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“May I recommend this one, sir?” I say, picking up a bottle of wine I’ve neither tasted nor really given any thought to. I’m 18, I’m probably hungover, and I’m taking a break from stacking shelves in the booze department of a smalltown supermarket to dish out terrible advice. Some poor bloke has asked for “something interesting”, and rather than reply “I know nothing about wine” or “That’s above my paygrade” or “Let me get an adult for you”, I’ve panicked and just winged it – and not for the first time. Looking back, I suppose I had a strategy of sorts. When people asked me for tips (more often than you’d think considering I looked about 12 and didn’t exactly radiate a reassuring sense of authority), I tended to suggest a wine that looked or sounded weird. Something right out of the leftfield. My logic – if you could call it that – was that if it had made it on to the shelves of this respectable shop, it probably had to work a bit harder than your branded Aussie shirazes or MOR big-name burgundies. I know – it still doesn’t hold up. Or does it? A few years have passed since my shelf-stacking days, but it turns out I wasn’t fooling innocent wine-buyers at all – I was providing a valuable service. Ha! As an actual, real expert tells Matt Walls in his guide to getting your head around restaurant wine lists [p50], ordering something you’ve never heard of can be worth the risk. “The wine will normally be good because it has had to earn its place on the list.” So now you know. And you also know never to listen to me, which is probably the more useful advice in the long run. f
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GRAZE “HE’LL PULL OUT THE GRAPPA AT THE END, AND YOU’LL HAVE TO DRINK IT – HE’LL TIE YOU DOWN AND POUR IT DOWN YOUR THROAT. IT’S JUST FANTASTIC” STANLEY TUCCI ON HIS FAVOURITE ITALIAN RESTAURANT, 032
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Fancy a twist on your go-to gin cocktail this spring? Try one of these knockout flavoured or infused gins...
1. WAR NE R E DWA R D S R HU BAR B G IN
Is fried chicken having a moment? A weekend festival devoted entirely to it suggests so, writes Mike Gibson
AYBE IT’S THE crunch of crisp buttermilk batter as the first bite’s taken. Maybe it’s the tang of bluecheese dressing meeting fiery wing sauce. Maybe it’s the unctuous, fatty flesh that holds firmly and yet parts easily between the teeth. Whatever it is about fried chicken, I’ve certainly got the hunger for it. And I don’t mean the occasional craving. I mean a constant, yearning, visceral desire. In the same way a vampire finds sustinence in the blood of the living, every couple of weeks I need to throw any sense of pride out the window, take a huge bite of a chicken burger, and live in that moment for just a little while. I’ve had more than enough value chicken meals at ubiquitous London fast-food chains before gigs in my teens, or hungover as a student – the kind that cost £1.50 and inspired Red Hot Entertainment’s defining grime single Junior Spesh. Hell, my first London flat was directly above a Clapham branch of Tennessee Fried Chicken, which led to a few inevitable drunken visits after nights out.
But recently I’ve discovered a new kind of fried chicken: one that costs a bit more, but that’s usually made with free-range, highwelfare birds, strong blue cheese and cream, house-made pickles and a pillowy brioche bun. It’s somehow simultaneously a guilty pleasure and a genuinely reverential meal. So imagine my elation when I heard about a festival in May that only serves that type of chicken. KERB’s Bucket List is this festival. For two days, traders like Pop Brixton’s Other Side Fried, Street Feast’s Mother Clucker, Bill or Beak, Daja Chicken and more will ascend on the West Handyside Canopy in King’s Cross, presenting one-off dishes like Korean chicken wings with gochujang glaze; cocoa chilli and maple chicken strips; tea-brined chicken strips with lime mayo, and more. If you were me, you’d go, wouldn’t you? Pride be damned, I’ll try them all. That should see off the craving. At least for another couple of weeks… f The Bucket List takes place 5-6 May at KERB, West Handyside Canopy. For more information, see kerbfood.com/the-bucket-list
Been counting down the days till rhubarb season? We bloody bet you have. If you’ve got a weakness for the pink stuff, we’ve got a gin for you – Warner Edwards’ Victoria rhubarb gin, which adds pressed British rhubarb juice to its London Dry gin after distilling. It adds a sweet, lipsmacking punch to a G&T, and works really well in a negroni, too. 40%, 70cl; £38, majestic.co.uk
2. B OODL E S M U L B E R RY G IN Gins flavoured with rich berries aren’t just for winter warmers. And if winter gave you your fill of sloe gin, why not try this? It’s based, of course, around the winter drink traditionally made with sloes, but uses mulberries and raspberries instead. If you don’t fancy it warm, try a Boodles Royale – topped with champagne. 30%, 70cl; £21; marksandspencer. com
3. F OU R PIL L ARS SPIC E D NE G R ONI G I N Reverse-engineering a spirit works especially well if you’ve got eager bartenders willing to weigh in. That’s exactly what makes Yarra Valley, Australia distiller Four Pillars’ Bartender Series so good – if its first release is anything to go by, anyway. This gin, created especially for use in negronis, is infused with whole oranges and lemon myrtle. 43.8%, 70cl; £44.93, amazon.co.uk
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TH AT’S WHAT THEY SAID Pearls of wisdom from the voices of the industry. Go to foodism.co.uk for more
THE LONDON LARDER
This month: Jackpot Motherfucking Peanut Butter
I THINK IT’S SO SENSUAL TO HAVE THE CHILLI IN YOUR MOUTH. THEY GIVE YOU THAT MEMORY. IT’S LIKE A KISS FROM A GOOD LOVER
MARTHA ORTIZ, head chef of Mexico City’s Dulce Patria and London’s Ella Canta, on chilli
LAMB CHOPS CONFIRMED WHAT THE AROMA ON ENTRY HINTED AT: SUCCULENT MEAT, FRESHER THAN FRESH, WITH VERVE, SPICE AND CHAR MIKE GIBSON, foodism’s deputy editor, on Tandoor Chop House
After a succession of hot summers in the 1970s, there was such demand for white wine that wine makers in California started making it from red grapes JASON PHILLIPS, of Franco’s, on rosé
Until recently, Germany looked to French fine dining. French food is full of harmony, so in Germany we all cooked with less flavour, fewer herbs, no spices. That’s what I love about Asian cuisine – it’s like a roller coaster on your palate.
TIM RAUE, star of Chef’s Table season three, on the joys of cooking Asianinfluenced food in Germany
HEAD TO THE SPACE, HOUSED IN A SHIPPING CONTAINER AT COMMUNITY PROJECT POP BRIXTON, AND YOU’LL FIND FORMICA BOOTHS, PEGBOARD WALLS AND LOW-HANGING RED LIGHTS. AND A GARGANTUAN, CUSTOM-BUILT AIR DRYER THAT DRIES THE MEAT BEFORE IT’S ROASTED IN THE EQUALLY GARGANTUAN AND CUSTOM-BUILT OVEN LYDIA WINTER, foodism’s staff writer, on Hong-Kong-inspired Duck Duck Goose
What’s the product? Peanut butter. But not just any peanut butter; peanut butter made by three guys whose backgrounds are in music promotion and fashion. Still following? Good. Originally conceptualised as a fictional product to be emblazoned on a T-shirt for fashion label APN, a real-life incarnation was to follow. The brand is now a partner of the Music Venues Trust, meaning every jar sold will help keep your favourite music venues open.
Who makes it? APN’s Rupert Leigh, along with Dave Ridings and Richard Smith, both of whom cut their teeth in music promotion for brands and venues. The product is made with peanuts doubleroasted in Bethnal Green, and premium rapeseed oil – nothing else.
What does it taste like? No additives means a delicious, pure flavour – all malty peanut and not too cloying in terms of texture. It’s the kind of thing we could eat out of the tub with a spoon, although we think it’d be a great dessert ingredient, too.
Where can I get it? You can find Jackpot in cafés and bars around London, including roving pop-up kings of the hot dog Rockadollar, who make a Jackpot cheesecake. If you want a pot for yourself, 500ml will set you back £5, and can be bought directly from jackpotpeanutbutter.com f
LOCAL HEROES S P RI N G FEST I VA LS
BROOKLYN’S BEER MANSION 12-13 May
This year, Brooklyn Brewery Mash is turning Dalston’s MC Motors into what it’s calling a Beer Mansion, with the beers representing the different immersive rooms’ themes. There’ll be brewers from the UK and US, as well as food traders, too. E8 2DS; tickets at eventbrite.co.uk
THE LONDON CHEESE PROJECT 6-7 May
The open-air format suits some festivals down to the ground, and we’d suggest a celebration of London cheese is probably one of them. The London Cheese Project will be a balls-out cheese feast, with streetfood traders and cheesemongers out in force, as well as tutored tastings and talks on beer matching to boot. NW1 8AH; londoncheeseproject.comz
JUNIPALOOZA 10-11 June
We know you drink London Dry, but in case you were in any doubt about how far the clear spirit du jour has spread, look no further than gin festival Junipalooza, which welcomes more than 50 distillers from 14 countries across a weekend in June. There’ll be a huge bar from Beefeater, tastings from rafts of unique gin brands and a special new masterclass area. E1W 2SF; ginfoundry.com
Cookbook writer Vicky Bhogal on giving up advertising to pen a cult recipe book
Fast-forward to 2009, and I had written three more cookery books and created a range of products, Just Like Mummyji’s, which became a £3.2m brand within six months. When the financial crisis hit, I was advised to undertake profile-boosting TV projects that were highly commercial, however I felt like they were taking me far away from what I cared about. Instead, I took time out from the industry entirely, got back to cooking for pleasure and devoted the next seven years to getting Cooking Like Mummyji – which had fallen prematurely out of print in 2005 – republished, following an unexpected groundswell of public demand, all by word of mouth. It is now finally back on the shelves
in a beautiful new edition with stunning food photography, and I am back in the food industry sharing the dishes I love. f For more info: vickybhogal.com; Cooking Like Mummyji is out now (Grub Street, £25).
Photograph by ###
N 2002 I was working in advertising. Having learned how to cook from my Punjabi mother since I was tiny, friends and colleagues always marvelled at how different it was from Indian restaurant food and begged for the recipes. But there weren’t any, and there weren’t any measurements, either. This was our true home food, and it was worlds away from what you’d find at the local curry house. Techniques were verbally passed down through years spent in the kitchen. But those methods were dying out, and so I wrote my cookbook, Cooking Like Mummyji, to preserve these precious recipes for future generations. I got a book deal in days, and it received great critical acclaim and public affection upon its release in 2003.
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Coffee, wine, cheese and steak get a visual upgrade with these beautiful kitchen items PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON
HO T AND ST E AM Y SMEG ECF01 COFFEE MACHINE, £279.99 A simple, robust and beautifully designed espresso machine with steam wand from Smeg’s quintessential 50’s Style collection. smeguk.com
Photograph by ###
G R IDDL E M E T HIS TEFAL EXPERTISE 26CM GRILLPAN, £77 A griddle that’ll last you decades, thanks to its innovative Titanium Excellence non-stick coating. The red dot shines brightly when the pan reaches optimum temperature, too. johnlewis.com
PURE AND SI MPLE ÜLLO WINE PURIFIER, £65 Much of organic wine’s appeal is the lack of sulphites, usually added as a preservative. This gadget will remove them from standard wines, as well as aerating it while you pour. ullowine.com
GRATE MINDS ALESSI FORMA GRATER, Â£45 On one hand a cheese grater, on the other a design classic, created for Alessi by the late, great Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. alessi.com
Freeze the time, warm your passion.
New KitchenAid Iconic Fridge. Available in the KitchenAid London Experience Store www.kitchenaidlondon.co.uk
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
DISCOVER NEW FLAVOURS AND DIVE INTO JEWISH AND MIDDLE EAST-INSPIRED RECIPES WITH THIS COOKBOOK FROM MASTERCHEF FINALIST EMMA SPITZER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CLAIRE WINFIELD
HANKS TO CHEFS like Yotam Ottolenghi, we’ve seen a revival in Middle Eastern cooking, and all the delicious dishes and ingredients it involves. This cookbook, the first from Emma Spitzer, goes one step further to introduce us to Jewish-style cuisine, with a collection of recipes influenced by Spitzer’s heritage. Spitzer, who reached the finals of MasterChef in 2015, has taken inspiration from her mother’s cooking, but also from her travels throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The result is this stunningly
beautiful collection of recipes in a book called Fress, which means ‘to eat copiously and without restraint’ – something we can guarantee you won’t have any trouble doing with Spitzer’s cooking. Here, we have chosen four recipes to whet your appetite: spiced cod falafel – an unusual take on the crowd-pleasing classic – a richly textured artichoke gratin; duck breast with lentils that have been cooked with a black za’atar spice mix (Spitzer’s own signature creation) and an umami-laden banoffee sundae with tahini. Oof. f
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F O O DISM RE CIPE S, I N ASSOC IAT ION W IT H W HIT L EY NE IL L
Photograph by ###
foodism’s recipe section is brought to you in partnership with Whitley Neill, whose premium, handcrafted gins and vodkas are inspired by the fruits of travel, the mysterious beauty of the world, and the never-ending drive to explore. Whitley Neill is an award-winning English gin, whose recipe is influenced by the beauty
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SPICED COD FALAFEL
AN UNUSUAL TAKE ON THE TRADITIONAL MIDDLE EASTERN DISH THAT’S SERVED WITH A ZINGY HARISSA MAYO
I N GREDI EN TS ◆◆ 200g dried chickpeas, soaked
in cold water overnight ◆◆ Table salt ◆◆ 800g skinless cod loin (or any
similar white fish fillet, such as coley, hake or haddock), chopped into large pieces ◆◆ 1 onion, quartered ◆◆ 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped ◆◆ Large handful of coriander, stalks and leaves finely chopped ◆◆ Small handful of dill, stalks and leaves finely chopped ◆◆ Small handful of flat leaf parsley, stalks and leaves finely chopped ◆◆ 2 tsp ground cumin ◆◆ 2 tsp ground sumac ◆◆ Pinch of cayenne pepper ◆◆ 80g sesame seeds ◆◆ 2 eggs ◆◆ 100g panko breadcrumbs ◆◆ Freshly ground black pepper ◆◆ Sunflower oil, for deep-frying ◆◆ Sea salt flakes ◆◆ Lemon wedges, for squeezing
For the harissa mayonnaise ◆◆ 1 tbsp harissa ◆◆ 3-4 tbsp mayonnaise
◆◆ About 20 falafel
◆◆ 15 mins
◆◆ 120 mins
OU’RE PROBABLY ALREADY familiar with traditional falafel, made with chickpeas. But you might not have tried them made with succulent white fish before. Enter Emma Spitzer’s recipe, which uses cod loin, or any other white fish fillet and ends up more similar to a fishcake. Serve them with harissa mayonnaise – or chilli sauce if you’re feeling lazy – for a great starter or light supper.
1 Drain the chickpeas, rinse, and place in a large saucepan. Cover with plenty of fresh salted water and bring to the boil. Continue to cook for at least two hours or until soft, then drain and leave to cool. 2 Cut the cod into chunks and add to a food processor along with the cooled chickpeas, onion, garlic and herbs. Pulse in short bursts so as not to ruin the delicate fish – a meat grinder works really well here, if you have one. 3 Transfer to a bowl, add the spices, 1tsp table salt, a few twists of black pepper and the sesame seeds and stir through. Cover and pop the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes. 4 Wet your hands and roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls. 5 Beat the eggs in a bowl and spread the breadcrumbs out on a plate. Dip each falafel into the beaten egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs. 6 Preheat the oven to 110°C. Heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer or large saucepan to around 150°C (don’t fill the pan more than half way). 7 Deep-fry the falafel, in batches, for about 5-6 minutes until golden. 8 Remove from the oil and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper, then keep the cooked falafel warm in the oven while you fry the rest. 9 Mix the harissa with the mayonnaise, judging depending on how hot you want it. 10 Season the falafel with sea salt flakes and serve immediately accompanied by the harissa mayonnaise and lemon wedges. 11 Alternatively, leave the coating off completely and fry the falafel as they are to reduce the calories. f
A FLAVOURSOME AND RICHLY TEXTURED PRE-DINNER NIBBLE THAT’LL APPEAL TO VEGETARIANS AND MEAT-LOVERS ALIKE
◆◆ 10 mins
◆◆ 25 mins
HIS DISH WORKS equally well as a sharing plate at a dinner party or as an appetiser before dinner. “It’s such a winning combination of flavours and is super easy to prepare,” says Spitzer. “You can even make it in advance and then heat in the oven if you’re entertaining. It tastes best when scooped up with crisp toasted pita bread.”
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C. Add the artichokes and spinach to a bowl with half the parmesan, half the breadcrumbs and all the garlic, pistachio nuts, soured cream (or
crème fraîche) and mayonnaise. Give everything a good stir, then season generously with black pepper. 2 Place the mixture in a small gratin dish and top with the remaining parmesan and breadcrumbs. 3 For the pita crisps, cut the pita breads into squares and spread out on a baking tray. Brush the olive oil over each square and sprinkle with the thyme leaves and salt. 4 Bake the gratin for around 20-25 minutes, adding the pita crisps to the oven for the final 15 minutes, until both the top of the gratin and the pita crisps are nice and golden. 5 Serve hot or cold. f
ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 200g jarred artichoke hearts
in oil, drained and finely chopped ◆◆ 85g cooked spinach, fresh or frozen, finely chopped ◆◆ 85g parmesan cheese, grated ◆◆ 85g soft white or dried breadcrumbs ◆◆ 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed ◆◆ 50g unsalted pistachio nuts, slightly crushed ◆◆ 125g soured cream or crème fraîche ◆◆ 125g mayonnaise ◆◆ Freshly ground black pepper
For the pita crisps ◆◆ 3 pita breads ◆◆ 2 tbsp olive oil ◆◆ Freshly picked thyme leaves ◆◆ Sea salt
an gives The parmes bake a this savoury amium y, ch un cr t us cr n lade Photograph by ###
SEARED DUCK IN THIS DISH, RICH DUCK MEAT IS OFFSET BY DELICATELY SPICED LENTILS
HE CREATION OF this dish resulted in Spitzer securing a place in the semi-finals of MasterChef. She came up with a black za’atar spice mix, with black sesame, fennel and cumin seeds, that cooks to a crust on the outside of the rich duck meat. It’s salty, sweet and spicy – an impressive main dish.
1 Start by making the spiced crust for the duck breast. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat, add the black sesame, fennel and cumin seeds and lightly toast, shaking the pan constantly. Crush using a pestle and mortar and then place in a bowl with the remaining spices, thyme and some salt and black pepper. 2 Pat the duck breasts dry. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in a crisscross pattern. Brush the skin of each of the breasts with the date syrup and then pat about a tablespoonful of the spice mixture on top, rubbing it in to make sure that it’s well coated. Place in a dish, cover and leave in the fridge to marinate for up to an hour. 3 For the lentils, heat the stock in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, melt the duck fat, add the shallot and leek and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes until soft. 4 Add the tomato purée and lentils and cook for a further minute before adding the thyme, garlic and stock. 5 Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30-40 minutes until soft but still retaining a bite and the liquid has evaporated; top up with a little hot water if the lentils need more cooking time.
quince add Spices and edge to a ua an unus l t classic in Sunday roas ty dish ar he this
Serves ◆◆ 2
Preparation ◆◆ 10 mins
◆◆ 40 mins
6 Discard the garlic and thyme, season with salt and black pepper and leave to rest in the saucepan, covered, while you cook the duck. 7 Preheat the oven to 220°C. 8 Place the duck breasts, skin-sidedown, in a cold, preferably ovenproof frying pan without any oil over a medium heat for around 6–8 minutes or until the skin is golden brown. Pour off the excess fat and then turn the duck breasts over and cook on the flesh side for a minute to seal.
