London has a world-class dining scene with Michelin-starred restaurants galore and an impressive array of global dining spots from curry houses on Brick Lane to dim sum dens in Chinatown. But for a true flavor of the city you need to sample some classic British dishes, whether you indulge in a spot of afternoon tea or feast on a hearty roast dinner.
The ritual of pairing tea, cake and sandwiches in the afternoon dates to the early 1800’s when the 7th Duchess of Bedford scheduled tea with her well-heeled acquaintances to bridge the gap between breakfast and dinner. Now tea rooms and posh hotels throughout the country offer their take on this age-old tradition and London is home to over 250 afternoon tea venues. The full experience starts with finger sandwiches (typically cucumber, egg and cress and smoked salmon) followed by scones served with jam and clotted cream and a selection of individual cakes, all washed down with a choice of tea.
London’s top hotels usually serve loose leaf tea in beautiful tea pots with the sweet and savory treats presented on tiered plates. For a luxury spread, head to one of the city’s high-end hotels like the Ritz, Claridge’s, the Savoy or the Dorchester. Or fill up after a culture fix at Kensington Palace (where tea is served in the Orangery) or the National Gallery (where the tea room overlooks Trafalgar Square). Quirky takes on afternoon tea are served at Sketch, the London Edition and the Sanderson Hotel. Budget-friendly options include the Fan Museum in Greenwich and the Wallace Restaurant.
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