after living here for 5 years, i've learned a thing or two.
its probably going to be a long, long time till londoners forsake their kitchens and eat out as often as is done in even a middle sized american city. restaurants are comparatively expensive here, and going to one is still special. thats probably why restaurant critics spend an inordinate amount of time describing decor and service.
londons probably never going to have a same gloriously varied - for lack of a better word - ethnic cuisine scene, anyway not untill real estate prices come down and britain relaxes its immigration policies.
the exception to this is lebanese and iranian cuisine. the other exception is that 3 hours of flying time gets you to amazing places.
but the glory of living here in london isn't how easy it is to fly out off. its about lidgates, the butcher in holland park (i'll NEVER eat bacon from tescos et al again). its about the fruit and veg shop around the corner from lidgates (the white cherries i'm eating as i type are just about the sweetest tangiest cherries i've ever eaten). its about la fromagerie and neals yard for cheese, berry brothers and handford for wine (15 quid for chateau musar 1995, what a steal). its about mince pies, big wheels of whole meal bread, the lushest creamiest butter, clotted cream from devon and amazing preserves from clarkes. its about freshly roasted espresso from monmouth coffee and wonderfully blended tea from harrods. its about freshly made pasta from speck.
i'm eating like a king.