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ALL INCLUDED, ALL UNLIMITED, ALL THE TIME Check into a Sandals Resort and you will be treated to our Discovery Dining programme, where anytime dining in up to 16 gourmet restaurants awaits you. We pride ourselves in our European and International cuisines using fresh and local ingredients, each of which comes with its own Head Chef that specialises in their area. Unlimited snacks, white glove service and exclusive Butler Service are also available. We even offer Private Candlelit Dinners* on the beach or on your terrace if you prefer. These are just a few of the personal dining touches that come with your next Sandals holiday, the rest we call Luxury Included ®.

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FRONT COVER: Photography by David Harrison

I don’t recall my first taste of spicy food, but I do remember the first (and last) time I ate a handful of raw chillies, aged 15. Chinese restaurant; birthday party with actual girls (and idiot boys); plates garnished with slivers of tongue-melting pepper. You can fill in the ending if you’re into that sort of thing – I’d rather not have to relive the experience. Me and chillies have made up now – I love those little red nuggets of evil – but my days of being dragged into competitive eating challenges are over, as are those of perhaps the best-known competitive eater in the world, Adam Richman. The man who made his name on cult US TV import Man v. Food says he’ll no longer be “doing the spiciest, the biggest, the heaviest” – instead, as he tells us on page 38, he’s simply going in search of the best. If that means finding the guy who set up a lobster shack in his garage, so be it; if you have to beg a stranger in a youth hostel to see the Lieutenant (it’s a sandwich), why not? If your idea of the best means spice – and we’re talking intense flavour, not too-hot-for-your-Nan’s-tastes here – you’ll find plenty to think about in our exploration of the aromatic and fragrant in London (p52). Think of it as spice: the final frontier. (Not sorry.)

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GRAZING

FEATURES

EXCESS

013 THE FOODIST

038 ADAM RICHMAN

014 LOCAL HEROES

046 INSIDE LIMA WITH VIRGILIO MARTINEZ

073 KOLKATA STREET FOOD

016 STREET FOOD FIGHT 018 THE RADAR

052 SPICE INVADERS

078 BOTTLE SERVICE 085 WHAT WE’RE DRINKING NOW

022 WEAPONS OF CHOICE

058 FIFTY CHEFS: THE HANDS THAT FEED LONDON

092 THE SELECTOR

029 RECIPES

066 MIXOLOGY

098 DECONSTRUCT


013 THE FOODIST | 014 LOCAL HEROES | 016 STREET FOOD FIGHT 018 THE RADAR | 022 WEAPONS OF CHOICE | 029 RECIPES

— PART 1 —

GRAZE “IT’S ONLY RIGHT THAT WE CELEBRATE WINE. STREET FOOD AND CRAFT BEER CAN HAVE A WEEK OFF” THE FOODIST, 013


THE FOODIST

As we move into spring, a city-wide celebration of the world’s oldest drink will have you drooling

LOCAL HEROES SUPPE R CLUBS

1 THE SECRET ISLAND Undisclosed

M

Photograph by Addie Chinn

UCH AS WE love them, food and drink trends are just that: trends. Half a decade ago, a burger was something you’d shove in your face as a last resort before the last train home, and the term ‘food truck’ called to mind yellowing white vans parked outside football grounds serving questionably sourced meat on a stick. But through it all, there’s something whose popularity has never waned. That thing, of course, is wine – drunk by ancient Georgians 8,000 years ago, by Romans and Greeks slightly more recently, created from water by a bearded prophet in about 30AD and revered by pretty much the whole world today. In terms of quality, wine provokes about the most objective analysis you’ll find in food and drink. You can study for a degree in it, and, if you’re good, get a job recommending it to strangers. That’s why, as we draw towards London Wine Week, it’s only right that we

TOP FESTS FOR FOOD Our sister site Festival Baby rounds up the best fests for those in need of more than a Tracker bar or a toasted marshmallow after twelve hours of partying. See the full list over at festivalbaby.com

take the time to celebrate it. Street food and craft beer can have a week off. Like its sisters Cocktail Week and Beer Week, LWW (londonwineweek.com) will have several hubs – bars and restaurants that’ll act as centres for the vinous adventuring you’ll be partaking in from 18-24 May, when the festival runs – which you can have access to by buying a wristband for £10, valid throughout the week. There’ll be one-off wine tours, discounts in more than 100 venues and a guide to give you your bearings. If you want to get a bit more specialist (or if you’re an enormous wino who can’t get enough), RAW (rawfair.com), which takes place just before on 17 and 18 May, is a gathering of some of the wine world’s premier natural, organic and biodynamic wine artisans. So you can drink like the Romans, the Georgians, or whomever else was enjoying the good stuff a few millennia ago. f

1. PARKLIFE

2. WILDERNESS

3. GRILLSTOCK

6 & 7 JUN

6-9 AUG

6 & 7 JUN

Raymond Blanc, Angela Hartnett and more cook up a storm at this indie festival in Oxfordshire. Oh, and Bjork’s there, too.

Food and music share equal billing London newcomer Grillstock – US BBQ and DJ Yoda – what more could you ask for?

Manchesterwide fest with food curated by Friday Food Fight, and a lineup that includes Caribou and Jamie xx.

Nope, not a comedy rap troupe – the Secret Island is a new multisensory supper club from the brains behind Gingerline. The process is simple: specify your preferred date and time, and you’ll be texted with details on the day. Four courses and a cocktail; we could tell you more, but we’d have to kill you. gingerline.co.uk

2

BEYOND FOOD FOUNDATION London Bridge, SE1

Beyond Food Foundation’s initiative is to use food events to make a genuine difference in the lives of the homeless. Its next supper club, on 12 June, features guest chefs Steven Edwards and Josh Stanzl of Sussex-based food company Etch. beyondfood.org.uk

13


LOCAL HEROES + MORE S UPP ER CLUB S

3

SECRET KITCHEN Various

When the Secret Kitchen says “secret”, it means it: not only is there no permanent location for its heralded supper clubs, you’re not even allowed to know it until you’re about to head off there. Each dinner is themed around one specific, London-based artisanal producer or one special venue, and wines come courtesy of Borough Wines. There’s no social media presence, so you can’t shout about it – just sign up for its mailing list to be kept in the loop. thesecret.kitchen

4

FOLLOW US @FOODISMUK

FOODISMUK

THE LITTLE YELLOW DOOR

5

Notting Hill Gate, W11

DISAPPEARING DINING CLUB Various

As supper clubs go, this one’s pretty meta. You’re invited to join the housemates of this Notting Hill flat for regular bar nights, dining clubs and even house parties. Oh – and if we didn’t mention, these housemates are entirely fictional. Nights include Kitchen Supper & Cocktails (the Ronseal of the supper club world, we like to think), Luigi’s Greatest Hits – where the Wandering Chef cooks up food inspired by the house’s imaginary Italian, with a bar run by Aperol – and plenty more. Events sell out way in advance, so you’ll want to book quickly. thelittleyellowdoor.co.uk

Last time we went to a Disappearing Dining Club event, we entered the restaurant through a curtain at the back of a Shoreditch clothes shop, so we’re fully satisfied that it lives up to its name. It also holds events at an antiques store in Spitalfields as well as art galleries, warehouses and more across east London – and even your front room. Yep, yours. And you didn’t even know about it. The dinners and venues are completely eclectic, but all have a few things in common: great food, great wine, great cocktails, and (presumably) lots of beards. disappearingdiningclub.com

Photograph by “Suelan Allison

BEST TRENDS

14

TREND #2: SPACE ON A PLATE The effect of plate-to-food ratio on taste

A BURGER NONSENSE IN A BUN

1880

2015

TIME

PERCIEVED QUALITY OF MEAL

How do you like your eggs in the morning? We like ours with blanched asparagus spears and a Jerusalem artichoke velouté. You’re nobody if you’re eating like a ‘normal’ – today is all about eating above your station. These graphs will help you do it properly.

TREND #1: BURGERS What the word ‘burger’ means

YAH, THIS IS AH-MAYZANG

IT’S FOR PLEBS

Mostly food

Mostly plate

SPACE ON A PLATE


CELEBRATE THE YEAR OF MEXICO IN THE UK WITH ARTISAN PRODUCTS, LIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS OF AUTHENTIC DISHES AND EXCLUSIVE DINING EXPERIENCES HOSTED BY MEXICO’S TOP CHEFS


STREET FOOD FIGHT

In a fracas, would the dosa go the way of Jeremy Clarkson, or would it beat the crêpe out of a crêpe? One thing is certain: there will be a mighty battering

THE CRÊPE

Thin French wheat pancakes We like crêpes because each one is a blank canvas. The Breton dish is made with wheat or buckwheat flour then rolled up around an inexhaustible choice of savoury or sweet toppings: ham, egg and comte cheese; spinach, artichoke and brie; or even served with orange syrup and a slosh of Grand Marnier (if you ask Suzette nicely). If you can justify serving any food from a vintage French van it’s the crêpe.

◆ Crêpes & Galettes;

Exmouth Market. Keeping to a family recipe, Dominique Manceur has been serving gluten-free buckwheat crêpes here for eight years. exmouthmarket.com

VS

THE DOSA

Fermented rice and lentil pancakes South Indians have been perfecting this breakfast-time pancake/flatbread wonder since 1 AD. Served with chutney, potatoes or a steaming bowl of sambar (that’s vegetable and lentil stew for the uninitiated), dosas are sometimes thin and crispy, sometimes thick and soft, but always tasty.

◆ Dosa Deli; KERB.

Like the sound of a chilli dosa wrap stuffed with paneer, tomato chutney and tamarind apple? Get in the queue. dosadeli.co.uk

T HE W INNE R IS

◆ Horn OK Please;

Borough Market, Southbank. Serves ‘dosa of the day’ and is named after the sign commonly seen on trucks and taxis in India. hop.st

T HE C R Ê PE

Holy crêpe! The possibilities with the French option are endless

16

EATING UPSIDEDOWN The latest diet fad uses goodold gravity as a tool to aid weight-loss. Instead of the food going the normal route to your stomach, this way it goes to your head instead, thus making you more intelligent, not fatter.

COLDPRESSED MEALS

◆ Suzette; Brockley

Market. Suzette is a 1979 Renault Estafette. She’s got organic crêpes and galettes with sea salted caramel and, of course, suzette toppings. suzettecrepes.co.uk

CONCEPT RESTAURANTS WE’D LIKE TO SEE IN LONDON

Heating your food and exposing it to air cuts down on the amount of nutrients that make it to your mouth. By cold pressing your meals in a centrifugal juicer, you retain valuable vitamins. To save energy, we suggest juicing all three courses in the same blend.

HYBRID FOODS Hot on the heels of the cronut, comes the Chotsit (a cross between a Cheeto and a Wotsit), the chip (a cheese coated cow’s lip), breast (breakfast yeast – pronounced ‘breest’) and the riskily-named cronut (a crow’s testicle). BITE-SIZED

FOODISM.CO.UK/ NEWSLETTER


DRINKING GRAZING DINING TRENDING

THE RADAR @NewOpenings gives the lowdown on the hottest restaurants landing in the capital this Spring. Dig in…

Trending

Grazing

OPEN NOW

OPEN NOW

There are plenty of authentic, Italian-style pizzerias to be found in the backstreets of Soho and further east, if that’s what you’re after, but pizzas made and served in the signature manner of our friends in New York are harder to come by. Enter Voodoo Rays, whose successful Dalston site is being complemented by a new one in Shoreditch’s Boxpark. Grab a slice, or attempt to devour a whole 22” pie if you think you’re hard enough. E8 2PB; voodoorays.co.uk

Few dishes as moreish as pillowy, steamed dim sum packed with sticky, umami-rich filling. In fact, we’re drooling now just thinking about it – which is why we’re pleased to see south London get its very own late-night dim sum bar in the form of Fu Manchu. The space is pretty eclectic – they call it “Victorian opium den mixed with a modern graphic edge” – and, there will be DJs and live music nights to ensure the fun’s not just restricted to the plates. SW4 7UX; fumanchu.co.uk

VOOD OO RAYS

F U M ANC HU

Dining

T HE IVY Dining

TON I C & REMEDY

OPEN NOW

We love a bit of history, and new Hoxton haunt Tonic & Remedy is one giant homage to the apothecaries that existed in the area for decades. Executive chef Paul Welburn uses unusual, playful combinations of wines, herbs and spices in his menu which, along with a cracking wine and cocktail list, make for an intriguing blend of old- and new-school dishes to pique the curiosity. EC1Y 1BE; tonicandremedy.co.uk

18

OPEN 1 JUNE

Some restaurants need no introduction, and the Ivy certainly falls into that category. It might need a reintroduction, though, after a massive renovation and reopening next month, in which everything in it was gutted, save for its famous stained-glass windows. Executive chef Gary Lee has updated the menu to include creative and contemporary dishes inspired in part by modern East-Asian cooking. WC2H 9NQ; the-ivy.co.uk


