Tired of queuing for pop-ups or chasing the latest food trends? Who needs a unicorn freakshake anyway! Let’s go back in time and rediscover some of our favourite retro dishes, from chicken kiev to Baked Alaska.
When the chicken kiev arrived in British supermarkets in the 1970s, it was an instant hit. What’s not to love about chicken with a crispy, golden coating and a molten core of garlic butter? Our poultry trends have moved on since then – from jerk to tikka to Korean fried – but there’s still something comforting about the humble kiev. If you get the craving, skip the supermarket and try the far superior versions at The Cow, Bob Bob Ricard, and the 70s-inspired Coin Laundry. For something really special, The Game Bird in St James’s does a superb Norfolk Black chicken kiev with truffle butter and silky smooth pomme purée.
It dates back as far as the 1800s but this old school pud can still hold its own amongst the cronuts and bubble waffles of 2017. The meringue’s on fire but the ice-cream’s still cold – that’s some Instagrammable magic right there. If you’re feeling brave you can make it yourself but we recommend leaving it to the experts at Ormer, The Ivy, or The Savoy Grill. For special occasions, it’s hard to beat the buttermilk and rhubarb flaming Alaska served in the stunning surroundings of Berners Tavern.
Back in the 60s and 70s, this seafood starter was considered the height of sophistication and it hasn’t really fallen out of fashion since. You might not be served it at dinner parties any more, but it’s still on the menu at lots of top seafood restaurants and it’s still a supermarket best-seller at Christmas. You can get your prawn cocktail fix at London restaurants like Kensington Place, The Ivy Soho Brasserie, Fish Market, and Wiltons. For a real retro treat, head to Crab Tavern where they serve their king prawn cocktail in a Martini glass with lashings of Marie Rose sauce.
Scampi and chips
These days we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to seafood, with restaurants and street food trucks dishing up soft shell crab, lobster rolls, and crispy squid. But there are still days – especially the wet, rainy ones – when fresh-from-the-fryer scampi seems like a really good idea. The only thing you need on the side is proper chips and something for dunking. Scampi is still a firm favourite at London fish and chip hot spots like Seawise and The Seashell, and we’re also rather partial to the monkfish scampi at Greenwood. If you’re having a cocktail or two at Scarfes Bar in Holborn, we can also recommend their gunpowder scampi with cumin raita for a spicy twist on the classic.
Is there anything more comforting than a proper sticky toffee pud? It’s been a favourite with British diners since the 70s and on a list of iconic desserts, it’s right up there with trifle and Eton Mess. Hawksmoor serves one of the best in town, along with a seriously decadent sticky toffee sundae. We’re also fond of the version at Temple & Sons, which comes with Cornish sea salted caramel and clotted cream ice-cream.
What’s your favourite retro dish? Do you have a secret love for coronation chicken? Can’t resist a Pina Colada or an Arctic Roll? Let us know in the comments.