9 Transfer to the oven in the pan or on a baking tray, skin-side-up, and cook for a further 10 minutes for medium rare, 12 minutes for medium or 15 minutes for well done. 10 Remove the duck from the oven and leave it to rest; it will need a good 5 minutes at least. 11 Meanwhile, add the crème fraîche to the lentils, if using, and stir through. 12 To serve, carve the duck into slices. Place a few spoonfuls of the lentils on the plates and top with duck slices. f
ING R E DIE NTS For the duck ◆◆ 2 tbsp black sesame seeds ◆◆ 2 tbsp fennel seeds ◆◆ 1 tsp cumin seeds ◆◆ 2 tsp chilli flakes ◆◆ 1 tbsp ground sumac ◆◆ ½ tsp ground cinnamon ◆◆ 1 tsp freshly picked thyme
leaves ◆◆ 2 duck breasts, preferably
Gressingham ◆◆ 2 tbsp date syrup ◆◆ Sea salt and freshly ground
For the lentils ◆◆ 250ml chicken or beef stock Photograph by Manja Wachsmuth Photograph by ###
◆◆ 2 tsp duck fat ◆◆ 1 banana shallot, finely
chopped ◆◆ 1 leek, white part only,
trimmed, cleaned and finely chopped ◆◆ 2 tbsp tomato purée ◆◆ 125g dried puy lentils, rinsed and drained ◆◆ 3 sprigs of thyme ◆◆ 1 garlic clove, peeled but kept whole ◆◆ 2 tbsp crème fraîche (optional)
MOUTH-COATING TAHINI BUMPS UP THE UMAMI VIBES OF THIS UNCONVENTIONAL TWIST ON BANNOFFEE PIE
Serves ◆◆ 4
Preparation ◆◆ 10 mins
◆◆ 10 mins
OSHER LAWS PROHIBIT the mixing of milk and meat, which means that you have to get creative and think of dairy-free desserts to serve after a meat meal,” explains Spitzer. She came up with this variation on the classic banoffee pie, which is surprisingly simple to pull together. You can make the nut crumble ahead of time as well as the tahini and honey paste, but the coconut cream will need to be whisked just before serving and the bananas sliced at the last minute to avoid discolouration.
nds this The tahini le saltiness of t bi dessert a ts the en that complem tly ec rf pe el m cara
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. 2 Spread the walnuts and sesame seeds out on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. 3 Place the caster sugar in a dry pan over a medium heat and wait for it to turn a deep amber colour – don’t stir, otherwise the sugar will crystallise. 4 When the caramel is ready, add the roasted nuts and seeds and stir quickly to combine, then tip out onto a silicone baking mat or a sheet of foil and leave until cool enough to handle. 5 Break the caramel into chunks, add to a food processor and pulse until you have coarse crumbs; don’t overwork, as you want to retain some texture. 6 Open the can of coconut milk and add only the firm solids from the top of the can to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl, along with the icing sugar and vanilla. 7 Whisk the ingredients together, with an electric whisk if you don’t have a stand mixer, until you have a stiff consistency (about 5 minutes).
INGRE DIE N TS ◆◆ 100g walnut halves ◆◆ 1 tbsp sesame seeds ◆◆ 100g caster sugar ◆◆ 400ml can coconut milk,
chilled overnight in the fridge ◆◆ 2 tbsp icing sugar ◆◆ ½ tsp vanilla extract ◆◆ 200g tahini ◆◆ 75g clear honey ◆◆ 4 bananas
8 Whisk the tahini and honey together in a bowl to combine. 9 To assemble, start by adding banana slices to the bases of 4 short, straight-sided glasses or dessert bowls. 10 Top with a spoonful of the tahini mixture, followed by the coconut mixture and then the nut crumble. 11 Repeat the layering – you should get at least 2 layers in each glass – making sure you finish with a very generous sprinkling of nut crumble. f
GET THE BOOK
Fress: Bold Flavours from a Jewish Kitchen by Emma Spitzer; photography by Claire Winfield. Mitchell Beazley, £25 (octopusbooks.co.uk)
Richard H Turner
Richard H Turner digs into spicy crab, Peking duck, suckling pig and more on a whirlwind tour of Hong Kong’s street-food and restaurant scenes
ONG KONG, MEANING ‘fragrant harbour’, is worth visiting for its food scene alone – the choices are myriad. Considered a hub for further travels, and one of the top culinary destinations in Asia, it is a riotous collision of East meets West and old meets new, and its cuisine is no different. The hawker stalls that line the street cater for smaller meals during the day, while 60-plus Michelin-starred restaurants, headed up by world-renowned chefs, pack the punters in at night. I’m in town to cook for two nights at Nathan Green’s Rhoda, named after his grandmother, who inspired him to become a chef. The space is raw and urban, with high ceilings, concrete surfaces, charred woods and upcycled materials, and at the back of the room is a charcoal grill – the centrepiece of the open kitchen. It’s all very cool. Nate’s CV includes working with Michael Caines, Tom Aikens and yours truly in the UK, before heading up the kitchens of 22 Ships and Ham & Sherry in Hong Kong for Jason Atherton. When the time came to start
his own restaurant, Nate partnered with acclaimed restaurateur Yenn Wong in this grill-centric restaurant. Like me, Nate favours rare-breed meats like Hereford beef. Our meal starts with beer bread with seaweed butter. Still warm from the oven, the bread is wonderfully fluffy, with a moreish, yeasty flavour that pairs perfectly with the umami notes of the seaweed butter. We follow with baked sea scallops with roast garlic and fennel butter, and baked oysters with bone marrow. Tomahawk steak with trotter mash and creamed spinach makes a fitting main event. The whole thing’s rounded off by a sticky toffee sundae, improved by the quality of dates available here. After dinner service, we head out to Ho Lee Fook in Elgin Street for some very modern Asian fusion cooking. The aptly named ‘Good Fortune For Your Mouth’ is a funky Chinese kitchen, inspired by old-school Hong Kong cha chaan tengs (tea restaurants), and the spirit of late-night Chinatown hangouts in 1960s New York. Taiwaneseborn chef Jowett Yu’s inventive approach to Chinese flavours is best enjoyed with an open mind. Hanging ducks in the kitchen greet you at the door, while gold-plated cats raise their right paws in welcome as you descend the staircase leading down to the restaurant. Nate is received like an old friend, and we’re fed groundbreaking Asian fusion dishes until we can eat no more. Somehow my chilli fetish has been anticipated, and a variety of sauces is supplied to compliment the chicken wings, fantastic prawn toast and the aforementioned duck. It’s a great start to what’s sure to be a week of feasting. The following evening, Nate’s colleagues Cherry and Joyce take us to Under Bridge Spicy Crab. From humble beginnings as a typhoon shelter stall more than 20 years ago, it’s become a major Hong Kong legend, serving – unsurprisingly – the best spicy crab in the city. With fresh seafood flown in every day from all over the world – including the UK – the menu comprises more than 100
dishes, including the must-try deep-fried crab cooked with a secret ‘typhoon-style’ spicy sauce. You can choose your level of spice and, not wishing to appear the feeble Englishman in front of my Hong Kong hosts, I opt for medium hot. The crab is first scrubbed thoroughly under running water, the legs removed and the body cut into smaller pieces. It’s then fried in infused oil before garlic, the secret chilli sauce and fermented soy bean spices are added according to customer preference. Most of the oil is poured away before fresh onions and spring onions are added and fried. It doesn’t disappoint, and leaves my tastebuds tingling. The following day, I’m taken to twoMichelin-starred Duddell’s for dim sum. Duddell’s is another brainchild of Yenn Wong (also a partner in 22 Ships and Rhoda), with cooking from chef Fung Man-Ip. I’m given a quick tour of the kitchen, and I see rows of woks, furiously animated chefs, and tanks of live creatures ranging from shrimp to crab and garouper. It’s exciting stuff for a chef. We eschew the menu in favour of letting the kitchen choose, and we’re rewarded with an array of superb Cantonese delicacies: fried rice roll with XO sauce, barbecued Iberico pork with a honey glaze, cod dumpling with shrimp and garlic, and finally, the garouper I met, steamed with matsutake mushroom and yunnan ham. I can’t help thinking it’s exactly the kind of restaurant London could do with. Ted Lam Pak-kwan opened Chaos Hot Pot on Wun Sha Street eight years ago, and it is now one of the best hotpot hotspots in town. It offers a mind-boggling variety of combinations, made with the choicest
SOMEHOW MY CHILLI FETISH HAS BEEN ANTICIPATED AND A VARIETY OF SAUCES IS SUPPLIED
ingredients and the tastiest broths. On the evening we visit, Ted offers us three levels of Sichuan broth: ‘tourist’, ‘local’ and ‘don’t be silly’. Despite being an avid chilli head, I’m smart enough to avoid ‘don’t be silly’ and opt for ‘local’ level Sichuan and a kimchi broth. It’s delightfully moreish, and the chilli hit is addictive. Lung King Heen, which translates to ‘view of the dragon’, is a threeMichelin-starred Chinese restaurant by chef Chan Yan Tak. As the first Chinese chef to receive three Michelin stars, Chan combines textures and flavours to make fascinating Cantonese interpretations. Nate has pre-ordered the suckling pig and the duck – both world-famous dishes. The suckling pig arrives at the table in small rectangles, with the super crispy skin perched atop its succulent flesh. Three spicy sauces are provided to allow you to pimp to your hearts delight – it’s the perfect meat lover’s prelude to the duck. Oh, yes, the duck... It’s brought over whole and carved tableside, served as thin slices of moist breast with plenty of lacquered skin – Peking-style – and eaten with cucumber, spring onion, mini pancakes and a sweet bean sauce. The remaining duck disappears into the kitchen to be further eviscerated, finely chopped and dry-fried as a second duck course, with the addition of a bowl of house-made XO sauce and circles of lettuce to wrap. This is the ultimate Peking duck. The liveliest night market in Hong Kong, Temple Street market, extends from Man Ming Lane in the north to Nanking Street in the south, and is cut in two by the Tin Hau Temple complex. It’s a good place to go for the bustling atmosphere, and for the smells and tastes on offer from the dai pai dong (open-air street stall) food on Woo Sung Street. You can get anything from a simple bowl of noodles to a full meal at the seafood or hotpot restaurants in the area. We choose to dine on outstanding roast goose and BBQ pork. The market officially opens in the afternoon, but most hawkers set up at about 6pm and start shutting up around 11pm. If you want to carry on, visit the wholesale fruit market – always a colourful hive of activity. No trip to Hong Kong is complete without taking in Matt Abergel’s Yardbird; a most excellent chicken restaurant. Fried chicken, a chicken scotch egg, a plethora of pickles and a never-ending supply of savoury yakitori skewers, all washed down with lots of sake. Saddened to leave the ‘fragrant harbour’, I resolve to plot many excuses to return. Asian Meatopia perhaps? Watch this space… f
OPEN SEASON SE ASONAL PR ODUC E AND W HE R E TO F IND I T This month, eco-chef and restaurateur Tom Hunt gives his verdict on asparagus, which comes into season from April until June Ready, set, go... When asparagus season starts, make sure you’re the first to the shop – you’ve only got six weeks to enjoy this flavoursome so-called aphrodisiac. Steam it, boil it, stir-fry it, barbecue it or just eat it raw, but make sure it’s sitting in pride of place on your dinner table, preferably with a big pot of aioli next to it. The important thing to remember when cooking asparagus is that it takes just a minute or two to cook (and should be devoured just as quickly). It has a strong but delicate standalone flavour, which means
THE URBAN GARDENER
Petersham Nurseries’ Amanda Brame tells us how best to make use of a small city garden. Here’s what’s best to sow or plant in May Your seeds should now be germinating like mad, so it’s time to start thinning them – this means pulling out the weaker seedlings that have germinated very close to one another. Don’t forget to eat the thinnings – you’ve just grown your own micro leaves. If you’re growing ‘cut and come again’ varieties of salad leaves, once they’re a decent size, harvest the leaves, but leave at least 5cm of the stems remaining for them to regrow. If you keep feeding and watering them, you’ll get up to five cuts per plant. Dwarf French beans are one of my favourites to grow as they’re so productive. Make sure you use a 40cmdeep container and sow the seeds during the first week of May. Once germinated, all you need to do is keep them well watered and fed. It won’t be long before you can start picking – if you get overwhelmed by beans, blanch
it doesn’t need complicating – this is a vegetable to cook simply. It’s best eaten as fresh as possible, so buy as locally as you can, and keep it fresh by standing the stalks in water in the fridge. If the stems are thick, peel the ends to remove the tough skin. To prepare, cut the bottom inch of the stalk off and take a bite to test the texture. and decide where to cut. The tougher part can be finely sliced or added to soups. f The Natural Cook by Tom Hunt is available now (Quadrille, £20). For more on Tom and his restaurants, see tomsfeast.com
them for 2-3 minutes and freeze. If you have the space for deeper containers, you must try courgettes; at Petersham, we grow them specially for the flowers, which we stuff before cooking – they’re a summer staple. Amanda Brame is deputy head of horticulture at Petersham Nurseries; petershamnurseries.com. Read the column in full at fdsm.co/columns
ACTING CLASS: Stanley Tucci, shot for our sister magazine Square Mile
AT THE TABLE… With two cookbooks and a film about restaurants under his belt, Hollywood actordirector and London resident Stanley Tucci knows his way around a plate of food Why did you decide to write and release cookbooks? After we did Big Night, which was the first film that I co-wrote and co-directed, I wanted to bring out a book that would include recipes from both my family and from Johnny Scapin, who was the chef-consultant on the film. He’s from northern Italy, and my parents’ families are from southern Italy, so I thought that it would be really interesting to have a combination of those two different kinds of cooking in one book. We went to William Morrow, a publisher that’s no longer in existence, and they said, “Yeah, great, we’ll do it,” and gave my parents and Johnny an advance. They worked for a year and a half putting this book together with another friend, and ended up with a book called Cucina Familia, which was the original title. It did really well, but then it went out of print after a number of years. Then I found out about six years ago that people really wanted this book – they were looking for it on the internet. So I said to my now-wife Felicity, who’s a literary agent, “What would it be like to try and reissue that book?” We had it reissued by Simon & Schuster – and it was really wonderful. And then as part of that, we did a deal where I would do another book for them. So that was the book we called The Tucci Table, which Felicity and I did together, and Orion published it here. So now the plan is for me to do another book with Orion, though I’m not quite sure what it will be.
Do you think restaurants are underused as settings for movies?
Photograph by David Ellis
It’s hard to do. I mean you can’t set out to make a food movie, per se. One of the reasons we set the story in a restaurant was because my cousin who wrote it with me, we both love food – we grew up in the same family. To me, one of the parts of the overall story is about the role of the artist in society, and then the role of the Italian immigrant in society. So where to place that? A restaurant seemed to me to make the most sense, because a restaurant is like the theatre. As
a person who was trained in the theatre, it’s the same thing. You have the backstage, which is the kitchen; you have the on-stage, which is the dining room; you have to do all this preparation in advance; prior to the performance, people walk in and sit down at the table. And the performance is: what would you like to eat? You have everything prepared, you do the performance, and then it’s over. Sometimes you do a matinee, sometimes you do an evening, and sometimes you do both. It’s so much like the theatre that it just made sense – to use that as a kind of conduit to tell the story. And also anything that takes place in an enclosed space that is somewhat claustrophobic, in a way, is really interesting, because the tension is greater. So when things really explode in the film – they go out to the beach and that’s where everything happens – the landscape is an entirely new landscape, but all the stuff has been built up in this pressure cooker of the tiny restaurant.
Are there any other restaurant movies that you’ve enjoyed? Well, there are so many. I mean I think Chef
THE TRUSSELL TRUST
Want to play your part in ending poverty-induced hunger in the UK? The Trussell Trust is a charity working hard to do just that, with more than 400 food banks around the country, as well as giving advice and support. Stanley Tucci is a fervent and vocal supporter of the Trust, who uses his profile to raise awareness for the charity whenever he can, as well as taking part in events, hosting charitable dinners, and donating all profits from his cookbook The Tucci Table to the charity. For more information or to donate, visit trusselltrust.org
THE MORE SPECIFIC YOU MAKE A STORY, THE MORE UNIVERSAL IT WILL BECOME is great. Jon Favreau did a really good job, and obviously he knows how to cook – you can just tell. I think Eat Drink Man Woman is wonderful, and Babette’s Feast is probably one of the best, without question.
Where does your passion for food come from? It comes from my family, and my heritage. Italians, if they’re anything – if they’re about anything – they are very much about food. And it’s the kind of thing that binds them, from north to south.
How did you go about incorporating this into your film career? I didn’t even really mean to; it’s something that just kind of happened. Once we made Big Night, all of these doors opened up: suddenly you were walking into a restaurant, and people were going, “Oh my God, you told my story.” But you were walking into a Persian restaurant, or a French restaurant. And that’s really interesting, because I’ve always felt that the more specific you make a film, and the more specific you make a story, the more universal it actually becomes. →
→ You live in London now. What do you miss about New York’s food culture?
I really like the Jewish delis in New York, I definitely miss those. I just heard that the Carnegie Deli has closed down, which is heartbreaking to me because that was a really fantastic place to go. Pastrami sandwiches, chicken soup, borscht and all the rest of it. I really love New York’s Jewish culture. And that food is kind of amazing.
Are there any chefs or venues that have shaped your experience of London’s food culture? Heston Blumenthal is incredible, but that’s a very rarefied kind of thing. Then you have somebody like Jeremy [Lee] at Quo Vadis, who’s taken the British menu and really heightened it. It’s amazing. Also Francesco Mazzei, and then local pleasures like Riva in Barnes [where Tucci lives], which was AA Gill’s go-to place. There are just so many places in London. It’s like a food mecca, but I don’t need to tell you that.
There are quite a few. There’s Assaggi in Notting Hill; Riva; Francesco’s place [Sartoria, on Savile Row]. There’s a place in Richmond called Al Boccon di’vino, and it’s absolute madness – it’s a tiny restaurant with no menu, you just walk in, sit down, and the guy goes,
What is it about Italians and hospitality? I think the Italians have two very distinct sides to them. They’ve been invaded so many times that they are incredibly hospitable, and they’ve been invaded so many times that they’re also incredibly wary and mistrusting. So there’s not really a lot in between. It’s like ‘as I am accepting you into my home, I am always keeping an eye on you. However, I will give you anything, and then I’m going to see how you react.’ Being invaded constantly – Italy was only unified in 1861, and even then, unification is kind of iffy – is definitely a big part of the reason why they’re so hospitable. And also, communicating through food is a great way to find out about somebody. And it’s also a great way to make a connection with somebody. It’s a silent way of speaking; it’s a silent connector. And it’s one of the reasons why, by all accounts, you don’t see a huge number of Italian writers: because if you wrote something down then it could well have been found by whoever had invaded at that point, so everything was spoken instead. And if it wasn’t spoken then it became gestural. So that’s one of the reasons that Italians, they believe, gesture as much as they do. Because you don’t know who that guy is who just came in and decided to take over your province.
IF YOU WANT IT, EAT IT; IF YOU DON’T, THAT’S TOO FUCKING BAD. THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM How did you come to present the Evening Standard Restaurant Awards at Taste of London last year? Somebody asked me to do it, and one of the reasons I agreed was they said, “We’re going to pay you this amount of money,” and I said I don’t want the money; I want you to donate it to The Trussell Trust. Part of the reason that I’ll do stuff like that is so that someplace like The Trussell Trust benefits. And also, it’s fun.
Did any restaurants stick out? One of my wife’s clients, actually: Tim Siadatan, the guy who does Padella and Trullo. To me, Trullo is one of the best restaurants in London. And not because it’s my wife’s client, I swear. f
GET THE BOOK
Want to immerse yourself in Stanley Tucci’s family recipes? Grab his book, The Tucci Table, and try some of them out for yourself. The Tucci Table by Stanley Tucci is published by Orion in both Hardback and eBook, priced £25/£12.99
Photograph by David Ellis
Which Italian restaurants in London are you particularly fond of?
“Right, here’s what I have; do you like that?” And you go, “Yeah.” And then he goes, “Do you want some wine?” And he pulls out, like, an incredible bottle, and he says, “You want this?” There’s no “This is how much it costs.” And the thing is, you’re never, ever going to get ripped off. You’re going to sit down and sometimes you’re going to get seven courses, sometimes you’re going to get 12 courses – you just don’t know. You have absolutely no idea at all. And then inevitably he comes out after you’ve eaten for two hours – like we did in Big Night – with a suckling pig, and he parades it around the tiny restaurant, and then he goes back and everybody goes, “Yay, suckling pig.” And then he goes back in, cuts it up, and everyone gets suckling pig. If you want it, eat it; if you don’t, that’s too fucking bad. That’s your problem. And prior to that, he’ll just serve whatever he decides to make that day. It’s fantastic. But it is literally like you’re in a crazy uncle’s home in Italy. If you have to be anywhere, don’t go. Don’t drive there because you’ll definitely drink. Inevitably, he’ll pull out the grappa or whatever at the end, and you’ll have to drink it – he’ll tie you down and pour it down your throat. It’s just fantastic.
DELICATE & GOLDENâ€¦
E m m a , F e s ti v a l Director of London Wine Week, loves an oaked Chardonnay.
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RAMEN MAKER, TONKOTSU “If you don’t make your own noodles, you’re just a soup shop.” That’s what Ken Yamada and Emma Reynolds were told when they set up Japanese ramen joint Tonkotsu. And so they set out to make their own ramen flour – no mean feat when no such thing exists in the UK – and shipped over this machine from Japan, which makes hundreds of portions of noodles each day. Various locations; tonkotsu.co.uk
H E AVY MAC HINE RY
We head to Tonkotsu, where a finely tuned recipe and an industrial machine shipped from Japan make some of the best ramen London has to offer 36
Photograph by David Harrison
RAMEN TO THAT
RICH & SOMEWHAT NUTTYâ€¦
Fa b r i c e , co-owner of new disco sherry bar SACK, really enjoys a dry f ino.