Grazing

Dining

OPEN NOW

OPEN NOW

What will be next to lay claim to burger’s throne? It could be suvlaki, a skewered meat, not too wellknown outside of Greece, that’s as strong a contender as any. Its namesake restaurant – very much a fast, casual and modern Greek joint – will serve lamb, chicken, pork and vegetables wrapped in pita bread or served on skewers, alongside an all-Greek wine list and craft beers. W1D 3AL; suvlaki.co.uk

Like truffle? Then you’ll adore the highfalutin Tartufi & Friends, which makes the journey across the Med to these shores – Harrods, specifically – after successful openings in Rome and Milan. The restaurant will incorporate truffle into almost every dish on its menu (save for dessert), and you’ll be able to buy truffleinfused chocolates, truffle honey and truffle salts and condiments to take home, too. SW1X 7XL; tartufiandfriends.it

S U VLAKI

TART UF I & F R IE N D S

Drinking

PUE RTO F LO RIDITA

OPEN NOW

Summer is here, which means one thing: pop-ups. Well, and loads of other things too, but that’s what we’re focusing on. Puerto Floridita is leading the charge by turning its interior space into an immersive Caribbean-themed ship environment. Among other things, there’ll be new cocktails, created in partnership with Napa winery Chandon, served alongside a backdrop of live Latin American salsa, funk and soul. W1F 0TN; floriditalondon.com

Trending

B U LL IN A C HIN A S H O P OPEN NOW

Whisk(e)y is the name of the game in mixology at the moment, and new Shoreditch joint Bull in a China Shop is embracing it. It’ll be cooking up Eastern-style, whisky-glazed rotisserie chicken, superfood salads and more, and at the bar you’ll find signature cocktails made with a big Japanese whisky infuence. Or, if you prefer it neat, there’ll be 30 varieties available. E1 6LG; bullchinashop.london

Drinking

N A N T UC KET B E A C H C LUB

OPEN NOW

London doesn’t often feel like the East Coast of the US – even in spring – but pretending it does is a lot easier when you’re in a rooftop garden drinking New England-style cocktails in the sun. The latest Skylounge pop-up runs until 30 September, with seafood dishes also on the menu. EC3N 4AF; @SkyloungeLondon

Grazing

J OSE PIZ AR R O

OPEN 13 MAY

Grazing

Photograph (Ceviche) by Paul Winch-Furness

Spanish chef Jose Pizarro’s first restaurant was called Jose, and his second was named Pizarro, so we can only assume his newest opening will be as good as the previous two combined. The restaurant, at the exciting new Broadgate Circle development, will serve up meats and cheeses as well as his signature small plates. As good a tapas joint as you’ll find in the City. EC2M 2QS; josepizarro.com

PO LPO

OPEN 21 MAY

It seems an age since the excellent Polpo group staked another claim for the sharing plate throne, so we’re glad to see it’s opening another site in the lofty Notting Hill, where we think its brand of posh-but-easygoing cicchetti will go down particularly well. Housed in a grade II-listed Georgian townhouse, the restaurant will aim to be the most Venetian in feel of all the group’s sites. Now all it needs is a really, really big flood. W11 3QG; polpo.co.uk

STAY INF OR M ED

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The World’s Greatest Restaurant Festival ◆ 40 of London’s Hottest Restaurants ◆ World-Class Chefs Interactive Masterclasses ◆ Artisan Producers’ Market

Tickets on Sale from £16

www.tasteoflondon.co.uk

®

In Support of


orld’s Greatest W e h T rant Festival Restau ◆

New This Year ◆

Unleash your inner sommelier in the Wine Theatre Challenge the chefs to a game of pétanque at Baranis Learn the art of matching beer and food in the Craft Beer Hub Pick up back-to-basics cooking techniques in the Wild Kitchen Create your own bespoke cocktails with Ketel One plus lots more...


WEAPONS OF CHOICE Everything you need to soup up your kitchen and eat like a king. Apart from soup PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON

22


A TOU C H OF F RU IT BRAUN MULTIQUICK 5 JUICER, £129.99 This rather striking appliance is on hand to liven up your mornings. And no, it doesn’t take ages – feed it apples, oranges and anything else you can think of and it’ll make your juice in 15 seconds. braunhousehold.com

Photograph by ###

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3. THE SHAKEN CHEMIST COCKTAIL KIT, £19.99

MIX IT UP 1

1

1 6 5

1 2

24

4 3

1. LSA LULU CHAMPAGNE/ COCKTAIL GLASSES, £30

Treat mixology like the science it is with this cocktail kit, complete with recipe book. firebox.com

4. LSA OLAF TUMBLERS, £24 Old drink, new style; a rocks glass for the 21st century.

5. LSA MOYA HIGHBALLS, £25

Four assorted coupe and martini glasses to give your homemade cocktails (or Frenchmade champagne) a winning look.

Sleek, stylish highballs – a staple for the glass cupboard.

2. LSA AURELIA CHAMPAGNE SAUCERS, £50

6. LSA LULU CHAMPAGNE FLUTES, £40

And you thought it was just cats that drank out of saucers. Tall stems; shallow bowl; all class. Even if you’re not.

Classic flutes for when you’ve got something to celebrate. lsa-international.com


VISIT HRHIBIZA.COM


P ERFECT PIZZA 1. UUNI 2 PIZZA OVEN, £189 An affordable alternative to the all-out pizza oven, the Uuni can heat to 450°C for perfect pizza. uuni.net

2. SAGE PIZZA PEEL, £39 The only accessory you need for proper, wood-fired pizza. johnlewis.com

3. LE CREUSET CLASSIC PEPPER MILL, £25 Because sometimes you just need to pepper things up. johnlewis.com

4. JOSEPH JOSEPH SCOOT PIZZA WHEEL, £12.50 Innovative cutter, with a sheath to protect hands in draws. johnlewis.com

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1 3

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Recipes

A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE London writer and cook Rosie Birkett has made the leap from blogger to author with the launch of her first recipe book, A Lot On Her Plate

A

S ROSIE BIRKETT puts it in the introduction to A Lot On Her Plate, “The title of this book, which is also the name of my blog, says it all really.” Her first collection of her recipes – many taken from said blog – speaks of a London life that’s busy, sociable and usually revolved around food. So as you’d expect, every dish – brought beautifully to life by Helen Cathcart’s photography – fills a gap in the culinary schedule of the London foodie, from sharing plates for summer parties to meals for two you can rustle up in a hurry. There’s also advice on picking up the best food, the equipment every home cook should own, and how to make the most of a lean budget. As she explains: “I want to inspire you to get creative, be a bit more daring and leave yourself open to finding new ingredients, or use well-known ingredients in a new way.” On the following pages you’ll find three of our favourite recipes from A Lot On Her Plate, each one packed with flavour, colour and plenty of love. “I’m a feeder. It’s in my blood,” says Birkett. You’re in good hands. f

Photographs by Helen Cathcart

G ET EVE N M OR E R E C IPE S A Lot on Her Plate by Rosie Birkett (Hardie Grant, £25) is out now. Photography by Helen Cathcart.

29


Rosie’s

WATERMELON SALAD WITH FETA AND ONION

INFO Serves ◆ 4

I

“ REALLY GOT INTO eating watermelon during the sweltering summer I spent in Vancouver, when sinking my teeth into the sweet, juicy flesh became a refreshing way to cool down. This summery salad is great as a starter or light lunch, and works well with barbecued meats, too.”

Method

BITE-SIZED

FOODISM.CO.UK/ NEWSLETTER

1 Combine the watermelon, cheese and red onion in a bowl, and toss with the lime juice, white pepper and olive oil. 2 Transfer to a plate, scatter over the radish slices and mint leaves, and serve. f

INGREDIENTS ◆ 500g watermelon flesh, pips

removed and cut into cubes ◆ 150g feta, queso blanco or

other salty white cheese, diced

FOOD ON FILM

◆ ½ red onion, finely sliced ◆ Juice of ½ lime ◆ Freshly ground white pepper ◆ Olive oil ◆ 3 red radishes, finely sliced ◆ Bunch of mint, leaves picked

over and stems removed

“I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium. The carrot has mystery. Flowers are essentially tarts. Prostitutes for the bees. There is, you’ll agree, a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ oh so very special about a firm, young carrot.” WITHNAIL AND I “In fact, just thinking about those tender little White Castle burgers with those little, itty-bitty grilled onions that just explode in your mouth like flavor crystals every time you bite into one.” HAROLD AND KUMAR GET THE MUNCHIES

“GET THAT CORN OUTTA MY FACE!” NACHO LIBRE “It takes all kinds of critters to make Farmer Vincent’s fritters.” MOTEL HELL

30


Rosie’s

VERDANT RISOTTO WITH PARSLEY, BACON AND BROAD BEAN “

INGREDIENTS ◆ 150g broad (fava) beans, shelled ◆ 50g spinach leaves ◆ 60g flat-leaf parsley leaves ◆ 3 tbsp olive oil ◆ 10g butter ◆ 4 rashers streaky bacon ◆ 1 onion, finely chopped ◆ 1 sprig thyme, leaves picked ◆ 1 garlic clove, finely chopped ◆ 150g arborio risotto rice ◆ 75ml dry white wine ◆ 750ml warm chicken stock

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32

◆ 20g Parmesan, grated ◆ 1 tbsp squeezed lemon juice

BEATS & EATS

Food gets the grime treatment

INF O Serves

◆ 4 as a starter ◆ 2 as a main

T

HIS PRETTY GREEN risotto is a frugal but delightful dish to cook for loved ones. Try to find the smallest, newest broad beans you can.”

Method

1 Blanch the broad beans in boiling salted water until al dente. Remove to a bowl of iced water, and peel if the skins are tough. Blanch the spinach and parsley in the same water until wilted but still bright green. 2 Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon, leave to cool and squeeze out the excess water. Transfer the spinach and parsley to a food processor with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 1 tsp of water, and blitz to a fine purée. Set aside. 3 Heat the remaining oil and half the butter in a large, non-stick frying pan and fry the bacon for about 5 minutes until it starts crisping up. Remove from the pan. 4 Add the onion to the pan with a good grind of black pepper and the thyme, coating it in the fat and scraping up any crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook over a medium heat until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and stir. 5 Add the rice, stirring to coat it in the oil and cook for a couple of minutes, until it turns translucent. Pour in the white wine, which will deglaze the pan and start to evaporate almost instantly. Stir to incorporate, cook for 2 minutes until it has mostly evaporated, and then add a ladleful of the warm stock and stir until absorbed. 6 Continue this process a ladleful at a time for 20–30 minutes, stirring continually, until all the stock is absorbed, and the rice is creamy but still a little al dente. Take the pan off the heat and stir through the Parmesan and remaining butter, then the parsley and spinach purée, stirring thoroughly to incorporate it and create a vivid green risotto. 7 Stir through the crispy bacon, broad beans and lemon juice, and season to taste. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan. f

Need to know what your favourite grime acts eat? No problem – dig in (and check your burgers)

I’m like where’s that pie, everyday I eat pies If you’re not hungry you can stand by Eat pies from London to NY Every pie I eat my belly gets bigger WILEY – PIES When you get burgers always check ‘em I eat burgers in 15 seconds Ketchup all over ma face Sesame seeds all over da place And if dat wasn’t enough to spoil it Go home spend two days on the toilet. JME – FOOD I go SF, get a Junior Spesh One-fifty, wing and chips, no breast Special mayonnaise, twenty more pence

Get mayonnaise, cause I don’t want ketch Yeah, I don’t like Doctor Pep So I get Miranda straight from the fridge. RED HOT ENTERTAINMENT – JUNIOR SPESH


Rosie’s

DESSERT BLUEBERRY, BASIL AND ALMOND PUDDING PIE

INF O Serves ◆ 4-6

BITE-SIZED

FOODISM.CO.UK/ NEWSLETTER

RIGHT, THAT’S LUNCH 68% of workers in London eat the same lunch most days. A third of them eat the same thing every day.*

68% SIZE MATTERS

I

“’D NEVER TASTED blueberries like the ones I ate in Vancouver, where punnets of them set you back just a few bucks during the summer season. Baked into this simple dessert with ground almonds and fragrant basil leaves, they make for a squishy, sweet, gorgeously light dessert that’s just the ticket for summer. “I use half ground almonds and half whole, skin-on blitzed-up almonds to give a bit of texture and rusticity, and the result is rather lovely – the squidgy, ever-so-sweet fruit melding with the sponge and the crunchy almonds.”

