London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

(Bloomberg) -- If you think of cheese mainly as a simple snack or as something you sprinkle onto egg and pasta dishes, you might be surprised at the range and variety of dishes served in London restaurants where this dairy product is, well, the big cheese rather than a bit player.

Across a range of cuisines, from Indian to American, it’s sometimes the star. Here are a dozen great cheese concoctions to try.

Blue Cheese Naan at Indian Accent

London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

This traditional Indian bread with a twist was one of the first recipes developed at the original Indian Accent in New Delhi and has become a signature dish. The dough is stuffed with Danish Blue and Mozzarella, baked in a tandoor and served as an amuse-bouche with a shot of soup. 

16 Albemarle Street, W1S 4HW; +44-20-7629-9802

The Cheese Cake at Cakes & Bubbles

This is probably the most famous creation of the famous Spanish chef, Albert Adria. It is based on Coulommiers (similar to Brie), which it resembles in appearance. But it’s a mousse with white chocolate. It’s presented in the shape of a cheese, with a soft and creamy texture that is more cheese than cake.

70 Regent Street, W1B 4DY; +44-20-7406-3310

Cheese Doughnuts at Frog by Adam Handling

Adam Handling is a young Scottish chef with an understanding of traditional dishes and a taste for the unexpected. He wanted a  cheese snack at the top of his menu and created this alternative to French gougères. A Mornay sauce of Montgomery Cheddar, Gruyère and Parmesan fills a cheese-topped mini-donut. “They’re filthy delicious little bad boys,” Handling says.

34-35 Southampton Street, WC2E 7HG; +44-20-7199-8370

Cheese Toastie at Kappacasein Dairy

London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

This toastie makes a stall at Borough Market a destination for food lovers. The mixture of Montgomery Cheddar, Comte and Ogleshield  in Poilâne sourdough bread with leeks and onions is exceptionally good. It costs £7 ($9.14). 

1 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA; (no phone)

Chilli Cheese Toast at Dishoom

London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

Dishoom celebrates the Irani cafes of old Bombay, and this popular dish has been on the menu since 2010. In place of the Amul brand of processed cheese, Dishoom uses mature Cheddar mixed with spring onions, green chili and cracked black pepper.

7 Boundary Street, E2 7JE; +44-20-7420-9324; (several branches)

Eccles Cake and Lancashire Cheese at St. John

Chef Fergus Henderson is celebrated for his minimalist approach to food and his total focus on flavor. Here, he pairs the sweetness of currants and buttery pastry with the sharpness of one of his favorite cheeses, Kirkham’s Lancashire. It’s been on the menu from the early days of St. John, which opened in 1994.

26 St John Street, EC1M 4AY; +44-20-7251-0848

Goat’s Cheese Ice Cream, Liquorice Sauce at Sabor 

Spanish chef Nieves Barragan makes an ice cream with Bauma soft goat’s cheese from Catalonia and serves it with a sauce of melted liquorice with sugar. It’s topped with dried raspberry, for color and crunch. “When I first introduced this dish to my team, they were worried about the flavor combination being too risky, but it’s now become one of Sabor’s signature dishes,” Barragan says.

35-37 Heddon Street, W1B 4BR; +44-20-3319-8130

Halloumi Mushroom Burger at MEATliquor

London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

Many vegetarian burgers are instantly forgettable, but this little number, much more than a cheese sandwich, really holds its own against the meaty mainstream. The soft Cypriot-style cheese it topped with mushrooms, red onion, pickles, lettuce, French’s mustard and ketchup. It is great.

37-38 Margaret Street, W1G 0JF; +44-20-7224-4239; (several branches)

La Gran Carbonara at Gloria

Gloria, a French-owned restaurant in East London, is always packed with young diners. And spaghetti carbonara served in a whole round of Pecorino cheese is the signature dish. It’s visually striking, and the health-conscious will be pleased to hear that the sauce is made without cream.

54-56 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3QR; (no phone)

Saint-Marcellin at La Dame de Pic

The dish is a lighter alternative to a traditional cheese course, suited to a long tasting menu. Visually, the dish resembles a traditional Saint-Marcellin, but when you cut through the skin, you find a Saint-Marcellin foam with flavors of fig, cherry and port.

Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square, 10 Trinity Square, EC3N 4AJ; +44-20-3297-3799

Soufflé Suissesse at Le Gavroche

London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

This rich dish was developed by chef brothers Michel and Albert Roux and has been on the menu at Le Gavroche since 1967. It is loaded with butter, double cream and eggs. It can be made with  Gruyère or Emmental and there may even be a little Cheddar in the mix. (Don’t tell Michelin.)  If you think it is indulgent now, it used to be much larger.

43 Upper Brook Street; W1K 7QR; +44-20-7408-0881

Welsh Rarebit at 45 Jermyn St.

London’s Top 12 Cheese Dishes: From Classic Souffle to Halloumi Burger

This British classic has been on the menu at Fortnum & Mason since 1926 and thousands were served last year. The Fortnum’s Vintage Reserve Somerset Cheddar is made for the store by the fifth-generation cheesemakers, Barbers in Somerset and served at the retailer’s restaurant at 45 Jermyn St.  The recipe includes four teaspoons of Guinness, a teaspoon of English mustard, 1/2-teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a few drops of Tabasco sauce and an egg, according to the Fortnum’s Cook Book.

45 Jermyn Street, SW1 6DN; +44-20-7205-4545

Richard Vines is Chief Food Critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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