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Dining DRINKING GRAZING DINING TRENDING
THE RADAR We take you through our pick of London’s hottest restaurant openings, from now until June Grazing
S U M MERS
If Wales’s vibrant food culture has escaped the attention of most food-loving Londoners, that’s all set to change with the muchawaited opening by Tom Simmons, the Welsh chef who formerly headed up the two-AA-rosette-winning Wolfscastle Country Hotel. His partner Lois Thomas [both pictured left] will lead front-of-house at the chef’s eponymous Tower Hill restaurant, which will specialise in foraged food with a Welsh spin. SE1 2LP; tom-simmons.co.uk
DUC K & WAF F L E L OCAL
We’ve canoed up the Ardèche river in southern France, and we can tell you it’s a beautiful place, with food and wine to match. Stéphane Reynaud [left], a native of the region who has three restaurants in Paris, will be bringing a taste of the Ardèche to Shoreditch’s Boundary hotel. Expect a big emphasis on house-butchered meat and French-style charcuterie, and a farm-to-table ethos inspired by Reynaud’s childhood in France. E2 7DD; boundary.london
T HE B B Q C L U B EARLY MAY
This May, the king of the pop-up becomes the king of the BBQ restaurant. Yep, Jimmy Garcia – he of multiple renowned London pop-ups and the occasional Sunday Brunch appearance – is moving into a permanent home on the South Bank. The two-storey restaurant will have a bar with light bites and a gin terrace downstairs, while the first floor will offer a char-centric tasting menu. SE1 8XX; bbqclub.co
The sky-high, 24hour restaurant’s brand-new sister site will be a fast-casual restaurant and bar in St James’s Market. SW1Y 4RP; duckandwaffle local.com
Harlem, NYC chef Marcus Samuelsson brings his US/African/ Swedish fusion food to Shoreditch’s newly opened Curtain Hotel. EC2A 4PJ; thecurtain.com
Photographs by (Summers) by Alasdair Manson; (Tom Simmons) David Cotsworth
We’re always excited when Fergus Henderson protégés open their own places, and Ruairidh Summers’ new opening looks a doozy. The former St John Bread & Wine chef will put a distinctly Irish slant (or should that be sláinte?) on wild meat- and fish-based small plates at a dining room above the Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn. NW6 2BY; summersdining.co.uk
TOM SIM M ONS
The newest addition to Finsbury Avenue Square in the City is this former pop-up that serves mouthwatering all-day brunch to take away. Bavette sandwich and huevos rancheros to go? Yes please. EC2M 2QS; yolklondon.com
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OWNING IT Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Own Selection is a great way to taste a range of superb wines at accessible prices
LEFT TO RIGHT: The bestselling Berry Bros. & Rudd Good Ordinary Claret, a lauded Bordeaux (£9.75); the 2015 Berry Bros. & Rudd Australian Shiraz by Elderton, from the Barossa Valley (£12.50); 2013 Berry Bros. & Rudd English Sparkling Wine by Gusbourne Estate (£25.95); a premium dry Riesling, the 2015 Berry Bros. & Rudd Eden Valley Riesling by Torzi Matthews Vintners (£19.95)
WHAT IS OWN SELECTION? Put simply, Own Selection is a range of wines created especially for Berry Bros. & Rudd by some of its most cherished winemakers. The wine merchant has always worked closely with its partner producers, and this is a continuation of this relationship, designed to bring clarity to its customers. The merchant selects wines considered to be benchmark examples of the world’s best wine-producing regions – which favour quality and value over low prices – and bring them to you in a clearly labelled bottle. Want to know what to expect from a Barossa Valley red? Try the brand’s Australian Shiraz bottling. Want to taste a premium Bordeaux at a great price? Grab a bottle of Good Ordinary Claret – the brand’s top-selling wine, available for under £10 per bottle. There’s no smoke and mirrors, either. While some brands’ white-label wines make it unclear as to whose product you’re enjoying, you’ll see the winemaker’s name displayed proudly on the label of all of Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Producer Partnership wines. For more information and to buy: bbr.com
Photograph by ###
1 9 0 8 – 2 0 0 8 . T H E C E N T E N A R Y O F S I R W I N S T O N C H U R C H I L L’S F I R S T O R D E R O F P O L R O G E R
— PART 2 —
FEAST “TRY SOMETHING NEW FROM A REGION YOU HAVE HEARD LITTLE ABOUT. IT WILL NORMALLY BE GOOD BECAUSE IT’S HAD TO EARN ITS PLACE ON THE LIST” MATT WALLS ON THE WINE LIST, 050
044 SELIN KIAZIM | 050 BEHIND THE WINE LIST 056 FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY 064 COCKTAILS BY NUMBERS | 068 SANTORINI’S VOLCANIC WINES 076 CURDS & WHEY | 082 MIXOLOGY: ARTESIAN
When, at the age of 25, Selin Kiazim said she’d revolutionise Turkish food in London, she really wasn’t kidding. She tells Lydia Winter why London was so ready for her unique style of cooking Photograph by ###
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON
HAT DOES RICE pudding mean to you? For many of us, it’s likely to evoke memories of strawberry jam and school dinners. Yet this quintessentially British dish is actually related to a traditional dessert in Cyprus and mainland Turkey, where, explains British-born, TurkishCypriot-descended chef Selin Kiazim, it’s a simple, baked dish, topped with cinnamon. “But my version is a bit different,” she says. “It’s more like a rice pudding brûlée. Getting the consistency right is quite technical; I caramelise the sugar on top, which is very French, then I garnish it with rum jelly, top it with caramelised pineapple and marinated lychees, and add flavours like sour tamarind. You just wouldn’t see that in Turkish cooking – that’s me, that’s how I’ve developed it.” This dish demonstrates everything you need to know about Kiazim’s approach to food at Oklava, her hit restaurant on Shoreditch’s Luke Street. It uses the core elements of a traditional Turkish recipe, mixing it up with old-school French technique and completely unexpected flavours. In short, it’s culinary alchemy, with a touch that’s entirely unique to Kiazim. It’s unsurprising that her talents have seen her collect a raft of acolytes; among them is Giles Coren, who radically proclaimed that her cooking has “the potential to change lives”. That’s a hell of a statement, and one that might be a lot of responsibility for a 31 year old to shoulder, but Kiazim is nakedly ambitious. Aged 20, she set herself the goal of opening her first restaurant before she turned 30; at 25, she promised she would revolutionise Turkish food in Britain.
I’M SHOWING PEOPLE WHAT CAN REALLY BE DONE WITH TURKISH FOOD Carving a niche in a well-represented cuisine is no mean feat, although Kiazim was always in a position to do it. Born in north London to Cypriot expat parents, she spent her childhood summers in Cyprus, eating the food of her mother and grandmother. The cooking there differs from that of mainland Turkey: where Turkey uses butter, Cyprus uses olive oil; where Turkey uses dried fruits and nuts, Cypriot cuisine features lemons, parsley, and other ingredients that evoke the region’s sun-drenched climate. Kiazim describes it simply as “island cooking.” She’s taken these flavours and translated them: the classic Turkish boat-shaped pide bread, traditionally stuffed with cheese and ground meat, has become a thing of elegance, filled with delicate chunks of marinated octopus, thyme, pickled caper leaves and curls of hard ricotta, and finished with a generous drizzle of honey. Elsewhere there’s crispy, pomegranate-glazed lamb breast, served with yoghurt; and a side dish so good it’s become a signature in its own right: nutty pearl barley with sour cherries, topped with crispy kale, yoghurt, chilli butter and sheep’s cheese. These dishes leverage Kiazim’s background and the recipes of her mother and grandmother, giving them her characteristic modern, confident touch – something she began to develop during her chef’s diploma, and then honed when working under Peter Gordon of The Providores and Tapa Room, who remains her mentor and a long-time fan. Having been involved with restaurants in Istanbul for 16 years, he’s an authority on authentic Turkish cooking, and he recognises Kiazim’s ability to marry tradition with what he calls a ‘London 2017 tweak’. “Selin’s twists aren’t always obvious, and it gives her food an intriguing edge while still paying homage to her ancestors,” says Gordon. →
Photographs (left) by Chris Terry
Just over a year after the opening of Oklava (which she did aged 29), it’s safe to say Kiazim has achieved her goals and then some: the restaurant is going strong; her first cookbook, Oklava: Recipes from a Turkish-Cypriot Kitchen, is published this month; and there are plans in the pipeline to open a second site later this year, although Kiazim remains tightlipped on the subject. She’s clearly driven and talented, yet wears these qualities lightly; sample her food and the natural conclusion you come to is that her cooking is so good it speaks for itself, and doesn’t need a loud personality to shout about it. There’s no shortage of authentic Turkish restaurants in London – the north-east, especially the area around Green Lanes in Haringey, is particularly well populated by Turkish expats and their businesses – so why has it taken so long for this widely loved cuisine to get the modern-London treatment? “It’s tricky because it’s always been an affordable food that people know well,” Kiazim points out. Putting a higher price point on a street-food dish that’s known for being cheap was always going to draw criticism, and some would deem it unnecessary, but, she says, she was never phased by it: “That has its place, but I’m trying to do something different.” What’s more, she’s adamant in her belief that “there’s so much more to the perception of Turkish cuisine. People know the mezzes and the breads, which are fantastic, but people haven’t experienced much more beyond.” It’s the feedback from these traditionalists that Kiazim treasures the most. At the end of the day, she asserts, “I’m showing them what can be done with Turkish food and taking it to the next level. It’s not something they’ve seen before and then they get excited by it.”
IN DETAIL: (main) Selin Kiazim making pide in the kitchen of her restaurant, Oklava; (left) dishes at the restaurant are based on traditional Turkish cuisine, but given a modern twist
RAISE THE BAR: (from top) Selin in Oklava; the restaurant’s pearl barley with kale and yoghurt
→ “Her flavours and creations are terrific,” he continues. “She knows how to balance a dish and meld the sweetness of honey with the sharp notes of pomegranate molasses, combine it with a charcoal-grilled piece of meat, and produce a delicious meal.” High praise from a chef known as the father of fusion food, and who’s responsible for introducing a wide array of previously unheard of ingredients into our store cupboards – and testament to how Kiazim has developed a style that’s all her own. She cites her time at The Providores, and later at Kopapa, another restaurant in Gordon’s stable, as a turning point in her career, saying it was ‘vital’ to where she’s ended up – not only when it comes to her
‘Oklava: Recipes from a Turkish-Cypriot Kitchen’ is out on 4 May, published by Mitchell Beazley.
Photographs (left) by Chris Terry
I DON’T DO COMPLETE FUSION, BUT I DON’T SET STRICT BOUNDARIES
cooking but also her skill in running a happy business. “Peter always blew my mind with the things that he would put together,” Kiazim says. “Although I don’t do complete fusion, it taught me to not set strict boundaries, and if it tastes delicious, to go with it.” Kiazim delivers this with quiet confidence; it’s not hard to see how her strength of personality made her shine to an industry stalwart like Gordon in the first place; “I knew she would one day get a restaurant,” he says, “and that one day she would write a book and in all likelihood do television. Secretly I hoped she would forge the way for other female chefs, as there just aren’t enough at the top of the game – although I didn’t realise all this would happen quite so soon.”
Yet it had never occurred to Kiazim to follow the more traditional path of working her way up the ladder before branching out on her own: “Before I left college, I was already developing a clear idea that I wanted to do something of my own and that it would most likely be a restaurant. I had the overwhelming desire to be cooking my own food and doing things the way I wanted to.” Once she had spotted the gap in the market for this kind of Turkish food, her conviction became unshakable. “When you believe in something enough, you can convince anyone it’s going to work. I was fearless.” With such steely, single-minded determination to drive her, it’s unsurprising that Gordon’s hopes are well on their way to being met. Her cookbook is as well thoughtout as her restaurant, balancing her family recipes with a modern touch. Lovers of the restaurant will recognise favourite dishes, like the pides, the lamb breast and Kiazim’s knock-out puddings, but there’s a wealth of new content, too – short ribs braised in a Turkish spice mix known as çemen, with brown butter bread sauce; roast duck salad with sumac onions, poached figs and salted walnuts; simple streaky bacon sandwiches, slathered with medjool date butter. Most of the dishes detail how she came to develop them: bulgur wheat koftes are based on her mum’s friend’s recipe; fried red mullet with pickled apricots and caper leaves is what Kiazim’s grandmother made when Selin visited Cyprus as a child, “but picking the salad fresh from her garden was an incredible taste sensation,” Kiazim reminisces. “I want people to be able to recreate that.” This passion for bringing these flavours to London’s kitchens, both in restaurants and at home, threads through everything Kiazim does. “I wanted to create a book that people love using. I want someone to show me their book in a year’s time and for it to be beaten up and crinkly around the edges because they’ve been using it so much. I want people to be able to achieve what we cook at Oklava.” So what does the future hold? “My next goal is to open another restaurant with a different concept,” Kiazim says. “There’s just so much more to explore that hasn’t been done yet.” Kiazim may have already achieved a lot, but she’s only just getting started. f
Charles Heidsieck Champagnes are remarkable due to the inclusion of 40% reserve wines and a minimum three year’s ageing in vast and rare Crayères (chalk cellars)*. Charles Heidsieck is one of the world’s most awarded champagnes. Just like his wine, Charles was a man of style and depth, of conviction and character. * Charles Heidsieck Crayères (chalk cellars) are part of the historical sites of the UNESCO’s world heritage list.
RACK MENTALITY: Knowing where to start on a wine list can be daunting. Some of those at The Greenhouse are worth thousands of pounds
ARE YOU ON THE LIST? Photograph by ###
Ever been bamboozled by a restaurantâ€™s wine list? Us too. Matt Walls gets tips from the pros to help you make the best choice
HERE’S SO MUCH to enjoy when you visit a restaurant: a friendly welcome, the convivial atmosphere, catching up with friends… then some smiling bastard hands you the wine list. Pages and pages of wines that you’ve never heard of, at prices you’d baulk at in any shop, and it’s your job to pick the one that will please yourself and your guests. Some wine lists offer tasting notes, but others give no such clues. There are some useful points worth remembering, however, that can lead you to a smart choice when handed even the weightiest of leather-bound tomes.
SOME WINE LISTS OFFER TASTING NOTES, OTHERS GIVE NO SUCH CLUES
Plotting a course If the head chef writes the menu, then who writes the wine list? It could just be the salesman the restaurant buys their wine from. It might be a wine-savvy restaurant manager – or an indifferent one. It’s hard to tell how seriously a restaurant takes their wine offering just by looking at the list. The name of a sommelier or wine consultant within tends to be a good sign – like Martin Lam, consultant to Brindisa, the Zetter Group and Grain Store in King’s Cross. If there are no tasting notes, where does he suggest you begin when choosing a wine? “They should at least be grouped in some
FAMOUS NAMES SUCH AS BORDEAUX AND BURGUNDY RARELY OFFER THE BEST VALUE about. The wine will normally be pretty good because it has had to earn its place on the list among the more well-known names that sell themselves, and generally you will find that it’s priced more competitively.” Famous names such as bordeaux, burgundy and chablis rarely offer the best value – these wines can be glorious, but the best always come with a hefty price tag, so beware of buying cheaper examples blind. For reliable quality at sensible prices in red wine, consider Côtes du Rhône, Languedoc, southern Italy, Portugal and Chile; in white, look to the Loire, Germany, Greece, northwest Spain and South Africa.
Koch points out that the house wine “is often also available by the glass, so feel free to ask for a taste and then you start a discussion from there… do they have anything lighter, fruitier, etc.” Asking your server which wines they personally enjoy is worthwhile, even if they’re not qualified sommeliers.
Lead by the nose If there is a sommelier on hand, so much the better. Sommeliers are sometimes unfairly maligned, but their advice can be invaluable – particularly at restaurants like The Greenhouse in Mayfair where there are 3,700 wines to choose from. Elvis Ziakos is their head sommelier. The Greenhouse opened in 1977, so he inherited the wine list from his predecessors, and has since built on it. “Always have a conversation with the sommelier,” he says. “Wine is like food,” he continues, “always having the same wine is like always having the same food… trying something different is the only way to develop your knowledge, palate and experience.” If you have a budget in mind, spell it out – sommeliers might resemble magicians in their monochrome liveries, but they → INSTANT VINTAGE: (left and below) Opened in 1977, The Greenhouse in Mayfair has some 3,700 wines to choose from. Some are extremely old
kind of useful way,” says Lam, “hopefully by style. This should steer you towards the wine that you’re looking for or at least put you in contact with something you don’t know but that you might like.” A list laid out by country or region he thinks is “next to useless – it presupposes knowledge.” Choosing a wine by sticking to a grape variety or region that you know and love can be a safe option, but you risk getting stuck in a rut. Jade Koch is an independent wine adviser to restaurants such as Trullo in Highbury and Padella in London Bridge, and she recommends trying “something new to you from a region you have heard little
When it comes to house wine, it’s completely impossible to generalise. Lam explains: “I know some people that would swear by their house wine, but it can go the other way; it can be deplorable, just the cheapest option.” As for the urban myth about the second cheapest wine on the list having the most inflated price, he says “I’ve never met anyone who’s admitted to that.” The house wine tends to be the cheapest, but the sweet spot for value is generally between £30 and £100. The grander the restaurant, the higher its running costs, so the steeper their mark-ups need to be; as such, wines in restaurants tend to be pitched anywhere between twice and four times their retail price. Consequently, you’ll be hard pushed to find a genuinely exciting wine in most London restaurants for less than £18 a bottle, or less than £30 a bottle if you’re at a more exclusive address.
WINE LIST DOS AND DON’TS ◆◆ Decide on what you’re eating first.
You might wish you’d ordered a bottle of red wine rather than white if everyone around the table then orders a steak. ◆◆ Ask questions. There’s no reason anyone should know anything about wine, no question is stupid. ◆◆ Try something new. Unusual regions and grape varieties tend to offer better value compared with famous names. You’ll expand your repertoire and discover new favourites if you always try something different. ◆◆ Don’t feel under pressure. Advice can be useful, but you’re under no obligation to follow it; only you know what you feel like drinking. ◆◆ Spend as much as you can afford. Unlike some luxuries, with wine, you tend to get what you pay for.
GLASS ACT: (from top) Don’t be afraid to ask your sommelier for a sample before you choose; the Coravin system allows wines to be tasted without compromising freshness– handy for rare wines
→ aren’t mind readers. If you’re worried about sounding stingy in front of your date, just state a broad price band and choose one of the less expensive suggestions. Some of the rarest wines at The Greenhouse are worth thousands of pounds, but “good value, even for me, is exciting,” says Ziakos.
As with food, wine also follows trends and enjoys new innovations. Two new developments that you might encounter are Coravin and orange wine. Coravin is a wine dispensing system that extracts a small measure from a bottle of wine while keeping the remaining liquid fresh. This means restaurants can offer a broader range by the glass or small serving. It’s a relatively affordable way of experiencing rare wines without shelling out for a whole bottle. Orange wines are white wines that are made more like red wines. Normally the skins are quickly removed from the juice when making a white wine, but with orange wine the skins are macerated for a period of time (like in red wine production) to extract more texture, flavour and colour. The resulting wines are varied in style, but they do tend to be more powerful and notably more tannic – dry and textural – than white wines. Some can be quite challenging but a shared glass can be a real mind opener. Another trend we can all be thankful for is that wine lists are getting shorter, making wine selection quicker and easier.
In respectable restaurants at least, the house wine should usually be a safe choice; but for better value and a more entertaining night, skip over the famous names and try something off the beaten track. If it’s available by the glass ask for a small sample first. And don’t forget to state your budget and ask for advice – your waiting staff have probably tried enough to give you a steer even if there’s no sommelier. Keep trying different wines and soon enough the wine list will read more like a novel than a telephone directory. f
Photographs by (main) Tom Williams; (old wine) CTK/Alamy
WINE LISTS ARE GETTING SHORTER, MAKING WINE SELECTION QUICKER AND EASIER
Orange is the new white
LET IT POUR
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STIR CRAZY: The overall winner of the 2017 awards was Shoeb Faruquee, in the Food for Celebration category sponsored by Champagne Taittinger, for his shot ‘Food for God’. It shows a cook in Faruquee’s native Bangladesh stirring a pot destined for the fasting practitioners of a Hindu prayer ritual.
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS The winners of the 2017 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year awards are in, celebrating food snappers all around the world operating at the very top of their game
Photograph by ###
TICKLED PINK: The winner of the Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year award was this arresting shot by Patrick Desgraupes, entitled ‘The Rosé Wine Tank’. Grapes, macerating with their skins, look as bright as a coloured paint.