*source: OnePoll/Lurpak® report, March 2015; lurpak.co.uk

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Grease the cake tin or flan dish with butter and place the basil leaves on the bottom of it. Pour over the blueberries and set aside. 2 Combine the flour, baking powder and almonds. In another bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs for about 3 minutes until frothy. Gently fold in the flour and almonds, keeping as much air in the mixture as you can. 3 Pour the mixture on top of the blueberries, let it settle for a couple of minutes, then cook for 35–45 minutes, until the batter is golden and the blueberries’ juice is bubbling up the

INGREDIENTS ◆ Softened butter, for greasing ◆ 5 large basil leaves ◆ 380g blueberries ◆ 20g plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted ◆ ½ tsp baking powder ◆ 90g ground almonds ◆ 90g whole, skin-on almonds, blitzed

until roughly ground ◆ 60g golden caster sugar ◆ 4 eggs, at room temperature ◆ Sour cream, plain yoghurt or crème

fraîche, to serve Special equipment ◆ 20cm round springform cake tin or

flan dish

sides of the cake tin. 4 Remove the tin from the oven and run a palette knife around the edge to loosen. Leave to stand for a few minutes, then put a wire rack on top of the tin and flip it upside down to cool on the rack. This is nice served warm, with a big dollop of sour cream, plain yoghurt or crème fraîche, or kept in the fridge and eaten cool at any time of the day. f

The longest pub name in the UK is The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn. It’s in Stalybridge, Manchester.

TO BURN OFF ONE PLAIN M&M SWEET, YOU NEED TO WALK THE FULL LENGTH OF A FOOTBALL PITCH

NOT CHOC White chocolate is technically not chocolate at all, since it doesn’t contain chocolate liquor or cocoa solids.

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For over 25 years our chefs have been lovingly preparing sauces and dressings to compliment and enhance the flavours of great food. As Ethel here will happily tell you, we use only the finest ingredients because we want you to love our sauces every bit as much as we do. www.fromsussexwithlove.com


038 ADAM RICHMAN | 046 INSIDE LIMA | 052 SPICE INVADERS 058 FIFTY CHEFS: THE HANDS THAT FEED LONDON | 066 MIXOLOGY

— PART 2 —

FEAST “IT’S A WAY TO EAT THE LANDSCAPES OF PERU OVER 17 COURSES” VIRGILIO MARTINEZ, 046


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THE NAME’S RICHMAN... Man v. Food star Adam Richman is back with a new show, Man Finds Food (see what they did there?). So has he ditched competitive eating for good, asks Mike Gibson? Photography by David Harrison | Hair & Makeup by Sally Mulberge

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FOODISMUK

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N THE HEART of Austin’s bustling Sixth Street is a small, unremarkable youth hostel. Go in and you’ll see a bookcase. Prise it open, as if you’re entering a supervillain’s lair, and you’ll find not a secret passage leading to a room full of doomsday devices, but a tiny, Prohibitionthemed restaurant serving up some of the best sandwiches in the city. If that’s not exclusive enough, go off-menu and order the Lieutenant, with Bucheron cheese, ovendried tomatoes, a balsamic reduction and capicola. If the guy at the counter questions you, be insistent and you’ll get your sandwich – with all its luxuriant trimmings. Unfortunately, I can’t claim to have worked this for myself. For a start, I’ve never even been to Austin. But I know a guy who specialises in this kind of thing. The casual viewer may recognise him as Adam Richman, conqueror of some →

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→ terrifyingly voluminous food challenges on Food Network’s hit show Man v. Food. The dedicated one, though, will know better. This is Adam Richman – TV host, author, producer, and impassioned explorer of some of the most far-ranging and eclectic foods America has to offer. He’s back doing what he does best – scoping out great eating and drinking spots across the US, getting down and dirty in the kitchens of innovative chefs who are taking America’s food scene, chewing it up, and spitting it back out as you’ve never seen before. Needless to say, our curiosity was well and truly piqued.

Man Finds Food and the end of an eating-challenge era I’m sitting down with Richman in a particularly brightly coloured room, bags full of fresh bread and produce in one corner, to talk about his new show, Man Finds Food. As the name suggests, it’s not all that different in make-up to the show that made him, as he puts it in one episode, “mildly relevant on basic cable” (or ‘famous’, as I’d put it if I were in his shoes). There is, however, one crucial change: there’s no eating challenge. For many, that’s what Man v. Food revolved around – but for me, and plenty of other regular watchers, it was all about watching a man very much in love with gastronomy scoping out oyster shacks on the banks of the Mississippi, or providing thorough examinations of the food scenes in far-flung American towns you’d never have heard of unless you lived there. “It’s not something most people would even contemplate attempting,” he tells me of the challenges that are thankfully firmly in his past, “because they were so extreme

I’D NEVER EVEN DONE A FOOD CHALLENGE BEFORE WE STARTED FILMING MAN V. FOOD 40

in nature. The spectacle was something that people would rally around, but it was also very polarising at points. “But with Man Finds Food, the premise is essentially to go to a city and find the hidden, off-the-beaten-track restaurants, or the off-the-menu dishes. I’ve always loved doing that, so it speaks to a personal passion. I’d never done a food challenge before the first episode of Man v. Food, but finding these hidden places has been something that I’ve loved doing completely independently of having a television career.” And it’s not only the actual undertaking of the mammoth eating feats that he’s pleased to be rid of; it’s also the screen time they take up, too. Episodes are just half an hour long, with ad breaks, and Richman clearly feels his time is better spent sourcing food spots than taking on more challenges. “From a physical standpoint, of course, it’s profoundly liberating to not have to do the challenge, but it also gave us two more locations to hit per show. In a Man v. Food episode you hit three – one of which where you barely focus on the other aspects of the menu; you’re doing the spiciest, the biggest, the heaviest, the largest and so on. “With Man Finds Food it’s about true deliciousness, and it’s about cachet – being the guy who knows a guy. There’s no reason that the elite or the erudite should be the only people who have the privilege of going ‘Dude, third floor of this apartment building – there’s a great restaurant in one of these places.”’ Richman’s profile has been steadily on the up in the UK for a while now. Even taking into account last year’s unfortunate spat with social media users – an episode that threatened to derail Man Minds Food’s running, but which he countered with a frank explanation and apology straight away – he’s a hugely popular figure. His love of football (he’s a matchgoing Tottenham Hotspur fan, a regular on sports panel shows when he’s over, and he even participated in televised charity match Soccer Aid last year – an event for which he temporarily became vegan to lose weight) is one reason; but it’s just as much down to his genuine well of knowledge, not just of American food scenes but of ours, too. →

MAN FINDS FOOD Yep, he’s back. Adam Richman’s favourite pastime – scoping out restaurants and taking his cameras behind the scenes, that is – has once again hit your screens. Each episode explores a different US city, with everything from high-end contemporary cooking to beltbusting soul food mapped out. Man Finds Food is on at 10pm weeknights on Food Network, Freeview 41, Freesat 149, Sky 248, Virgin 287


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→ Even so, Man Finds Food threatens to strike a new chord with Londoners. We’re a city of people who love being the ones in the know – if you love food, you can’t refresh your Twitter timeline in 2015 without some mention of underground speakeasies and clandestine supper clubs. The thought of not only exploring some of the best culinary scenes in America, but going in with the explicit intention of uncovering some of the best-hidden gems along the way is bound to get people interested. “As with Man v. Food,” he says, “our mandate was no chains, no big conglomerates and the chance to showcase these amazing independent restaurants and giving them a chance to reap the benefits of the publicity, and of their hard work. We’re talking awesome people making great food in unlikely places. I just think it’s extraordinary. “It’s also ones that are geographically hidden. Places either in highly residential areas you’d never go to, or places you literally can’t see. I mean, that restaurant behind a bookcase in a youth hostel; it’s so hidden. Sixth Street is the hub of Austin’s nightlife; it’s the most populated place – one block off of the busiest streets in Austin and it’s that well-hidden.” A lobster shack in Boston is another hardto-find eating spot he remembers fondly: “The owner has a fully-functioning restaurant out of his garage. You sit on patio furniture and eat on these picnic tables behind the house he was born in. They have three menu items: lobster, lobster salad or an off-themenu dish called a chowder. It’s so fresh, and they just know how to cook it right.” Hold on – we’re getting dangerously close to ‘pop-up’ territory here, the likes of which London can’t get enough of. I could easily imagine going to a lobster shack set up in an east-London garage, sitting on picnic tables and eating chowder. In fact, I can think of three easygoing, US-style lobster delis that have opened up in central London in the last six months alone. Which brings me to thinking that while I’ve got Richman here, I should probably ask him about how he feels his home country is represented in London’s thriving food scene. The General Washington of London’s American food revolution… If there’s a trend to end all trends in London’s recent timeline, it’s not Peruvian; it’s not cold-pressed juice or kale; it’s not supper clubs – it’s American food. We just cannot get enough. The renovation and subsequent exaltation of the burger might have been the

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catalyst, but now there are chefs, American and otherwise, cooking soul food and BBQ that veterans across the pond would be proud of. I’m talking to a man who could well serve as the face of American food to his British viewers – I have to ask what he makes of it, and whether he feels he’s played a part. “I got asked this question on Sunday Brunch,” he replies. “Simon Rimmer asked me if I think there really is an American food revolution happening in London. I said “Well, I possess enough hubris to think I might be General Washington of that revolution.” I can only tell you that guys like the Rib Man and Red’s Barbecue up in Leeds and Manchester have cited me as a source of inspiration, and I’m so honoured by it.” But, Richman aside, why have we taken to it to such an extent? “I think it’s also because American comfort food is a creation based solely on deliciousness, and tradition be damned,” he says. “We use cuts of meats that aren’t normally used here; we do types of preparations that are not normally done here. And I think we’re flavour-forward. “People in England have written some scathing tweets about the plastic silverware I’ve used or the paper napkins and stuff like that because there is that come-as-youare, blue-jean mentality that has existed in America for aeons, but in England, not so much. Street food – apart from taking fish and chips away in a paper cone – wasn’t really common here until very recently. “I think you have such an educated populace here in England. It’s full of savvy young men and women who increasingly want to experience more. You have one of the oldest cultures, whereas Americans are super young and ever-changing. In London you have affluent, educated people and you’ve got curiosity. That, and you have international visitors who all bring an influence with them.” I’m also curious as to how much of the London food scene he’s experienced, since he usually flies in for media visits, which aren’t renowned for liberal amounts of downtime: “Press usually dictates the bulk of my schedule, but I love Mildred’s on Lexington in Soho, I love Manna in Primrose Hill on Erskine. There are so many great little Chinese places that I’ve gotten great vegetable dishes from, on Gerrard, on Macclesfield, on Shaftesbury. “As a Tottenham fan I only went to Chick King on the High Road for the first time two trips ago, and it’s like a rite of passage. I also didn’t realise that the basement of Selfridges is a historically auspicious salt beef parlour – one of the oldest in London – so I’ve done that.

“My friend Seamus Mullen opened a terrific restaurant at the Mondrian, at Sea Containers. Our friendship aside, I was blown away. Going back a few years, Nick Frost took me to Hix in Soho – that was a tasty meal – and I love Providores on Marylebone High Street. That was terrific. I love The Rib Man at King’s Cross, Mark Gevaux. He’s a badass, I love what he does...” I’m in danger of letting Richman get carried away in a personal whirlwind of fond food memories – I did mention he was passionate about such things – so I observe that for someone who claims not to have dipped much of a toe into the scene, he’s been around a fair bit. The reply is characteristically adroit: “What can I tell you – I’ve got big toes.”

