Eating London: Food Tour Time!
Written by Emily May 3, 2016
Everyone knows the best way to see a city and actually understand what you’re seeing is by going on a guided tour. While tours are informative and educational, everyone also knows that they can be boring. And hot. And long. And you get hungry. And your feet start to hurt.
So, how to get the best of all worlds you ask?
Go on a food tour, of course!
I had the opportunity to travel a bit after my time at CIMBA, and discovered the Eating Europe Food Tour Company, which offers guided food tours in different areas of London. I decided to go on the London Twilight Soho Tour, taking us through one of London’s most historic, diverse neighborhoods, and of course, munching along the way!
We first met our two lovely hosts (#S/O Hanna and Alison), that we were lucky to have all to ourselves. The tour began with a brief background of the area that we would spend the evening exploring. We visited six different spots that were far removed from the typical “touristy” restaurants. Hanna and Alison knew all of the best-kept secrets of the city and as we walked from place to place throughout our moving dinner, they made sure to point out all the famous places along the way (highlights included Trident Studios- where the Beatles, David Bowie, & The Rolling Stones, to name a few, recorded music, Carl Marx’s old home, and Paul McCartney’s studio) that we would have just walked by unknowingly had we not been with London natives.
Our first stop was La Bodega Negra, a go-to spot for all things Mexican in Soho. We had the most delicious, modern take on chicken and shrimp tacos, washed down with refreshing strawberry margaritas. The London Gin Club was next, where we got to meet the restaurant owner who gave us a quick lesson on how to accurately sip gin—paired with a robust gin-infused beef pie. We were then off to family-run Enrique Tomas to enjoy a jamón and cheese tasting and a rosy glass of wine. Just writing this is making my mouth water! At the Pix Bar, the fourth stop on our tour, we each got to pick two pintxos (similar to tapas, but with skewers) of our choosing. This was one of my favorite stops since there was such a wide variety of yummy options. It took me about ten minutes to choose! The next stop was Chinatown, where we ate Dim Sum complimented with steaming Chinese tea. This place felt like we had been transported to a true chinese tea house! At this point in the tour I was very full, and very, very happy. On to the last stop…dessert! We had our last stop at Said, where we sipped on the most flavorful hot chocolate and tiramisu imported from Rome, Italy, that I had ever had. It was the perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth at the end of the tour.
Every place we stopped had our table reserved, places set and ready to go, and our food promptly delivered. We tasted away while hearing about the history of each item from restaurant employees. The tour was 3 ½ hours long, but it flew by. Starting at 4:30pm and running to around 8 in the evening, we were able to experience the true bustling vibe of the city. I went in not possibly thinking British food could rival Italian food, but I left with a completely different view on British cuisine and London culture. I left the tour with the urge to go back to every single restaurant we visited!
It was one of the most memorable things I did during my time abroad, and I definitely recommend doing a food tour of your own if you ever get the chance. It was a new and unique way to experience the food of the city while at the same time experiencing the city’s personality and culture. A must-do for a night of good food, new friends, and shared stories!
Thanks for reading!
PS-the company also offers tours in Italy, Amsterdam, and Prague. Check them out here: www.eatingeuropetours.com