As a nation, we’ve always had an affinity for all-American food. Ice-cold soda, French fries, juicy cheeseburgers, crispy onion rings….you get the picture. But in the past couple of years a new trend has made its mark, almost to the point of saturation in cities like London. Britain has gone bonkers for burgers.
A couple of weeks ago I was in London with Eddie McAdam, Group Food and Beverage Manager at Center Parcs, doing a spot of research for Huck’s American Bar and Grill and the Sports Café where we visited a few popular eateries. We do this sort of exploration around every six months for all of the restaurants at Center Parcs, to spot the latest trends, see different crockery and serving styles, experience new menus and discover new tastes. Of course, we have a huge variety of guests to satisfy at Center Parcs so we like to offer something for everyone at our Villages.
If you love your food, you’ll know that burger joints are popping up left, right and centre. They’ve been a hipster staple in London for some time with the likes of MEATliquor, Burger and Lobster, Pitt Cue Co and Honest Burger eating up rave reviews. But with other cities such as Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester jumping on the bandwagon, it’s clear that the appetite for the humble burger and fries is UK-wide.
“We have a huge variety of guests to satisfy at Center Parcs so we like to offer something for everyone at our Villages”
My food favourites
The two highlights of my food foray have to be Pitt Cue Co and The Breakfast Club. Pitt Cue Co is a legendary place that serves amazing food in an understated setting. The stand-out contenders would have to be the bone marrow mash, smoked chicken thighs and, I’m salivating just typing this, the pig’s head sausage burger. I certainly took some inspiration from their menu, not just in the food but in the ambience; the way the meals were presented and served.
The Breakfast Club, set up 8 years ago in Soho by two children of the ‘80s, has grown exponentially in popularity, so much so that queues can often be seen sprawling out the door and beyond. The menu stood out for me; I love that they’re introducing chorizo into their breakfasts. Chorizo will add a really warm, smoky dimension to any food but it was amazing with eggs. I definitely recommend you try at home; just slice your chorizo sausage into 2cm-thick slices, cook them and add to poached or scrambled eggs. If you really want a kick in the morning, why not add some freshly chopped red chilli?
Looking to the month ahead, I’m really excited to tell you all that Center Parcs will introduce its Winter Warmers specials menu from Monday, January 20. This is the first year of the exclusive menu which was devised as we felt that, after the treats over the festive period, why not carry on the feeling of that special time? The Winter Warmers menu, which runs until spring in most of our restaurants, will feature hearty comfort food including mac ‘n’ cheese, foot-long chilli dogs and a giant toad in the hole.
For something sweeter, The Pancake House is adding French toast to its menu. I personally love French toast and believe it will bring a new dimension to the already great menu. We have pancakes, omelettes and waffles, so I feel this will be a fantastic addition. If you want a tip, my favourite has to be with bacon and maple syrup. That killer combination of sweet and savoury gets me every time!