Even those unbridled by patriotism, a love of America, or even a simple appreciation of US culture might still welcome the opportunity of a roast dinner come the third Thursday of this month. And why not? Turkey and all the trimmings is as triumphant a way as any to spend an evening.
Come November 23, that's exactly what's on the menu. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner will include dishes made from ingredients native to North America: the centrepiece turkey, of course, but also sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, creamed corn and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving is reputed to be the largest eating event in the United States not only in terms of food bought, but also food consumed: a typical Thanksgiving dinner contains between three and four thousand calories.It is, then, a delightful precursor to Christmas. A preview of what’s to come, even if Brussels sprouts replace yams and stuffing takes the place of various shapes of pumpkin. Still, really the day commemorates the three-day feast celebrated in the early 17th century between the Puritan settlers of the Plymouth Colony and the native American Wampanoag tribe, with Abraham Lincoln making Thanksgiving a US national holiday by in 1863. Here's where to mark that, and where to fill up on all the trimmings, without putting any effort in. After all, the best thing to give thanks for is someone else doing the cooking (and the washing up).
The Cadogan Arms
Chelsea stalwart the Cadogan Arms will be throwing a celebratory Thanksgiving dinner for £80 per person on November 23, with a menu of US classics created by executive chef Alex Harper. Dishes include prawn cocktail, and a “show stopping” bronze turkey served with all the Transatlantic trimmings: candied yams, green bean casserole, biscuits (the American kind), roast potatoes, pigs-in-blankets, and a generous helping of gravy. There’ll be a special dessert, too, in a bourbon and pecan tart made with Woodford Reserve.
298 King’s Road, SW3 5UG, thecadoganarms.london
Newly reopened after a summer refresh, Sally Abé is back cooking at The Pem and will be serving a Thanksgiving feast for one day only. The chef has crafted a menu of American-British dishes, with the likes of buttermilk and jalapeño cornbread with maple syrup butter, and a maple roast Cumbrian turkey for the table to share. Expect hasselback potatoes, herb stuffing, and pumpkin and pecan pie for pudding. “Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for us to celebrate with our US friends and it’s always exciting to get a bit creative and festive around this national holiday and show off the best of our seasonal ingredients,” says Abé. £95 per person.
22-28 Broadway, SW1H 0BH, thepemrestaurant.com
In a nod to its New York heritage, Knightsbridge restaurant Sette will combine its Italian heritage with traditional Thanksgiving fare come November 23. An announcement says the menu will “perfectly harmonise ‘La Dolce Vita’ with New York’s culinary edge to celebrate the biggest cultural event in America,” and on the way are dishes such as celeriac, porcini and truffle soup, yellowtail ceviche, pumpkin ravioli, and a roasted bronze turkey with sides. Expect live music and holiday themed performances, too. Dinner is £95 per person.
Ground Floor, 4 Knightsbridge Green, SW1X 7QA, settelondon.co.uk
This year, St John’s Wood boozer The Clifton is bringing back its annual and much appreciated “Host your Roast” supper on the big American day. For £48 per person, a roast dinner will be served featuring Blythburgh ham and a boned and rolled free-range roast turkey alongside typical US compliments. Think stewed collard greens, creamed corn, green bean casserole, sweet potato and toasted marshmallows, glazed root veg, cranberry sauce, and lashings of gravy. Later, homemade pumpkin pie and Mississippi mud truffles. One of the best US menus in London, we think.
96 Clifton Hill, NW8 0JT, thecliftonnw8.com
There are few better venues to honour Thanksgiving than at Joe Allen, a New York-style brasserie deep in the West End. On November 23, the restaurant will serve a three-course menu that “pulls out all the stops,” with pumpkin soup, roast Norfolk bronze turkey, and a flourless chocolate fudge cake with whipped cream for dessert. Those who aren’t so keen on chocolate might well welcome the pecan tart with butterscotch sauce, of course, which comes with popcorn ice cream. So very, very American. £65 per person.
2 Burleigh Street, WC2E 7PX, joeallen.co.uk
Another American-style restaurant deserving of its place in the spotlight this Thanksgiving is the Colony Grill at the Beaumont Hotel, Mayfair. There, the surroundings are fairly Great Gatsby-esque already, and so turkey and pecan pie make total sense. Also on the £85-a-head menu are pumpkin risotto, cured sea bass, and Parker House rolls, while there’s a nut roast and accompanying sides available for the meat-free. Press fluff says the evening should be something of an “art deco fever dream”. Throw in the £65 wine flight and such vibes may well come to pass. Put on your pilgrim hat and party.
8 Balderton Street, Brown Hart Gardens, W1K 6TF, colonygrillroom.com
Darby’s is usually a homage to oysters and Guinness, but this Thanksgiving chef Robin Gill will be paying tribute to all things Stateside with a four-course feasting menu. In true Gill form, the offering is generous, with the likes of truffle macaroni cheese croquettes, lemon and thyme roast turkey with cranberry sauce and gravy, and a fine pumpkin tart with bourbon ice cream. And where better to celebrate Thanksgiving than in the shadow of the American Embassy? Darby’s is but a yam’s throw away. The menu: £75 per person.
3 Viaduct Gardens, Nine Elms, SW11 7AY, darbys-london.com
Max’s Sandwich Shop
There is little that can be written about sandwich man Max Halley, pictured above promoting his venture at the Hippodrome, that hasn’t already been said. Still, he’s getting involved with Thanksgiving having teamed up with Wild Turkey bourbon, so it might be fitting to mention his latest creation. On offer between November 23-24 will be a sandwich filled with a turkey schnitzel, sauerkraut and stuffing, sausage meat, a glazed bacon crumb, a fried egg, and bourbon gravy mustard mayo. Quite indulgent, then. It will probably be good, and for £12.95 you get an Old Fashioned to boot.
19 Crouch Hill, Finsbury Park, N4 4AU, maxssandwichshop.com