I was at a family party on Saturday, and a cousin who knew I had been in London said the above to me.
I spent most of a year-and-a-half in England, and I am honestly befuddled by the ubiquity of this sentiment. The food in London sure was expensive -- I once saw a hamburger for 14 pounds! -- and there were good restaurants and bad, but I really didn't see any overall difference between the quality of the food there and here. Yes, an English construction worker's average fare -- bangers and mash, fish and chips, bubble and squeak -- is not high cuisine, but, then, are hamburgers, hot dogs, and potato salad? Sometimes people will say, "Of course, the Indian food is good," not realizing that curry is now just a standard part of the English diet.
Maybe the food was terrible at one time. Maybe everyone says it because everyone else says it. But I don't get it.