ROOT CAUSE: British photographer Jonathan Gregson took home the Production Paradise Food Off the Press gong for this shot, named simply â€˜Vegetablesâ€™, snapped for the January 2017 cover of Waitrose Food magazine.
Photograph by ###
POTTED HISTORY: Francesca Brambilla and Serena Serrani’s shot of an Italian nonna at the stove – named ‘The Grandmother’ – won the Philip Harben Award for Food in Action.
IN FULL PLUME: Belgian photographer Wesley Dombrecht won the Cream of the Crop category for this shot of mackerel, taken in his studio.
Photograph by ###
COLOUR PALATE: The Marks & Spencer Food Portraiture award went to Darren Eastwood-Hickson for his shot ‘Salad Plate’. For more information and to see the full list of winners, go to fdsm.co/pink-lady
STIR IT UP As Londonâ€™s obsession with mixed drinks reaches its peak, Victoria Stewart explores the rise of cocktails in the capital
E ALL KNOW Londoners love cocktails. The availability, quality and interest in them has been growing steadily since about 2009, in parallel with London’s food revolution. But it wasn’t until a recent tour of a new booze venue in Shoreditch that I became fully conscious of the full extent to which this city has become completely hooked on mixed drinks. Here, hidden behind the new TT Liquor shop in Shoreditch, was effectively a mini empire, housing a bar, events spaces and, most surprisingly, four teaching rooms, inside which up to 160 people a day could take part in cocktail masterclasses. In the last year alone, this class arm of TT has taught 15,000 people, which to me indicates an audience that’s not just hungry for, but obsessed with, mixology. Had this slice of the industry got high on its own hype or were there others, elsewhere, making and selling cocktails at such scale? Research facility CGA Strategy assessed in a recent report on cocktail trends that they have “become part of everyday drinking. A fifth more outlets stocked cocktails in 2016 than in 2015 – and even three in ten pub restaurants sell them now.” Indeed, compared with only a few years ago, whether you’re sloshing some at a bar or pub, having someone teach you how to make them, or creating them at home based on what you’ve picked up elsewhere, almost every way to enjoy cocktails has undergone a change. In 2017, there are cocktailing opportunities at every level. At the top of the chain, 400 martinis are sold weekly at the five-star Connaught Hotel bar, while Nightjar, the popular cocktail bar and live music venue which opened in 2010, now has an Instagram following of 33,000 as well as a six-week waiting lists for reservations. Another regularly lauded hotel bar is Dandelyan at the Mondrian, well known because of its founder Ryan Chetiyawardana’s innovative approach to serving pre-batched cocktails that can take seven months to develop. Of the 8,000 weekly drinks served at Dandelyan, 4,200 are cocktails, the most popular being a drink with gin, champagne and green cardamom called Fairchild’s Mule. The drink outsold any other food or beverage item in December.
THE CAPITAL’S COCKTAIL BOOM HAS ENABLED MORE NICHE CONCEPTS TO POP UP
‘Seven months per menu?’ you ask. This is because Chetiyawardana asks every team member to generate ideas based around a given theme. “The beauty of [this] is that everyone interprets it their own way,” he explains, adding that even the research stage can take around four months. The capital’s cocktail boom has also enabled more niche concepts to pop up. While too new to predict its popularity, there’s Untitled bar in Dalston – co-owned by Tony Conigliaro, who’s also behind cult bar 69 Colebrooke Row – which, with its silver walls and communal drinking table, seems like more of catwalk than a bar. Meanwhile, the downstairs portion of the new Scout bar, from industry favourite Matt Whiley, includes a private area called Laboratory where, much like a restaurant chef’s table, ten people can learn about their drinks as they’re made. The best bartenders here might now have cultish followings, but it’s not just the top shakers who are nailing the numbers. Related events, encompassing both tastings and tours, are booming, with consumer ticket sales for last year’s London Cocktail Week increasing by almost 50% to 21,750. Then there’s Cocktails in the City, a three-day London cocktail bonanza which has three more cities in sight for 2017. So if more cocktails are being sold, has →
FLUTE SOLO: (clockwise from left) Dandelyan’s Oyster Lunch; a TT Liquor serve; martinis are taken very seriously at The Connaught Hotel bar
PEOPLE ARE SPENDING MORE MONEY ON FEWER DRINKS
→ this also changed how we’re drinking? Yes, according to more research from CGA Strategy, showing that while the overall volume of cocktails drunk in 2016 dropped by 1%, the value of sales went up by 2.8%, indicating that consumers are “spending more money on slightly fewer drinks”. Chetiyawardana says that many who come to Dandelyan “know what we do” so are likely prepared to spend more for wellmade drinks. Looking more broadly, Tatiana Mercer, founder of bar concierge BarChick, says that of the different London drinkers now there are also “what we call aficionados, who just want to talk to the bartender to find out about the product.” Luckily, today, thanks to things like masterclasses, it’s never been easier to get close to the action. “There are people who are leading gin journeys and negroni tours, there are specialists teaching you everywhere,” comments Mercer. “The TV show Sunday Brunch has done a lot for putting cocktails in people’s heads. It’s riding a massive cocktail wave.” Take London Cocktail Club, who in 2014 had up to ten attendees for its weekly masterclasses and now does the equivalent (mostly focusing on bellinis and Pornstar martinis) in each of its ten venues. At TT Liquor, co-founder Alastair Tatton admits
that having led classes more than 11 years ago, this is “not something brand new on the market” but that it might not have been possible to open his latest baby ten years ago. “It has taken some time for the public to appreciate this new way of learning to make cocktails.” Its wide-ranging popularity – TT’s participants might be small private groups, individuals with lots or little experience, or corporate team-building groups – he believes, is down to “people socialising [who] want more experience-based activities rather than simply going out for a couple of drinks.” Face-to-face tuition has its benefits, but if the publishing arena is anything to go by, so does teaching yourself at home. Denise Bates, publishing director at Octopus Publishing Group, maintains that while the majority of drinks books used to be wine and occasionally whisky titles, major growth has come from non-wine books, “in particular cocktails, spirits and beer,” (a recent top hit 101 Gins To Try Before You Die sold 20,954 copies last year). She has seen significant interest in books that “help people understand how [artisan] spirits are made, how to judge quality and, of course, how to use them in cocktails. It’s similar to what happened in food – people want to understand the provenance, the people and the story behind what they’re drinking.” It’s the same in the DIY cocktail arena. For Nicola Lando, director of ingredients marketplace souschef.co.uk, Londoners are experimenting with “a combination of real fruit and infusing their own syrups… [for example] we’ve seen a huge growth – 400% on the previous year – in Funkin’ Fruit Purees”, bought both by bartenders and at-home makers. Similarly, sales of Lakeland’s gin botanicals, including pink peppercorns and hibiscus flowers, were up by more than 450% compared with the previous year, and made.com sold double the number of its £199 Cora drinks trolleys towards the end of 2016.
CONSUMERS WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE PEOPLE, PROVENANCE AND THE STORY BEHIND WHAT THEY’RE DRINKING
ROOM TO GROW: (clockwise from above) London Cocktail Club; Untitled bar; their Violin cocktail
On an already bulging stage, is there room in London for any more? For Tatton, the last ten years have been a “real improvement” in terms of the quality of the ingredients available and the legions of small producers of spirits, liquors and other products, which he hopes “will continue to grow even stronger.” There’s always room for innovation, says Chetiyawardana, “as long as it’s authentic and aiming to address a problem or gap – innovation for the sake of being different or controversial is gimmicky. Jumping on bandwagons is part of human nature, but hopefully an industry as universal as food and drink will continue to be honest and connected, rather than the ‘new rock and roll’ it’s [been] trumped up to be.” Excuse me while I check on my vermouth. f
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Photograph by LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH/Alamy
OUT OF THE ASHES A unique climate, fertile earth, ancient vines â€“ Darren Smith discovers what makes Santoriniâ€™s volcanic wines so special 69
HEN YOU MAKE it through the thicket of selfie sticks on the Ipapantis Walkway in Fira and see the caldera for the first time, a strange sensation may take hold of you. I’ve heard it referred to as Stendhal syndrome: a sort of derangement of the senses which means that whenever you’re faced with scenes of beauty or the sublime, you turn into a complete vegetable. I don’t know if the Santorini caldera counts but there’s certainly something seriously intoxicating about looking over that unfathomable hole and the twinkling sea that surrounds it. And that’s before a drop of assyrtiko has passed your lips. Santorini’s past reputation for producing powerful, high-alcohol, often oxidative wines or vin santo, the island’s unctuous, raisiny sweet wines, has given way in recent years to a quiet winemaking revolution that the world is now waking up to. It centres on the island’s main indigenous grape variety, assyrtiko. Santorini assyrtikos, lipsmackingly delicious as they are to drink now, have the ageing potential of the great rieslings of Germany, or the great chardonnays of Burgundy. Born of the harsh, unforgiving conditions that prevail the island, these are wines structured behind an adamantine-hard core, which means their evolution is very slow – they may take five, even ten years, before their flavours begin to properly unfurl – but their mouthwatering, flinty, volcanic character when they’re young would make it a struggle for most to wait that long. John Szabo, a Canadian master sommelier who recently published a (now André Simonprize-winning) book on the subject, Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power, describes the agricultural produce of Santorini – the tomatoes, the fava, and of course the grapes – as having a “ferocious intensity” as a result of the extreme conditions. “Hardened like a
AN UMAMI CHARACTER IS COMMON IN VOLCANIC WINES Spartan warrior,” he says, “each is suffused with forceful flavour, an archetype of its species.” Santorini has been described as probably the hardest place on the earth to grow vines: searing summer heat and ferocious winds,with humidity either close to saturation point or almost zero, switching suddenly as the sun rises and winds pick up. The vines here tend to be phenomenally old. Although the parts of the vines above ground on the island’s sand, pumice and volcanic ash soils are around 70-80 years old on average (already very old in vine terms), the roots can be five or six times older. These old vines and ancient root systems are crucial to the concentration and minerality which so define Santorini assyrtiko. The island’s vinegrowers often use a propagation technique called head grafting. What this means is that at a certain age, old vines are decapitated and new ones are grafted on to the old root systems. Because Santorini is one of very few places in Europe that was unaffected by phylloxera – the vine plague which wiped out about two-thirds of European vineyards in the late 19th century, and which meant almost all new vines had to be planted on to phylloxera-resistant rootstocks – all of the island’s vines remain on their original roots. Yiannis Paraskevopoulos of Gaia Wines estimates that the roots of his
SANTORINI Santorini is one of 220 Cycladic islands located off the south coast of Greece. These landmasses, which rise like the backs of a shoal of whales from the Aegean, encircle Delos – the most sacred island of them all, mythical home of Pallas Athena, goddess of wisdom, craft and war. Santorini, or Thira, as it was originally known before Venetian rulers came along in the middle ages, differs from the rest of the islands by virtue of being an active volcano.
What’s a caldera? The caldera is a 12x7.5km hole, left when the Santorini stratovolcano collapsed in on itself after a possibly civilisationdestroying eruption around 1620 BC. The biggest eruption in recorded history was Tambora, Indonesia, in April 1815. The density of ash from this bad boy was such that the whole of North America, Europe and Iceland experienced two years of winter afterwards. George Gordon ‘Lord’ Byron wrote of how “the bright sun was extinguished”; Mary Shelley, in Frankenstein, described a “world turned to ash”. That pales beside the Santorini eruption. This one, also known as the Minoan eruption, expelled a ‘dense rock equivalent’ of 60km³ – which someone has equated to every single house in Japan. It’s thought that it is responsible for the demise of the Minoan civilisation. Excavated finds from the pre-historic city of the Akrotiri, which was buried, Pompeii-like, under a thick layer of volcanic ash following the Santorini eruption, show that wine has been made – and in industrial quantities – in Santorini since well before that cataclysmic event.
Where to try assyrtiko These are flavours you want to bring back to London with you, although
Photograph by (Sigalas) Antonis Eleftherakis
THE SEA IS THOUGHT BY SOME PRODUCERS TO PROVIDE THE IDEAL, STABLE CONDITIONS FOR AGEING WINE you may not have to as there’s a bit of a Greek food and drink buzz about London nowadays. The Greek Larder, Milos – restaurants like these are doing a great PR job for Greek gastronomy. Theo Kyriakou of
ABOVE: Grapes ready for harvest at the Sigalas winery; LEFT: a selection of Sigalas’s signature wines; FAR LEFT: vines tend to flourish on Santorini thanks to the island’s climate and mineral-rich volcanic soil
the Greek Larder, in particular, is doing his bit – he puts on the excellent Greek Wine and Food Festival each year.
Thalassitis – ‘sea water’ At Gaia estate, Yiannis has taken to storing some of his wine under the sea to investigate the effects of sea ageing. Every year since 2009 he has been setting aside 500 bottles, taking them out on a boat and dropping them at a secret location on the seabed, where he leaves them for a year or more. The sea is thought by some wine producers to provide the ideal, stable conditions for ageing wine, and thought to perhaps even accelerate the ageing process. Raul Perez makes a fantastic albariño named Sketch in Rias Baixas, Spain, which is aged by this method. Veuve Clicquot has some of its fizz ageing at the bottom of the Baltic, while fellow champagne house Drappier has bottles that are currently ageing at the bottom of the Channel.
Santorini vines are 400-500 years old, which would almost certainly make them the oldest vines in the entire world.
Identifying a ‘volcanic wine’ in the glass So-called ‘volcanic wines’ are becoming quite trendy in London at the moment, with adventurous sommeliers increasingly looking to add nerello mascaleses from Etna, zibbibos from Pantelleria, listan negro from Tenerife, even koshu from Japan or arinto from the Azores. Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant Nopi even has a section dedicated to volcanic wines. But what exactly are volcanic wines? And what do they taste like? Szabo talks about that minerality mentioned above, even a slight saltiness. In the case of Santorini assytrtiko, this saltiness is in part attributable to the sea spray (known locally as pousi), which leaves salt traces on the vines, but a certain umami character is common to a lot of volcanic wines. They are less about fruitiness, more about tense, mineral power. In the case of assyrtiko, a grape with an extremely low pH level and high acidity, this creates a wine whose peachy, honeyed rich notes are entombed behind this steely, salty, mouthwatering →
IS FOR MALBEC
Drink Graffigna responsibly
ripening periods which, combined with some skin contact at cool temperature, helps to extract phenolics, giving you a peachy, minerally, umami-rich and powerful wine. Then there is Gaia’s thalassitis. In bygone times, a mix of wine and sea water (sea is thalassa in Greek) was thought to have therapeutic properties. Yiannis doesn’t add sea water, but points out that sea spray which hits the low-lying vines on the island does indeed confer a salty character. Gaia’s oak-fermented thalassitis (he also makes one in stainless steel) is as deliciously creamy, toasty, tense and minerally as a really good meursault, and for a fraction of the price.
→ minerality. Over the years, the richness breaks free. Eventually petrol notes can emerge – similar to some fine rieslings. If you love wine, and in particular mouthwatering, flinty, minerally whites – chablis, Mosel riesling, Tokaj furmint, all that good stuff – assyrtiko is a discovery you’ll be glad you made, and doing so in the place it’s made would make the experience all the more special. There are 22 wineries on the island, and if you do decide to go, there’s three I’d strongly recommend you visit… Gaia Wines
Photograph (Hatzidakis) by Vangelis Paravas
Gaia Wines is owned by bordeaux-loving oenologist Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. He also has an interest in the biggest brewery on Santorini – which is named, appropriately enough, the Santorini Brewing Company. Gaia’s stated aim is to use state-of-the-art technology to enhance the potential of Santorini’s native grape varieties – in effect assyrtiko, which accounts for 70% of the vines planted on the island. The small winery is in an old tomato canning factory (Santorini produces the most intensely flavoured cherry tomatoes, and the best tomato paste, you’ll ever taste), right on the beach in Kamari. Visit between April and October and enjoy a winery tour and tasting, then sit on the whitewashed porch over the shallow volcanic beach and listen to the waves lapping the shore with a coral-pink sun setting behind you and the island of Anafi, mythical refuge of the Argonauts, visible on the horizon. The airport is only about 15 minutes’ walk away, so you hear planes taking off every hour or so in high season, but who are we to demand perfection? You can find Gaia’s wild ferment assyrtiko over here in the UK, and it’s worth seeking out. The grapes come from upland vineyards in Pyrgos. The bigger day/night temperature range up here means longer
THE SEA SPRAY WHICH HITS THE LOW-LYING VINES ON THE ISLAND CONFERS A SALTY CHARACTER
Hatzidakis Robert de Niro is a big fan of Haridimos Hatzidakis’s assyrtiko, apparently. When I visited the winery in September last year I was told that just a couple of weeks earlier he’d shown up at nearby restaurant Forty One pointing the owner to a picture of Hatzidakis’s single-vineyard louro on his phone. “I want this one,” the actor said, and duly got it. It’s a wine made from 130-yearold vines and aged for two years in oak, and is, to be fair, an absolute stunner. Winery owner Haridimos Hatzidakis used to work for Greek wine giant Boutari in Naoussa. For the past several years, however, he’s been making wine for himself and gaining a serious reputation among wine enthusiasts. Recently he built a new gravityfed winery, carved into the volcanic rock of the hillside in Pyrgos. His organically farmed vineyards benefit from higher altitude, which, as mentioned earlier, allows for longer ripening and better overall grape expression. You can find Mr Hatzidakis’s basic assyrtiko in Waitrose (a bargain at £15), but his more terroir-focused wines, such as the louro and mylos, are the serious gear. He’s also a bit of a pioneer with a high-quality red variety called mavrotragano (which translates as ‘dark and crispy’). He was the first on the island to plant this grape; now most of the wineries make one. If you ever find it, his 100% aidani is also well worth trying. Usually used in the island’s traditional sweet wine, vin santo, or one that needs to be blended with assyrtiko to give it some backbone, aidani in Hatzidakis’s hands is aromatic, zesty, flinty, buttery – absolutely delicious.
IN THE DRINK: [from above] Gaia winery, a former tomato canning factory; Harvest at Hatzidakis
Domaine Sigalas is situated on the ancient plain of Oia to the north of the island. The tip of Oia is where many people converge to watch Santorini’s legendary sunsets, →
W HE R E TO STAY Aressana, Fira
A seriously luxurious hilltop hotel with a very impressive restaurant. Local chef Dmitri Papadmitriou calls his food ‘nouvelle but not molecular’, though you definitely get the sense that he’s been poring over an El Bulli cookbook. Enjoy the tasting menu on the balcony overlooking the Aegean.
W HE R E TO VISIT Yiannis Nomikos Estate
→ though Sigalas is well away from the tourist hordes. The winery is owned by former mathematician Paris Sigalas and makes wine from assyrtiko, two other indigenous white grapes, aidani and athiri, along with reds mandilaria and mavrotragano. I think, all things considered, this is my favourite winery on the island – that’s partly down to the quality of the wines, partly because its lovely bar and terrace are perfect for whiling away an afternoon or evening (great food, freshly caught fish, wine tasting options and such like), and partly because of the infectious enthusiasm of Panayiota Kalogeropoulou, the winery’s hospitality manager. A theatre graduate and former sommelier, Panayiota has so much energy and love for what she does, and is absolutely in her element talking to you about the wines, about gastronomy, and about which wine pairs best with which food. Domaine Sigalas’s single-vineyard Kavalieros was really my epiphany wine as far as assyrtiko goes. It’s absolutely wonderful – fresh, citrusy, peachy and floral, yet deeply textured, mouthwateringly mineral and with an understated power (what John Szabo MS, paradoxically but sensibly, calls a “weightless gravity”), which tells you that this is a wine that will evolve gracefully for many years to come. Sigalas also makes a stunning nykteri – another Santorini speciality, made from late-harvest assyrtiko grapes – 20 days after the natural ripening. All the grapes used have been dehydrated on the vine by the botrytis – aka ‘noble rot’ – fungus. Nikta means night in Greek, which is traditionally when pickers would harvest
the grapes for this wine. It tends to be a touch sweeter (though still on the dry side) and much more voluptuous than a simple dry assyrtiko. Panayiota recommends the Sigalas nykteri as a pairing with food as diverse as a stilton-type blue cheese or lamb/veal roasted with lemon.
It’s estimated that soils of volcanic origin cover around 124 million hectares – about 1% – of the planet’s surface, but provides sustenance for 10% of the world’s population. So it is that on islands like Santorini, certain fruits and vegetables are among the tastiest versions you’ll find anywhere in the world – it’s why Santorini cherry tomatoes and fava have their own PDO. Yiannis Nomikos’s visitor-friendly estate is an ongoing effort to standardise the wonderful agricultural products of the island.
