The history of English cuisine contains many intriguing secrets. Various political turbulences that took part in this region instantly affected the other facets of people’s lives including cooking norms.

This article provides a quick peek into the evolution of English cuisine. You will learn about time-honoured dishes known far beyond the island, modern interpretations of timeless eating rituals, and the best places to taste genuine British yummies. If such a topic spikes your interest, make a cup of tea and enjoy reading!

The Origins of English Cuisine

Modern food culture in Britain is the result of multiple metamorphoses. Different armies conquered the territory and their specific culinary norms had a significant impact on fare on the island. Romans were the first to affect English cuisine. In the 1st century AD, they appeared in that region and brought lots of unique ingredients and cooking techniques. For instance, they introduced:

  • Herbs and spices (coriander, cumin, mint, and bay leaves)
  • Wine and vinegar
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, cherries, onions, and garlic)
  • Fish sauce (Garum)

The Anglo-Saxon era was the next to impact the British cuisine. These people devoted much effort to agriculture practices, growing barley, oats, rye, and legumes. Moreover, they cultivated orchards to have favourite fruits at hand. Thanks to their deep knowledge of farming, they promptly create large farmsteads. Thus, they always had enough dairy products and meat.

The Norman Conquest of 1066 is a new chapter in the history of English culinary art. First off, the Normans brought in unknown spices:

  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Sugar
  • Almonds

Besides, since the new settlers were related to the French nation, their cooking practices stemmed from that area. They showed the local people how to sauté, braise, and flambé different products. The most important innovation of that epoch is the feudal food system. The society was divided into classes and received edibles accordingly. For instance, the nobility frequently had lavish banquets with exotic and elaborate meals. Common people get simpler provisions like vegetables, grains, and bread.

During the medieval periods, as well as the Tudor and the Victorian eras, established culinary norms and dining habits were fostered. They served as the basis for modern English cuisine.

Iconic English Dishes

The range of English goodies is huge. But when foreigners are asked about traditional food in England they immediately associate it with the Albion, they usually name the following meals.

Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding

This is one of the most recognizable symbols of English culinary heritage. The dish originates from the Sunday roast ceremony. The roast beef must be sliced and served together with crispy yet light and fluffy Yorkshire pudding. The pudding itself first appeared in the 18th century and was used as a starter. Today, it is an indispensable part of a roast beef meal. Sometimes, the British complement it with seasonal vegetables and broiled potatoes.

Fish and Chips

Another culinary icon that is equally loved by Britons and tourists. It was introduced in the 19th century as a cheap yet nutritional meal for the working class. The initial filling of the plate has remained almost intact. When ordering fish and chips, you receive deep-fried battered fish along with crispy golden chips.

Shepherd’s Pie

The main idea behind this pie is to use the leftover meat and turn it into a mouth-watering nutritive dish. In the past, a cook may combine different types of meat, but present-day people usually opt for minced lamb or beef. Next, they add onions, carrots, and peas. The top layer is creamy mashed potatoes.

The Rise of English Restaurants

In recent years, there has been a significant uptick in the number of English restaurants. Most of them claim their mission is to celebrate the best English cuisine samples. Chefs go the extra mile to please visitors with peculiar ingredients and creative techniques that are initially rooted in classic recipes.


This is a beautiful restaurant established in 1798. It is located in the very heart of Covent Garden. The menu in the eatery is very diverse, but the main focus is on seasonal ingredients and begone-era courses. The most popular offers are:

  • Grilled grouse
  • Pheasant
  • Venison
  • Hearty pieces
  • Succulent roasts
  • Puddings

Getting to the restaurant is very easy, especially if you hire a car. For a fuss-free ride, seal the deal online on the website. By choosing online booking, it is possible to find a perfect vehicle no matter whether you are after the enterprise car hire UK, a budget-friendly variant, etc.

The Ivy

The Ivy was founded in 1917 with the aim of celebrating one-of-a-kind English gastronomy tradition. The atmosphere here is welcoming and typically British, so visitors can immediately get what they are yearning for when going on the island.

The menu features varied starters, mains, and desserts. Visitors particularly like:

  • Shepherd’s Pie
  • Crispy duck salad
  • Seafood platters
  • Grilled steaks

In addition to delicacies, there is a broad selection of drinks for any taste.

St. John

Being one of the most reputable English restaurants, St. John is unmatched if you seek a nose-to-tail dining experience. Its history started in 1994 and the owner wanted to combine the timeless classic with an offbeat cooking approach.

The core philosophy of the restaurant is to use every part of the animal when cooking. The menu fully reflects this concept. Besides, chefs usually opt for offal and less-known cuts of meat.

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