british food

Our pal Joe from Cheese (Queso, Tejas) wanted to know if we ate any great food in London, figuring no one would believe it if we did.  We did, and here are the highlights.  The Anchor & Hope pub in Southark near the Waterloo Underground was mobbed and noisy and we found out why.  I ate fried sand eels, which reminded me of the majuas we get in Cuban restaurants in Miami--fried in a light batter and slightly spicy, spectacular; some of Jeannie's grilled razor clams; and roast pigeon and braised trevise, a bitter red Italian lettuce; Cindy and Jeannie shared a whole roast sea bass; John had a shrimp pot.  The place was chaotic but our host James got us a seat in ten minutes after telling us we'd have to wait an hour and a half--maybe because lots of other frustrated and belligerant diners were giving him a hard time, and we were, of course, sweet.  Cindy and I had lunch one afternoon at Chowki, just off Picadilly Circus.  The restaurant features three cuisines from the Indian subcontinent: Pakistan, Calcutta, and Coorg.  Three different cuisines of the thirty-six in India are chosen each month.  I had Pakistani diced lamb tikka with spicy yogurt fennel marinade and from Coorg, fried sardines, and Cindy had a curried chicken stew.  The bread was mator-chuti Kachoori, a deep-fried whole wheat bread stuffed with peas and spices--it was superb.  On the last night in town after the ninth of our Shakespeare plays, Richard III, finished, we all went out to Soho for a meal at Arbutus.   It happened to be our twenty-third wedding anniversary.  Cindy and I ordered the risotto of garlic leaves, spring onion, and courgette (zuchinni), and it was simply the best risotto I've ever had.  Creamy and savory.  And we had a delicious Edinburgh-brewed Innis & Gunn oak-aged beer that was sweet, malty, with a slight whisky taste.  (Whisky, not whiskey, since Scotch is spelled without the e.)  You can eat well in London, but not cheaply.  The gas was about $10 a gallon (where we in the States are headed; it's $4.00 at some area stations in South Florida) and some food prices have doubled in the last month, we were told.  A pint of most beers in a pub averaged $7.