Unacknowledged wonder of the world Sigalas, Hatzidakis, Gaia – these wineries show what can be achieved on this extraordinary island when modern winemaking methods and sensitivity to the sense of place are combined with a volcanic terroir, ancient viticultural techniques and a very special native grape variety. Because it’s only been like this for 20 years, we don’t know yet just how much ageing potential these wines actually have (the traditional ones wouldn’t have been made so carefully, oxidation would have limited their shelf life). Given their pH and acidity, it’s very likely that these wines will age like the great rieslings of the Mosel – some of the most revered wines on earth. So much so that, having visited the island, tasted its wines and eaten its food, I’m going to put all restraint to one side to say this: you should book a flight to Santorini this very minute to enjoy the extraordinary wine, the food and the island itself. Because in spite of the selfie sticks, in spite of the fake wedding photoshoots and the models Instagramming their arses from infinity pools, the island is an unacknowledged wonder of the world. And to be there and sit back with a glass of chilled assyrtiko while a coral-pink sun sets over the Aegean is a blissful thing that you will be the poorer for never having done. f
W HE R E TO E AT Assyrtico WIne Restaurant, Fira
For a fantastic lunch within view of that hypnotic caldera, this restaurant takes some beating. With dishes such as fava with salted, smoked Cretan pork (apaki) mousse, you could easily end up gorging here all day.
With its smart, creative dining showcasing local produce, dinner on the balcony at Selene is highly recommended. The sommeliermanager, Georgia Tsara, has been promoting Santorini wine and Cycladic cuisine for the past 20 years.
The Life Goddess 29 Store Street, WC1E 7BS Bloomsbury, London Tel: 020.7637.4077 Tel: 020.7637.2401 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our philosophy, is to explore the authentic Greek gastronomy and present it to all the Londoners! A combination between old and new recipes using healthy and fresh ingredients, slow cooked with love and tender from one generation to the other. Our aim is the harmonious coexistence of Greek hospitality and Greek healthy diet
THE WHEY FORWARD Once seen as merely byproducts of the dairy industry, curds and whey are becoming valued in their own right. Clare Finney asks if they’re the next big thing
Photograph by ###
T IS A sign of how deep into the digital age we now are that the phrase ‘broke the internet’ has become something of a cliché. But the announcement that Mathew Carver’s Cheese Truck would be setting up a bricksand-mortar site in Camden in April – The Cheese bar – while not quite routing the routers, certainly sent Twitter and Facebook into metaphorical meltdown. I take it as a compliment that not one, but 23 of my friends tagged me beneath its viral video: my determination to make everything in life about cheese has not gone unnoticed. But what made me even more excited about this impending orgy of grilling and grating, melting and frying, was the rumour that its menu was going to include both curds and whey. Now I’m no Little Miss Muffet, and nor am I Mary Quicke, a Devonshire cheesemaker who insists that junket – the official name for
the curds and whey dish of nursery rhyme fame – is “delicious.” Traditionally made from fresh milk, slightly warmed and set by rennet, it is “like panna cotta in texture,” she continues, “but why make panna cotta when you can have this?” Served in a bowl with a sprinkle of nutmeg, it is – or was – the farmer’s equivalent of nicking a spoon of cake mixture before putting it in the oven: that mixture is the first part of the cheesemaking process, so eating it now means less butter, and less cheese. “You just couldn’t help yourself,” she recalls, laughing as she tries to persuade me of the virtues of this jellylike mixture which, as soon as you stir your spoon through it, becomes a lumpy, watery mess. The liquid is whey; the lumps the curds, which, once drained and aged, become cheese. But if there are any forms of whey and curds I can totally, fully and →
WHEY-DING IN: [clockwise from left] Cutting curd at Stichelton Dairy; Gourmet Goat’s rose veal; Kupros Dairy’s anglum; whey at Quicke’s Farm
→ whole-stomachedly get on board with, it is the Cheese Truck’s grilled anglum (a salty, halloumi-like cheese made with whey) and the classic Canadian curd dish poutine. Both of these are on the Cheese Bar menu – but it is not here that I first discover the culinary potential of curds and whey in their own right. I’d been ogling butter in Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market when I saw the label ‘whey butter’. I was intrigued. From what I knew about cheese, whey was a byproduct; a problem, largely, to be disposed of via agriculture, turned into whey powder, or in some cases just thrown down the drain. I’d met cheesemaker Bill Oglethorpe before and, from what I understood, his whey went to London’s city farms for pig feed. Was this a new creation? I asked Martin Tkalez, the manager of Neal’s Yard Dairy. The answer, as with all things dairy, was far from straightforward. “It’s been around a while,” he explains. “We’ve always stocked a couple of whey butters alongside our cream butters, from Keens and Abbey Farm as well as Kappacasein.” Though Ogelthorpe only started making whey butter around 2014, using the whey squeezed from curds going into his signature cheese, Bermondsey Hard Pressed, whey butter itself is ancient – so much so it is entered on Slow Food UK’s
website as a ‘forgotten food’. “Unlike ordinary British butter, produced using fresh milk, the butterfat within whey butter undergoes the initial processes of cheesemaking,” says the entry. The cream of the whey is extracted, slightly soured by the addition of culture, and churned to produce a butter that’s lighter and more flavoursome than that churned straight from milk cream. It’s deemed ‘forgotten’ because “producers of whey butter are rare due to production methods being time-consuming, labour intensive and requiring specific skills only known by a limited number of dairymen,” it continues. Oglethorpe is one
WHEY WAS SOMETIMES SIMPLY THROWN DOWN THE DRAIN
such man, having cut his milk teeth in the Swiss Alps with veteran cheese producers; Stephen Keene and Mary Quicke are, too, hailing from ancient dairy farming families. “You need people who value the cheesy, nutty flavour,” says Quicke. “You can use it like any butter, but there is a complexity” – one which customers not just of Neal’s Yard Dairy, but of such illustrious establishments as The Ledbury, Portland and Pitt Cue are learning to appreciate. We haven’t always done so. “We had margarine in my household growing up,” laughs Tkalez. “Now I sell several different types of artisanal butter. People are interested.” Taking the time to learn about the butters, label them clearly and taste them has put their butter sales up about 40% year on year. To some extent this is a natural consequence of the growing demand for good cheese. “I think raw ingredients are the main driving force here. You don’t have butter mongers or whey mongers. These are byproducts, made and sold by people making cheese on an artisanal rather than industrial scale.” Whey has been a headache for cheesemakers ever since the demise of mixedeconomy farming. The proximity of Melton Mowbray, of pork pie fame, to the village of Stilton is no coincidence; the abundance of
stilton producers in the region made pig food easy to come by. But as monoculture took hold and cheese production grew bigger and more centralised, simply carting industrial quantities of whey down to the nearest pig farm became unfeasible – nor could it be spread over fields at such levels without harm. “I think people tend to romanticise it; they talk about parma ham pigs feeding on the whey of parmesan, of stilton and pork pies – but you get loads of whey when you’re making cheese,” he points out. “It’s basically ten to one by volume.” Artisanal producers with a smaller turnover, as well as being better able to feed pigs and land (Oglethorpe still sends some to the farms, I learn; there’s only so much butter you can make and sell), are both more able and more incentivised to find ways of profiting from their whey and any spare curds. “They’re a cash crop,” Tkalez says. While the mainstay – the cheeses – are maturing, whey and fresh curds can be sold rapidly: the curds as they come, the whey as butter, straight whey for a range of culinary uses, whey ricotta or even, in a complete surprise entry, vodka. I track it down – it seems the only sensible option – and discover its name is Black Cow Vodka, and the maker is a dairy farmer based in west Dorset, Jason Barber. He describes how he got there: “I’m a farmer, so I’ve time to think, and if I drink it has to be something that doesn’t stop me from getting up at 5am the next morning.” The holy grail, he said, was clean vodka – so when he thought about returning to a previous home-brewing hobby, brewing vodka seemed obvious. “I knew the Mongols had brewed spirits from mare’s milk, so I thought I could do it – and lactose of course is a sugar: one of the cleanest on the planet.” Even before you start brewing the sugar has already been filtered, having gone through the four stomachs of a cow. “There’s no woody alcohol, as you’d get from rye, wheat or potatoes, so it’s clean to taste” – with, he says, a slightly creamy element which makes it great in espresso martinis. Indeed, so pure is this vodka – distilled, blended, triple-filtered – it is ‘mineralhungry’, making it a great accompaniment to cheese. Procuring cheese, for Barber, is no issue; it’s all part of the process, during which he takes his milk to his cousins who make Barber’s 1833 vintage cheddar with the curds and extract the whey cream to make butter. The remaining whey goes back with him to his still “It is a waste product,” he says. “But you find things to do with it.” It’s this shift in perspective – from whey as waste to whey as promise – that seems to define whey’s growing presence in farm shops, restaurant menus and
WHEY IS A WASTE PRODUCT, BUT YOU FIND THINGS TO USE IT IN most recently, bars. If, like me, you are still dreaming of the halloumi-style cheese I mentioned at the start – apologies. It’s easy to get sidetracked when it comes to milk’s mercuriality. This cheese, served at the Cheese Bar, hails from north London, though its origins lie about 2,000 miles and hundreds of years away. Anthony Heard is the founder of Kupros Dairy. He draws upon his own Cypriot heritage to produce a cheese cooked, brined and seasoned in its own whey, much in the manner of halloumi. “The high temperature denatures the properties in the curd, resulting in a cheese you can fry without it melting,” he explains. It’ll grill and fry like halloumi – but he can’t call it that thanks to EU legislation, so look for anglum at the Cheese Bar. Look out for his anari, too – not content with using the whey of the anglum to brine the anglum curds, Heard has gone yet another step further: reusing the whey from the brining process, adding more raw fresh sheep’s milk, and collecting the solids as they rise to create a soft, citrusy whey cheese similar to ricotta. Fans of Gourmet Goat’s roast vegetable
salad last year will recall what Nadia Stokes of GG describes as “a lovely balance of acidity, sweetness and creaminess.” In fact, it goes particularly well with another so-called waste product of the dairy industry sold by Gourmet Goat: rose veal. The Cypriots’ thrift is by no means unwarranted. In a land not blessed with great wealth, no drop of precious sheep’s milk could be squandered. Whey was used in bread making, the proteins were hung, salted and dried to be grated, or they were eaten fresh. In Cyprus, Heard tells me, anari is affectionately known as the ‘bastard’ cheese. The demand from Michelin-starred chefs – Lyles’ James Lowe; US chef Dan Barber, whose wastED residency at Selfridges was a huge hit – for whey is of course not borne of necessity. They run restaurants for well-heeled customers in London and Manhattan. But it is driven by a desire to reduce their waste, and to illustrate to their customers exactly what so-called ‘waste’ products can do. Savoury sauces; salad dressings; tenderising meat and fish; cocktails; bread; and a form of dulce de leche, made by reducing the whey down to a caramel consistency. Where there’s a will there’s a whey, it seems, for both Barber and Lowe, who buys it by the bucket load each week from Blackwoods dairy and loves its “outrageous funky flavours with notes of cow and cheese. “Initially they weren’t going to charge us for it. But we wanted to pay them, because we want to support those farmers and producers who are operating on a smaller scale,” Lowe continues. “They make great things – and they’re responsive, too” he explains. The personal relationship that can form between producers like Dave Holton of Blackwoods and chefs like Lowe means they can cater →
→ to their whims, supplying whey in two litre bottles, or keeping back some curd from hitting the cheese room. Nowhere is this more in evidence than with poutine’s progress in London, from leftfield Canadian specialty to cult dish with a loyal lunchtime following. Toronto-born Paul Dunits was one of the first to really establish this mess of gravy, curds and chips in London, and tells me his curds producer is a cheddar maker who now sets aside a large proportion of his curds for poutine. He found him through Neal’s Yard Dairy. “I’m not telling you who,” he grins over the thick, treacly vats of beef gravy and deep fat fryers at his stall, The Poutinerie. Good poutine, he says, is like Italian food: “There’s only three ingredients. There’s nothing to hide behind, so they all need to be high quality.” The producer is currently in the process of installing a freezer so his curds are as squeaky as possible. “Back home they are squeakier, because you don’t have to refrigerate them so much as you do unpasteurised curds – but they are also often mass-produced.” Cheddar curds have long been a thing back in Canada: fried, fresh, on chips, “they’re a point-of-sale snack, especially in Quebec,” Dunits explains. “The story goes that a truck driver asked for gravy on top of his curds and chips to keep it warm while he drove, and the lady serving it protested it would make a mess – ‘faire une poutine!’” The hurdle over here was that the word curd, to the Brits, conjured up weird textures: “School dinners, I was often told.” He got round this by stressing to all who asked that the curds would melt on contact with the hot gravy so it was more stringy, like mozzarella. “It’s our piss-up food, at home,” he grins, “hence coming here”, he gestures around him. We’re in the garden of MILK IT: [from above] Poutine at the Poutinerie; Curds and whey are put to good use at Lyle’s
NO INSTAMEAL IS COMPLETE WITHOUT A SNAP OF A GOATS’ CURD DISH can be quite diverse with it. It’s also less calorific by volume so is seen as a ‘healthier alternative’ to hard cheese.” As for whey, despite Dan Barber’s muchfêted efforts at wastED (think broccoli stems with whey béchamel and a dry-aged beef end crumble), Tkalez sincerely doubts that’s it’s the next sriracha or tahini. “It’s an absolutely amazing substance, you can do so much with it, and it’s an incredible source of different kinds of active microbes – but it is always going to be niche.” Remember when keffir was being touted a few years ago as the next big thing? “It’s still obscure. Whey is equally as good a probiotic, and far tastier, but it’s not graspable for customers. You can’t sample it out as you can curd.” Experiment by all means – there are plenty recipes for whey online, and curds make an excellent cheesecake – but don’t worry if, like me, you’d rather celebrate our endlessly enterprising, flourishing artisanal cheese industry by booking a table at Lyle’s or heading to the Cheese Bar and joining the queue. f
Photograph (poutine) by Skins Elliott Photography
The Gunners Pub in Islington, on the morning of an Arsenal match and while the smell of fatalism hangs in the air, the umami aroma of chips and beef lends the proceedings at least a glimmer of hope. Come late June and July, Martin Tkalez anticipates being swamped with requests for curd: “It’s the 150th anniversary of Canada’s birthday, so to speak, and Canadians keep warning us. We’ll have to be sandbagged with it, I reckon,” he says. For their cheesemakers, however, it is excellent news: “It’s cheaper for my supplier to do this,” Dunits points out. “He doesn’t have to press and age it into cheddar, which can take 18 months.” He also values the feedback. “When I came back from Canada he asked me how the curds were, and I said, ‘to tell you the truth, mate, yours are better.’” “We’ve great dairy in this country,” Lowe enthuses. The difference unpasturised milk makes to dairy products like curds, whey and cheese is one he himself admits to taking for granted much of the time – but which, when guest chefs come over from Canada, the US or Australia, does not go unnoticed. “Sometimes they’re tasting it for the first time, and they’re like ‘Holy crap, this is phenomenal, what is this?” he laughs. “You forget how special it is.” Is whey the way forward? Could curd really be the future? It’s certainly modish, if the prevalence of curd on starter and dessert menus is are anything to go by. No Instameal is complete without a snap of goats’ curd mixed with beetroot or stuffed into courgette flowers these days. “In general we find that people are thinking less about using meats, and using more Ottolenghi-inspired ingredients,” says Tkalez – for of course, where there’s a food trend in town, there’s the beaming Yotam Ottolenghi somewhere behind it. “The appeal, I think, is that you
LITTLE WONDER When it comes to tapas, good things certainly come in small packages. World Tapas Day celebrates everything that's great about the iconic, diminutive Spanish cuisine
O TO ANY top London restaurant today and there's a good chance you'll find a menu of small plates rather than the traditional lineup of starter, main and dessert. And the reason? Because the whole world fell in love with tapas – the Spanish cuisine that isn't just fun, sociable and delicious, but defines a culture. That's why 15 June has been
TAPAS STARTED IN SPAIN BUT HAS BEEN EMBRACED BY THE WHOLE WORLD
designated World Tapas Day. Every year, on the third Thursday in June, a series of activities take place to celebrate a style of food that started in Spain but has been embraced by the world. Legend has it that tapas originated in in the 13th century, when King Alfonso X fell ill and was given small, snack-sized plates of food to help him recover. They proved so successful that he decreed all bars must serve snacks alongside alcohol – often balanced on top of a glass (hence tapa – 'cover') to stop flies crawling in. Today, excellent Spanish tapas restaurants are spread all over the world, but to really immerse yourself in this fun and laid-back style of eating, head to Granada and Jaén in Andalucía, Spain. Granada is particularly famous for its garlicky soups, stews and Sacromonte omelettes, made with locally grown vegetables and meat, while Remojón salad – made with cod, oranges, ‘poor
man’s potatoes’, fried egg, breadcrumbs and pork – is another speciality. Historic Jaén, meanwhile, stands within acres of olive groves, earning it the title of Olive Oil Capital of the World. Try fried aubergines with honey, pipirrana – a fresh and healthy salad of tomatoes, green peppers, tuna, eggs, olive oil, salt and garlic – and delicious sweet pastries. Of course, it all tastes better with great company, whether you're in London, Andalucía, or beyond. And that's always something worth celebrating. ● Visit spain.info/en/world-tapas-day-spain and search #TapasDay. Fly to Granada and Jaén with BA/Easyjet.
SMASH HITS The new-look Artesian is a bar on a mission: to take what you thought you knew about cocktails and flip it on its head
MIND YOUR STEP Possibly the hero serve on the Perception menu is Mind Your Step. The glass, designed as it comes by one of Artesian’s manufacturers, rather than broken in-house, is intended to scare. The drink that comes inside it, however, is balanced and approachable, built around Ron Zacapa rum, with a punch of pisco and puréed soursop (a tangy South American fruit), and a classic lime juice and sugar hit. The ‘shards’ in the centre are edible, too.
INGREDIEN TS ◆◆ 25ml Ron Zacapa 23 ◆◆ 15ml Heron pisco ◆◆ 45ml soursop purée ◆◆ 20ml lime juice ◆◆ 15ml sugar syrup
Combine in a shaker over ice, shake ten times, and serve in a martini glass (broken, if possible).
HERE’S A PROCESS you might think occurs when a bartender conceptualises a drink. Balancing sweet and bitter elements, maybe, or getting the best out of a particular spirit. But for Gabor Fodor, head bartender at The Langham’s Artesian, the process goes way beyond that. “What’s a glass you’d never drink out of?” he says of the concept behind ‘Mind Your Step’, the jarring cocktail pictured left. For him, the answer was simple: a broken one. The bar’s new ‘Perception’ menu is full of this kind of subversion, which Fodor calls the “wow effect”. His brief, when taking the reins from the departing Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale a year or so ago, was no small task: take the elements that won Artesian the number one spot in the World’s 50 Best Bars list three years running, and build on them. This is achieved by an obsessive attention to flavour (dotted with ingredients from Fodor’s native Hungary, like herbal liqueur unicum and the herb summer savoury), and a liberal use of sleight of hand and illusion in the presentation, from a drink served in a rainscented ‘stormcloud’ to one, ‘Creative Maths’, that comes as two cocktails to be drunk at first separately, and then together. The outcome? A realisation that, in Artesian’s world, 1 + 1 = 3. f
Photograph by Bernard Zieia
TWO MEMORIES Coupe? I don’t think so – this champagne cocktail is instead served in a flute half-submerged in a glowing contraption inspired by the brightness of the Star of Bombay, a sapphire ring owned by iconic silent film actress Mary Pickford.
IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 30ml Star of Bombay gin ◆◆ 10ml sloe gin ◆◆ 10ml yuzu juice ◆◆ 10ml sugar syrup ◆◆ 70ml champagne ◆◆ Spray of sakura essence (cherry
blossom spray) Shake the gins over ice with the yuzu and sugar syrup. Top with champagne, and spray with sakura.
Photograph by Bernard Zieia
REIMAGINED THE NEW RUMPUS ROOM, A BRIGHT AND VERDANT RIVERSIDE ROOFTOP BAR ON THE 12TH FLOOR OF MONDRIAN LONDON. EXPECT LUSH GREENERY, PLUSH SOFAS AND COMFORTABLE LOUNGE SPACES, PERFECT FOR ENJOYING THE ICONIC VIEW MORNING TO NIGHT-TIME. WITH LIVE MUSIC ON WEDNESDAYS FEATURING SOME OF LONDON’S HOTTEST BANDS, AS WELL AS DJ’S THURSDAY - SATURDAY. GRAB SOME FRIENDS AND JOIN US IN OUR ELEGANT PLAYGROUND THAT WILL HARNESS THE YOUTH AND ENERGY OF THE SOUTH BANK WHILE PROJECTING THE GLAMOUR OF MODERN LONDON.