The death of toxic orange cheese The concept of ‘American food’ as we know it is a tricky one. Historically, British opinion has been that it’s dumbed-down; obvious; all about big portions. As Richman puts it, “Americans tend to throw huge flavour bombs at everything – sometimes too much.” Conversely, British food has endured a reputation overseas of being stodgy, bland and generally uninspiring – something it has often, if not always, deserved. It’s difficult to summarise, because falling into the trap of judging a nation’s food on the exports that make it to these shores isn’t

I WENT TO CHICK KING ON THE HIGH ROAD FOR THE FIRST TIME TWO TRIPS AGO. IT’S A RITE OF PASSAGE FOR SPURS FANS

FOOD FIGHTERS Richman’s other new show sees him try his hand at hosting on this weekly cook-off, where amateur cooks set out to prove they’re more than a match for some of America’s best-known and most creative chefs in interpreting a dish and cooking it within half an hour. A must if you’re tired of whichever iteration of Masterchef or The Great British Bake Off you’ve been idly flicking between for the last six months. Food Fighters is on catch-up on foodnetwork.co.uk

always an accurate barometer. In fact, if you want to see what Americans are actually eating, Man v. Food (or, if you’re a purist, Man v. Food Nation, which removes the eating challenge from the show’s original format) along with other Food Network staples and, of course, Man Finds Food, is a far better gauge. But, if you watch as much American food programming as I do, you’ll surely have noticed a change over the last decade or so: there’s less toxic orange cheese, more locallyproduced ricotta; fewer identikit diners, more authentic, local restaurants. Above all, there’s an identifiable groundswell that suggests American food, especially outside its largest cities, is growing up. This is, of course, an observation made from the outside in. Richman, however, is firmly an insider. “The modern American is a much more educated eater,” he says. “I think people now have more access to better and more refined ingredients – ones that maybe five to ten years ago might have been labelled ‘specialty’ or ‘ethnic’ are now commonplace. Things like sriracha, pickled ginger, wasabi. “I think people are cooking more; food shows are everywhere. There’s that odd notion of the ‘food celebrity’ or ‘food entertainer’ – something I could be said to represent – and I think it makes food culture more accessible. I think you’re finding higherend ingredients at more low-brow, workaday places. My cousin, who never knew what deglazing a pan was, now knows exactly what he can deglaze a pan with. But he had never heard that term before he watched Food Network. Now you can watch a cook come on some talk show and say “Let’s lift those brown bits off the pan with a bit of stock or a splash of wine or a glug of beer.” →

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SAFFRON ISN’T A MYTHICAL ANDALUSIAN SPICE YOU CAN’T FIND. IT’S ON AISLE SIX

house, “receives fan-mail from Luton and Rochdale”, supports a London football team before an American one, and who clearly adores our capital city nearly as much as his hometown of Brooklyn: “It’s not up to me, but I’m praying.” Of course, it’s up to the networks. But he’s got a clear fanbase here, and more importantly a food scene it’d take ten seasons of a TV show to make a dent in, let alone one. But if Richman loves the idea of a restaurant accessible only via a bookcase in Austin, there’s one behind a curtain at the back of a clothes shop in Shoreditch I could show him. Here’s hoping... f For more info, go to foodnetwork.co.uk

Photograph by ###

The casual Man v. Food viewer might be surprised at how eloquently Richman sermonises on his work. But that same viewer may also be taken aback at quite how much has changed in his decade-long presenting career – the eating challenges in his shows have gone the way of the emphasis on huge portions in contemporary America. The cachet in finding hidden venues and dishes has replaced it, just as the average American, according to Richman, seems to have discovered how much better food is when it’s taken seriously, and done creatively. That little thing called the Internet is, of course, at least partly responsible. It’s no surprise to me, at least, that the modern American has a much better knowledge of previously unknown produce; we’re living in an age where someone in New York can see an article or a recipe shared on Twitter by someone in London and written by someone in France – all within 30 seconds. That and gastronomy focused TV shows like the ones Richman made his name on mean we all feel closer to the culinary landscapes of countries across the globe. Richman wholeheartedly agrees: “I think it’s the availability, and the flow-through of ideas in the information age,” he states. “People who’d never heard of saffron before are now talking about saffron recipes, because it’s one search away. It’s not this mythical Andalusian spice-thread that you can’t find. It’s like, ‘oh, it’s on aisle six’.” With pretty much unfettered connectivity, we may be on the cusp of a truly global food scene. The rate of progression and amalgamation in the last decade has been staggering, and will presumably only get faster. That’s why we need people like Richman – accessible, passionate people who will take on the exploration we can’t physically do ourselves, and keep us in touch in a way that won’t overwhelm us. Finally, because I can’t resist asking, will we ever see the Man Finds Food format take on London? I must admit that the thought of Richman rolling around Soho, Broadway market, or any of east London’s street food festivals performing his characteristic “bite, near-orgasmic face, moan” routine (his words, not mine) is an exciting one. I don’t know about you, but the parts of Man Finds Food that remind me of London are the ones I really relish. Richman’s answer is pretty much what you’d expect from a “self-confessed Anglophile” who grew up seeing etchings of his grandparents in Trafalgar Square at his


WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

For Lima’s Virgilio Martinez and Robert Ortiz, cooking is about representing not just Peruvian ingredients but the landscape – from the Amazon to the Andes. They share their dining philosophy with Mike Gibson Photography by David Harrison

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H “

I, WE’VE GOT a table for two… Oh, and where are the bathrooms, please?” There’s a silence – just for a moment – before Virgilio Martinez graciously passes the two women who’ve just mistaken him for front-of-house staff at Covent Garden’s Lima Floral into the capable hands of the actual maitre d’, with just a hint of a wry smile. He doesn’t concern himself with explaining that not only is he not a waiter; he’s actually the executive chef, who also just happens to preside over Latin America’s most acclaimed restaurant; and a man without whom we’d all be eating a lot less ceviche right now. It’s been a while since London diners fell in love with Peru. As with most cuisines, there have always been restaurants serving ceviche and pisco sours tucked in side streets around the capital, but it’s only in the past couple of years that Peruvian food has skyrocketed to the forefront of London eating. Looking at the success of Martinez’s restaurant Central, in the Miraflores district in Peru’s capital Lima, it’s not surprising that this approach has been welcomed by Londoners hungry for creativity and boundary-breaking cooking. “You know what we do at Central?” Martinez asks me when I sit down with him and Robert Ortiz, head chef at Michelinstarred Lima and its sister restaurant Lima Floral. “Our aim is to tell stories with our food, and for our guests to get to experience the biodiversity of our country. “Every single dish we do reflects a different ecosystem in Peru. So in order to

I THINK OF CENTRAL AS A WAY TO EAT AND ENJOY THE LANDSCAPES OF PERU OVER 17 COURSES 48

create a dish, we have to travel to different parts of the Andes and the Amazon and reinterpret the landscape. And we’re always finding new ingredients, because Peru is such a vast country. That’s the concept behind Central – I think of it as a way to eat and enjoy the landscapes of Peru over 17 courses.” It’s obvious that Martinez hasn’t gained his global reputation from quick-andeasy, accessible cooking; there are plenty of backstreet kitchens serving roots-style ceviche and barbecue in Lima if that’s what you’re hankering for. No, Martinez’s style is different. It’s not just about eating, but engaging – it’s dinner with a narrative – and it’s no surprise his approach has won him legions of disciples around the world, not to mention in our captial. We Londoners are suckers for experiential dining, after all. But this presents something of a dilemma: how can you claim to encapsulate the soul and spirit of Peru – still very much a developing country in parts despite sustained economic growth over the past decade – when you’re cooking Michelin-starred tasting menus at top price points? Is what you end up with truly representative of Peru? “We are historically very poor,” Martinez says, “but in other aspects, like in a social sense, Peru is rich in tradition. Gastronomically we are very rich, too. Our richness is in areas like nature, and people; culture, tradition, happiness, conversations. “In Peru, food is a big part of our lives, because we have so much agriculture; so much diversity; so much tradition. So every single person is always talking about food. Our relationship with food and nature is very close. We respect the tradition of Peruvian cuisine. We enjoy it, but we twist it to make it more understandable for different palates.” “And obviously we want to push certain boundaries,” Ortiz interjects. “We concentrate on Virgilio’s experience and the belief that we have in what the people like to eat.” It’s not like experimentation is unknown to Peru, either. The Inca people were keen foragers who built pseudo-laboratories, and Peru’s history has incorporated generations of Asian and other Latin American immigration, resulting in the creation of Nikkei and other fusion cuisines. “People might question if it’s Peruvian,” Martinez says. “Of course it is, but some Peruvians probably don’t believe it is, because we don’t do the typical Peruvian dishes. We focus more on travelling, getting ingredients we haven’t seen before, speaking to the people who live in the altitudes of Peru and bringing their stories to the dish.”


LEFT: Martinez (left) and Ortiz (right) preside over London’s Lima and Lima Floral. Ortiz is the man on the ground, while Martinez collaborates with him on developing recipes from their native Peru

Photograph by ###

The two grew up around food in different ways. Ironically, Martinez – an exponent of truly contemporary cooking – first came into contact with cooking in the humblest of ways: watching fishermen make roots-style ceviche on the beach. Ortiz’s mother owned a traditional Peruvian restaurant, and both of them saw cooking as a way to escape the uncertainty facing their country at the time. “Peru was in very difficult times,” Martinez, now 37, says. “Terrorism, economic hardship, corruption – lots of things were all happening. In my generation the idea was just to escape.” Martinez did so by going to culinary college in Canada, before trying his hand in kitchens around the world, including one in London where he met Ortiz for the first time. “I used to work in the Four Seasons hotel in Canary Wharf,” says Ortiz. “I was the only Peruvian at the time, working nights in the kitchen – it was the hotel where I met Virgilio. I had been there longer, so I knew more about the food, and more about the people.” It’s hard to think of Martinez – who’s as relaxed and restrained when he instructs Lima’s kitchen staff as when he sits down for this interview – as a loose cannon, but he insists he’s come a long way. “When I came to London I was immature. I came to the restaurant and I met Robert and he happened to be my boss. He was an inspiration, a model to follow, and the only Peruvian in the kitchen.” Their paths diverged after that, but they kept in touch. Martinez, of course, founded Central, which quickly became one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world – and when the time came to expand into London, there was only one man he entrusted with the task of running the kitchen. “I believe in the law of attraction – when you want to do something and you just send a message. The Gonzalez brothers [co-owners of Lima] called me, and I called Robert. “Central is my base, my home, and it’s a very good place for innovation and creativity. Robert came to Central to spend a month or two, he got the idea and I thought ‘Robert, we have to do something like this.’ I thought that Robert and I could build the recipes together, and that’s it – after that it’s his thing. I just come once in a while to see what’s going on. “My position in the restaurant is about the concepts. I’m in based in Lima, Peru, and →

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ABOVE: The food at Lima is heralded as the most creatively cooked Peruvian in the capital. It may seem experimental, but it’s heavily inspired by ingredients and findings of foraging teams in Peru

→ I travel to the Amazon and the Andes, so my work is also to keep Robert in touch with Peru. This is something that’s very positive for us, because we want to keep the relationship with Peru every single day.” Martinez does this through developing recipes with Ortiz out of Central, and also through sharing the findings of his Peruvian foraging and research collective Mater Iniciativa. “It’s good for the cuisine here, to keep it authentic,” he says. He also admits that London wasn’t always the first port of call when it came to expanding the work he was doing at Central. But it does seem serendipitous that he and Ortiz would end up here together, years after they met in the Four Seasons kitchen. And it can’t hurt that London was well set up for the kind of modern, experimental cooking the two were bringing to the table. “People here already like spicy cooking,” Ortiz says, “but Peru brings something new. We have a lot of things to show; a lot of things to talk about. The flavours are new, but the people here already know about these kinds of spices. People like coriander here; people like lemongrass and they like sushi.”

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“They want authenticity,” Martinez says. “They don’t want industrialisation in food, and Peru has that – our food is fresh. They want to eat healthily, and Peru has that, too: if you go to Peru you can see agriculture; you can see producers doing amazing things without using chemicals. So I think this is what people want to experience: authenticity in nature and no special effects in food. We aren’t simple, but we’re straightforward.” I ask the two what they make of other Peruvian restaurants that are enjoying their time in the sun in London’s food scene. “We love them all,” Martinez responds, smiling. “I’ve been to all of them and I think they do a great job. It may be a little confusing for Londoners, because you see different styles of Peruvian cuisine. We focus on innovation, creativity and working with Peruvian produce. Some other restaurants have more focus on traditions; some focus on ceviches and more typical dishes.” “I think it’s great to have these new restaurants coming along,” Ortiz agrees. “They help us, push us, and we see that.” And what of Martinez’s influences? He may be a pioneer of gastronomy, but he must cite some of his luminaries as having had an effect on his cooking – he knows Nuno Mendes and Ferran Adrià well, among others. But the chef, once again, comes back to his native country: “I could make a list of 300 chefs, but mostly now it’s producers in Peru,

PRODUCERS IN PERU ARE THE CHEFS I REALLY ADMIRE, BECAUSE THEY COOK IN THE SOIL working ethically; these are the people I really admire, because they’re cooking in the soil. “Every time I see how they treat their products, they inspire me,” he says. “These are the real chefs; the ones who are doing the real cooking.” It’s a magnanimous statement from a man who’s won global acclaim for his food, but it makes sense. He’s the chef-narrator – whether it’s Incas, fishermen, or the people of Lima, he feels the same. It’s their story – he just happens to be best-equipped to tell it. f To find out more about the restaurants or to make a reservation, go to limalondon.com


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SPICE INVADERS We’ve used it in food and drink for centuries, but only now are Londoners discovering how to get the most out of spice, says Clare Finney

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HILIP ERATH SHAKES his head and looks blank. “Gosh. That’s a really difficult question. I’m not sure I’ve ever been asked that.” Erath, who runs Notting Hill’s pioneering Spice Shop, repeats the question to his wife, Yaziz, knee-deep in delivery boxes downstairs – while I fight the temptation to crow delightedly. After over half an hour of plumbing the couple’s exhaustive knowledge of spice’s history and uses, I’ve finally stumped them with a simple question: what do you think of as spice? What does anyone think? The Oxford English Dictionary defines spice as ‘an aromatic or pungent vegetable substance used to flavour food’, which is a good starting point. It rules out salt, at least – and while the OED doesn’t cover it, those in the industry have conclusively ruled out herbs. If it’s the leaf of the plant, then it’s a herb; if it’s anything else – roots, seeds, bark and fruit – then it belongs in the spice rack. But such clinical clarifications don’t scratch the surface of humanity’s long and impassioned relationship with spice, and its use in food and drink. Take London, for instance: a cultural and culinary melting pot that for centuries has been routinely sprinkled with spices. The birthplace of the East India Trading company in the 19th century – and the beneficiary of bounty from the Crusades and other Imperialistic endeavours in the East before that – it has long been familiar with the spices and seasonings of that part of the world. In fact, so assimilated are nutmeg, cinnamon and mixed spice in British food that Magali Russell, owner of the Spice Mountain stall at Borough market, cites stories of tourists coming to her stall looking for these ‘British spices’ to take home as souvenirs. “They look bemused when I tell them they’re not from here,” she laughs, “though they are in all the old British recipes. Generally speaking, in Europe and North America – where spices don’t really grow – they have adapted spices grown elsewhere to their own cuisines.” Coriander seed, used in korma in India, has long been used as a pickling spice in Scandinavia; turmeric, perfect in Moroccan tagines, is what turns British piccalilli a toxic yellow. Today we call this ‘fusion’, but this modish term does scant justice to the highly complex cross-fertilization that has occurred over centuries.What it does describe, though, is the more recent trends. Chef Peter

