Whatever the Olympic athletes are eating, it's probably safe to assume they're not overindulging in British pub fare, since pints of beer and sausage-filled pasties are barely conducive to watching the Games, let alone medaling in them.
But should you have the stamina to eat a proper English meal and stay awake for the night's last swimming relay (or, more accurately, the last relay that NBC programs for the evening), The British Pantry in Redmond is an excellent source of traditional London grub. I celebrated last week's opening ceremonies with a massive take-out order, and found a number of winning dishes and snacks in the retail store, bakery and attached restaurant, Neville's.
The sun may have set on the British Empire, but centuries of imperialism left their mark on the nation's cuisine, most notably in the form of curry. The British Pantry makes a decent chicken curry hand pie. While the chicken's off-puttingly dry, it's seasoned with the exact right amount of curry.
There are dozens of cheeses in The British Pantry's cooler, but too many of them are on the wrong side of their expiration dates. If you must have cheese - and, really, you must - ask for an extra helping of thickly-textured blue cheese dressing with your salad, and pick up a classic cheddar elsewhere (The British Pantry doesn't stock beer, so you'll have to make two stops if you're set on a true English spread.
The fried cod at Neville's has a decidedly different character than the fish served at homegrown fish-and-chip joints: The batter is salty, crunchy and thick. Served with a pickle-toned tartar, the jacketed bars of fish are way better than they look, and the accompanying fries are excellent.
Few dishes sound as English as "steak and kidney pie" (OK, maybe "spotted dick": The British Pantry sells it by the can, alongside Heinz' sticky toffee pudding.) The beef in my oniony pie was slightly chewy, but the kidney flavor was pleasingly pronounced. Better still was the crust, which was flaky and rich. It's a fine match for Walker's pickled onion crisps.
To up the evening's British quotient, I stocked up on crumpets, Devon cream and marmalade, but a housemade mince pie was the clear standout in the sweets competition. The fruit, Yuletide-spiced filling (imagine a graduate-level pecan pie) wasn't as drippy as some mince fans like it, but it was pretty delicious, as was the buttery tart shell in which it sat. Surely David Cameron would approve.