RUMPUS ROOM IS NOW OPEN FOR RESERVATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT US VIA +44 (0)20 3747 1063 OR RUMPUSROOM�SBE.COM
PERPETUAL MOTION Not content just with barrel-ageing his cocktails, Artesian’s head bartender Gabor Fodor has taken inspiration from Don Facundo Bacardi, who aged his eponymous rum in a warehouse next to a train track, shaking the barrels and resulting in more contact between spirit and wood. This cocktail is aged in a barrel that rocks and sways on top of the bar, and served in a glass that does the very same.
IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 30ml Bacardi Facundo Eximo ◆◆ 25ml Martini Riserva Ambrato ◆◆ 15ml Martini Riserva Rubino ◆◆ 2.5ml sugar syrup ◆◆ 7ml Cynar
Combine ingredients and age in a rocking barrel. Serve in a rocking snifter glass.
Photograph by Bernard Zieja
PURE AS SNOW With more than 30 prestigious international awards under its belt, a new visual identity and a move of home shows that Snow Queen Organic Vodka means business
OME REDESIGNS GO further than just look and feel. Sometimes, when you want to make an impression, a reinvention is the way to go. That’s certainly the case for Snow Queen vodka. You might recognise its frosted bottle from the shelves of your favourite supermarket, but soon, you might not: a design overhaul in May of this year will see its classic bottle reimagined. It’s sleeker, more elegant, and stands out more on the shelves and on your home bar. But that’s only the start. Alongside this reenvisioning of the brand’s visual identity is an uprooting – from its former home in Kazakhstan, where it was launched in 1996, to a new bottling plant in France. The reason is to build on the successful legacy the spirit has created for itself, and the name for this move is, fittingly, New Bottle – New Chapter. Inside the new bottle will be the spirit you know and love. There’s a good
reason the brand has won more than 30 international awards, and it’s down to a lack of compromise: the liquid is made from 100% organic wheat farmed in the EU. The resultant spirit is a Super Premium vodka with a smooth and balanced taste as pure as you can imagine. In fact, you might say it’s as pure as driven snow. If you want to try the real thing, you can join us at the foodism stand at Taste of London 2017, held on 14-18 June at Regent’s Park, and sip on Snow Queen cocktails with us. What’s more, for your chance to win a cocktail kit based around your favourite Snow Queen cocktail recipe, visit Snow Queen’s website and sign up to the newsletter. ● For more information and to sign up, visit snowqueenvodka.com, and follow the brand on social media at @SnowQueenVodka
TRY THIS AT HOME Keen mixologist? Try Snow Queen’s hero serve, Le Mystère, for yourself.
Ingredients ◆◆ 30ml Snow Queen vodka ◆◆ 5ml fresh lime juice ◆◆ 20ml natural tonic water ◆◆ 10ml pure cane sugar syrup
Strain into a coupe glass over ice and garnish with Taiwanese balm leaf.
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: As good as Provençal rosé gets!
Available at mirabeauwine.com
ALL YOU CAN EAST Formerly the Athletes’ Village, East Village in E20 is fast becoming one of London’s hottest food destinations, with 25 restaurants, bars and shops to choose from
OR CITY DWELLERS, it can be hard to find that ‘village feel’ – especially in a place that’s within touching distance of central London and with a raft of eating, drinking and shopping options right on your doorstep.
EAST VILLAGE IS A HUB OF EATERIES AND INDEPENDENT SHOPS
But East Village is changing all that. The up-and-coming destination – a residential village that’s also a hub of eateries and independent shops – is turning its corner of east London into a go-to food and drink destination. Whether it’s a quick coffee and a bite to eat or an evening out, you’ll find a destination to suit you. While away spring days at bar and restaurant Village Vanguard, which also hosts supper clubs and DJ nights; pop in for pizza or pasta at Santi; enjoy an ice cream from La Gelateria before taking a walk in the sunshine; grab an artisanal coffee and a snack at the Greek-inspired café Hand; or dine in style at Darkhorse,
FROM TOP: Hand café’s owner Eva serves a Greek-style salad; a burger, chips and beer from restaurant and event space Village Vanguard
a buzzy modern European brasserie with a distinctively British approach to cooking, and a wine list to match. There’s all this and more to discover, and 25 acres of open, green space as well as its restaurants, bars and shops. Even if you’re a child of the city, a village feel might just be closer than you think... ● For more information, go to @EastVillageLDN on Twitter or eastvillagelondon.co.uk. Keep up with the latest news and events on Twitter and Instagram at @getlivingldn, or on Facebook at @GetLivingLondon
THE ART OF CRAFT The Balvenie Craftsmen’s Dinner is back for its second series, showcasing four unique producers and culminating in a very special evening with Michel Roux Jr.
N A WORLD of small- and large-scale producers making products of everincreasing quality and substance, it’s hard to pin down what exactly defines true craftsmanship. Dedicated to the five rare crafts of whisky making and the most handcrafted of single malts, The Balvenie is expertly placed to judge exactly what true craftsmanship is. Which is precisely why, for a second year running, it’s chosen to showcase four experts that it deems purveyors of true craft: Tottenham-based cheesemaker Wildes Cheese; London honey producer Bermondsey Street Bees; Suffolk’s family-run Wooster’s Bakery; and historic British car manufacturer Morgan Motor Company.
Despite their marked differences, all of the producers and manufacturers involved in this year’s dinner, in their own way, carry on the tradition of true British craftsmanship, and all four make products of outstanding and unarguable quality even in the most unlikely places. The Balvenie is fastidious about its craft – with its own coppersmiths and coopers, and one of the only distillers still to grow its own grain for use in the distillation process. It’s for this reason that The Balvenie has always been hugely passionate about forming relationships with brands that share this ethos, especially those led by the minds of talented and unique individuals who have created their own tradition and history – not unlike Malt Master David
WIN TWO TICKETS TO THE DINNER Want to experience the Craftsmen’s products first-hand, used in new and inventive ways in dishes prepared by Michel Roux Jr? We’ve got two tickets to the Craftsmen’s Dinner at Roux at the Landau, in the Langham hotel, to give to one lucky winner. All you have to do is watch a video and answer a simple question, and you could experience this unique expression of British craft in person... For more information and to enter: fdsm.co/balvenie
Stewart, who has spent more than 55 years crafting The Balvenie’s lauded range of single malt whiskies. “It’s been a pleasure to discover and learn from an immensely talented group of craftspeople, all united by the passion and dedication for what they do,” Michel Roux Jr. says of the partnership. “This year I have been particularly inspired by how these experts go to great lengths, in this modern world, to preserve traditional craft methods, often in unexpected ways and places.” Each of the producers will be heavily involved in the resultant Craftsmen’s Dinner, a celebration at Roux at the Landau restaurant in the Langham hotel that will see guests feast on a menu created by the iconic chef. The night’s one-off menu will feature spit-roasted veal loin with sweet breads glazed in Bermondsey Street Bees’ honey, Wildes Cheese’s Roland cheese with Balveniesoaked prunes and Wooster’s sourdough ice cream – and guests will be driven to and from the dinner in a beautiful Morgan car. If you want to see the craftsmen’s stories for yourself, pay a visit to youtube.com/TheCraftsmensDinner and watch them unfold. And, for a chance to experience this incredible collaboration for yourself, look to your left. ● For more information on the Craftsmen’s Dinner, go to uk.thebalvenie.com, follow @TheBalvenie on Facebook, @BalvenieUK on Twitter, or @thebalvenie on Instagram
Our gluten-free food is delicious for a reason. At ‘Too Good To Be...’ every product is expertly made to contain the most important ingredient: flavour. This is our passion, which means everything that leaves our bakery has passed the ‘Too Good To Be…’ Taste Test. Full on flavour, it’s a promise we’re proud to deliver.
Find the range or ask for it at your local store
— PART 3 —
EXCESS “WE WASH DINNER DOWN WITH HOMEMADE MOONSHINE AND JOHNNIE WALKER AND SODA. THEN THE SPICE TAKES CONTROL” MIKE GIBSON ON FIERY SOUTHERN THAI FOOD, 094
094 SOUTHERN THAILAND | 100 BOTTLE SERVICE | 110 STANDON CALLING 111 THE DIGEST | 114 INSIDER: KENT | 120 THE SELECTOR | 130 DECONSTRUCT
HOT HOT HEAT
With Rosa’s Thai Cafe introducing a menu inspired by Trang’s fiery regional delicacies, Mike Gibson heads to the southern Thai region for an encounter with some of its best-loved dishes
N TRANG, THEY say there’s fire in the conversation.” This, I’m told, is a way of describing the reason why the southern Thai region's dialogue is frenetic, almost confrontational-sounding, especially compared to the longer, more lethargic speech of Bangkok and the north. They also say that the food here is so hot – that their commitment to piquancy is so unwavering – that when people from Bangkok order in restaurants, they’re told they won’t be able to handle it. With this in mind, ‘baptism of fire’ seems like an apt description of my first visit to the region. The flight from Bangkok to Trang only lasts an hour or so, but it’s a journey that takes you from one world to another; from the swarms of tail-lights, high-rises and unending malls of Thailand’s capital to a quite different view. Out of the plane window, lush green mountain peaks reach up and punch holes in soft cloud banks, brown rivers full to bursting snake their way through the carpet of forest. It’s, somewhat improbably, my first taste of this continent, and there’s something about the snapshot that feels emblematically Asiatic; it’s a vision of a mythical Asia.
‘BAPTISM OF FIRE’ IS AN APT DESCRIPTION OF MY VISIT
Photograph by Richard Poole
INTO THE FIRE: Fresh red curry paste in a mixing machine in Trang, southern Thailand, made by hand by the parents of one of Rosa’s Thai Café’s general managers
I’m here to undertake a kind of research trip. You might know the restaurant group Rosa’s Thai Cafe for pad thai and pumpkin red curry, but behind its ‘greatest-hits’ menu and familiar shop-fronts is an unerring search for, above all else, authentic recipes and ingredients. This is very much led by its matriarch Saiphin Moore, a native of a rural area near Chiang Mai in the north. Saiphin and her team’s travels across the country have yielded a special set of menus in different Rosa’s branches, which aim to show off the different undiscovered cuisines of the country. Trang’s is reserved for Rosa’s Soho, the brand’s second restaurant, and is made up of dishes you can’t get anywhere else in London; some of which you won’t find anywhere outside of southern Thailand. →
Juddering around the greenery on a minibus named Thai Tornado, I notice there’s a reason the rivers look so huge: Trang is experiencing its worst winter for more than four decades, rain pummelling the roads and forcing the rivers to burst their banks. It certainly adds to the otherness of my experience (there’s a reason Europeans are referred to as farang in Thailand; its roots are in the word ‘foreign’, and I should know, being pretty much the only one here). But its destructive power snaps into focus in other parts of the region, where we drive by almost fully submerged houses and roads so flooded that traffic is stopped, and workers load innumerable mopeds onto the backs of pick-up trucks, one at a time, so that they can continue their journeys.
We press on, though, and Thai Tornado navigates the intermittent heavy rain and patches of brilliant sunshine to the outer reaches of the Trang region. We drive on dirt roads with sweeping mountains either
THERE’S A SENSE THAT THIS IS REAL HEARTLAND FOOD
Photograph by Richard Poole (rad nar and noodles); Mike Gibson (noodle press and table)
→ Our first stop on our first morning is a local – and I mean really local – roadside restaurant. It might be the morning, but chilli doesn’t wait: we dive into khao gaeng (literally meaning ‘rice and curry’, referring to a mix of dishes familiar to the region, served warm, not hot, and in plentiful portions). We eat pork and quail’s eggs, almost candysweet pumpkin, catfish stir-fry, chicken and banana curry and more, served with incredibly tannic, bitter salad leaves, and presenting a kind of piquancy that’s by no means unbearable, but that I don’t usually associate with breakfast. The setup is sparse, the signs and the awnings are wind-, rainand sun-battered. Papayas bulge on trees in the courtyard and there’s a sense, already, that this is heartland food.
IN FULL COLOUR: [clockwise form top right] Purple rice noodles being pressed; a roadside café offering khao gaeng; purple noodles after cooking; rad nar, or noodles in gravy
side that call to mind The Beach or Jurassic Park, to a place known simply as the Arts for Life Center, where we’re due a lesson in the art of noodle making. The centre takes the beguiling form of a collection of hand-built treehouses that sprawl out and up from the canopy of the surrounding forest. A huge spider hangs lazily in a web below the front entrance. There are ten or so people attending to different pots of noodles, doughs and hot oil; Saiphin is happy, excitable, alternately hollering friendly instructions and running from station to station to enquire about the process. She says the methods remind her of her childhood home. Here, the speciality is a rice noodle known as kanom jeen, traditionally made with fermented rice flour and, in the case of the batch we preside over, an extract from the ‘butterfly pea’ plant that turns the noodles a brilliant purple. There’s a kind of ceremony to it all: the
dough is worked with giant sticks, then put into a 60-year old brass mould and forced through the shower-head-like holes in the underside, into a huge pot full of boiling water heated by burning logs. Before we leave, we try the cooked noodles, and we tuck into a sweet and mellow rice salad made with fermented fish sauce called khao yum, which arrives as beautiful, colourful mounds of salads and rice that are swiftly mixed together. There’s more to the Arts for Life Center than the noodles and other sundries made here, though. It stands as a relic of a sometimes forgotten Thailand: one where noodles are made by elbow grease, not factories, and where water buffalo graze half submerged in the abundant rice paddies. The centre's owner wants to teach Thai people about rice, the “crop that drives Thailand”, by reconnecting them with its life cycle. His eventual plan is to build homestays around the location, where artists can come and immerse themselves in the culture of rice. They’ll grow it; cook with it; they’ll even create art with it. This individual, emotional attachment to food, I learn, is a point of personal pride in Thailand. Here, recipes aren’t toyed with; they’re passed down from generation to generation, and their intricacies and peculiarities say as much about the part of the country they hail from as a local dialect. For example, as well as the characteristic heat, dishes from Trang tend to contain lots of turmeric – largely unheard of in the north, but used more the closer to southern India you go in Thailand. Saiphin is relentlessly careful about her methods, considering herself “a cook, not a chef”; a steward of the dishes she recreates. Elsewhere on our road trips across the region in the two and a half days we spend exploring, Wan – a general manager at Rosa’s and a Trang native – and her mother Jitt take us to what feels like an exhaustive itinerary of all that Trang’s bounty has to offer. We dive into a noodle shop, where a Chinese influence is palpable in rad nar – flat noodles in sweet gravy that come alive when dried chilli, brown sugar and spices are mixed in. Roadside canteens influenced by northern Thai and Laotian cooking, popular →
FRESH AND WILD: [from top] Rice salad from the Arts for Life Center; a spread from Wan Ritpu’s family table, including fiery frogs in red curry paste
ROSA’S WILL TAKE 400KG OF CURRY PASTE PER WEEK FROM TRANG
TRY IT IN LONDON Fancy trying out some of Trang’s most spectacular dishes for yourself? Get down to Rosa’s Thai Cafe’s Soho site and try the southern menu, featuring dishes inspired by the region that include spicy orange curry, smoked mackerel yellow curry, and whole seabass with turmeric. Rosa’s Thai Cafe Soho, 48 Dean Street, W1D 5BF; rosasthaicafe.com
Photography (both) by Richard Poole
→ all over the country, serve up som tam – a cold papaya salad that Saiphin explains is normally made with as many bird’s eye chillies as the years the recipient has been alive – as well as grilled tilapia with fresh herbs; fiery grilled pork neck and more. We also go to a huge outdoor food market, where Jitt, Saiphin and her son Richard – whose passion and excitement for Thai cooking precisely matches his mother’s, despite having grown up largely in the UK – lead a frenetic charge of ingredient hunting and snacking. It’s an electric atmosphere, and we tuck into fried chicken marinated in umami-laden fish sauce; fried coconut dough; sticky-sweet pork skewers and more. Saiphin and Jitt are constantly sampling, discussing and sampling, and Saiphin gets excited and distracted by ingredients: she sees a Thai aubergine and declares her love for eggplant salad, telling us she has to make us a sample back at Jitt’s house. In a suburb called Huai Yot, we visit Wan’s family home. Wan’s father, Nam, owns a curry paste factory nearby, and a mixer
takes pride of place in the family’s garage – a huge, thrumming machine that pulverises the fresh ingredients into a doughy paste. He creates a batch of the vegan red curry paste for us with red chilli, garlic, lemongrass and a host of other fresh ingredients, and Saiphin explains that Rosa’s will take 400kg of spice mixes per week to use in the group’s flagship curries. Saiphin and Jitt get to work on preparing some classic Trang dishes, as well as some, like laab (a warm salad of minced meat or fish and aromatic herbs and vegetables, usually eaten with lettuce leaves), that are popular all over the country. Nam sets to work on a yellow mackerel curry – known as kanom jeen nam ya when served with noodles, as is tradition – by simmering coconut milk on one of two huge, gas-powered outdoor stoves in the centre of the garage, next to the mixing machine. This garage setup – for hot food, at least – is common: Thai cooking is almost always aromatic to the point of being pungent, and cooking semi-outdoors means that the strong aromas can dissipate more easily than in a closed kitchen. Nam drops in a ball of orange curry paste and stirs, tasting a spoonful of the sauce and giving a thumbs-up. Meanwhile, Saiphin and Jeet prepare fish guts curry (gaeng tai pla), a sauce that stings the palate with its saltiness and rich aroma, using Nam’s freshly made curry paste. They also prepare whole frogs from the market in red curry paste – a huge
amount of it, too – as well as a few side dishes that (just about) take the edge off the heat. Around Nam and Jeet’s family table, eight or nine of us sit down to eat. The fun began in the garage, but here it’s elevated as we dig into a medley of dishes that range from merely slightly piquant to relentless, hardhitting spice. As we eat, washing dinner down with homemade moonshine and Johnnie Walker and soda, the spice takes control. The frogs in red curry paste dish in particular is pain for pleasure – as I start to sweat and tear up, the all-consuming fire gives way to a genuine high as serotonin kicks in; bouts of laughter and a dreamlike haze take over, and the conversation has us laughing almost hysterically at each other’s observations, reactions and facial expressions. Somehow, improbably, Saiphin tells me that Jeet is effusive about my tolerance for Trang-style heat; I’m navigating territory where even Bangkok residents fear to tread, let alone farang. But it’s delicious. It’s absolutely, unequivocally delicious. It’s moreish, too, from the spicy dishes like the som tam to the warm salads, the green beans with sweet and spicy pork and the rad nar. If the punches of heat are the sides of a mountain to be climbed, the flavours they make way for are the view from the top. I’m getting a first-hand sense of just how much these historic, precise flavours – recipes that act like formulas to be followed, not equations to be played with – mean to Trang’s culture. And above all I feel lucky, blessed even, that the most memorable Thai meal I’ve ever had is around a family table in Trang, from right out of the frying pan. And into the fire... f
S IZ Z LI N G SUMME R BBQ S AT. . .
WHAT’S THE DEAL? A cocktail on arrival, a delicious three course BBQ dinner and entry to The Club after 10pm HOW MUCH?
From £55 per person
Friday and Saturday nights, May - September 2017
Phone: 0207 368 3960, email: email@example.com
Terms and conditions apply. Subject to availability. The Roof Gardens, 99 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SA www.roofgardens.virgin.com/club |
MEDI-TERROIR-NEAN: Wines from Southern Europe and across the Levant are in a curious position: situated on Old World soil but still somewhat undiscovered. They tend to receive lots of sunlight and warmth, so grapes like syrah (also known as shiraz) grow well here. Otherwise, there are native grape varieties across the region, with some vines dating back to ancient times.
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WATER TO WINE Levantine wines, English sparkling, plus coffee liqueurs and craft sodas PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON
1 RECANATI CARIGNAN PETIT SIRAH 2015, Judean Hills, Israel. A medium-bodied red made with a blend of grapes that’s often found in southern France. 13%, 75cl; £10, marksandspencer.com 2 DOMAINE LYRARAKIS PLYTO 2015, Crete, Greece. Greek wines are enjoying some welldeserved time in the sun lately. This one is made with the white plyto grape, resurrected from near-extinction by this winemaker. 12.5%, 75cl; £12.50, bbr.com 3 CHATEAU MUSAR 2009, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. This winemaker is possibly the best-known and most acclaimed in the Levant, and certainly of Lebanon. Its lauded blends are sometimes compared to the best bordeaux – hence the price-tag. 14%, 75cl; £32, mwinestore.co.uk 4 DOMAINE DES OULEB THALEB TANDEM SYRAH DU MAROC 2012, Casablanca, Morocco. A classic Levantine syrah, with lots of fruit and spice. This one’s 100% syrah, a little like a classic Rhône red. 13.5%, 75cl; £17.50, boroughwines.co.uk
Photograph by ###
5 KYPEROUNDA COMMANDARIA 2008, Pitsilia Mountains, Cyprus. A dessert wine that’s a throwback to wines made in ancient Cyprus by drying native xynisteri and mavro grapes in the sun before pressing. 14%, 50cl; £21.50, bbr.com
SHELF IT: The south east of England shares a limestone shelf with the Champagne region of France, which is part of the reason why English versions are so similar in style and terroir. This trio shows English winemaking at its innovative best.