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Gordon might not be the first to point out how Italian risotto depends on rice from Asia, but the ‘godfather of fusion’ is one of the first to deploy that argument to defend his use of lemongrass in the dish. As a result, his pioneering approach has been a key driver of culinary and behavioral change. “Basically, Peter’s view was you could use what you wanted, so long as it tasted good,” chef Anna Hansen (Gordon’s former protégée and the highly respected founder of Modern Pantry) has said. There, she continues to spurn heritage and tradition to create bold, innovative combinations of food from around the world. Her dry stores are fundamental – “Different pickles, vinegars, sauces and spices add the difference to the dish, and they are

TOURISTS CAME LOOKING FOR ‘BRITISH SPICES’ TO TAKE HOME AS SOUVENIRS

FROM TOP: Marylebone speakeasy Purl has helped champion the use of spices in cocktails; papdi chaat at Tamarind; they don’t go easy on the chilli at World of Zing; lobster couscous from Wormwood, headed up by chef Rabah Ourrad

there all year round,” she says – but her basic ingredients are fresh, local and seasonal. She might be a child of Peter Gordon, but she knew her first employer Fergus Henderson’s ‘fresh, simple, nose-to-tail’ philosophy first. Looking back, it seems Anna’s story is representative of London’s own evolution: from a place where ‘spicy’ meant ‘cheap curry’ to a true modern pantry. This, coupled with a renewed effort to support local, sustainable producers, has breathed new life into a food scene which just a few years previously would have dismissed ‘spices’ as largely the preserve of ‘Indian’ cuisine. Gone are the days when ‘having an Indian’ was generally a chicken tandoori with three chilli symbols on the menu to indicate heat – a hangover, says the Spice Shop’s Erath, from the curry houses that proliferated in the post-WWII years. In their stead are young, speciality restaurants like Dishoom and Rasa, whose carefully built menus reflect the regional variation within India and the use of spices therein. Rasa serves southern Indian fare; Dishoom Bombay street food – “the most authentic experience of Indian food you can have in London,” according to spice importer Pritesh Mody. Its success needs no evincing: even on Monday nights queues to eat at one


Photograph (main) by Tom Elms

of its London sites are out of the door. Hot on its heels are more authentic versions of Thai, Vietnamese and Mexican – for the latter, see Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers, who has, Mody says, “changed chilli as we know it”. We expect more from restaurants and we experiment more from our own kitchens, their shelves creaking with the revolutionaries’ recipe books. Grandparents aside, few Londoners today who would conflate the word ‘spicy’ with ‘eye-wateringly hot’. “Part of our education program is to talk about our various spices in terms of flavour, not heat,” explains Mody, his importing company anther paradigm of how spice has changed in London in recent years. Called World of Zing, it was in fact born as a sideline of his grandfather’s long-standing business importing traditional spices for the Asian population. “I was working in the drinks industry when I began to notice that young chefs and bartenders kept asking me if, the next time my family’s business went to Mexico or Thailand, they could chuck in a box of whatever random spice they were struggling to get hold of.” Armed with his grandfather’s contact book and his own experiences in the industry, Mody was perfectly placed to cater for the city’s growing appetite for new, original and bold flavours. Dried Persian limes, pink peppercorns, naga bhut jolokia – that is, ghost chillies, the supply of which goes almost entirely to Mark Andrew Gevaux, aka the Rib Man. Selling ribs slathered in his homemade Christ on a Bike Hot Sauce, his stall has “singlehandedly put the naga on the map”, enthuses Mody. “We’ve sold more to him in one go than we have in two months.” How the man hasn’t burnt off his fingertips, we will never discover – but, like Pitt Cue, the Joint and the entire smorgasbord of street food stalls and pop ups, the Rib Man is a textbook example of a creative chef using spice in new ways to deliver great food at a reasonable price. Mody attributes it to the recession. Post2008, ‘conspicuous consumption’ – that is, fine-dining for fine-dining’s sake – was a luxury few could continue, he argues. “Most people, if they were eating out, wanted value for money: big on portions, big on taste.” They needed affordable fulfilment – something street food from around the world could provide by the boxful. Burritos, pad thai, dhall, banh mi, ribs, katsu, jerk chicken – all could be attained via British ingredients, provided importers like Magali Russell, Philip Erath and Pritesh Mody could source the spices. Increasingly the direction is two ways. As demand and interest continues, the three

FEW OF US WOULD CONFLATE THE WORD ‘SPICY’ WITH ‘EYEWATERINGLY HOT’ TODAY are also influencing trends in spices. “Often, if cooks or food writers are looking for ideas, they’ll come in here and I’ll show them something I find interesting,” Erath explains. “If they like it, they’ll cook with it. Next thing you know, it’s got a following.” It was his shop – and his mother, Birgit – that helped inspire a young Jamie Oliver way back when, and he continues to do so. Over at the bar, meanwhile, Mody’s experience in the drinks industry is serving him well. “I’ve just sent a new root spice to Square Root, who make soft drinks in Hackney,” he says, happily. “They’re experimenting with it.” He supplies the cinchona for their tonic water, too. His most recent venture, creating barrel-aged cocktails and infusions from his spice collection in collaboration with drinks consultants Fluid Movement, is going from strength to strength. “Bartenders are increasingly following chefs by creating their own drinks, rather than buying and mixing them.” It’s an order of play Mani Genovese, from speakeasy Purl London, confirms somewhat reluctantly. “We’re supposed to dislike each other, but there is a strong connection. New spices used in kitchens eventually tend to make their way into the bar.” He shows me his spice store at Purl: jars upon tubs, crammed into an alcove and filled with all manner of flakes and powders. Experiments with wasabi have yet to work (his eyes water just telling me about it) but the cocktail of dried coriander seed, homemade ginger syrup and rum he whisks up is a far and flavoursome cry from the sugary coloured mixers of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Genovese sees infusions of ‘bark’ spices, like cedar wood, taking off next, while Mody and Erath look to the resurgence of →

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FROM LEFT: Paul A Young’s chocolate mulled wine puts a spiced spin on a winter classic; Sacred’s distillery uses reduced-pressure distillation to bring out the flavour of botanicals

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→ independent distilleries as the next step for spices. After all, one of the best loved spirits in a bar’s armoury is vodka infused with juniper and other botanicals – that is, gin. “There are more than 500,000 possible botanicals,” Ian Hart of Sacred Spirits Company tells me. “Provided juniper is in there, there’s no limit to what you can make gin with.” If it’s obtainable and looks like it might work in a martini, chances are he’s tried. His north London distillery has used cardamom, coriander and even Christmas pudding spices for gin. He’s made mistakes, but who hasn’t? “If you don’t experiment you don’t come up with something new,” he says, simply. It’s a lesson no one, not even the head chefs, can afford to forget, for we have so much further to travel.

Photograph (main) by Anders Schonnemann from Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A Young (Kyle Books, £14.99)

PROVIDED JUNIPER IS IN THERE, THERE’S NO LIMIT TO WHAT YOU CAN MAKE GIN WITH

Of those foodies I’ve spoken to, the most influential are those constantly pushing the boundaries. Chocolatier Paul A Young refuses to rule anything out – and in spice and chocolate he has a pretty tough brief. By experimenting in his Soho kitchen, the confectioner has discovered that chai spice, smoked paprika and even a voatsiperifery pepper bring out the best in good chocolate. “I like to try everything,” he says. While the rest of us are still getting our heads around the idea of a basic chilli-flecked chocolate, Young is pondering peppercorns. “Chilli in chocolate is out and Persian spices are in.” Which brings us to Rabah Ourrad: alumnus of the Michelin-starred Ledbury and founder of Wormwood restaurant in Notting Hill. He’s one of the Spice Shop’s regular customers, touted to get his own Michelin star this year – and is by far the most critical of the city’s spice status quo. Every week the Algerian-born chef roasts, grinds and blends whole fresh spices – and is intrigued by the reactions of customers to his dishes. “I’ve discovered from this first year that using spices for unique flavours and putting them in relief, as first notes or second notes that hit the palate, made the food taste different or surprising to most of our guests,” he says, “and that brought me to this conclusion: spices, especially North African ones, are still to be discovered – or more precisely to be rediscovered here.” Back in the Spice Shop, Yaziz is unpacking the last of the day’s delivery boxes: a medley of Korean spices – a recent trend – and some basics. Upstairs, the combined aroma of 2,500 spices, so intense when I first walked in, has begun to subside. Suddenly, Philip and I hear her exclaim excitedly, and run up to the shop floor. “I have it! The answer to your question,’ she grins. “If food is the heart of a meal, then spice is the soul.” f


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ABOVE: Nuno Mendes turned the restaurant of Marylebone hotel Chiltern Firehouse into one of the success stories of 2014. RIGHT: His skin is adorned with tattoos.

HAND TO MOUTH

A photographic exhibition tells the stories of 50 London chefs using just their hands. We take a look at a project ten years in the making Photography by Katie Wilson

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C Photograph by ###

HEFS ARE CURIOUS beings – some are loud and exuberant, others calm and collected; some court the limelight, others downplay their influence. But there are a few things that bind them all: passion, a penchant for long hours, and hands that tell the story of a life spent in the kitchen. That’s why when photographer Katie Wilson wanted to document 50 of London’s best chefs, she chose to show their hands first, in a series called simply Fifty Chefs: The Hands That Feed London. Destined for a new home following a successful run at Londonewcastle Project Space in Shoreditch, the images are striking in their sparseness and prove that if a picture can paint a thousand words, a pair of hands can say even more.

Find out more at fiftychefs.com

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ABOVE: Head chef Angela Hartnett rules the roost at Mayfair’s Murano. It was awarded a Michelin star within four months of opening.

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ABOVE: Having gained a Michelin star at Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Australia-born Skye Gyngell now heads up Spring in Somerset House

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JUST SHOW US YOUR PERFECT #BENUGOCOFFEEBREAK

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE WAY TO ENJOY A BENUGO COFFEE BREAK? With one of our delicious pastries, a tasty sandwich or a healthy snack? At Curzon Street or relaxing on the South Bank? However and wherever you enjoy your coffee, take a photo, share it online and tag it #benugocoffeebreak. Our 12 favourite posts will win a whole month of great coffee.

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ABOVE: Ollie Dabbous is renowned for a style of cooking that, as he says, is “deliberately a bit rough around the edges�. Like his hands, then.

Photograph by ###

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BELOW: 50 chefs; 100 hands (give or take – Fergus Henderson and a few others chose to show just one). The scope of the project is enormous, having taken ten years to complete. Wilson describes it as “a look at the hard graft that goes on in the restaurant engine room”. All proceeds from prints sold have gone to food charity FareShare (fareshare.org.uk), which redirects food waste to the vulnerable.

