The next time your friends are fumbling for a fun new brunch spot to try, swoop in with a better idea: a food tour. East London food tours, hosted by Eating London, let you eat your way through the East End, discovering fascinating nooks and crannies around the neighbourhood as you go. Basically, it’s an historic walking tour where eight different restaurants give you gourmet food along the way. Could anything be better?
Meet your cheery guide at 10am near Liverpool Station and your eager group (kept to an intimate 12-person maximum) heads off into the gloriously grafittied walkways of Shoreditch. You wander past buildings full of character, stopping every few blocks to hear the guide’s colourful commentary. The East End has always been a magnet for new immigrant groups, and you get a sense of its dizzying history when you hear about the Bangladeshi families of today, the Jewish workers before them, going all the way back to the Romans who built the city nearly 2,000 years ago.
Better still, these history lessons are illustrated by food. You try the famous bacon sandwich from St. John Bread and Wine, a combo of hearty bread with tomato sauce and thick rasher bacon — you can see why this is a favourite hangover remedy. Clearly, British classics play a big part in this tour, and you’ll know you’re on the right side of the pond when you walk into Poppies and get a whiff of fish and chips frying. They’ll come served to you in a newsprint box, with a side of mushy peas. Over at the English Restaurant, the delectable pudding and charming wood-paneled interior make it your hands-down favorite, but your cheese-crazy friend raves about Androuet, London’s finest cheesemonger.
Ethnic cuisine is just as British as fried food, of course, which is why your tour takes you to the world famous curry houses of Brick Lane for a stop at Aladin. As you enjoy a sample of their savoury delights, you feel like you’ve experienced London in all its glorious flavours, and it makes you love the city even more.