2 1 3 1 CHAPEL DOWN KIT’S COTY COEUR DE CUVEE 2013, Kent, UK. A nocompromises prestige blanc de blancs from Chapel Down’s Kit’s Coty vineyard, made from the finest portion of juice from the first pressing. 12%, 75cl; £99.99, chapeldown.com
3 HUSH HEATH 1503 SPARKLING PINOT NOIR, Kent, UK. Blanc de noirs is the name given to sparkling white wine made from 100% pinot, but the skins are used in this bottling to make a sparkling red. 11.5%, 75cl; £24.99, hushheath.com
Photograph by ###
2 BLUEBELL VINEYARD ESTATES HINDLEAP LATE DISGORGED BLANC DE BLANCS 2008, Sussex, UK. The Hindleap has spent longer ageing on its lees – the yeast sediment left after fermentation – which brings biscuity notes to the wine. 11.5%, 75c; £35, bluebellvineyard.org
Photo credit: Iris Velghe / Illustrator credit: Alice Drapanaski
T H E U LT I M AT E CUVÉE ROSÉ
CAFÉ CULTURE: The artisanal coffee boom – not to mention the ubiquity of the espresso martini – has brought with it a resurgence in coffee liqueurs by talented distillers all around the world. Try these in a martini, as a subtitute for kahlua in a white russian, or on the rocks. Caution: may contain caffeine. Obviously.
1 MERLET C2 CAFE LIQUEUR, Cognac, France. A rich blend of cognac and coffee liqueur from historic cognac house Merlet, which has been distilling since 1850. 33%, 70cl; £36.47, masterofmalt.com 2 DANGEROUS DON COFFEE INFUSED MEZCAL, Oaxaca, Mexico. A world first? Quite possibly – Dangerous Don’s liqueur is a blend of two of Mexico’s best-loved exports: mezcal and coffee. Mexican Noam Quiem organic coffee, to be precise. 48%, 70cl; £58.75, thewhiskyexchange.com 3 CONKER SPIRIT COLD BREW COFFEE LIQUEUR, Dorset, UK. Conker’s liqueur takes the wheat spirit that’s used as a base for its acclaimed gin, and combines it with cold-brew coffee from the neighbouring Beanpress Coffee Co. 20%, 70cl; £30, boroughwines.co.uk 4 MR BLACK COLD PRESS COFFEE LIQUEUR, New South Wales, Australia. Take a bit of Antipodean coffee geekery and apply it to a neutral spirit and you’ve got Mr Black’s much-loved liqueur. 25%, 70cl; £29.95, 31dover.com
Photograph by ###
1 2 3 4
1 SODA FOLK CREAM SODA, Colorado, USA/ London, UK. A transatlantic collaboration has resulted in Soda Folk’s distinctive cream soda. The brand also makes root beer, too. 330ml; sodafolk.com
3 GINGERELLA, Hertfordshire, UK. A refreshing ginger beer made by the minds behind Karma Cola, which donates proceeds to communities in Sierra Leone. 250ml; karmacola.co.uk
2 DALSTON’S COLA, London, UK. This cola, handmade in north-east London, has helped reinvigorate the category with its use of real kola nuts in its flavouring. 330ml; dalstoncola.co.uk
4 CAWSTON PRESS RHUBARB, London, UK. Rich, punchy rhubarb is combined with Cawston’s apple juice and carbonated for a refreshing summer sipper. 330ml; cawstonpress.com
Photograph by ###
ALL THAT SPARKLES: From fizzy fruit juices to small-batch sodas, we’ve noticed an upturn in craft brands from London and beyond. Here are some of our favourite artisanal fizzy drinks.
A PERFECT SERVE Whitley Neill infuses a little bit of the spirit of Cape Town into its spirit, and the brand’s signature gin and tonic is a perfect drink for spring’s longer, brighter evenings
F YOU’RE TALKING about flora and fauna, there’s no doubt that Africa is one of the most naturally blessed environments in the world. Whitley Neill is a gin that’s used this fact to its advantage while remaining true to its British roots, resulting in a product that’s characteristically English, but that tastes nothing quite like any gin you’ve ever tasted before. The secret is in the sourcing: two of the key botanicals used in the distilling of Whitley Neill are the baobab and the physalis, otherwise known as the cape gooseberry. The former is known in Africa as the “tree of life”, owing to the fact that it provides shelter through its canopy, firewood through its trunk and food through its fruit. Johnny Neill, the brains behind the brand, wanted to use elements of his wife’s childhood in South Africa
to create a gin with both a unique character and an indelible link to her background and personal history. The use of these African fruits does just that – but it’s also what lends Whitley Neill its characteristic fruitfilled taste, which you can complement
JOHNNY NEILL WANTED TO USE ELEMENTS OF HIS WIFE’S CHILDHOOD IN SOUTH AFRICA IN HIS GIN
perfectly with just a simple twist on the classic G&T serve. While most gins call for a lime garnish, you can open up the taste of Whitley Neill with a wheel of orange, instead. Just half-fill a balloon glass with ice, add 50ml (two shots) of Whitley Neill, top with premium tonic water and add that zesty, bright orange garnish. As spring approaches, having a new drink in the armoury to wile away balmy evenings is no bad thing. And, like with Whitley Neill’s G&T, sometimes all a classic needs is a little twist. ● Whitley Neill is available at most major retailers with an RRP of £26. For a bit of cocktail inspiration, check out the brand’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram at @whitleyneill; whitleyneill.com
The bluebells are out. English wine is in.
Sample both at the award-winning Hush Heath Winery.
Tours and Tastings available hushheath.com/tours-tastings
The makers of the award-winning Balfour Brut RosĂŠ open their doors for lovers of English sparkling wines and ciders. Wander the beautiful carpet of bluebells in our ancient oak woodland, the immaculate vineyards and enjoy in an expert-led tasting. There is also a cellar door shop where you can buy these delicious great wines and ciders to take home.
01622 832 794 OR VISIT HUSHHEATH.COM
RIGHT: These are just two of the signature, seasonal cocktails on offer at Juju's, designed in-house for the bar and creative space
TAKE CENTRE STAGE Juju’s Bar & Stage is the new arts venue and creative workspace at Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery, where you’ll find live music, fringe theatre, cocktails and craft beer
AST LONDON’S REPUTATION as a centre for creativity needs little introduction – but what you might not be so familiar with is Juju’s Bar & Stage, a new independent arts venue, creative workspace and cocktail bar that’s recently joined the Old Truman Brewery hub on Brick Lane. Tucked away at the back of Ely’s Yard
Photography by Alex Watson
JUJU'S IS A NEW ARTS VENUE WITH A COCKTAIL BAR AND HIP CULTURAL EVENTS
at the Brewery, Juju’s offers a full programme of events – most of which are free to attend – including live music, fringe theatre, burlesque, club nights and literary soirees, as well as offering a daytime café and workspace. Just a few of the events on the horizon include Creative Reactions, a festival that brings together art and science in alternative bar settings; and Open Senses, a weekend of sensory events across London for which Juju’s is hosting the main late-night event. Resident artists and an in-house theatre company use the space to encourage creative flow with multicultural, tongue-in-cheek fun and games – Juju’s has become a popular venue for East London-based performing artists, giving them an area to work, develop and perform. Open from midday, the café invites
creative nomads to use the super-speed WiFi and sample craft beers and fresh juices, while bespoke, 2-4-1 cocktails are rolled out every weeknight, 6-7pm. Fridays are free entry, with live music and complimentary tapas, 7-8pm – and a full kitchen is scheduled to open later this year. Watch this space. ● jujusbarandstage.com
WORK AND PLAY Want to find out about Juju's Bar & Stage and its calendar of events? Follow the venue on Twitter at @jujusbarstage, or Instagram at @jujusbar for more information.
Traders across the capital are mobilising as Standon Calling, which takes place from 27-30 July, brings a host of great food and drink options to Hertfordshire
E’VE LONG PRAISED the eating options at some of the UK’s best weekenders, and rightly so. Some of our capital’s best-loved and best-known street food traders and food producers now regularly make their way up the motorways of England, Scotland and Wales to provide much-needed fuel for sun-kissed partiers at summer music festivals. This year, Standon Calling brings one of our favourite line-ups of the summer to Hertfordshire, in the form of an eating and drinking programme that includes some of your favourite traders. We know, we know, we’re biased – but from Spit & Roast’s rotisserie chicken to Arancini Brothers’, er, arancini, there’s a
reason the eclectic array of cooks takes pride of place on the festival’s billing. Whether you’re looking for food hedonism or vibrant-and-zingy, we’re pretty sure you’ll find something that suits your mood as you explore the festival. In the mood for a hangover-purging burger? Try Le Bun, which is back again after last year’s successful pop-up with Kelis. Need perking up? Grab a speciality coffee from Carnival. Want to undo the damage from the night before? Club Mexicana’s vegan grub is just the tonic. And if you want to round off the festival the way you would any big weekend in the capital, get down to Sunday Lunch & Jazz on the Lawn on the festival’s final day. It’ll be like you’ve never left London… f
THE KEY INFO Standon Calling takes place from 27-30 July in the grounds of Standon Lordship, in the village of Standon, Hertfordshire, bringing together an eclectic line-up of artists and food traders. The festival is accessible by public transport, bike or car, 30 miles north of London and southwest of Cambridge. It’s also close to Stanstead airport. Day tickets start from £57, and weekend tickets start from £137, plus booking fees. For more information and to book tickets, go to standon-calling.com
THE DIGEST HIDE AWAY It might seem like it goes without saying, but animal products aren’t just confined to food. But there’s a new brand connecting the worlds of food and fashion accessories – Billy Tannery, which is using traditional leathermaking methods to make notebooks, card holders, briefcases, tote bags and backpacks from kid goat hides.
Our round up of the food and drink industry’s latest news
How does the ‘food’ fit in, you ask? It’s simple: the business is run in partnership with Cabrito Goat, the ethical butchery business created to save kid goats from immediate slaughter in the dairy industry and turn them into ethical meat. Hides from Cabrito’s operations are tanned by Billy Tannery for their range of products, meaning no wastage and a traceable supply chain. Result. billytannery.co.uk
STREET SPIRIT Many have mourned the loss of street-food kings Street Feast’s original site at Dalston Yard, but now there’s reason to be cheerful: a stonking new food market in Canary Wharf. Giant Robot, the brand’s biggest market by a distance, will bring the number of markets back up to five, and feature a line-up of its best-loved traders, plus new bars and a stall from José Pizarro. streetfeast.com
THE CHEF WORD SWING AND A HIT Photograph (Swingers) by David Loftus
Mini golf and food seemed an unlikely combination when Swingers first opened, but it’s proved a hit, and now has the pick of some of London’s top street-food traders and restaurants collaborating on food menus. The latest addition is Sandia Chang’s Bubbledogs, which – added to Pizza Pilgrims, Patty & Bun and a great bar offering – makes for a pretty delicious game of golf. swingersldn.com
Quo Vadis supremo Jeremy Lee has made a lot of friends on his way to the top end of London’s restaurant scene. That’s why he can call on a few for a spring and summer celebration, aptly called Quo Vadis & Friends. The initiative will see chefs including Trullo and Padella’s Tim Siadatan (pictured), Nathan Outlaw, Andrew Clarke and more step into the kitchen for special, one-off, collaborative dinners held in the restaurant’s Blue Room, an intimate, long-table-style private dining room. quovadissoho.co.uk
50 NOT OUT Keeping a restaurant open for five years is a challenge, so Le Gavroche’s 50th anniversary is a milestone not to be taken lightly. Chef-owner Michel Roux Jr is celebrating with a ‘Back to the Classics’ menu: priced at £90 per head and available until December, it’ll include some of the restaurant’s best-loved dishes from across its long history. le-gavroche.co.uk
ROOF PROSPECT Last year’s Pergola on the Roof – a street-food market on top of the old BBC Television Centre in White City – was heaving throughout its run. So we’re pleased that not only is the residency back for another summer,
bringing with it food outlets like Breddos Tacos and Bonnie Gull’s sister trader Salt ’n’ Sauce, but PotR is opening a brandspanking-new one in Paddington. Pergola Paddington Central will hold 850 people, and serve food from Mama Lan, Patty & Bun, Decatur, DF/Mexico and more. pergolaontheroof.com
Packed with protein and in plentiful supply: yep – insects are a food group waiting to explode. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the emerging trend of insect cookery, get down to UK Green Film Festival, where there’ll be screenings of Andreas Johnson’s feature-length documentary Bugs, about the travails of the Nordic Food Lab. Now that’s what we call grub. bugsfeed.com; ukgreenfilmfestival.org
Want to give your drinks knowledge a big leg up? WSET, the world’s foremost wine and spirits educational body, isn’t just confined to the classroom. On 5 June, it’s putting on a dinner at the Covent Garden Hotel, where educator Michelle CheruttiKowal will give a tutored tasting over dinner, breaking down the basics of matching wine with food. wsetglobal.com
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: Jarlsberg Reserve, the almost toffee-sweet cheese Gudbrandsdalen; paper-white Snøfrisk
THREE’S COMPANY When it comes to Norwegian cheese, Jarlsberg® is just the start. Two more options, Gudbrandsdalen and Snøfrisk®, show how diverse the Nordic country’s cheese can be
T’S NICE WHEN great taste is rewarded. You might not know Norway’s range of national cheeses, but one thing’s clear: what they lack in number, they make up for in quality. If you’re in any doubt, just ask the judging panels at the Great Taste Awards.
JARLSBERG® RESERVE IS A FIRM CHEESE THAT’S NOT OVERPOWERING BUT HAS PLENTY OF CHARACTER
For something with a subtle, nutty flavour note – great for an afterdinner treat – why not try Jarlsberg Reserve? Made only with milk from small cattle herds and aged for 12 months, it’s a firm, slightly fruity cheese that’s not overpowering but has plenty of character. It was awarded one star at the 2015 Great Taste Awards, before claiming a silver medal at the International Cheese Awards in 2016. Snøfrisk is a relatively new innovation. Made with goat’s milk, it’s creamy, with a mild and tangy flavour that doesn’t impose itself on your meal. That means that it’s incredibly versatile: just as much at home when melted on top of pasta as it is when it’s used as an addition to a salad, or as a part of a cheeseboard. Its first incarnation as a soft, spreadable cheese, made its debut at the Lillehammer Olympics in 1994,
and the hard version that was created in 2003 has already proven a hit, winning two stars at the 2016 Great Taste Awards. And for something quite unlike anything you’ve tried before, why not try Gudbrandsdalen? Looking at it, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a type of fudge, and there’s a similarity to the taste, too. It’s actually a historic cheese, made with boiling cream and whey from both goat’s and cow’s milk until the sugars in the milk caramelise. The resultant product is a caramel-sweet, soft brown cheese that’s got tonnes of character. And guess what? That was a winner, too: it gained one star at the Great Taste Awards in 2015. With cheese this diverse, it’s no surprise Norway is cleaning up. That’s what we call a cheeseboard. ● norseland.co.uk
Lydia Winter embarks on a food-fuelled trip around south Kent and finds a firm focus on local produce The Barrow House There’s a fine balance to be struck when it comes to finding the perfect destination for a weekend break – you don’t want too much of your precious time to be guzzled up by a lengthy journey, yet you want to be far enough away from the city to feel as if you’ve escaped. Enter Egerton, Kent, which is an easy hour-and-a-half drive from London, yet remains an idyllic country bolthole with little else but than postcard-perfect cottages, sheep and cows for company. Sitting slap-bang in the middle of the tiny village, The Barrow House is a charmingly crooked 16th-century coaching inn (known as The George until a few years ago) that, in its modern iteration, has become a lightfilled and spacious country pub, with three guest rooms upstairs. Each one is plush, comfortable and full of homely touches, like a
Keen to explore more of the UK’s tastiest destinations? Visit foodism.co.uk for food and drink guides around the country and further afield too.
fridge in the hallway that’s kept stocked with water and milk, while the bathrooms, too, are chic and modern. It’s so peaceful, you’re guaranteed to sleep well – giving you more energy for all the eating and drinking you’ll be doing while you’re here. Back downstairs, the food comes via Australian chef-patron Dane Allchorne. It’s his second site (The Milk House in nearby Sissinghurst came first), and has an approachable, seasonal, pub-style menu that’s heavy on local ingredients and Mediterranean flourishes. You’re all of half an hour from the coast here, which means the fish is particularly good: we were bowled over by smoked mackerel served with potato rosti and citrus sour cream – simple, but with a beautiful mix of textures and flavours. f Rooms from £90 per night. The Street, Egerton, Kent, TN27 9DJ; thebarrowhouse.co.uk
SOUTH KENT ◆◆ Distance from
London: around 50 miles
Despite its close proximity to London, the Kentish countryside couldn’t feel more rural, and is the perfect landscape in which to work up an appetite for all the region’s food and wine offerings.
THE MILK HOUSE
THE SWAN Kent has the same chalky soil as the Champagne region in France, making it perfect vineyard territory and home to one of the UK’s best-known wine producers, Chapel Down. The estate’s headquarters are situated at Tenterden, a 25-acre plot that’s just a 30-minute drive from Egerton, and you can visit for educational tours of its vineyards and tastings of various Chapel Down wines, from its best-known sparkling wines through to its Union Red pinot noir, which is light and juicy, with
summery notes of cherry and vanilla. There’s a ‘wine kitchen’ here, too – an unmissable pitstop for anyone who likes food, wine, or both. The modern British cooking of Tom Genty earned The Swan at Chapel Down two AA rosettes and a Michelin Bib Gourmand last year. Tuck into handmade truffle gnocchi or chicken and duck liver paté while overlooking the vines – all washed down with plenty of wine from Chapel Down’s portfolio, obviously. Small Hythe, Tenterden, Kent, TN30 7NG; for more information or to arrange a visit, see chapeldown.com
If The Barrow House is approachable, pub-style dining, The Milk House is a slightly more refined spin on the same. Like at its sister restaurant, ingredients are largely sourced within a 20-mile radius, meat is free range and often rare breed, and fish is sustainable. We stopped in for Sunday lunch, kicking things off with perfect, razor-thin carpaccio and beetroot-marinated salmon, before moving on to a flakey tranche of herb-crusted sea bass. We visited at the tail end of winter and just missed the lighter spring menu (which would go down a treat on the pub’s bright and sunny terrace), but if the winter edition was anything to go by, you’re in safe hands here. What’s more, chef and owner Dane has his eye on opening another site within the next few years – watch this space. The Street, Sissinghurst, Kent, TN17 2JG; themilkhouse.co.uk
THE KINGS HEAD
Photograph (Kings Head) by Mark Lightford
Picturesque villages are par for the course in this area, and Wye, a 25-minute drive from Egerton, is no exception. The hilly village is home to The Kings Head, an award-winning local boozer that feels more pubby than restauranty in comparison to The Barrow House and The Milk House. There’s a self-evident local focus here – we kept ourselves watered with G&Ts that used a gently spiced gin from Kentish distiller Anno, while munching on particularly good charcuterie from nearby Weald Smokery and a Scotch egg that was everything a Scotch egg should be: gooey and golden in the centre~ and encased in a crunchy outer crust. Church Street, Wye, Kent, TN25 5BN; kingsheadwye.com
Trains from London to Ashford International start at £60.40 for an open return from thetrainline.com. We’d recommend driving to Egerton, though – it takes an hour and a half from central London, and a car is useful to have for getting yourself from hotel to hamlet to farm to restaurant, and vice versa. For more foodie mini-breaks, go to foodism.co.uk
LIKE A BOLT FROM THE BLUE If you’re a fan of blue cheeses, Blacksticks Blue is one for you. Strong and creamy with a smooth texture, it’s a great addition cheeseboards and home-cooked dishes alike
BOLDLY COLOURED EXTERIOR, veins of blue mould inside, and a vibrant orange colour – it’s hard not to notice a piece of Blacksticks Blue cheese when you see one. But beyond this daring British cheese’s visual identity is a beautifully crafted product; a cheese that balances punchy flavours with a rich, creamy texture and a surprisingly well-rounded
taste. Launched in 2003, it’s become a hit with cheese conoisseurs and keen amateurs all over the UK. With a rich heritage in cheesemaking, it’s easy to see how one of the Butler family’s newest products is so refined and elegant. The family have been farming in the Inglewhite area of Lancashire for more than 80 years, since their antecedents Richard and Annie
Butler first started experimenting with creating their own cheese in the 1930s with milk from the family’s herd. The family have been among Britain’s finest cheesemakers ever since, with Gill, Daniel and Matthew Hall carrying on the tradition in the modern day. But this long and distinguished history doesn’t mean the brand is one to rest on its laurels. Blacksticks Blue,
BLACKSTICKS BLUE IS UNIQUE AMONG BLUE CHEESES, AND MORE NUANCED THAN ITS BRIGHT AMBER HUE MIGHT SUGGEST
If you’re planning to head to any festivals this summer, keep an eye out for Blacksticks Blue, which will be road tripping to a number of them across the UK with stalls where you can taste it for yourself. It’s the perfect time to try a cheese that might just surprise you. ● Find Blacksticks Blue in M&S, Sainsbury’s and speciality food shops throughout London. Look out for its amber hue and purple branding, or ask for it by name. For info, go to butlerscheeses.co.uk, @ButlersCheese
on Facebook, or @blacksticksblu
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Blacksticks Blue’s distinctive look; with figs and chutney; covered in walnuts; a steak with melted Blacksticks Blue
as the look suggests, is a thoroughly modern cheese – and one whose ingenuity has been rewarded with 65 different awards for its great flavour. That flavour – unique among blue cheeses, with a suppleness that’s more nuanced than its bright amber hue might suggest – means that it’s equally at home on the cheese board as in kitchens, in restaurants and homes alike. Not only is it lauded by top chefs such as Simon Rimmer and Nigel Haworth, it makes a brilliant addition to a larder for approachable home cooking as well. Want some ideas on how best to use this delicious cheese in your own kitchen? Why not try it in a beef stroganoff, washed down with a glass of full-bodied red wine? Or, you could melt it on a burger to add punch and tang to your weekday dinner; crumble over a steak or a flat mushroom as a simple but effective replacement for a butter sauce; spread onto crusty bread for a quick snack; or simply cover with figs and honey for an indulgent bite to eat.
