TDN Weekend

June 2018

TDN Weekend December 2016 Issue 9

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Page 55 of 87

Long after the imperial heyday that gave rise to precisely such cultural institutions as Royal Ascot, this remains—pending Brexit, at any rate—unmistakably a world city, with a population more than double the next highest in Europe. (Berlin, since you ask.) From its highest to lowest tiers, moreover, London's economy is massively driven by foreign participation. It is not so long ago that British cooking was justly deplored throughout Europe. Over the past generation or so, however, the combination of imported palates and cuisines has made a fairly literal melting pot of London. And the affluent, aspirational Briton has duly learned to make higher demands of his chefs. Yet if London restaurants nowadays hold their own against international standards, they will often do so by dint of internationally familiar recipes and settings. For a truly distinctive taste of the city's culinary renaissance, then, visitors should sample its effect on that most British of institutions—the public house. You might even offer the evolution of the "gastropub" as a measure of the kind of happy medium that has eluded the Brexit debate. On the one hand, it preserves a connection with the taverns of Shakespeare and Dickens. You can still huddle round a fireside on a winter night, sipping ale and talking ribald nonsense. On the other,

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