My Mouth Is Still Watering: The Eating London Food Tour

by Brenna Holeman

Eating London 11

Two very happy (and very full) bloggers

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Katrina from Eating London about joining one of their tours. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I haven’t accepted many tours or trips; it’s just a personal thing. After reading Tom’s post about the same tour, though, and when I realised that the tour would take place in my neighbourhood, East London, I became very, very intrigued. Since moving to London I’ve decided that I’d like to do a bit more “backyard blogging”, which is writing about the place in which you live. As I live in the best city on earth, and in the best neighbourhood in the best city on earth, this means writing a lot more about East London and how much this part of town has to offer. And yes, the rose-coloured glasses are still firmly on, thanks.

My good friend Alyssa and I met our guide Nicole on a sunny Wednesday. I was expecting a food tour of East London – what I got out of it was so much more. While Eating London graciously hosted me on this tour, make no mistake: I would have paid full price, and then some. In all my travels, I’ve done a lot of so-so tours, a few terrible tours, and a couple of absolutely fantastic tours. This one definitely falls into the latter category, and I can’t recommend it enough.


But enough of that. Let’s talk food.


London isn’t exactly known for its food, at least not to those who either a) have never been to London or b) visited London but stuck to the major tourist areas (and probably ate at an Angus Steakhouse at some point). The truth is that London is an incredible culinary jackpot, full of cuisines from around the world that are crafted with equal parts technique and love. The eight stops that the Eating London tour takes you on showcases some of the best, and you learn how the history and the culture of East London have produced some fantastically unique dishes. Nicole, one of the best tour guides I’ve ever met, researched and wrote the tour herself, spending over three months reading and eating (not a bad three months). The result is a tour that is just as fun as it is informative.

1st Stop: St John Bread and Wine



I have walked by this restaurant many times, and had always wanted to try it. Now that I’ve actually tasted the glory that is their bacon sandwich, I will be sure to visit many times in the future. St. John is known for their nose to tail technique, meaning they use every single part of the pig. In an age when we waste too much food, I love this idea. While the menu changes every day, and they’re known for their experimental dishes, this seemingly simple bacon sandwich remains a staple. The meat is cured in brine for two weeks, the bread is char-grilled and buttery, and their homemade ketchup is to die for. I am making a huge mistake writing this at breakfast time, because my stomach is growling for one of these right now.

Eating London 3


2nd Stop: The English Restaurant

Eating London 4

Eating London 7

Full confessional here: I have never liked bread pudding. My family has this fascination with a certain blueberry bread pudding at a restaurant in my hometown, and I never indulge. In the name of getting to know my neighbourhood, though, I gave the banana bread pudding with vanilla rum cream at The English Restaurant a go. And…oh my God. I like bread pudding now. I love it now. I am terrible at describing food, so I don’t know exactly what it was that made it so delicious, but I am kind of obsessed with this pudding. The restaurant itself has a ridiculously fascinating history, with many transformations in its past; now, it hosts some of the 17th century wood panelling salvaged from the church down the road after it flooded. It even has pews! I’ll definitely be back at this place.

Eating London 5

Eating London 6


3rd Stop: Androuet London

Eating London 8

Eating London 9

Cheese is my favourite food, and I eat some form of it every day. So when you take me to a cheese shop with its own maturing room, I am going to be in heaven. Androuet has roots going back 100 years, starting in France, and it has since made a home in Spitalfields Market. Though they have plenty of French and international cheeses, they also showcase some of the best cheese that England has to offer; cheesemaking is an art, and Androuet have certainly mastered that art. Perhaps I really am becoming too English for my own good, but their Stilton was one of the absolute best I have ever tasted. I’m so thankful to have found my local cheeseshop.

Eating London 10


4th Stop: Poppies Fish and Chips

Eating London 15

Eating London 13

Eating London 12

Our lovely guide Nicole with one of Poppies’ newspapers – as all fish and chips should come wrapped in newspaper!

You can’t have a food tour of London and not include fish and chips. With over 10 000 shops in the UK, the food is ubiquitous to the country. But with that many, how do you find the best? Enter Poppies, a shop that has been running in London since 1945. It has a distinct 50s flair to it, with uniforms, a jukebox, and plenty of nostalgic items scattered throughout. What really defines Poppies, however, is the quality of the food: only the finest fish is served here, and it is all sustainably caught. While I am no expert on fish and chips, the plate of cod, chips, and mushy peas was, for lack of better words, awesome. I’ve walked by this shop a few times and it is always packed; now I know why.

