Everyone knows the typical London landmarks to check off the ol’ bucket list while on your holidays, from The London Eye to The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. But it’s not all beefeaters and fish ‘n’ chips in this English capital, there’s plenty of areas that ooze international influence and are particularly good spots to taste delicacies from around the globe.
Whether it’s a curry in Brick Lane, a kebab on the Edgware Road or a spot of spaghetti in Maida Vale, there’s lots of opportunity to expand your palette culturally that’ll top any package holidays you might have booked.
London’s largest Bangladeshi population can be found in this bustling part of East London. Competition between the Indian restaurants is fierce so don’t be afraid to negotiate before you sit down. Or if you’re not one for bargaining, you can make a booking at one of the more upmarket restaurants on the street. The area has also been reclaimed by some of East London’s trendiest crowds with popular hipster haunts including The Big Chill, The Vibe Bar and The Brickhouse.
The heart of London’s Middle Eastern community, Edgware Road offers a mix of Middle Eastern culture and has plenty of Turkish, Lebanese and Arabic shops and restaurants. From traditional dips like tabouleh and hoummous to digestifs such as shisha and mint tea, there’s a wide variety to sample. Remember that a lot of establishment don’t serve alcohol, but you can usually bring your own booze depending on their licensing.
Hammersmith is home to a large Polish population with lots of delis, restaurants and pastry shops dedicated to Eastern European gastronomy. From sausage and fish based mains and soups to cabbage and gherkin side dishes, each order has quite an acquired taste with their eclectic combination of ingredients. The Centre for Polish Arts and Culture is also located in this part of west London, providing a glimpse into their strong sense of national pride.
Head up the Northern Line and stop off at Golders Green, home to a large Jewish community since the 1990s. With kosher eateries and supermarkets peppered throughout the area, there are a few good Jewish bakeries where you can grab a bagel, such as Carmelli’s. Once you’ve had your fill, walk it off through Golders Green Park, an extension of Hampstead Heath, and visit the recently renovated children’s zoo which is home to animals including llamas, goats and deer.
Although Maida Vale has been dubbed London’s ‘Little Venice,’ those craving classic Italian dishes might be disappointed. Contrary to popular belief, this part of west London was initially compared to the Italian city because of its two canals. The Grand Union Canal is the largest and most famous; with 166 locks stretching over 137 miles. However, today there are plenty of Italian restaurants throughout the area among other cuisines, The Red Pepper being one of the most popular for pasta.