Want to see for yourself? Easy – go to the restaurants of every chef who appeared in the collection and ask the maitre d’ if you’re

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allowed in the kitchen. Or, if it’s easier, you can go and see the exhibition, which features all of the photographs next to stories about the kitchen by writer Nellie Blundell. It’s just finished a successful run at Londonewcastle

Project Space, but it’ll be shown at other venues soon enough. Keep an eye on fiftychefs.com for details; or, if you can’t wait, you can browse the entire series on the site. f For more info on Katie Wilson, visit katiewilson.eu

Photograph by ###

GIVE IT A BIG HAND


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SHAKE IT OFF

We’ve searched the capital for the cocktails you need in your life. From summer cups to dark and brooding short drinks, we’ve got it covered

SURFSIDE PUNCH “This cocktail is directly inspired by Nantucket’s main beach, Surfside. We developed it with the vision of lively picnics on the beach, complete with a summery, fruity punch.” – Terrence Lundy, manager, Skylounge

I N GREDI EN TS ◆ 50ml camomile-infused Snow

Queen vodka ◆ 50ml champagne ◆ 50ml grapefruit juice ◆ 12.5ml grenadine syrup ◆ 50ml pomegranate juice ◆ fresh mint sprigs ◆ apple, orange and lime pieces

Mix the juice, syrups and vodka in a jam jar mug, then top with the champagne. Garnish with the fresh mint, apples, oranges and lime. doubletree3.hilton.com

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CAMOMILE AND CHARCOAL OLD FASHIONED “The inspiration for this cocktail came from research into Japanese whisky culture, which is centred around the ideas of good health, nature and, of course, good whisky. I stumbled across the bamboo charcoal powder, which helps your digestive system, paired it with the camomile for a natural, floral taste, and mixed it with one of our more peaty Japanese whiskies. It’s a perfect after-dinner drink.” – Cristian Cuevas, bar manager, Bull in a China Shop

I NG REDI EN TS ◆ 50ml Hakushu Single Malt ◆ 10ml camomile syrup ◆ dash of bitters ◆ bamboo charcoal powder

Stir in a rocks glass over ice, and sprinkle with the charcoal. bullinachinashop.london

RYE ME TO THE MOON “This is one for people wanting to get into stirred whiskey drinks like the old fashioned or manhattan, but who aren’t accustomed to a huge hit of high-proof booze at once. I was looking for a low-proof spirit that worked well with rye whiskey, and I found the nutty notes in amontillado sherry work really well with the spicy rye-bread flavours in Bulleit Rye. The Abbot’s bitters give the drink a spicy, fruitcake finish, and make it a great introduction to whiskey cocktails.” – Terry Cashman, bar manager, 46 & Mercy

ING R E DIE NTS ◆ 35ml Bulleit Rye ◆ 35ml amontillado sherry ◆ 10ml bay leaf syrup (1:1 sugar and

Photograph by ###

water, simmered with a handful of dry bay leaves for 30 minutes) ◆ 2 dashes Angostura bitters ◆ 3 dashes Bob’s Abbott’s bitters

BITE-SIZED

FOODISM.CO.UK/ NEWSLETTER

Build in a chilled rocks glass over cubed ice, stir briefly and garnish with orange zest and a fresh bay leaf. 46andmercy.com

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LISLE STREET GIN “The drink is from our summer menu, and was created to showcase one of the gins we make in-house. The rhubarb soda works beautifully with the botanicals and is a great alternative to the traditional tonic.” – Matt Whiley, mixologist, Peg + Patriot

I N GREDI EN TS ◆ 25ml Peg + Patriot Lisle Street Gin

(infused with juniper, coriander seed, orange peel, jasmine and redcurrants) ◆ Square Root Rhubarb Soda ◆ Orange peel twist

TWINKLE “This is a delicate, fragrant drink with subtle notes of red fruits from the Luc Belaire Rosé.” – Pedro Solorzano, bar director, Hush Brasserie

Serve in a tall glass with ice and garnish with a twist of orange peel. pegandpatriot.com

ING R E DIE NTS ◆ 40ml Russian Standard vodka ◆ 20ml elderflower cordial ◆ Luc Belaire Rosé

Layer and serve in a coupe glass. Garnish with an edible flower. hush.co.uk; lucbelaire.com

BALTAZAR “Our cocktail menu uses handselected, naturally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. The Baltazar is one of seven signature cocktails and is light and refreshing – a great drink for summer.” – Alban Hajdini, bar manager, The Natural Philosopher

INGRE D IE NTS ◆ 1 lemongrass stalk ◆ 6 raspberries ◆ 50ml homemade lemon-

infused vodka ◆ 20ml fresh lime juice ◆ 15ml sugar syrup ◆ 25ml lychee juice

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Photograph by ###

Muddle the lemongrass and raspberries in a glass. Add the lemon-infused vodka, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup and lychee juice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. facebook.com/TheNaturalPhilosopher


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073 KOLKATA STREET FOOD | 078 BOTTLE SERVICE 085 BOOZE NEWS | 092 THE SELECTOR | 098 DECONSTRUCT

— PART 3 —

EXCESS “THIS, SHE SAYS WITHOUT SAYING IT, IS A PIECE OF MEAT THAT DEMANDS CONTEMPLATION, ADMIRATION, RESPECT” KOLKATA STREET FOOD, 073


WE ATE IT ON THE STREETS MAIN COURSE

Move over Delhi and Mumbai. With dirt-cheap street snacks and fish so fresh it’s still flipping, Kolkata is the undisputed food capital of India, says Laura Chubb

ABOVE: A street hawker sells fruit on the streets of Kolkata – India’s third-largest city and cultural capital – in front of a colourful painted wall

“M

ADAME, THE DUM pukht kakori.” My waitress delivers her line in a reverent half-whisper, the sort of practised hush used to announce a president or a Hollywood heavyweight into the room; a VIP in any case, or, in this instance, a VIK – a Very Important Kebab. This, she says without saying it, is a piece of meat that demands contemplation and respect. “It was made for the last king of Lucknow,” the waitress adds, “who lost his ability to chew, but not his love of kebabs.” →

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A CROWD WATCHES HUNGRILY AS PARATHAS ARE LOADED WITH KEBAB MEAT, FRIED EGG, ONIONS SIZZLED IN SPICES, PEPPER AND LIME 74

descendants of royal court cooks – to what is considered the country’s cheapest and most diverse street food, the determined scoffer in me has arrived ready to eat. Central foodie stretch Park Street is many a visitor’s first stop, and it’s just off here that I find Kusum’s, my hotel concierge’s top tip for a kathi roll - a sort of Indian burrito that Rick Stein once called “the perfect street food”. He’s not wrong. A crowd watches hungrily as the guys behind the open-air counter load pancakey parathas with kebab meat, fried egg, onions sizzled in spices, a few shakes of black pepper and a squeeze of lime. (For those nervous about eating off the street in India, just go wherever the locals are congregating and order whatever they’re ordering – it’s the best way to discover exotic eats without regretting it later.) Every bite of my packed roll gives the kind of warming satisfaction only a hefty, fried street snack can – and all for the princely sum of 45p.

Eat on the street Delicate constitutions will be relieved to hear Bengali food is seldom spicy. Kolkata’s street carts instead tend to serve up variously intriguing chutney-soaked chaat – chaat being a catch-all for savoury roadside snacks, ordinarily involving fried dough, then scattered with manifold combinations of potato, lentils, sweet curd (yoghurt) and the like. I’m told a joint called Ridhi Sidhi on Lord Sinha Road offers several stalls serving all manner of things popping and crackling in pans; a stop-start cab ride through the heaving streets later and, along with an expectant belly, I’ve arrived. The day is September grey, but the heat is wet and close. I try puchka (also known as pani puri or golgappa, about 10p), one of the country’s most iconic nosh-as-you-walk nibbles and a specialty of Kolkata. A hollow, round, puffedup crisp (the ‘puri’) snaps under my teeth to release its contents: a spicy deluge of mashed potato and tamarind water. It’s an explosion of taste and sensation quite unlike anything else. I also try a sloppy plate of what’s best described as a chopped-up potato doughnut (ring-shaped, with a crispy fried outer and a buttery mashed inner), smothered with sweet curd, spicy moss-green coriander chutney and little bits of dried gram-flour vermicelli. Sounds odd, looks odder – but, at 20p, it tastes incredible, a delicious mess of sweet and savoury, hot and sour, crunchy and soft. This motley mish-mash is as expressive of Kolkata’s history as it is of the cuisine. Formerly the capital of British India, there are vestiges of Raj-time glory: grimy, once-grand

baroque buildings; leaf-lined, wide tarmac roads; the smack of leather on willow at Eden Gardens Cricket Ground. This past struggles for influence with both present and future, as the skeletons of future towers loom over slum communities built under bridges.

Crossbreed cuisine But these dichotomies have always defined Kolkata. Today, it’s the modern, commercial, educational and cultural centre of East India; and yet, tucked close to the border with Bangladesh and spitting distance from Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet and China, the city – population 14.1 million – also swells with poor migrants. Weary men grind at the pedals of bicycles pulling implausible loads – a trailer piled high with gas canisters, an almost literal ton of bricks – weaving laboriously between the luxury cars as they go. That’s →

5 KOLKATA STREET FOODS TO TRY 1 PUCHKA

Puchka, a puffed-up crisp filled with mashed potato and tamarind water, is popular all over India, but the Kolkatan version is beloved for its lightness and less spicy flavour.

2 KATHI ROLL A pancakey paratha envelops kebab meat, fried egg, onions, ketchup, chili, spices and lime – hell on the arteries, but heaven on the tongue.

3 JHAL MURI A crunchy combo of sweetness and spice, all wrapped up in a cone of newspaper so you can munch on the move, jhal muri typically boasts lentils, coconut chunks, peanuts and spicy chutney.

4 PAPRI CHAAT Think open-sandwich-meets-nachos: deep-fried chips are topped with spicy potatoes, onions, coriander, chilli and tamarind chutney.

5 ROSOGOLLA This sweet treat is every Kolkatan’s favourite naughty snack: dumplings of sweet Indian cottage cheese served drowning in sugar syrup.

Photographs by india view/Alamy; imageBROKER/Alamy; David Noton Photography/Alamy; Jake Lyell/Alamy; Daniel J. Rao/Alamy

→ She hovers expectantly. I take what I hope is an appropriately timed pause for meditation on minced lamb, then lop off a morsel and pop it in. This is ridiculous. The meat hasn’t been minced: it’s been pulverised to please the palate of that gnasherless 19thcentury royal. “Melt in the mouth”, the menu says, but it feels like it melted long before it ever touched my tongue, leaving behind some sort of clove, cinnamon and saffronspiced near-liquid silk. But what else to expect when dining in Kolkata? The capital of West Bengal is widely considered the food centre of the entire subcontinent. This is no small claim to fame, considering food is the cornerstone of Indian culture. The country may be as split as the Scotland vote – a seething, teeming bundle of castes, improbable languages (Malayalam?) and religion – but there’s one thing everyone can agree on, and that’s their love of eating Family meals spend days simmering in pans; street hawkers satiate the passing hungry hordes. Each state brings a new favourite plate. I’ve joined rickshaw drivers jiving for jalebi in Agra, dabbled with breakfast dosas in Kerala and crammed in zingy, vinegar-sloshed Goan curries. And in Kolkata, with everything from posh restaurants such as Dum Pukht – where I’m losing myself in that lamb-fuelled reverie, and the chefs are all


CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Kolkata roll stall; busy pedestrian traffic; roadside stall selling bhel puri; vegetable market stall-holder; Bay of Bengal at night

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ABOVE: Outdoor street stall selling fresh fruit in Kolkata. RIGHT: The 269ft-high Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly River is also known as Rabindra Setu

→ why you’ll find such a lively culinary culture:

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almost-exact replica of Delhi’s most famous restaurant, Bukhara, also owned by the ITC hotel group. Everything is cooked in clay tandoors set to different temperatures (some up to 300-400ºC), which takes great skill for the cooks to maintain. I treat myself to signature dish Sikandari Raan, a whole leg of lamb marinated in malt vinegar, black cumin and red chili. This isn’t just lamb so tender it falls apart at the touch of my fork; the flesh has already been softened into submission and is slumped into piles around the bone by the time it arrives. The trick in Kolkata, then, is simple: never discriminate. Dive in among the clamouring rabble at street stalls by day, then fine-dine your way through elegant evenings. The city has more than one side to explore – make sure you eat it all up. f

GETTING THERE Air India flies from London Heathrow to Kolkata, via Mumbai, from around £440 return. Rooms at the five-star ITC Sonar hotel start from around £90 per night, if booked in advance. See airindia.in and itchotels.in.