A MATTER OF TASTE From tapas to teppanyaki, the varied gourmet offerings at Sandals resorts enable you to embark on a culinary voyage of discovery from just one idyllic holiday destination
F YOU’RE ANYTHING like us, the food that’s available on your holiday is just as important as the views, if not more so. But how are you supposed to choose between your favourite cuisines and the best beaches without having to compromise on one? Stay at a Sandals resort, and you won’t have to.
Global gourmet dining Thanks to the Sandals 5-Star Global Gourmet™ programme, you can discover
and experience international cuisines from your chosen base in the Caribbean, meaning you get the best of both worlds, with no compromise required. There are 16 Sandals resorts to choose from across six Caribbean islands, and 21 types of cuisine on offer including Indian, Italian, Japanese and southern American. With up to 16 speciality restaurants per resort, you can take your pick of the world’s finest cuisines on some of the Caribbean’s
most beautiful islands. Unique culinary concepts and styles are brought to life, with each dish representing delicacies from around the globe. Sandals’ chefs pride themselves on creating innovative cuisine that’s a fusion of the freshest, most authentic ingredients, resulting in the most extraordinary flavours. Fancy a spot of sushi before retiring to your sunlounger? No problem. Or some classic French-style dining for a
UNIQUE CULINARY CONCEPTS AND STYLES FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE ARE BROUGHT TO LIFE IN EACH DISH
special moonlight meal? Sure thing. If you’re feeling homesick, there’s even the opportunity to dig into some classic British pub food while gazing out over the aqua-blue Caribbean sea.
Any time, anywhere Those who love a late-night snack as much as they love the pristine beach and picturesque vistas will be delighted to discover the Sandals ‘anytime dining’ concept. From brick-oven pizza to grilled meats and sweet treats, a varied array of delectable delights is available from the morning through to the early hours of the night. And yes, you can get that slice of pizza poolside or in the comfort of your suite. It’s all included, all unlimited, all the time.
All bases covered
GOURMET GETAWAYS: Sandals offers beautiful food in beautiful surroundings; [below] Gordon‘s on the Pier at Sandals Royal Bahamian Nassau resort, Bahamas
If you’ve got specific dietary requirements, don't worry – guests can consult the on-site Culinary Concierges to really get the most out of Sandals’ dining opportunities. In a private consultation, the concierges can arrange for the catering team to accommodate all dietary requirements and restrictions, and there’s even separate preparation areas and kitchens for severe allergies to ensure a worry-free holiday for you and your loved ones.
Wining and dining It’s not all about the food though – the wide selection of Robert Mondavi Twin Oak Wines means your food choices will be perfectly matched with an appropriate wine. The ‘endless pour’ concept means you that you won’t ever have to worry about restricting yourself to just one, either.
Dinner for two
Photograph (Gordon's) by Steve Sanacore
While all Sandals resorts are exclusively for couples, you can take things up a gear in the romance stakes by arranging a private candlelit dinner with whiteglove service beneath the stars. Thai on your terrace or pan-Asian by the pool, whatever you choose, make sure you wash it down with a rum punch or two – this is the Caribbean, after all. ● Find out more information about the culinary offerings across all Sandals resorts at sandals.co.uk
THE SELECTOR With London Wine Week on the approach, we bring you the new-school bars where you can get a special flight of wine. Appetite whetted? Check out our pick of London’s best tacos, intimate dining areas, and where to head when the sun shines
Ahead of this year’s London Wine Week, these newschool wine bars are offering top deals on wine flights
London Wine Week takes place from 5-11 June 2017. For more information, go to DrinkUp.London
FLIGHTS OF FANCY
In association with
1 SACK 9 Christopher Street, EC2A 2BS
If you’re a thirsty Londoner, you’ll know that it’s not just red, white and rosé that are celebrated at wine bars around the capital. Fortified wines from around the world are enjoying some well-deserved time in the sun lately – and nowhere more so than this brand-new sherry bar from the brains behind Worship St Whistling Shop and Black Rock. SACK, which shares an address with the latter, serves up some great-value Spanish wines, but really hangs its hat on sherry. The menu’s compact, but there’s opportunity here to really get to know the quintessential Spanish fortified wine through different expressions available by the glass, half bottle or full bottle. LWW £5 wine flight: Disco Sherry Flight – taste your way through three stunning sherries from Jerez, Spain’s home of sherry.
020 3246 0045; sack.bar
LONDON WINE WEEK 2017
BEST OF THE REST 2 Martello Hall 137 Mare Street, E8 3RH
Photograph by (SACK) Addie Chinn
There’s no end of food and drink options at this sprawling venue, which consists of a café, restaurant and two wine and cocktail bars – as well as a pizzeria that does takeaway. Upstairs, you can make your way through some great Italian wines permanently on its list, but if you want something quicker, cheaper or more experimental (or any combination of the three), visit the ground floor bar, where you’ll find 12 rotating guest wines on tap from craft winemakers. LWW £5 wine flight: Choose any three of 12 wines on tap – proof that it doesn’t need to come with a cork. 020 3889 6173; martellohall.com
3 Enoteca Pomaio 224 Brick Lane, E1 6SA
The dishes of Tuscany are always flavoursome and moreish – especially at this Brick Lane restaurant, which serves up a menu of Tuscan
small plates as well as artisanal charcuterie and cheese. There’s also a craft edge to its wine offering, with a focus on natural, organic and biodynamic wines from small producers back in Italy, chosen to perfectly complement the snacking-style menu. LWW £5 wine flight: Taste Tuscany in Colours – discover the flavours of Chianti with three wines from natural/organic vineyards. 020 3222 0031; enotecapomaio.com
4 Bouverie Road Wine Bar 102 Stoke Newington Church Street, N16 0LA
You’d be forgiven for being in the dark about this boutique wine bar – that’s because it’s hidden away beneath The Tea House on Stoke Newington’s Church Street. It’s all about cheese and wine here – a safe combination, if you ask us – so dig into some cheese and crusty bread and wash it down with something delicious. There’s even a cellar, if you want to store wine by the bottle. LWW £5 wine flight: Bouverie’s Finest
Now in its fourth year, London Wine Week hosts a varied line-up of festivities, including its famous Wine Tours – £5 wine flights and Sip & Snack food pairings in more than 125 of the capital’s best wine bars. Festival Passes cost £10 from Drinkup.London. foodism readers get 25% off with code FOODISM-LWW17
Summer Sips – a crisp chablis, a smoky, smooth malbec from Mendoza and a fruity special reserve carmenère from Chile. 020 8712 1188; theteahouse.london
5 68 & Boston 5 Greek Street, W1D 4DD
If you’re an oenophile, the ‘68’ of 68 & Boston will be the part that piques your interest. This is the venue’s wine bar, while Boston is the first-floor cocktail lounge. At 68, it’s all about choice: there are always 25 different wines available for £20 per bottle, as well as 45 different ones available by the glass. That doesn’t mean they’re all designed to be wallet-friendly first and foremost, however – there are options north of £30 if you want to try something a bit more premium, and a fine wines cellar for really special occasions, too. LWW £5 wine flight: World Traveller – journey around the world in a glass, with three wines from Chile, Portugal and Alsace. 020 7287 3713; 68andboston.com
BEST OF THE REST 2 Casse-Croûte
4 Kitchen Table
109 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XB
70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG
When it comes to bijou restaurants, Casse is as cute, small and French as they come. The tiny, 25-cover space is decked out in red and white-checked tablecloths, and it serves a daily changing menu of classics like charcuterie, coq au vin and tarte aux fraises. The food is, naturellement, excellent, and served with a Gallic flourish by Frenchspeaking waiters.
Seating 19 lucky diners around a U-shaped countertop, Kitchen Table – one of London’s smallest restaurants to hold a Michelin star – is tucked away at the back of posh hot dog/ champagne joint Bubbledogs, and is run by the same husband-and-wife team of Sandia Chang and James Knappett..
020 7407 2140; cassecroute.co.uk
3 The Barbary
5 Sushi Tetsu 12 Jerusalem Passage, EC1V 4JP
Sister to Soho favourite The Palomar, the 24-cover Barbary brings a similarly Levantine feel to its menu. The restaurant leverages the Barbary Mountain region’s romantic heritage to create dishes that showcase the flavours and cooking techniques of the Spice Route, from north Africa to Jerusalem.
You can’t speak about tiny restaurants without mentioning Sushi Tetsu, the vaunted sushi joint that seats just seven people at its counter. Each night, chef Toro slices and dices fresh fish from Billingsgate market to deliver the most authentic sushi experience this side of Tokyo. It’s almost as famous for its waiting list as it is for its food – it can take up to two months to get a reservation.
020 3217 0090; sushitetsu.co.uk
16 Neal’s Yard, WC2H 9DP
LIVE A LITTLE Bigger isn’t always better, so try one of these intimate dining rooms for size 52 Wilton Way, E8 1BS
Located on a London Fields street that’s also home to a beard-tending barbershop and a bike shop selling upcycled, er, cycles, Pidgin is as east London as restaurants come. Not that this is a bad thing: we can’t fault the weekly changing four-course menu (it’s never repeated a dish in its history), and it seems neither can anyone else, as it collected a Michelin star last year. Expect to find dishes like vegetable cereal with mushrooms, artichoke, fermented tofu and truffle; and label rouge chicken with Jersey royals, foie gras fat, wild garlic, monksbeard and endive. 020 7254 8311; pidginlondon.com
1 Breddos Taqueria 82 Goswell Road, EC1V 7DB
Probably one of the most hotly anticipated openings of the past few months, Breddos Taqueria is the first bricks-and-mortar site from beloved Street Feast traders Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney. The duo promised authentic Mexican cuisine and rare mezcals, and boy did they deliver, with a couple of new dishes thanks to a wood-fired grill and additions to the taco-focused menu. What to expect? Things you’ve probably not eaten before – clam and sea urchin aguachile (Mexican-style ceviche) tostadas; Baja fish tacos with pico de gallo and cabbage; and masa-fried chicken with habanero sauce. Genuinely mouthwatering. 020 3535 8301; breddostacos.com
TACO 'BOUT IT While the concept – tortillas topped with various fillings – is simple, the possibilities when it comes to tacos in London are endless BEST OF THE REST 2 Club Mexicana
4 El Pastor
Pamela, 428 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA
6-7A Stoney Street, SE1 9AA
Club Mexicana’s tacos hide a secret: they’re 100% vegan. All of its dishes leverage flavours of authentic Mexican cuisine to great effect, from the al pastor taco, made with jackfruit – which has the same consistency and knack for holding on to flavour as pulled pork – to the ‘to-fish’ (tofu, with pickled red cabbage, salsa verde and chipotle chilli oil).
El Pastor is named after the al pastor taco, a staple in Mexico City, which has its roots in the Arab shawarma and uses pork rather than lamb, marinated in dried chillies, spices, achiote and orange juice, and swapping the flatbread for corn tortillas. It’s this shawarmataco hybrid that El Pastor recreates, putting its own spin on the marinade, and grinding and nixtamalising corn to bake its tortillas on site.
3 Temper 25 Broadwick Street, W1F 0DF
Photograph by ###
Temper is all about that holy trinity of meat, smoke and fire. The room itself boasts enormous fire pits, but despite these grand flourishes, there was an unexpected star of the show – tacos. Oh, the tacos. Little nibbly bits before you get onto the crux of the meal, from soy-cured beef; crab and pickled-onion pork skin; aubergine and chipotle miso… 020 3879 3834; temperrestaurant.com
5 Corazón 29 Poland Street, W1F 8QR
Corazón epitomises London’s modern Mexican restaurants: glossy and chic, with a menu devoted to sleek cooking that merges authentic Mexican dishes and ingredients with British staples – we particularly like the ‘farm to taco’, with roast parsnip purée, Brussels sprouts and salsa borracha. 020 3813 1430; corazonlondon.co.uk
BEST OF THE REST 2 The Lighterman
4 Rochelle Canteen
3 Granary Square, N1C 4BH
Rochelle School, E2 7ES
This King’s Cross pub and dining room resembles the flat-bottomed barges (‘lighters’) that were once a common sight on London’s canals. The best bit, though, is that the shape means there’s a wraparound terrace overlooking the water – the perfect pitstop for soaking up sunshine, local ales and unusual wines, and hearty pub grub.
You can’t get much more London 2017 than Rochelle Canteen. Occupying the revamped bike shed of a former Victorian school playground, the café and restaurant is complete with a glorious, sun-drenched courtyard, and food comes from Margot Henderson. Bonus: it’s BYO.
020 3846 3400; thelighterman.co.uk
3 Caravan Exmouth Market
020 7729 5677; arnoldandhenderson.com
5 Radici 30 Almeida Street, N1 1AD
In summer, there are few greater pleasures than whiling away an hour or three perched on trestle tables in pedestrianised, buzzy Exmouth Market. For food with flavours that are as bright and sunny as the weather (hopefully), head to Caravan, where the menu takes inspiration from the founders’ travels across the globe.
Not content with running Sartoria, the only restaurant on Savile Row, Francesco Mazzei has turned his attention to the restaurant linked to Islington’s Almeida theatre. Here, he’s created a menu of Calabrian classics – while former Artesian mixologist Simone Caporale mans the bar. The relaxed, intimate vibe spills out on the suitably Mediterraneaninspired terrace on Almeida Street.
020 7833 8115; caravanrestaurants.co.uk
020 7354 4777; radici.uk
1-13 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QD
It’s the time to seek out the city’s best outdoor eating areas – and stay in them, indefinitely 1 Brockwell Lido Café Brockwell Swimming Pool, SE24 0PA
020 7737 8183; thelidocafe.co.uk
Photograph by ###
An oldie but a goodie: there’s a reason why this neighbourhood favourite frequently tops the lists when it comes to outdoor dining in London. The picturesque terrace sits alongside the jewel-blue waters of Brockwell Lido, and the food is good enough to make the café a dining destination in its own right. Breakfast, brunch and lunch are its speciality, with seasonal salads and a mean burger, but come spring and summer it opens its doors for dinner and becomes one of the best destinations in south London for a bite to eat on a balmy evening. Thank us later.
WHAT NOT TO MISS THIS LONDON WINE WEEK Returning for a fourth year, London Wine Week (5-11 June 2017) will see the capital awash with a whole host of delicious wine-filled pursuits – from wine tastings and masterclasses, through to popup wine bars, brunches and decadent parties. Here are a few essentials...
VISIT A MEDITERRANEAN VINEYARD
PARTY ON THE ROGUE TERRACE
DrinkUp: The Wine Edit will take over Bethnal Green’s Oval Space from Thursday to Saturday of the festival. This 1,000 capacity venue will be transformed into a beautiful Mediterranean vineyard where guests can discover wines from France, Spain and Portugal along with snacks to match. Perfect summer sipping.
Also part of The Wine Edit, Regal Rogue vermouth are popping up on the outdoor terrace to bring sundowner aperitifs with a line-up of DJs and tasty food courtesy of The Modern Pantry.
HAVE A WINE TASTING IN YOUR FAVOURITE BAR
BRUNCH WITH THE MODERN PANTRY
With a LWW Festival Pass you can enjoy £5 wine tasting flights in more than 100 of London’s best wine bars, all put together by their expert Somms. The best type of wine tasting we’ve ever heard of.
As a special event hosted on The Rogue Terrace before the Saturday session of The Wine Edit – The Modern Pantry’s Anna Hansen will be hosting a delicious brunch paired to Regal Rogue’s vermouth cocktails.
HEAD TO ARGENTINA
TRY THE NEW PROSECCO FROM FREIXENET
Another pop-up to be found at the LWW Hub in Devonshire Square is the vibrant bar from Wines of Argentina, showcasing the country’s eclectic wines alongside a latin soundtrack that’ll get you on your feet.
SIP & SNACK FOR DINNER Wine and food were made to go together, and with a LWW Festival Pass you can try the combinations created especially for the festival in loads of delicious restaurants across town.
Popping up at the LWW Hub in Devonshire Square – sparkling wine brand Freixenet will be serving their brand new premium prosecco from a beautiful vintage van all week long.
GET YOUR CODE foodism readers save 25% on Festival Passes with the code FOODISM-LWW17 Passes are available to buy from DrinkUp.London
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FROM LEFT: Maciej, senior sous chef at The Alfred Tennyson; a beautiful piece of beef from Lyons Hill Farm, one of Cubitt House’s suppliers
TO THE BANQUET
From farm-to-table feasting events at its restaurants to elegant hotels and guest rooms across London, Cubitt House’s collection of beautifully restored venues has it all
HETHER IT’S A local boozer or a refined gastropub, the British public house is a point of national pride – and Cubitt House’s collection is a fine example of our pubs and hotels at their very best. The Thomas Cubitt, The Alfred Tennyson, The Orange and The Grazing Goat – located across Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Pimlico and Marylebone – are all housed in elegantly restored buildings that invoke London’s rich history, offering comfortable guest rooms and down-to-earth hospitality in a country-style setting – but with the hustle and bustle and atmosphere of the city right at your doorstep. Cubitt House has more to offer than overnight stays; food and drink lie at the heart of the business, a passion that shines through in the selection of local ales, impressive wine lists, seasonal British menus and food-forward events
that you’ll find at each of the group’s public houses and hotels. Indeed, it’s safe to say that Cubitt House knows a thing or two about food. Across the venues, you’ll find a farmto-table ethos instilled throughout their menus, sourcing ingredients only from sustainable suppliers, like Mark Leatham of Lyons Hill Farm. This year, Cubitt House is showcasing this passion and expertise across its restaurants and hotels by hosting ‘The Feast of Beasts’, a series of four banquets that runs throughout the year. The kitchens are working carefully with their supplier Lyons Hill Farm to curate menus focused on tradition, fun and frivolity, including The Beef Banquet, The Nose-To-Tail Banquet, and The Game Banquet. ● To book, call 020 7730 0070 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, go to cubitthouse.co.uk, or follow on social media at @cubitthouse.
UPCOMING EVENTS Want to try Cubitt House’s expertly prepared food for yourself? Book yourself into one of these events...
Beef Week Menu All Cubitt House venues from 23 April-1 May
The Beef Banquet The Orange, 16 May
The Nose To Tail Banquet The Orange, 26 September
The Game Banquet The Thomas Cubitt, 14 November Tickets are priced at £70 per person. For more information: cubitthouse.co.uk
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IS IT A BIRD?: Obviously, no, it’s a fruit – though the green-fleshed former ‘Chinese gooseberry’ was re-christened as kiwifruit by New Zealanders so it wouldn’t be confused with the country’s indigenous kiwi bird. Don’t get them mixed up.
GO GREEN: Kiwis contain double the amount of vitamin C as oranges. If you eat just one you’ve reached your vit C quota for the whole day.
HEY, GOOD LOOKIN’: While they’re unremarkable on the outside, inside kiwis are gorgeous, and they can make you look good too – the fruit’s many antioxidants can delay the effects of ageing. We’ll take 400, thanks. Photograph by Organics image library/Alamy
Brown and boring outside, green and gorgeous within, a surprising interior isn’t the only thing kiwifruits conceal – they’re bursting with all sorts of nutritional benefits too
Foodism Magazine - Issue 18 - The Wine Issue