shops sold "scones" covered in icing.:-) but I did fall I love with corn dogs!can you tell I ate my way across America!?

Grits is on my list next time I visit.

Chesterbuff- black pudding yum, although I prefer it sliced and fried. I was brought up in Chester and we always got our meat from "mr Crewe" the butcher in the market. I was totally spoilt growing up with a proper market. It still feels wrong buying meat from the supermarket wrapped in plastic.

UK
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55. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

" I prefer it sliced and fried" not Bury black puddings then . They were tied into a ring with string and were always boiled- at east in Bury and the surrounding towns where I grew up

Chester market, like so many others, Is now only a shadow of its former self. There are still butchers' stalls but don't think Mr Crewe is still there

Seattle, Washington
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56. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

poynders and chesterbluff--like all regional delicacies, it's important to get the traditional ingredients right...there's a big difference (or should be) between a Southern biscuit and an English scone, and more subtle differences (but just as important) between white sauce and cream gravy. White sauce is generally made with butter, I think, while gravy is definitely made from meat drippings...cream gravy just means you didn't brown your flour in your drippings too long (but a must to cook the flour well), and you add milk or cream instead of broth to make your gravy. And yes, when the crumbled breakfast sausage is added back in, the look of pale, lumpy sausage gravy can be somewhat grim. I tend to use a dash of fresh-cracked black pepper and occasionally paprika in mine to give it some color and spice. Some folks even add cayenne, or just a few dashes of hot pepper sauce at the table...

Good luck trying grits...another dish that can be heavenly if done well, or easily ruined if not. Seasoning and texture are key, but a garlicky, buttery, cayenne-spiced pile of gulf shrimp over creamy grits is one of my favorites.

But back to British fare...I've seen lots of discussion of North/South versions of things in the UK...is there a food that is quintessentially LONDON, the way that deep-dish pizza is Chicago, or BBQ is Austin, or gumbo is New Orleans?

Watford
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57. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

"is there a food that is quintessentially LONDON"

I would argue no . London is a capital city and as such is a melting pot of cuisines as it is a melting pot of peoples and religions.

What you can do is eat your way around the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe without leaving Greater London.

london
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58. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

Velvalee I promise I will try gravy next time I am in the states!

The archetypal London dish is " pie, mash and liquor", which I have to admit I have never had. If you think gravy is unattractive you ain't seen nothing yet!

Traditionally sold in pie and mash shops, a cockney speciality. Less common than it once was but there are still some traditional pie and mash shops especially in the east end of London.

Basically it is meat pie, mashed potato and a parsley sauce called liquor( no alcohol involved) which is bright green. Traditionally it is made with the liquid that eels have been cooked in. Yes eels! The Jellied eels are then often served with the pie and mash etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pie_and_mash

Whilst pie and mash would be served accoss the UK, the liquor and eels is very much a London thing, I think. I have certainly never seen it anywhere else.

I have eaten eel in Chinese restaurants and I liked it. I can't bring my self to eat it jellied.

Sussex
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59. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

It's true that London has been a destination for the ambitious, the talented, the oppressed for hundreds of years. The present day food on offer reflects this as adamhornet says. Poynders is right of course that pie, mash, eels and liquor are possibly contenders for most typical London food. The Manze family have several cafes in London and have been serving eels and mash for 100 years. My grandfather was a regular. Eels are becoming rarer now as their natural habitat is suffering. I love them if I don't look. Rollmops (pickled herring) feel like London too. Londoners have traditionally loved cockles and winkles (shellfish) served with vinegar and salt. Read Charles Dickens and everyone (even the poor) eats oysters when they're not snaffling chops and jugs of ale.

60. Re: high tea in London (NOT afternoon tea)

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