Traveling to an unfamiliar city is full of excitement. The sights and culture can make anyone instantly fall in love with their new surroundings.
If, however, there is one thing that distinguishes cities from each other, it’s the food.
In London, tourists have endless options of trying different cuisines they haven’t tasted before. Areas such as Soho and Covent Garden include several restaurants showcasing diverse food mixes.
While it’s easy to visit spots that are well- known by tourists, local restaurants can sometimes get overlooked. That’s where Devour Food Tour comes in.
Based in multiple locations throughout Europe, this tour guide company combines local restaurants and knowledge into their tours. Their goal is to show people the secret food gems of the region, while also providing them with fun and historical facts about the areas.
The tour takes place in London Bridge and Southwark for a good reason. The group’s tour guide, Shabby Flanders, thinks that Southwark is one of the best places for food.
“As the most historic of the 32 boroughs of London, it has seen the ebb and flow of the entire history of the city”, Flanders says. “The story of Southwark really is the story of London.”
The first restaurant the group stopped at was Brigade Bar and Kitchen, located on Tooley Street. This establishment was a great choice to begin the tour with because its story is a very unique one.
Brigade Bar and Kitchen’s mission is to train homeless individuals and provide them with professional development. If you were to walk upstairs, portraits of those who have become successful after this program are displayed on the walls.
Not only does this restaurant pride themselves on doing the right thing, they also have very talented chefs. A traditional egg sandwich was served with brown sauce, accompanied by tea.
It felt like a true English breakfast and every plate was cleared within a matter of minutes.
The second stop on Devour’s food tour was in a place that every tourist should visit: Borough Market Kitchen. With plenty of different meals to try, the group ate goat curry, along with saltfish and ackee.
Both dishes were filled with flavor, especially with the hot scotch bonnet sauce. If you ever find yourself tempted to taste this hot sauce, be prepared because it was one of the more powerful sauces I’ve ever tasted.
Richard Haward’s Oyster was the next stop in the market and it did not disappoint. Colchester Native Oyster’s were on the menu and they tasted like they had just been captured right before they were served to us.
During our travels, Shabby informed the group about the historical significance of the market and the importance of supporting local food shops.
When asked why Devour chose these stops for their tours, she said, “They are doing good things as sustainable businesses that are protecting the heritage of our ancient buildings, [and] working as a social enterprise, or sourcing their food responsibly. We wanted to be a food tour company doing good.”
Another reason for this particular route is because the company wants the group members to experience the taste of both old and new restaurant establishments. At The George Inn, we were able to get a true taste of traditional London.
Opened since the 1500s, The George Inn has history in both its setting and its food. Fish and Chips was served, along with peas. It was my first time eating this original British dish and I was sold on the first bite.
To end the tour, sticky toffee pudding was served and it was the perfect ending to a great day. Rich and sweet, the dessert was tough not to finish.
After the tour was over, I was left with a comfortable full stomach and finally felt as if I had that “true London experience”.
Participating in the Devour Food Tour was one of the best experiences I’ve had since I arrived in London during February. From the food to the tour guide, it exceeded my expectations and I would recommend it to anyone.
“In any city, one of the best ways to truly experience the culture is definitely through the food”, Flanders says. “Eating your way through history shows you a side to a destination you could have never found on a normal walking tour.”
If you find yourself curious about the London food scene and hungry for a new taste, this tour will help curb your appetite.