2307 Ellwood Drive SW
Tues. to Fri. 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (11 p.m. Friday)
Sat. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Sun. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Food: 4.5 of 5 Suns
Ambience: 4 of 5 Suns
Service: 4 of 5 Suns
Dinner for two excluding tip, taxes or beverages: Basic, $35; loaded $70
By GRAHAM HICKS
It’s no secret.
The food at the “English-inspired” London Local is consistently delicious because the kitchen doesn’t believe in shortcuts.
The sauces – Ketchup-style, HP-style, tartar, relish – are originals, conceived and made from scratch by owner/chef Lindsay Porter.
The meats are ground/cured/tenderized in house.
Even veggies get special treatment. Porter’s brussels sprouts are sautéed in a house-created honey-thyme glaze, sprinkled with candied, crumbled, smoked peanuts and garnished with fine-chopped pickled onion.
My own ancestry is 90 per cent English with a dab of Irish and a touch of Scottish. But holidays in England and Ireland have always reminded me how much better the food is in Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
Yet here’s London Local in Western Canada, 7,000 km from the United Kingdom, convincing me that there’s much more to English food than porridge, frozen fish sticks and boiled beef tongue.
Porter presents a compelling case: NAIT-trained, the experienced head chef (El Cortez, Woodwork) has both culinary knowledge and confidence. When she decided to open her own restaurant, she knew English cooking had far more potential than is ever let on. She figured many Edmontonians — immigrants or a generation away from the British Isles – would be attracted to re-invented English food.
A field trip or two to the ancestral homeland with her English dad persuaded her there was hope.
But why is Porter’s food SO MUCH BETTER than the mushy peas and soggy fish ‘n’ chips of most British pubs?
Because of the work that goes into every dish!
London Local’s Scotch Egg (a hot dish, an egg covered with ground meat, breaded and deep-fried) has become the stuff of legends – so popular (along with London Local’s fish ‘n’ chips) that a third deep fryer had to be added in the kitchen.
The pork for the Scotch eggs is ground in-house, cured with onion, sage and herbs. To get the exact consistency – not too runny, not too hard – the egg is slow-cooked in water, shelled, then frozen to create an adhesive surface on which ground meat can stick. Once constructed, the Scotch egg is rolled in panko breading, then deep-fried. The result is Heaven come down to an English recipe, especially with London Local’s exquisite home-made HP-style dip.
London Local’s fish ‘n’ chips uses Icelandic cod. The fish batter is corn starch and flour liquefied by beer, the tartar sauce a Porter-made mix of capers/dill/green onion/mayo. Unable to source England’s Maris-Piper potatoes in Canada, she has substituted Kennebecs that are deep-fried, cooled, then refried. Her tangy Ketchup alternative – clam juice, tomato, tomato paste, Worchester and malt vinegar – is the perfect accompaniment.
Porter has re-invented Beef Wellington, a six-ounce tenderloin inside a mushroom/chicken liver pate/truffle oil “duxelle”, inside a thin-rolled puff pastry. The duxelle mix is unique. And delicious.
The London Local burger ranks in the city’s Top 10 hamburgers, thanks to fine-ground, salt-cured brisket beef, English cheddar cheese, and an internal dollop of garlic and leek aioli.
London Local is one of the finest “casual dining” establishments in town, well-worth the long drive to the city’s deep south. Its Sunday brunch is popular, as is its Sunday roast beef special.
Perhaps The Brits should invite Porter back to her ancestral home, to teach the lost art of top-notch British cooking!
• New restaurants are making a buzz: Say Uncle on 104 Street, Mimi’s in the inner southwest, Hanjan on the south side, Filistix (Filipino fusion) downtown.
• Soon to open in Edmonton is Jollibee – the Filipino equivalent of McDonald’s. Coming, on 124 Street, is the fancy-burger Work Shed from Workshop Eatery and Sun food columnist Paul Shufelt.
• Chef shuffles: Cooking school doyenne Doreen Prei takes over the kitchen at Zinc downtown. Daniel Mongeon (Sawridge Jasper) heads to Madison’s Grill. After a stint at Buco, chef Medi Tabtoud returns to the Vivo group to open the new Vivo Windermere location. Expert baker Steve Brochu (ex-Chartier) has opened his own café, MilkCrate, in the former Wild Earth Café space in the EPCOR Tower.