With Thanksgiving just under two weeks away, we thought it would be interesting to see if restaurants around London were laying on special Thanksgiving Day meals for our American cousins as we have a lot of Americans living and working in and around the city.
Having lived and studied in the US myself, I do enjoy this special day, which I have always felt is a bigger celebration than Christmas, as it’s the one time of the year families really do make the effort to try to get together and celebrate over a special meal of turkey with all the trimmings.
So here is a small selection of places that have created a special Thanksgiving menu for 2018.
The Jones Family Project in Shoreditch
One of my favourite Shoreditch restaurants, The Jones Family Project, has created an enticing Thanksgiving Day menu available over the Thanksgiving weekend from Thursday 22nd to Saturday 24th November and has partnered with Wild Turkey Bourbon to create three rather special Thanksgiving cocktails named after iconic American songs and celebrating four of the classic American harvest fruits – apples, blueberries, grapes and cranberries.
The three-course menu kicks off with a welcome cocktail named Bad Apples, which is a Guns’n’Roses inspired autumnal combination of Wild Turkey Straight rye, Laird’s applejack, pumpkin butter, lemon, sugar and bitters.
You’ll then begin your meal with a Cream of Squash Soup, topped with truffle shavings and pumpkin seeds, paired with Forever in Blue Jeans, which is a concoction of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, Aperol, sweet vermouth, blueberry jam and sugar, mixed to the tune of Neil Diamond to bring out the full flavours of the soup.
The main event is a traditional Roast Turkey accompanied with all those tasty trimmings including stuffing, buttermilk mash, greens, Brussels sprouts, garlic buttered breadcrumbs, cranberry sauce and of course lots of gravy. This course pays homage to the humble grape and The Mammas & The Papas’ California Dreamin with a glass of 2014 Truchard Chardonnay from the award winning Truchard winery in Napa Valley.
It’s then onto the final course, and depending on whether you come from the North or South, you have a choice of Anna’s Pumpkin Pie with double cream or Lizzy’s Pecan Pie topped with nougat and cranberries and paired with a Sweet Bitter Love digestif cocktail, designed with Aretha Franklin in mind, made with a sweet and sour combination of Wild Turkey 101 bourbon, sherry, cranberry, pineapple and a dash of sherry vinegar.
The Jones Family Kitchen in Belgravia
This year saw the opening of The Jones Family Kitchen in fashionable Belgravia, tucked away in Eccleston Yards, a little oasis and short walk from Victoria Station. And being the new addition to the “family” they will also be offering exactly the same Thanksgiving menu as their older sibling in Shoreditch.
This special three-course Thanksgiving menu costs £35 per person or £70 if you include the three bourbon cocktails and glass of wine. Pre-bookings are necessary and can be made by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Sea Containers at The Mondrian London
If you fancy heading south of the river, then a visit to Thames-side restaurant Sea Containers at Mondrian London may be just the ticket.
Why not start your meal by toasting Thanksgiving with one of the restaurant’s American-inspired cocktails such as the Kentucky Elixr and Chic-cherry Old Fashioned.
The restaurant will be serving a special limited-edition rather indulgent Thanksgiving menu designed to be shared. It begins with a creamy chestnut Mac & Cheese with aged parmesan and white truffle oil. You will then be presented with a sharing style roasted Herefordshire Turkey with all the trimmings, including pork stuffing, root vegetables, cranberry compote and turkey gravy. And then if you have any room left after all that, how about rounding off your feast with a classic sweet potato pie topped with maple Chantilly cream and served with pecan nut crumble and mango gel?
The starter is priced at £14 each, the main at £45 for two and the dessert at £8 each. The Thanksgiving menu will be available from Monday 19th to Sunday 25th November 2018 and you can make a booking by e-mailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or via the Sea Containers website
108 Brasserie at The Marylebone
Last November I celebrated Thanksgiving at 108 Brasserie in Marylebone, where a small group of us enjoyed a relaxed lunch with colleagues from Fort Myers and Sanibel in sunny Florida.
This Thanksgiving, 108 Brasserie’s Thanksgiving-themed menu kicks off with a tempting selection of starters such as a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, made with walnuts, crumbled goat’s cheese and maple dressing. There is also a New England Clam Chowder which comes with delicious homemade corn bread or the 108 Crab Cake, accompanied with spicy smashed avocado and cilantro.
You then have a choice of Roast Caldecott Farm Bronze Turkey with chestnut stuffing and all the trimmings. But if you are not a big turkey fan then perhaps the Grilled Fillet of Salmon with creamed sweetcorn, lime and jalapeño dressing might tempt you. They are also offering a Stuffed Squash with quinoa, spinach and pine nuts and a wild mushroom sauce as a vegetarian option.
If you find you still have room left for a dessert, then it will be a tough choice between the New York Cheesecake with blueberry compote and Pecan Pie and cookie dough ice cream. They are also serving a traditional Pumpkin Pie topped with cinnamon cream.
Don’t forget to try a Thanksgiving cocktail such as the American Spice, which is a warming, autumnal mix of Maker’s Mark bourbon, Antica Formula, plum bitter, crème de cocoa, homemade cinnamon syrup and Grand Marnier. New to this year’s menu is a Pumpkin Sour made with Tanqueray gin, homemade pumpkin purée and anise syrup, lemon juice and egg white.
The Thanksgiving Day 108 Brasserie special three-course lunch and dinner menu is £40 per person or enjoy two courses for £30. The American Spice and Pumpkin Sour cocktails are priced at £12.
Town House Kensington
The Marylebone’s sister hotel is home to the cosy Town House Kensington restaurant, who are also offering their own Thanksgiving menu with a special three-course dinner featuring a selection of seasonal ingredients, priced at £45 per person for three courses of £30 for two courses.
You can begin with a Butternut Squash Sage Soup, Fall Harvest Salad with pomegranate dressing or Iron Skillet Corn Bread with avocado hash and maple-cured bacon.
Their main courses this year include Pork Short Ribs with white beans, bacon and herbs or a Green Bean and Salsify Gratin with smoked almonds. But my guess is that many people will go for the Roast Bronze Turkey with confit leg beignet, maple roasted carrots and braised onion jus.
You can then round your meal off with a choice of Pumpkin Tart with cinnamon ice cream, Vanilla and Cider Pannacotta with spiced ginger cookies or a rather tempting Red Velvet Cake accompanied with cream cheese ice cream.
So, whatever you do decide to do this Thanksgiving Day, there is plenty of choice on offer in London to make you feel right at home even though you may be far away from home.
Simon Burrell is Editor-in-Chief of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs of The Jones Family Project & Kitchen by Simon Burrell; Sea Containers at Mondrian London courtesy of The Mondrian London and 108 Brasserie courtesy of 108 Brasserie at The Marylebone