Eating London 14

I even got to meet the man himself – Pop!

5th Stop: Pride of Spitalfields

Eating London 17

Eating London 18

Since moving to London six weeks ago I haven’t visited that many restaurants. I have visited, however, a great many number of pubs. Ah, that classic English pub: the image is iconic. One of the best in East London is the Pride of Spitalfields, where we indulged in a few sips of some local beers. First, a Truman ale, and second, an Orchard Cornish cider, which is made with 90% fermented apple juice. Ale, lager, cider: I absolutely love all kinds of beer, and so it’s always a treat to try local brews. The fact that this pub has a resident cat (Lenny, who is famous in his own right), makes it the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Eating London 16


6th Stop: Aladin

Eating London 19

Eating London 20

Forget bubble and squeak, bangers and mash, jellied eels or Yorkshire puddings, the real national dish of England is…curry. With over 15 000 curry restaurants in the UK, you’re sure to try it at least once if you visit. Though I’ve walked down Brick Lane a thousand times, I’ve never gone into one of the curry restaurants (you’ll find out why in a moment). I am so glad that Nicole took us to Aladin, though, because now I know which one to choose of the dozens that line the street. There’s a large Bengali population in East London, and so there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, but Aladin seems to be the best. With a taster of vegetable bhuna, lamb pathia, and chicken madras, each of the curries was full of flavour. My favourite was the lamb pathia, so I’m sure to be back to get a whole dish of it.


7th Stop: Beigel Bake

Eating London 21

Eating London 22

Remember when I said I had never been into a curry restaurant on Brick Lane? Beigel Bake is to blame. Every single time, I repeat, every single time I walk down Brick Lane, I buy something from Beigel Bake. I buy all of my bread from there. I buy my tea from there. I buy my “afternoon salmon and cream cheese bagel snack” from there. I buy my “it’s 4am and I’m super drunk and yum bagels!” bagel from there. What can I say? I love it. It made perfect sense for us to visit, as their hot salt beef bagels are so delicious it should be a crime to serve them; the beef actually melts in your mouth. The shop’s roots trace back to the times when East London was a home to many Jewish families. An absolute institution in East London, you simply must try a bagel from Beigel Bake for yourself. Just be prepared to queue, no matter what time of day or night.


8th Stop: Pizza East

Eating London 25

Eating London 24

Pizza East is located in an old factory, and I’m so glad that I finally went inside; it’s located only 15 minutes from my flat, and I always wondered what was behind its doors. Though I’d love to try a full meal there, by this stop we were so stuffed that we only had room for dessert. Oh, but what a dessert. Perhaps my favourite kind of desert, if I may be so bold. A salted caramel and chocolate tart, so good that I think I actually “mmm”ed after each bite. Chocolate and salt is one of my favourite combinations (I even learned how to make my own salted chocolates in Guatemala last year) and this tart was absolutely divine. I thought there was no way I could finish that sliver of cake after all of the other meals, but in the end I’m sure I could have downed a piece at least four times the size. Nay, five times the size. It was that good.

Eating London 23

Nicole and Alyssa

As I said in the opening, this tour was one of the best I’ve ever been on, if not the best. Aside from the delicious food, we got to learn about the history of the area, and why certain restaurants opened where they did; it was fascinating to learn how different cultures all made their mark on East London throughout the years. Nicole certainly knows her stuff, and it was a tour of every aspect of the area. There’s even a little Jack the Ripper thrown in for you murder mystery fanatics.


I suppose the true test of a good tour is if I would want to do it again. In this case, I am in fact doing it again in November, with my mum. Whether you’re a local Londoner or just visiting for a few days, I highly recommend the Eating London tour. And tell Nicole I say hi!

You can also follow Eating London on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Or, check out their food blog.


What do you think? Which of these meals looks the best to you? Would you like to do this tour? 


