by Sandra Hutchinson
It might be a touristy thing to do, but when in London, many visitors feel compelled to make at least one visit to the Food Halls at both Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.
Harrods Food Halls are legendary. Located in a sprawling building on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, Harrods is now owned by the state of Qatar, but the Food Halls are still quintessentially English. The space is not only a feast for the palate, but for the eye, too, with magnificent tiled walls and ceilings, gleaming glass cases filled with everything from meat pies to Scotch eggs to locally-sourced shellfish to exquisitely crafted tiny cakes, smartly outfitted and aproned staff wearing straw boaters, and a seemingly unlimited selection of teas and biscuits. There are dine-in options (like the Seafood Bar and the Fish & Chips counter), and a vast selection of prepared foods perfect for a picnic in nearby Hyde Park (or in your hotel room).
Then there’s Fortnum & Mason. Known not only as a food purveyor, but also for its dining options (including the must-reserve-ahead elegant afternoon tea served in the Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon), the main floor of the flagship Piccadilly store offers its own take on the Food Hall. More focused on tea, biscuits and sweets than Harrods, the designs and colors alone are enough to make your eyes pop. And like Tiffany’s signature blue, Fortum & Mason has its own color — called Eau de Nil— kind of a deep robin egg’s blue. And you’re more likely to find something affordable to bring home in a pretty blue bag from F & M than from Tiffany!