What’s the most quintessentially British food: fish and chips? Bangers and mash? Crisp sandwiches? No, we tell you: it’s the Scotch Egg.
Never heard of it? Well, soft boil an egg. Then, wrap it up in a blanket of sausagemeat. Lastly, roll it in a layer of breadcrumbs, and deep-fry it in hot oil.
As with lots of British food, it’s comforting, portable, and not particularly healthy. And interestingly, despite Scotland’s love of deep-fried food, they’re an English invention. ‘Scotching’ is an old-fashioned word for turning a type of food into something more unusual.
Fortnum & Mason, the famous Piccadilly department store, claims to have invented the scotch egg in 1738. They were historically suppliers of food to travellers, explorers and adventurers, and a scotch egg is still what many British people consider a practical meal on the go. Once rather an indulgent treat, now they’re available everywhere. But even one element out of place (too salty, not crispy enough, or too small) can ruin the whole experience.
SO, LET US SHOW YOU THE BEST PLACES TO HAVE A GREAT SCOTCH EGG IN LONDON.
The Specialist Scotch Egg: Scotch Tails
Where: Borough Market, 8 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TL
Scotch Tails are, to us, the ultimate authority in Scotch Eggs. Seriously, they don’t sell anything else – apart from sweet potato fries, which are absolutely delicious.
They offer adventurous flavours of scotch egg, served on a fresh bed of peppery rocket leaves. But if you ask us, we still think you can’t beat a classic. (Although, for the vegetarians amongst you, their veggie scotch egg is very good too.)
The Artisan Scotch Egg: Ginger Pig
Where: locations across London, including Marylebone, Borough Market, and Hackney
Price: from £3.50
The Ginger Pig are an upmarket brand of butcher, and they really know their stuff. Wander into one of their shops and you can take specialist courses in butchery and cooking as well as buying a joint of pork or a pie. So it’s no surprise that their scotch egg is on this list.
They prefer their egg with a firm-set yolk, so it’s a nice traditional entry, perfect for eating on-the-go.
The Inventor’s Scotch Egg: Fortnum & Mason
Where: 181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER
Now, whether or not you believe that they really did invent the scotch egg, there’s simply no denying that going to Fortnum’s and savouring one of their lovely creations is a quintessential British culinary experience.
Having wandered through the plush red-carpeted temple to tea and cake, go to the basement for a scotch egg to go. Or if you have time for relaxation, head to one of the tea salons to enjoy your scotch egg in style.
Tour Guide Tip: When we went to afternoon tea we were served two types of Scotch Egg: the classic, served with piccallilli (a British spicy pickle), and one that was beetroot-infused Scotch Egg. Definitely worth seeking out #prettyinpink
The High Street Favourite: Marks & Spencer
Where: locations across London and nationwide
Price: £1 for two
Out of all the high street offerings of scotch eggs, we think it’s M&S that comes up trumps. They understand that a scotch egg should be filling, delicious, and pretty straightforward.
That’s why you won’t find any bells and whistles here (although they do offer a wheat-free scotch egg too). It’s just a proper, honest-to-goodness creamy egg inside a pork and breadcrumb casing. And because they have so many shops, you’re never very far from a great snack.
Now, this list will get you started in the wonderful world of scotch eggs. But don’t worry, we won’t stop researching the best food in London, so that we can tell you all about it.
We’re selfless that way. And, having put together this post, rather hungry…
YOU CAN ENJOY SCOTCH EGGS AS PART OF OUR OFFICIAL BOROUGH MARKET FOOD TOUR.
On our 3-hour tour, an expert foodie guide takes you on a carefully planned and timed roaming 6-course meal that involves wine, chocolate, cheese, oysters, charcuterie, and more. Hear talks delivered by local vendors, taste fine selections, then get off the beaten track to the real neighborhood.