AT THE FISH MARKET, GREAT SLABS OF FLESH THE SIZE OF MY TORSO ARE DISPLAYED ON BANANALEAF MATS, WHILE MONSTROUS PRAWNS LIE DRAPED ON CRUSHED ICE

Photographs by National Geographic Image Collection/Alamy; Zvonimir Atletic/Alamy

the business suits want refined, AC-cooled restaurants, the minimum-wage workers need cheap eats on the go, and you’re as likely to find chow mein and Tibetan dumplings on menus as you are tandoori. Seafood is also a staple of Bengali cuisine, given the proximity to Diamond Harbour, near where the Bay of Bengal meets the Hooghly River. Just as abundant are freshwater catches from the rivers and lakes of the Ganges Delta. But don’t expect to be ordering up your standard Brick Lane prawn vindaloo or fish tikka; regional specialties include smoked river fish bhakti smothered in a mustard and green chilli sauce. Predictably, it’s fantastic; the sauce packs all that rich mustard flavour, but none of the up-your-nose-and-into-your-brain pain. One of my favourite days in the city is a trip to the fish market, where great slabs of creatures the size of my torso are displayed on bananaleaf mats; monstrous prawns are draped on crushed ice. In several baskets, still-alive koi carp jump, struggling for breath. It doesn’t get much fresher than that. While you can generally indulge in Kolkata’s finest food experiences for less than £1 a pop, for my last night I can’t resist Peshawri. The signature restaurant of the business-swish ITC Sonar hotel, it’s an


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TREASURE TROVE DRINK

When it comes to alcohol, ‘good enough’ isn’t good enough. We’re here to kick your collection into shape PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON

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1 Moluptatur The heat is a conseditatis (almost) on,volorit and expelesed et latat these pale ales are moditasit untiur? perfect for spring 2 Minimagnam doluptur andae days in beer net rehentet, non gardens:

comnisi nonsequi 1 Brewdog Dead Pony dolorro dolorecae Pale Ale, 3.8%, 330ml pos qui tem fuga. 2 Odell IPA, 7%, 330ml Equi corporem. Ut 3 Weird Beard Mariana pos pliqui ommolor Trench, 5.1%, 330ml umquam, ipsam 4 Wild Beer Co Fresh, rerion parum facculpa 5.3%, 330ml quas sandisq uiatum 5 Brixton Atlantic APA, quo que dem qui 5.4%, 330ml ipsam verferibus, 6 East London Brewing sum asi nis asped Company Cowcatcher escia volupidunt. APA, 4.8%, 330ml 3 Aciis con reprovi 7 Brew by Numbers tatias dolupta Session IPA 11:01, 4.5%, 330ml 8 The Five Points Brewing Co Five Points Pale, 4.4%, 330ml 9 Tiny Rebel Fubar, 4.4%, 330ml 10 Beavertown Gamma Ray APA, 5.4%, 330ml Buy these and many more craft beers at honestbrew.co.uk

Photograph by ###

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Good vodkas such as these are for sipping, not shotting:

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1 Konik’s Tail spelt grain vodka, 40%, 70cl. £38; harveynichols.com 2 Untamed Irish Vodka, 40%, 70cl. £34.99; amazon.com 3 Sipsmith Sipping Vodka, 40%, 70cl. £28.95; sipsmith.com 4 Staritsky & Levitsky Reserve Vodka 2010, 40%, 70cl. £33.99; masterofmalt.com


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Form is temporary; class is permanent. These styles may have drifted out of fashion but they’re back with a bang:

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1 Sparkling Shiraz Cabernet, 14%. Barossa, Australia. 75cl. £26.50; harveynichols.com 2 Louis Tête Brouilly 2012, 12.5%, 75cl. Beaujolais, France. £11; marksandspencer.com 3 Cantina Paltrinieri Lambrusco 2012, 11%, 75cl. Sorbara, Italy. £18.99, selfridges.com 4 Miraval Rosé 2014. 13%, 75cl. Côtes de Provence, France. £19.50, bbr.com 5 Erste & Neue Pinot Grigio 2013, 13%, 75cl. Alto Adige, Italy. £14, harveynichols.com

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PROMOTION

LEFT: The twin peaks of Saint Lucia's famous Piton Mountains. ABOVE: fresh seafood is just one type of cuisine you can enjoy on the island

GOURMET DELIGHTS OF SAINT LUCIA There's more to Saint Lucia than beautiful, mountainous landscapes and white-sand beaches – it's home to an incredible variety of food and drink experiences, too

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ITH LUSH, VERDANT rainforests, fertile volcanic soil and warm Caribbean waters, it’s no wonder Saint Lucia's Creoleinfluenced cuisine contains so many delightful flavours. The island is a feast for the senses, with immense natural beauty working alongside creative chefs making full use of the abundance of home-grown tropical fruits, vegetables and freshly-caught seafood. Many Saint Lucian restaurants offer Creole dishes, such as stewed meats, green fig and saltfish – the national dish – but there are international flavours in evidence, too. This is especially true in Rodney Bay Village, the main resort, where you’ll find Thai, Indian, Chinese, Italian, French, seafood and steakhouse

restaurants – you could eat a different style of cuisine every night of your holiday. Moreover, a number of first-class restaurants are dotted around the island, with spectacular, romantic settings competing for your attention along with gorgeous gourmet fare. You can dine in style with a magical view of the Piton Mountains and right by the water's edge in Marigot Bay and Castries Harbour. Food and drink experiences on the island go way beyond just dining: its resident rum distillery hosts an enchanting tour that ends with the opportunity to sample more than 20 varieties of Saint Lucian rum. And the culinary vices don’t end there – cocoa plantations abound, with some offering tours that showcase the island's unique cocoa history. At the only Hotel Chocolat plantation and hotel in

the world, you can even make your own chocolate bar, and its on-site restaurant is a haven for chocolate-lovers. For local experiences, a trip to the bustling Castries market or a visit to the Anse La Raye street party for fresh barbecued seafood are definitely worth a try. High-quality food and beverages are at the heart of the varied hotel resorts in Saint Lucia. Holidaymakers are spoilt for choice when looking for a beautiful beachfront setting and stunning accommodation with first-class service and amazing food. Great savings are on offer this summer, with holidays to Saint Lucia from just £619pp. For amazing offers and further information on hotels and attractions, call 020 7341 7000 or visit saintluciauk.org

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Keep little bit more IN aTHE DRINK for that escape APERITIF From a five-day cocktail party in NYC to gin made Down Under, we bring you boozey news from London and beyond

Manhattan Cocktail Classic photograph by Gabi Porter

1 Bacardi Legacy You know when you tell people at your dinner party that you've invented a cocktail, but it's just two different types of Red Bull mixed with Glen's Vodka and a splash of Panda Cola? Yeah, well the three finalists in the Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition might have something to say about that. That's because they all created a signature cocktail and then went up against each other to be crowned, well, the winner. The top award was eventually given to Ally Martin from Bethnal Green bar Peg + Patriot for the Young Cuban, with Barcadi Carta Blanca, orgeat and sherry. For more info: bacardilegacy.com

2 Four Pillars Gin When you think of gin, you think of London, (as well as tears and ruined birthday parties). But what Four Pillars wants you to think of is Australia. That's because the Aussie brand is getting in on the act with its unique gin, made in a custom-built still from Carl of Germany (that they've called Wilma). It's also

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LATE NIGHT 'TAILS

For more info: fourpillarsgin.com.au

Like cocktails? Of course you do if you're reading this. You'll be interested to hear, then, that five-day mixological blowout the Manhattan Cocktail Classic is taking over New York City this month. Opening with a gala at the public library on 15 May, it'll consist of a huge bunch of cocktail events and parties at venues across the city. Definitely a week to remember (or not, knowing you). For info: manhattancocktailclassic.com

3 Hardys Gin may be new to the Aussie market, but wine definitely isn't, you bloody bogan. The company has released a new range of William Hardy wines, comprising a Limestone Coast chardonnay and a Langhorne Creek shiraz. The Australian sunshine is perfect for growing and ripening the grapes, as well as allowing full flavours and sugars to develop, which is probably why these two wines are so good. They're available for ÂŁ9.99, so now you can say things like "Call that a wine? This is a wine..." before pulling a William Hardy out of your pants (not a euphemism). We know how long you've been waiting to let that one loose.

How are you supposed to show off at your dinner party if all you've got is Lambrini in the cupboard? What you need is new sommelier service Vyne, because it'll sort it out for you – just tell them what food you're having and it'll pick out the perfect wine order for your meal and deliver it, STAT. Obviously if you're eating a doner kebab you don't need to use the service, because you've got the Lambrini, but still. For info: vyne.co.uk

infused with oranges, which are used to make marmalade afterwards, so that means one measure of it constitutes one of your five-aday. Basically, drink five G&Ts in the morning and you don't have to worry about eating healthily for the rest of the day. Bonus.

GRAPE MINDS

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For more info: hardyswines.com

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MEXING THINGS UP CULTURE What’s driving our appetite for authentic Mexican food? Katya Torres de la Rocha, founder of retailer MexImport, has her say

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How have perceptions of Mexican food changed in the UK? The British public has grown up a lot in its perception of Mexican food. Perhaps it’s thanks to cheaper flights and more available holidays – people travel more, so they have a better understanding of the food and they want the real thing. There’s better access to information, too, thanks to the Internet. British chefs are talking about it – Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver have both done programmes focusing on Mexican cuisine – so there’s been a lot of noise about authentic Mexican food. Mexico also makes a lot of gluten-free products, like corn tortillas, or tostadas, and many are free from allergens, like avocado oil and agave syrup. Mexico has more to offer than chilli sauce and tequila!

How do you rate the Mexican restaurant scene in London? As more Mexican restaurants appear, the awareness of Mexican food is growing. Ten years ago there were only a handful of Mexican restaurants in London – at the moment there are so many, and they’re good restaurants, not Tex-Mex. I call it the ‘burrito effect’ – I read recently that 2.8bn burritos were sold last year. It’s the new sandwich.

Where would you go in London to eat authentic Mexican food? Lupita. They’ve got one in Charing Cross and one in the City – the chef, Marco

SEÑOR SELFRIDGE

Photograph by Nataša Mandić/Stocksy

LEFT: According to MexImport’s Katya Torres, there’s nothing to stop Londoners creating authentic Mexican food at home

It’s officially the Year of Mexico in the UK, so what better way to celebrate it than a collaboration with one of the UK’s most influential retailers? Selfridges has created a programme of events designed to educate the UK’s populace on what Mexican food and drink really has to offer, with one-off restaurant residencies, a pop-up kitchen featuring some of Mexico’s hottest chefs, and tastings and offers at its Wine Shop. Hurry – the tenweek promotion ends 27 May. For info: selfridges.co.uk/mexico

I READ RECENTLY THAT 2.8BN BURRITOS WERE SOLD LAST YEAR. IT’S THE NEW SANDWICH Cuervo, is not only a good friend of mine but also a client. Every time I do an event I do it there, because he provides proper, authentic cooking. It’s not fine dining – for fine dining you’d want to go to Peyote or Mestizo – but I much prefer Lupita to Wahaca.

How easy is it to replicate authentic Mexican flavours when you can’t get all the produce from Mexico? I don’t see any problem with replicating proper, authentic Mexican food at home. It’s about having the right ingredients – especially the dried ingredients, which you can get in the UK. Vegans love it, too; you can take a poblano pepper, which is similar to a green or red pepper – just a little spicier – and stuff it with vegetables, and possibly some chilli. You’re using Mexican ingredients, and you’re preparing a vegan menu that’s delicious, and not what I call the ‘radish salad’ that a lot of restaurants offer for vegans.

Why do you think we’re so interested in Mexican food right now? I think people are craving something a bit sexier; something with more flavour. People want to try something different – they’re bored of eating the same thing every day. I also feel the British are going back to basics in terms of cooking – you just have to look on TV at how many cooking programmes there are every day. And in the last few years, British people haven’t been going out as much because it can be so expensive, so they think “let’s throw a dinner party instead”. f For more info: meximport.co.uk

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MEATING OF MINDS

The Graffigna London Steak Awards are into the judging stage. Here, we run the rule over the four finalists while the experts give tips for mastering wine and steak matching

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HE HUNT FOR London’s best steakhouse is hotting up – the votes for the Graffigna London Steak Awards are in, the finalists have been chosen and the panel are working their way through the judging process. It’s not too late to get involved – pop to your favourite steakhouse (or one of the four finalists) or get creative in the kitchen, make sure you’ve got a glass of perfectly matched Malbec wine and follow these tips. You’ll never eat steak (or drink wine) in the same way again...

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Anthony Gordon, Graffigna

Luiz Hara, The London Foodie

First up, choosing and serving the wine. When you're eating steak, a Malbec is the way forward. Serve it between 15-17ºC for optimum wine drinking temperature, and decant it to let it breathe, which softens and unleashes more flavour in the wine. Now the steak. No matter which cut you choose, I find that adding just a crack of salt to your steak will unleash more fruit in your wine, and the fat in the steak softens the wine, making the two perfect partners.

For the perfect steak, you’ll need to start with great quality beef - find a good butcher who understands the importance of meat provenance, cattle breeds and how these are raised and fed. Once you've sourced your steak - do not overcook it! Pan-fry it in a hot pan to medium-rare (or medium if you must). Keep it simple – don't mask your steak's flavour with a million other ingredients and sauces. The only other things you’ll need are a generous portion of chunky chips and a good glass of Malbec!


PROMOTION

Matt Walls, The London Wine Guide There are a few simple tricks to nailing a perfect match of steak and wine. Firstly, choose red – it’s rare to find a white wine that works with steak. Then, match the flavour intensity of the cut with that of the wine. So with a ribeye choose something powerful (like a Cabernet Sauvignon); with a fillet, a less robust wine (like a Pinot Noir). Consider the cooking, too – if you like your steaks rare, go for a dry, savoury style like Rhône Syrah or Chianti Classico; if you prefer them more well done, pick a fruitier wine like a Malbec or Shiraz.

Jon Hawkins, Foodism

THE FINAL FOUR

Choosing a steak in a restaurant can be overwhelming, thanks to the huge variety of cuts on offer. If you're not sure which one's for you, don't shy away from asking the waiting staff to explain the differences – they'll guide you towards your perfect steak and suggest the best way for it to be cooked. The ribeye's our failsafe; it's heavily marbled with fat (unlike a fillet), which gives it masses of flavour. Ask for it medium-rare so the fat melts into the meat.

