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Scotch egg

A Scotch egg from a London pub in England

What: In what might be the most brilliant bar snack of all time, a Scotch egg is a shelled hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and covered in breadcrumbs, then deep-fried to crispy perfection. The oversize egg-on-steroids that results is commonly served cold, with green salad and, we hope, a beer. Despite its name, the Scotch egg has two competing origin stories, neither of them anything to do with Scotland: It was either invented by London’s venerable department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738, as portable sustenance for well-heeled travelers on long carriage rides, or it evolved from northern India’s nargisi kofta dish, which pairs minced-meat-covered eggs with curry (see Delhi: kofta). For some reason the dish fell out of fashion for a while and only recently made its eggy, meaty comeback in the Brit-food-embracing gastropubs of London. Thank goodness.

Where: Our Scotch egg is from The Carpenter’s Arms (73 Cheshire St., map), a handsome, refurbished pub in Shoreditch with a local-gangster history and a sweet little outdoor heated garden.

When: Open for food: Tues-Sun, 1pm-10pm

Order: The homemade Scotch egg (£6), served cold with a leafy salad and side of piccalilli (a tangy, mustardy mix of chopped vegetables), is often on the menu here. The yolk was delightfully soft and the sausage clearly of good quality, with a perfectly crisp outer. Sunday lunch is a great time to come, for the excellent roast lunch.

Alternatively: Scotch eggs are pretty common pub grub—we’ve seen them at the gastropubby Holly Bush (22 Hollymount, map), near Hampstead Heath, as well as at more basic, traditional pubs like The Clarence (53 Whitehall, map) near Trafalgar Square, and many in between. Limitless variations exist; sometimes you’ll see duck or quail eggs used, chorizo or venison meat—the latter is famously found at The Harwood Arms (27 Walham Grove, map), in Fulham. Even 300-year-old  Fortnam & Mason (181 Piccadilly, map) has gotten experimental with Scotch eggs, offering—among the original hen’s-egg version—varieties with duck eggs, goose eggs, oversize ostrich eggs, and quail eggs, wrapping the latter in gingery salmon or (truly Scottish) haggis. For more on London’s “best” Scotch eggs, check out the Forever Eggsploring blog.


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