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 Day menu.
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 23rd to 25th November 2017 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, 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 breast steak, accompanied with cornbread, sausage and sage stuffing, green beans, Brussels sprouts and topped with garlic butter and breadcrumbs, smooth buttermilk mash 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 Chardonnay from the award winning Truchard winery.
It’s then onto the final course with a fabulous slice of Lizzy’s Pecan Pie topped with nougat ice cream 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.
Then after dinner you can perhaps move to the buzzing bar and relax with a Wild Turkey 101 Old Fashioned. For those of you unfamiliar with Wild Turkey 101, it is a rich and powerful bourbon, with an explosion of bold spice and black pepper and hints of dried fruit and a long and deep finish, and due to its high rye content and the ideal backbone for the classic bourbon cocktail.
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.
Hunter 486 at The Arch London
The cosy restaurant Hunter 486, which is named after the 1950’s dialling code for the Marylebone area and located in The Arch London near Marble Arch, has created a special Thanksgiving Day set menu that includes a choice of Clam Chowder or Pumpkin Soup as a starter, followed by a juicy Roast Norfolk Turkey cooked in their stone oven and served with chestnut stuffing, green beans and bacon, sweet mash potatoes and cranberry sauce. Alternatively, if you are not a turkey fan then you might prefer the Butternut Squash with apple and sage risotto and roasted chestnuts. And then to round it off they are serving a delicious Apple Pie with lashings of cinnamon custard.
This special Thanksgiving three-course set menu is available between Thursday 23rd November and Sunday 26th November 2017 from midday to 10:30pm and costs £35 per person. To make a reservation you can either visit their website www.thearchlondon.com or call them on 020 7724 4700.
108 Brasserie at The Marylebone Thanksgiving Menu
Personally, I am looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving at 108 Brasserie in Marylebone, where a small group of us will be enjoying a relaxed lunch with colleagues from Fort Myers and Sanibel in sunny Florida.
Executive Chef Russell Ford has created a Thanksgiving-themed menu with a tempting selection of starters such as a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, made with walnuts, crumbled goat’s cheese and maple dressing. I may well be tempted with the New England Clam Chowder though, which comes with delicious homemade corn bread or the 108 Crab Cake, accompanied with spicy smashed avocado and cilantro.
For a main course it will have to be the Roast Caldecott Farm Bronze Turkey with chestnut stuffing and all the trimmings for me, but you may prefer the Baked Mac and Cheese with leeks, squash and black truffle or perhaps the Grilled Fillet of Salmon with creamed sweetcorn, lime and jalapeño dressing.
If I still have room left for a dessert, it will be a tough choice between the New York Cheesecake with blueberry compote and the Pecan Pie and cookie dough ice cream, whilst you may prefer the traditional Pumpkin Pie topped with cinnamon cream.
I am also looking forward to trying their special Thanksgiving cocktail, 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.
You can celebrate Thanksgiving Day at 108 Brasserie on Thursday 23rd November with their special three-course lunch and dinner menu for £40 per person or enjoy two courses for £30. The American Spice cocktail costs £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 and priced at £45 per person.
You can enjoy a traditional Clam Chowder with sweetcorn and celery, a Cobb Salad with a bacon and ranch dressing or Fresh Corned Bread with avocado and a devilled egg.
Their main courses include a Southern Kensington Mixed Grill of beef short ribs, pulled pork, buffalo wings, Boston beans and coleslaw. But my guess is that most people will go for the Roast Bronze Turkey with confit leg beignet, maple roasted carrots and braised onion jus. Alternatively, there is also a Sweet Potato Gratin served with truffled green beans and hazelnut crumb.
You can then round your meal off with a choice of their Pumpkin and Apple Crumble with cacao nougatine and cinnamon ice cream or warm S’mores with vanilla Ice Cream and a pecan brittle or just bite into some good old Chocolate Brownies.
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 Jones Shoreditch by Simon Burrell, Hunter 486 courtesy of The Arch London and 108 Brasserie courtesy of 108 Brasserie at The Marylebone