HAWKSMOOR

Matthew Zorpas, The Gentleman Blogger

The name Hawksmoor has become a byword for great London steak, and this is reflected in the brand's growth from a single Commercial St site to six, now including Manchester.

MASH MASH stands for Modern American Steak House, though confusingly it's on Brewer St and Danish in origin. With steaks this good, customers can live with the split-personality.

Really do keep an eye out for quality, both in your wine and your steak. I favour a hot griddle pan to get that charred taste (and appearance) when I’m cooking a steak at home, and I like to present it nicely on a plate, recreating that restaurant feel. •

LONDON STEAKHOUSE CO. If anyone knows his way around a steak, it's legendary chef, restaurateur and TV presenter Marco Pierre White. Restaurants in Chelsea and the City.

ROXIE STEAK Set up 16 years ago by South Africans who couldn't find a decent London steak, Roxie has sites in Clapham, Earlsfield, Putney and Fulham.

GET INVOLVED Track the judging process with #Meaty Malbec or go to: facebook.com/graffignauk @graffignaUK Enjoy Graffigna responsibly

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PROMOTION

A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME: Taste of London isn’t just about great food and drink – there are masterclasses, interactive demos and much more for foodies to enjoy

SUMMER FEASTING Taste of London is back this June in Regent's Park to bring Londoners the best of the city's chefs – and you can hone your knowledge of whisky, champagne and rum

A

TANTALISING SELECTION OF world-class chefs from London’s hottest restaurants will descend on Regent’s Park from 17-21 June as Taste of London returns. Nearly 50% of this year’s restaurant lineup is new, so there’s plenty to see and do. Create your own tasting menu with dishes from The Clove Club, Tredwell's, Modern Pantry 2, Sushisamba, Aqua Kyoto, Opera Tavern and more. Or why not pick up tips from a host of top chefs, including Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, Atul Kochhar, Thomasina Miers, and Nuno Mendes. Unleash your inner bartender or sommelier with a range of whisky and champagne masterclasses, or pull your own pint at the Pilsner Urquell tent. Cocktail lover? Get the amazing team at Havana Club to create a bespoke mojito. Then get hands-on in AEG Cooking Club interactive cooking classes, and finish up with a dance at Mortimer’s Orchard silent disco. •

GET £15 TICKETS We are delighted to offer an amazing discount for Foodism readers, to help you enjoy the ultimate foodie day out of the summer. To get a weekday ticket to Taste of London for only £15, and to discover more, visit tasteoflondon.seetickets.com and enter the code Foodism15.

PICK UP TIPS FROM A HOST OF TOP CHEFS AT TASTE OF LONDON IN REGENT'S PARK, AND CREATE YOUR OWN TASTING MENU WITH DISHES FROM THE CLOVE CLUB, TREDWELL'S, OPERA TAVERN & SUSHISAMBA 91


THE SELECTOR

You’re living in the world’s culinary capital but there’s so much choice, it’s almost overwhelming. Well, we’re here to help. Every month, the Foodism team selflessly scours the city for the hottest food and drink options. Tuck in! 92

1 1 M Restaurants 2-3 Threadneedle Walk, EC2R 8HP

Nailing one continent is one thing, but the menus at Martin Williams’ M Restaurants represent cuisine and wine from six, with Japan, South Africa, the US, Australia, Argentina and the UK all flying the flag. As well as excellent steaks and sides, the wine list is a thing of beauty, and there are Enomatic machines for by-the-glass access to bottles you might not get to try otherwise. Great steak, great wine – consider us sold. 020 3327 7770; mrestaurants.co.uk

THE SELECTOR

WINE HAVENS 2

BEST OF THE REST 2 Le Garrick

4 Verden

10-12 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BH

181 Clarence Road, E5 8EE

If you’re looking for somewhere to spend an afternoon getting slowly sloshed on posh wine, Le Garrick is your place. The almost excusively French wine list (brilliantly there’s only one bottle in the ‘foreign wine’ section – an Argentinian Malbec) in this subterranean bistro includes a winning combo of hidden gems and big players. Santé!

Clapton restaurant Verden proves there’s nothing wrong with playing to your strengths: it does cheese, charcuterie and wine, and it does them very well. France is extensively represented, as are Slovenia, Austria, California and beyond.

020 7240 7649; legarrick.co.uk

3 Bread Street Kitchen One New Change, 10 Bread Street, EC4M 9AJ

Along with sister restaurant Heddon Street Kitchen, the Ramsay restaurant is bringing some serious wine education to the London public in the form of a series of wine dinners. Each one will focus on furthering your vinological expertise through pairing specific grapes with dishes that complement them. Now that’s our kind of further education...

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020 8986 4723; verdene5.com

5 Maddox 3-5 Mill Street, W1S 2AU

020 3030 4050;

Mayfair comes up trumps 5 again, this time in the form of Maddox, which has just introduced a brand new wine-pairing menu. In something of a role reversal, it offers four cracking wines, and you choose your canapé, starter, main and dessert to match.

gordonramsay.com/bread-street

020 7629 8877; maddoxclub.com

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BEST OF THE REST 2 Beigel Bake

4 Vingt-Quatre 24

159 Brick Lane, E1 6SB

Bloomsbury and Chelsea

Soak up booze in the East End with this Brick Lane institution. Steamed bagels come bulging with salt beef, pickles and mustard, or just take a paper bag of five home for your own kitchen-based butter slathering.

Kebabs and bagels are all very well, but for more typical breakfast fodder, try VQ24. The late menu is served until 7am and involves staple diner food – club sandwiches, fry-ups, breakfast baps. For those craving fish at 5am, they do a stellar kedgeree, which might be exactly what you need after several pints.

020 7729 0616

3 Duck & Waffle 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY

Glitzy Duck & Waffle shimmied onto the late-night food scene a few years back with promises of 24-hour dining and sky-high (40th-floor) views. We’re fans. There are eggs, oysters and the famous duck confit leg, which comes with mustard maple syrup. Don’t leave without trying the ox cheek doughnuts – they’re not your average Krispy Kreme. 020 3640 7310; duckandwaffle.com

020 7636 5888; vq24hours.com

5 Fu Manchu 15-16 Lendal Terrace, SW4 7UX

Dim sum is no longer a mid-morning Sunday affair – not now Fu Manchu is opening south of the river in Clapham. ‘Delicate’ dim sum will come alongside cocktails and DJs. @fumanchubar; facebook. com/FuManchuBar

THE SELECTOR

LATE-NIGHT BITES

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1 Maroush

Various locations

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Late-night eating doesn’t have to mean a dodgy doner on the 4 side of the road, with garlic sauce dribbling down your chin onto your Nikes. For something more refined, try Maroush. The old-school kebab experts have been dishing out 5 platters of meat, flatbread and heaps of garlic sauce for years (31 to be exact). There are various handy locations to choose from, but Edgware Road is home to the twofloor flagship (we all know the nightlife is top round there) and their swanky Knightsbridge location is open until 5am. Wherever you head, you’re never far from an impromptu post-night-out mezze selection, complete with Lebanese-style belly dancing and reasonably priced plates, piled high. 020 7581 5434; maroush.com

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THE SELECTOR

TOP TABLES

1 Hélène Darroze at the Connaught Carlos Place, W1K 2AL

If you make a reservation at Hélène Darroze’s eponymous restaurant at the Connaught hotel, you’re probably entitled to expect some amazing wines – especially if you manage to get a reservation at the hallowed Sommelier’s Table. Tucked away beneath the restaurant’s famous kitchens, the cellars are home to more than 9,000 vintage bottles of top-notch wine, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something to go with the two Michelin-starred food. We’ll drink to that... 020 3147 7200; the-connaught.co.uk

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2 Gilgamesh The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AH

Gilgamesh has always harked back to the days of big-glamour dining, and now it has a chef’s table experience befitting the restaurant’s grandeur, with a customisable menu as well as a completely revamped setting. A glass screen will be the only thing separating you from the action in the kitchen. 020 7428 4922; gilgameshbar.com

3 Parlour 5 Regent Street, NW10 5LG

It’s not just Michelin-star chefs who get to show off – just ask Jesse Dunford Wood, who

can be found serving up posh pub grub at the chef’s table at his restaurant, Parlour. Guests can watch him prepare signature dishes, including cow pie and chicken kyiv. 020 8969 2184; parlourkensal.com

4 108 Brasserie

Ford is on hand to talk you through the menu and tell you about the ingredients in, and thinking behind, each dish. 020 7969 3900; 108brasserie.com

5 Artusi 161 Bellenden Road, SE15 4DH

108 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2QE

Marylebone Brasserie 108’s menu doesn’t restrict itself to one national cuisine – instead it takes influence from all over Europe and throws in some British favourites, with lobster tortellini, beef wellington and bakewell tart all on its tasting menu. The best way to enjoy it is at the chef’s table, where head chef Russell

If you’re expecting drama and high-concept design, you won’t find it at Peckham’s Artusi, where the small, sparse space – and the food – speak of no-nonsense dining. Which isn’t to say the cooking lacks artistry or theatre – book the kitchen table, where up to 18 can watch Artusi’s bold, modern Italian food being made. 020 3302 8200; artusi.co.uk

Think all the most exciting restaurants are in Soho or East London? Think again.

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lassic British dishes meet imaginative modern serves at Bush Hall Dining Rooms in Shepherd’s Bush, with an emphasis on ‘social eating’ - think whole joints of meat carved by the head of the table for Sunday Roast and rustic breakfasts served ‘family style’. Add craft beers and a cocktail menu curated by legendary mixologist Nick Strangeway, and whether it’s for a lazy brunch, after-work cocktails or meeting friends for dinner, while away a few hours working your way through the menu. “I’m rather smitten with Bush Hall Dining Rooms… all hail proper dinner.” – Grace Dent

Photograph by ###

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Just show this page next time you visit, one required per table

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BEST OF THE REST 2 Kitty Fisher’s

2 4 The Spaniards Inn

10 Shepherd Market, W1J 7QF

Spaniards Road, Hampstead, NW3 7JJ

Step aside Kim Kardashian – Kitty Fisher was the world’s first socialite, becoming known just for, er, being known in the mid-18th century. Her namesake is Kitty Fisher’s, a hotter-than-hot wood grill restaurant located in Mayfair’s historic Shepherd Market.

Both Charles Dickens and John Keats used to write in the gardens of this 16th-century pub on the edge of Hampstead Heath, and it got a mention in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s full of dark nooks and wood panelling, and serves traditional British pub fare.

020 3302 1661; kittyfishers.com

020 8731 8406; thespaniardshampstead.co.uk

3 Fat Boy’s Diner

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5 Rum & Sugar

64 Orchard Place, E14 0JW

No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14 4AL

If you want a Back to the Future-style 1950s diner experience (with great burgers thrown in), Fat Boy’s your man, but the history lesson doesn’t end there. This Docklands throwback sits in the shadow of London’s only lighthouse, built in the 1860s.

Rum & Sugar is named for what used to be stored in the Grade I-listed warehouse: rum and molasses imported from the West Indies. The bar serves more than 150 varieties of rum, but you won’t find quite so much sugar these days. Clearly it’s sweet enough already.

020 7987 4334; fatboysdiner.co.uk

020 7538 2702; rumandsugar.co.uk

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5 THE SELECTOR

HISTORY LESSONS 1 1 Typing Room Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, E2 9NF

In 1910, Bethnal Green’s brand-new, lavish town hall was opened to fanfare from all over the borough. Fast-forward about 100 years and it’s now home to a hotel containing not one but two top-quality restaurants and a bar. Flanked by the Corner Room restaurant and experimental cocktail bar Peg + Patriot is the Typing Room – an intimate, contemporary and acclaimed restaurant led by head chef and Jason Atherton protégé Lee Westcott. The hotel retains much of the architectural flair and ornamentation of the original town hall, which is matched by Westwood’s signature brand of playful, creative modern-British cooking. Make sure to opt for the five- or seven-course tasting menus with paired wines to get the full experience. 020 7871 0461; typingroom.com

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DE CO NS TR UC T.

You can keep kale – chard doesn’t need to be trendy to be cool. Not only does it look like impressionist art, but it’s packed with a ridiculous number of complex chemicals, almost all of which are brilliant for you. Chard times, indeed… WHAT’S IN A NAME: Chard’s name comes from an error by the French. They confused it with a similar vegetable, cardoon, and referred to both as ‘carde’. No one knows why Swiss chard is so-called, though – it didn’t even originate in Switzerland.

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Photograph by ###

LOVE, HONOUR AND OBEY: Both the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans honoured chard for its medicinal properties, and there’s evidence of philosopher Aristotle writing about it in the 4th century BCE.

DYE IN VEIN: Chard stalks and veins get their vibrant colours from natural pigments called betalains. They’re the same chemicals that make beetroots such a deep red.


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Foodism - 3 - London, food and drink  

Foodism Magazine - Issue 3 - London, food and drink

Foodism - 3 - London, food and drink  

Foodism Magazine - Issue 3 - London, food and drink