You may also like


Zalie October 17, 2013 - 3:30 pm

Mmmmm I can’t wait to eat at some of those places with you!!! AND…I am so happy that you like bread pudding now 🙂

Brenna October 17, 2013 - 4:37 pm

Yes! You would love all of it. Please come visit soon! (still not sure about that blueberry bread pudding, though…)

Alyssa October 17, 2013 - 3:43 pm

Ahhh the memories… I was literally thinking of Androuet today while at Sainsbury’s – I want good cheese!

Brenna October 17, 2013 - 4:36 pm

Let’s go back!

Expatkerri October 17, 2013 - 9:08 pm

I love these photos! They are a bit of a departure from your normal style, as it seems you asked people if you could photograph them head on (the staff at the restaurants looked happy to oblige). I really want to eat at the pub with the pews! What a cool way to get to know your city 🙂

Brenna October 17, 2013 - 9:20 pm

Yes – totally a departure, and everyone was so happy and friendly. I would like to do more of these, though (as I mentioned in the opening) because I think it’s really important to highlight where we live. It’s just as exotic as anywhere abroad, especially in East London!

Come here and I can take you to all of these places!

Tom @ Waegook Tom October 17, 2013 - 9:56 pm

The meat in that bagel. I could do with that in my mouth right about now. The tour is soooo good though, and having been on it myself, I can’t recommend it highly enough. My favourite was the banana bread and butter pudding, with the curry a close second. May have to revisit some of these places when I’m in London for WTM!

Brenna October 18, 2013 - 10:45 am

I know – SUCH a good tour and I’m so glad that you had written about it, too! Funnily enough, that was the first time I’d tried one of the hot salt beef bagels sober, hah. And yes, we definitely should revisit some of the places when you come down! I want that bread pudding again, too…

Edna October 18, 2013 - 1:04 pm

I’m doing this tour in December and I can’t wait, especially after reading this! It all sounds wonderful!

Brenna October 18, 2013 - 11:08 pm

Oh, wonderful! I’m sure you’ll have an incredible time.

Lilian October 18, 2013 - 6:51 pm

Androuet sounds like HEAVEN. I’m actually starving after reading this, all the sounds so good. If ever visit London (which I’m ashamed to say I haven’t, even though I’ve lived relatively close most of my life) I’ll definitely do this tour.

Brenna October 18, 2013 - 11:07 pm

Androuet was indeed heaven! I would love to host you in London if you ever come back across the pond. Hope you’re doing really well x

Helen October 18, 2013 - 10:44 pm

I so want to go on this tour, looks amazing!


Brenna October 18, 2013 - 11:08 pm

You’d love it, Helen! It was such a good time.

Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) October 22, 2013 - 4:12 pm

Oh my god. This all looks so amazing & I am seriously impressed that you managed to eat all of this food! I don’t even know which of these things I’d most want to prioritize stomach space for… The fish & chips? The bagel (though I think Montreal bagels will always be my #1 faves)? The cheese (after 14+ months in Asia, I can’t even remember the last time I had proper cheese… paneer doesn’t count!)?

I normally do my own impromptu food tours of places we visit because I often find I can’t justify the price charged for these kind of things, but considering the copious quantities that you sampled, it seems like the price charged is actually really reasonable for this one. I’m definitely going to keep it in mind for whenever my husband & I make it to London!

Brenna Holeman October 22, 2013 - 9:54 pm

Because it is spread out over quite a few hours, it’s actually quite manageable. I walked away feeling very full but not overly stuffed, if you know what I mean! And yes, I also really missed cheese after being in Asia so long.

I hope that you do try the tour one day, it really is worth the cost!

Maddie October 26, 2013 - 9:33 am

Oh Brenna, having now read Tom’s review of this tour and now yours I desperately want to do this! I’m always a bit dubious of food tours but this looks absolutely fantastic and I love that it captures such a variety of Brit classics. That bacon sarnie looks amazing! I love proving to the rest of the world that our food doesn’t suck and this post does that perfectly 🙂

Brenna Holeman October 26, 2013 - 12:29 pm

Thank you so much, Maddie! I can guarantee that you’d love the tour – it’s not just about the food, but about the culture and history, too. Thanks for your comment!

Amy October 27, 2013 - 10:38 am

The bread pudding and cheese pictures made my mouth water, that’s for sure! I’m going to have to check some of those places out when I get back to London; I’ve never heard about Poppies before but it looks awesome!

