British cuisine wouldn’t be the same without pub food. Pubs have long been serving as a gathering place for friends, families, and communities to come together and enjoy a meal or a drink. With the tradition of pub culture dating back hundreds of years, it is no wonder that pubs have become known for serving some of the most classic and beloved British dishes. From traditional pub grub classics like Sunday roasts and pies, to more contemporary dishes like chicken tikka masala and burgers, there is no shortage of delicious options to choose from when dining in a pub. We’re going to take a closer look at what makes British pub food so special and explore some of the most popular dishes that can be found in pubs across the country, let’s get into it:
Overview of the traditional pub grub classics
- Sunday Roast – there’s nothing else that we would put in this top spot other than the king of British classics, the Sunday Roast. Typically consisting of roasted meat (such as beef, pork, or lamb), accompanied by roasted vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. You also can’t have a Sunday Roast without it swimming in gravy made from the juices of the meat. A Sunday Roast is a staple of British cuisine and is considered an important part of the Sunday lunch tradition. The combination of tender meat, roasted vegetables, and rich gravy creates a flavourful and delicious meal that is sure to please any palate. Whether it’s enjoyed at home or in a pub, the Sunday Roast continues to be a favourite dish for many people in the UK.
Image credit – The Marsden Inn
- Fish and Chips – an extremely close second, there’s no arguing with the placement of the humble fish & chips in our rankings. Beautiful, flakey fish paired with chunky homemade chips is one of the best combinations known to man. Add in a side of mushy peas and your choice of sauce; curry, tartar, or gravy, and you’re onto a winner.
Image credit – The Marsden Inn
- Chicken Tikka Masala – you might think that it’s a bit odd that an Indian dish is on our British classics list, however, this dates back to the 1960s, where Ali Ahmed Aslam, a chef in Glasgow, was told by a customer that the chicken tikka was too dry. He went into the kitchen and found a can of tomato soup, added spices, and served it over the chicken, hence creating chicken tikka masala. We’re not complaining though! It’s a delicious curry which isn’t too spicy for our British tastebuds…
- English Breakfast – whilst it’s called a full English, this breakfast is actually a classic and served in pubs all across the UK and Ireland. Compromising of sausages, eggs, bacon, beans, hash browns, toast, black pudding, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and more.
- Bangers and Mash – when we’re talking about bangers, we don’t mean the controversial album by Miley Cyrus, we mean beautiful, juicy sausages. Pair them with fluffy mash, pour on a boatload of gravy and there you have another classic British staple – bangers and mash.
- Ham, Egg & Chips – a simple yet classic addition to our list; you can’t create a popular pub food list without including the humble ham (gammon), egg & chips. These three foods pair extremely well together, especially if you add a couple of rings of pineapple atop the gammon.
- Steak & Chips – however you like your steak cooked, there’s no denying that a juicy steak paired with peppercorn sauce is a real treat and often times, pubs do it best.
- Pie – cheese & onion, steak, cottage or shepherd’s pie, no matter which option is your go-to, a hearty pie is at the core of our British culture. Digging into that beautiful crust to get to its soft, warm filling is one of the best feelings.
- Burgers – what can we say about pub burgers? When done right, they’re amazingly juicy, well-seasoned, filled with crisp salad and overall just a pleasure to eat. Plop a cocktail stick in the middle of it, place a few onion rings on top and pair it with a chip basket and it’s one of the best pub meals.
- Scampi and Chips – you can’t go wrong with fish and chips’ younger brother, scampi and chips. This dish has been a pub menu favourite for many years.
- Prawn Cocktail – very retro but still very prevalent in the UK’s pubs. If you’re British and you haven’t tried a prawn cocktail; we have to ask, how? Whether your parents put it together for a dinner party or you’ve come across it in a pub, restaurant or café, the prawn cocktail is extremely British. Served in a cocktail glass with prawns, salad, and Marie Rose sauce.
- Trifle – a delicious English dessert, each layer of a trifle is heavenly (except if it’s Rachel’s trifle from F.R.I.E.N.D.S of course).
- Sticky Toffee Pudding – there’s no wonder why this dessert makes it to nearly every pub in the UK’s dessert menu. Need we say any more about sticky toffee pudding? We all know just how good it is.
- Strawberries and Cream – another simple but classic addition, strawberries and cream makes us feel like we’re being a bit healthier compared to ordering a big slice of chocolate cake. And of course, it tastes absolutely amazing.
- Spotted Dick – although we think it needs a name change, spotted dick is our final British staple on our list. It’s a traditional steamed sponge pudding made with suet and fruit. Usually served with custard, this dessert is a classic for a reason.
And there you have it! In this article, we have explored some of the most popular pub dishes and what makes British pub food so special. So, next time you find yourself in a pub, raise a pint and savour the flavours of some of Britain’s favourite pub foods.
If you’re as passionate as us about pubs, how would you like to become the face of one? Here at Trust Inns, we provide the bricks and mortar to our tenants who become the heart of their local community. Your pub could be serving all of the above British classics! We’ll guide you every step of the way when it comes to running a pub. If you’re interested, take a look at the pubs to let we have available or contact us for more information.
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