Comfort Food: English Style
British tastemakers are reclaiming their national traditions and drawing inspiration from all kinds of classics—from shepherd’s pie to wedgwood china to historic coaching inns.
Tom Aikens: Tom’s Kitchen
“Ask any London chef what our ideal meal is, and it’s probably steak-and-kidney pie,” Tom Aikens says. “We like the traditional stuff. We grew up eating stews around a table.” Aikens showcases English classics like shepherd’s pie and coronation chicken salad at Tom’s Kitchen, a casual counterpoint to his eponymous Michelin-starred dining room.
Mark Hix: Hix Oyster & Chop House
After cooking for 17 years at such landmarks as the Ivy and Le Caprice, Mark Hix has finally opened his own restaurant, Hix Oyster & Chop House, near London’s Smithfield meat market. A longtime champion of British cookery (and author of the recent British Seasonal Food), Hix modeled his new place on 18th-century chophouses, which served slow-roasted, bone-in meats. His modernized menu also includes briny West Country oysters, mild Raj-style mutton curry and his version of bubble and squeak: pan-seared cakes of cabbage and root vegetables lavishly garnished with chanterelles.
Tristan Welch: Launceston Place
Tristan Welch’s passion for old English cookbooks inspired him to give the historically Francophile menu at London’s Launceston Place an Anglo-Saxon makeover. “I am quite the Englishman,” says the Gordon Ramsay protégé. “I like to be British.” He reimagines horseradish (the traditional accompaniment to roast beef) as a spicy granité to garnish a creamy soup of pureed greens.