Brenna Holeman October 27, 2013 - 1:59 pm

Great – I’m sure you will love these places! I can’t wait to try them again.

Where Can I Eat in East London? | Alyssa Writes October 28, 2013 - 5:31 pm

[…] for me, I was able to go on the Eating London food tour around the east end with Brenna, where we were taken to eight of East London’s finest establishments to sample their best […]

The Best of London: Broadway Market - This Battered Suitcase November 1, 2013 - 2:12 pm

[…] As I’ve mentioned previously, I’d love to do more backyard blogging and writing about the incredible city that is London. One of the best cities on Earth, there is no shortage of restaurants to try, museums to visit, and neighbourhoods to wander through. In keeping with this, I’m starting a series here to highlight some of my personal favourites, the things I think make it so amazing to live here. I get a lot of emails asking for advice on visiting London, so hopefully this will help. To those not planning on being in London anytime soon, I hope that the articles will still be interesting and entertaining… and that maybe they’ll entice you to visit sooner rather than later! […]

Oneika the Traveller November 28, 2013 - 6:17 am

So awesome! As I used to live right down the street I’ve been to a few of these places! Androuet, Beigel Bake, and Poppies are all favourites of mine! You are really making me nostalgic… I’ll be back in London for a visit in April so will have to make sure I hit all of them up!

Brenna Holeman November 30, 2013 - 12:39 am

We will definitely have to hang out in April… and perhaps hit up some of these places!

Best of London: The Saatchi Gallery - This Battered Suitcase December 4, 2013 - 4:36 pm

[…] made it pretty clear that I’m a huge fan of the East End of London – it’s where I live, so I’m naturally quite loyal to the area. Once in a while […]

Katie @ Domestiphobia January 21, 2014 - 4:43 am

1. I looooove me some food tours. It’s pretty much my favorite thing to do when I’m traveling (or even just locally). I’d totally sell out for a food tour. In fact, I did in Chicago and it was one of the best I’ve been on:

2. I assumed I wouldn’t like bread pudding — you know, food for old people — until my co-workers at a restaurant where I worked forced me to try it when we had it on special. My eyes were opened.

3. I don’t understand vegans because cheese. And also bacon. And poached eggs. These things will always have a place in my life.

Brenna Holeman January 21, 2014 - 1:13 pm

I don’t think I’d ever really done a food tour before, but I loved this one! I also couldn’t live without cheese… I’m actually eating some right now. That’s not to say that I don’t support veganism, I just personally would find it extremely difficult to give it up.

Where to Eat in London - The Most Popular Foods & Restaurants February 4, 2014 - 4:23 pm

[…] Newland, is the fish and chip venue of choice on the tour, and for many a local hooked to its retro interiors and crispy fresh fish. Nearly every London high street has a fish and chips shop, so you’ll […]

How to Look Like a Tourist in London - This Battered Suitcase August 12, 2015 - 1:08 pm

[…] 8. Eat at only the finest chain restaurants, including Angus Steakhouse and T.G.I. Friday’s. They are tried and true. English food is horrible anyway. […]

Bethen August 13, 2015 - 2:21 am

Androuet is literally one of my favourite restaurants in London – their cheese fondue is to die for!! If you’ve not had dinner/lunch there yet, I highly recommend!!

Two Years in London... and an announcement - This Battered Suitcase January 22, 2016 - 3:11 am

[…] I had fully explored the city as much as I wanted to. Despite checking out loads of cafés, taking tours, attending the theatre, dancing my mornings away at raves, and frequenting a lot of galleries, I […]

My 2016 UK Travel Goals - This Battered Suitcase February 8, 2016 - 6:53 pm

[…] yet – I want to do more. I want to see more. I want to eat more (seriously, English food is delicious, I don’t know why that rumour still stands). While I’ve slowly been curating a list of […]

Emily Johnson June 6, 2016 - 1:42 pm

Wow so mouth would plan a tour to london soon

Nitin July 11, 2016 - 7:48 pm

Very nice pics taken looks damn cool place to visit..looking forward to more blogs from your side dear

Bethel Smith March 28, 2018 - 12:54 am

My mouth is watering after reading about all of these great London restaurants and their dishes. I would love to go on a London food tour one day. My neighbor is from England and cooks some of the most delicious food. I am sure that this was a memory that you will always cherish.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.