I've been reading through the UK/Ireland board and am hoping for a bit of assistance. My partner and I are fairly adventurous eaters from Seattle, WA who are returning to London for our 2nd trip. We learned a lot from our last trip (April 2007), and more from a trip to Paris in Jan 2009. Namely: we do best at planning our trip around superb meals and letting other cultural events fill in the gaps.
Our last visit to London was spectacularly poor in terms of the food. We weren't properly prepared and were frequently unhappy with what we ended up with, except for the Italian restaurants. (As an example, the story we tell of the worst meal ever was at a place called The Abbey [in Victoria, underground] where the "nachos" were fried wontons covered in ketchup.)
We're staying in a flat in the Westminster area (near St. James Station) so, local recommendations are welcomed. Breakfast will be at home. Otherwise, I have food stall listings, street vendors to look out for in various areas, and a specific dim sum (Pearl Liang in Paddington) to try.
What has us flummoxed is 'fine dining.' It seems like the best restaurants, the ones consistently recommended and raved about serve primarily . . . well . . . *parts*. My partner and I haven't ever had non-standards bits of pig or cow or chicken, and we're not sure we want to. I know that isn't very adventurous, but when we're paying 150 pounds for a meal, we want to know we are going to like it before we order. We tried many new foods in Paris, but in comparison those foods were relatively close to things we already knew.
(As a matter of perspective, we've talked it over, and agree that while a roasted ox bone would be interesting to try, it can't be the main part of the meal. It's akin to how I discovered -- the hardest way possible -- that I am allergic to scallops.)
We like seafood, not a lot of spice (flavor, not heat is our preference), most meats (not veal) including game, vegetables, dairy products . . .
Your help is much appreciated!