So, UKIP did pretty well in both the local and European elections last week. But Londoners largely bucked the trend, showing the anti-EU party much less support than the national average. Perhaps because as a city we’re cultural, educated and young.
If you enjoyed showing Nigel Farage a finger in the voting booths, then you might also like to show him a knife and fork when you’re out and about. In this selection, we look at the best ways to celebrate the food and drink culture of the EU’s member states without setting foot outside the M25.
Here is the second half of our selection, looking at the final 13 EU countries alphabetically.
Grab a slice of pizza. Or pasta. Or a dollop of tiramisu. Italian food is so popular in the capital that it doesn’t even feel foreign anymore. See our list of London’s best Italian restaurants for where to find these classics along with some more regional options.
Hang out at London Latvian House, pretty much the only place to go in London to experience the true food, drink and atmosphere of the country. Set just off Queensway, it comes complete with a bar serving Latvian beers, spirits and liqueurs such as herbal Riga Black Balsam, while Latvian television sets the backdrop. It’s open from Thursdays to Saturdays only, and on Friday and Saturdays full meals are served.
Potato dumplings, meaty stews, rye breads and other Lithuanian classics can be found at a number of restaurants in the capital, particularly in east London. Krantas in Walthamstow and Lituanica in Beckton are two of the most popular, with the latter being under a vast Lithuanian supermarket should you want to top up on ingredients to make your own.
Mix it up. Luxembourg’s cuisine is strongly influenced by that of neighbouring France, Belgium and Germany. Perhaps you could organise a crawl starting at Belgian beer pub The Dovetail in Clerkenwell and then head on to the nearby Bavarian Beerhouse on City Road before ending up at Galvin Café a Vin in Spitalfields for some French wine. Fun as that sounds, if you do know of any restaurants in London dedicated to the cuisine of Luxembourg, please let us know!
Eat Maltese pastizzi at Parparellu Café near Hammersmith. These savoury filled pastries are like mini Cornish pasties and are practically a national dish. Parparellu takes them so seriously that it imports them direct from Malta, with fillings of either mushy peas or ricotta. Plenty more breads, bakes, soups and salads are all made on site to traditional recipes.
Spend the day in De Hems. This historic Soho pub was the home of the Dutch Resistance during WWII, and now it specialises in beers from the Netherlands, as well as nearby Belgium. It’s reportedly the world’s biggest seller of Dutch lager Oranjeboom outside of Holland, and there’s some decent patriotic food to match in the form of sausages, meatballs, waffles and pancakes. If you want more of the latter, then pay a visit to London’s dedicated pancake bars My Old Dutch, with branches in Chelsea, Holborn and Kensington. Note that De Hems is currently closed for refurbishment, but it opens on 4 June.
Visit the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. In particular, head to Polish canteen-style eatery Mamuska, which is one of the centre’s smarter offerings. It’s as cheap as chips and offers big portions of gutsy fare, from pickled herring to pierogi via breaded pork loin. It’s all accompanied by obligatory Polish music television and optional vodka slush puppies, as well as wines and beers. At breakfast you can even call in for a Full Polish, which features added gherkin. Also try Tatra in Shepherd’s Bush for a wide selection of homemade fruit-infused vodkas.
Don’t go to Nando’s. Broaden your Portuguese horizons with a trip to newly opened Canela, a wine bar and restaurant in Covent Garden that pairs tapas-style small plates with offerings from independent Portuguese vineyards. Bacalao fritters (made with salted cod) are a national favourite and a must-try. Elsewhere, recently launched Hide & Seed in Putney blends Portuguese flavours with British and international dishes. And if you really want peri-peri, then keep an eye out for the imminent launch of Fire & Feathers in Fulham, promising authentic piri-piri inspired by the Algarve.
Drink tuica. It’s not the easiest spirit to find, but this plum brandy that’s enduringly popular in Romania will get any evening off to a flying start. It’s been spotted in Gerry’s emporium of all things boozy on Old Compton Street, but otherwise be prepared to venture to one of London’s handful of well-respected Romanian restaurants in the higher-numbered zones. Try Viana in Surbiton, Restaurant Cornelius in Tottenham, or Noroc in Wood Green.
Eat authentically. Like their Czech neighbours, London Slovaks will head to Czechoslovak restaurant in West Hampstead for a taste of home. Cheese-filled dumplings (bryndzové pirohy) are a must-try, washed down with a Slovak beer such as Hurbanov.
Eat doughnuts. Krofi are fried Slovenian doughnuts, made in a very similar way to our own but usually fluffier and given extra character with a touch of lemon zest. The recipe is here and you’ll find similar desserts in some Slovakian or Polish restaurants, but you can also check out this selection of top notch doughnuts in London to help fill the hole. If you know of any dedicated Slovenian restaurants in London, please let us know!
Eat tapas and drink sherry. Here’s a selection of London’s best Spanish restaurants where you can get your fill of both.
Eat meatballs. Head to laidback modern Swedish restaurant Fika on Brick Lane, where you can enjoy either an authentic offering of meatballs with red wine gravy and lingonberry jam, or opt for meatballs on toast with smoked cheddar instead. Swedish beers, ciders and akavit snaps complete the scandi party. At Curious Yellow Kafé on Hoxton’s Pitfield Street you may or may not get meatballs, but the fresh-flavoured Swedish breakfast dishes show off the best of light Nordic food as well as some very good coffee. Of course, there’s always Ikea, too…
Can you suggest any more places to enjoy the cuisines of these countries? Let us know in the comments below.
This article is part of our Best of London Food and Drink series. Visit the page for more recommendations of where to enjoy the capital’s top food and drink, categorised by cuisine, food type and more.