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remember my first gin and tonic. It was around 2006, it was in a pub (ssh!), it was served broadly tepid with about two ice cubes, made with Gordon’s and Schweppes (two fine, vital products – not throwing shade) and I thought I was really urbane for ordering it. Yep, while most of my mates were drinking 4% European lager or the sickly-sweet ciders served over ice that were all the rage for a few years, here I was ordering a proper adult’s drink. Get me. There are a few gin drinks I’ve remembered since: the first time I had a G&T in a massive, Spanish-style coppa glass with fistfuls of ice and elaborate garnishes; the confusion and curiosity of my first negroni; the first time I tried a Gin Mare martini with an olive; the first time I went to Dukes; the list goes on. It turned out, though, that only three years after my first proper gin experience, start-up distiller Sipsmith would take the first steps to changing the gin industry beyond all recognition. You can find out exactly how they did it on page 36, as Clare Finney dives into the past and future of what’s since become one of the world’s all-time favourite spirits. In the aftermath of the gin revolution, the spirit is still thriving. But as proud as we are of our capital’s food and drink industry, we know it’s not all about London, so we also sent Jordan KellyLinden to Cognac (p102), to find out how a distiller better known for the region’s eponymous dark spirit used ended up shaking up the gin game. And if all that’s got you eager for a closer look at how this quintessentially London spirit is made, craving a G&T or both, check out our guide to London’s best gin distilleries for tours and tastings on page 120. And when you have that first crisp, lipsmacking sip, spare a thought for the teenage me. He didn’t know how quite how good it was going to get – and if the distillers and experts Clare talked to are to be trusted, it could get better still.

























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‘A punchy, fun look at the food chain’

‘Full of marvels and curiosities’







V&A South Kensington Now open Members go free #PlateUp

Image: Concept and Art Direction by Rhea Thierstein. Photography by Aaron Tilley.


— PART 1 —




This month: Duck & Crutch’s London Dry Gin


As a chance to wheel away from life’s worries, the big shop can be oddly therapeutic, finds Lucas Oakeley


ON’T GET ME wrong: buying your groceries online can be great. It’s ace for those who aren’t able to access a physical store, providing that same limitless access to the overwhelming selection of produce that most supermarkets today have in stock. My grandparents can virtually scan the aisles, humming and hawing over containers of shiro miso and chilli-stuffed olives before inevitably double-clicking on that old faithful jar of Branston Pickle. Despite the ease of internet shopping, I’ve got to admit I still love doing a big shop. For starters, online deliveries are far from perfect. Reduced-fat yoghurt as a substitute for the real deal? I’d rather you didn’t, thanks. But, perhaps more than any other factor, I actually enjoy how the big shop offers a deli slice of respite to the stresses of life. I’d even go as far as to say I find it therapeutic. Do I need to caress every single variant of risotto rice that my nearest superstore has on offer? Probably not. Will I spend 15 minutes doing it anyway?


Absolutely. There’s nothing I love more than momentiarly forgetting my worries and losing myself in the shuffle of tinned vegetables and piccalilli. Yes, the ‘ethnic’ food section that bundles Indian and Polish ingredients together because they’re both just ‘not British’ is undoubtedly problematic, but the ability to have a gander at what Tom, Dick and Harry have chucked into their trolleys is a voyeuristic glimpse into another person’s life I find far too difficult to resist. I don’t claim to know what buying a 20-pack of Stella, four Chicago Town Deep Dish pizzas and 8kg of amaranth says about a person; what I do know is that I massively want to be their mate. Bring your own tote bag along for the ride and you even get to have that delicious holierthan-thou moment at the cash desk when you reject a 5p plastic bag with all the desultory disgust of Queen Elizabeth I dismissing a court jester. Carrying all that shopping home though? No, yeah, that bit still sucks. Sorry. f

What is it? Duck and Crutch is a hand-crafted London Dry gin distilled out of a rather small shed in Kensington, London. This Kensington Dry Gin, the brand’s flagship spirit, was born in January 2018 after a year of test distillations, product design, licensing, and everything else involved in creating a new gin.

Who makes it? Duck and Crutch was founded by soon-to-be husband and wife George and Hollie, who still run the company alongside their sausage dog, Meryl. George is the distiller and looks after the day-to-day running of the business while Hollie heads up the branding and design elements. Fun fact: a great deal of the label is actually hand-drawn.

What does it taste like? It’s a punchy and distinctive spirit that still holds its strong character when mixed. Infused with bourbon vanilla pod, juniper, cardamom, lemon peel and an array of other herbs and spices, it’s a warm and smooth gin that doesn’t stray too far from the classic London Dry flavour profile. While the spirit arrives on your palate with a pleasant thunk of fennel and vanilla, expect more of a creamy walnut and pepper kick on the finish. It’s also great in a G&T, obviously.

Where can I get it? Individual bottles – and larger bulk batches of 41 bottles – can be purchased on the Duck and Crutch website.



THE BIG FEASTIVAL Fancy spending your bank holiday weekend on Alex James’ farm in the Cotswolds? Us too. Alongside live music from Lewis Capaldi, Jess Glynne and Rudimental, you’ll enjoy talks and demos from the UK’s most-loved chefs and foodies – think Prue Leith, Raymond Blanc and Gennaro Contaldo on the main stage, and you can fill up on street food from 40 of London’s hottest vendors. It’s going to be good. 23-25 August;




There’s a place in every foodie’s heart for Wilderness, the festival billing food, art and music equally. This year’s feasting line-up is outrageous, and as jam-packed with food royalty as ever. See the iconic Petersham Nurseries set up shop, Josh Katz of Berber & Q team up with Woodfired Canteen, and Tom Brown of Cornerstone pop up, too. Oh, and there’ll be plenty of music. 1-4 August;

What do Reef, the Wurzels and Little Orchard cider have in common? Aside from the fact we love them all equally, they’re all at this years Little Orchard festival, that’s what. Head to Penhallow to taste more than 70 different ciders (not all at once) and try your hand at welly wanging, barrel rolling and apple bobbing. Apple-loutely spectacular. 13-15 September;


Photograph by (Big Feastival) CFARUOLO; (foodist) Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd; (wilderness) Justine Trickett


Maria Tamander talks swapping advertising for an ambitious Notting Hill pub


WAS BORN AND raised just outside of Stockholm. My grandparents started their own restaurant as well as a bakery, so food has always been in my blood. But I wanted to do something different, so I decided to set up the first independent female-led production company in Stockholm in the early 1990s,

during something of a creative renaissance. This took me around the world, where I worked with a number of artists. We won awards at Cannes, the New York Advertising Festival, London D&AD and Cresta, and I created campaigns for brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, and Diesel. I even helped produce the video for the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe.’ I then moved to London and made Notting Hill a home for me, my partner John, our two daughters and our dog. While I absolutely loved what I did, I felt like I needed a new challenge. I was taking my girls to school one day when I walked past an estate agent advertising The Cleveland Arms, and fell in love with its potential.

It wasn’t easy, but then, these things never are. The pub required an almost total renovation, and I wanted to pay respect to its heritage and keep the local spirit. I had in mind that it should be a place where everybody feels welcome, the food is high-quality and the atmosphere should be inspiring. To keep a creative buzz, we hold a pub quiz once a week and host a TEDstyle talk every few weeks. I wanted it to be accessible to everyone and to reflect my love of the world around me. We’re proud that we’re independently owned, have a female head chef in MasterChef’s Elisabeth Passédat, and are working to be plastic-free by 2020. f



NU TSHE L L 30 St. Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ER Leicester Square

All the hottest new openings, venues to try and dishes that’ll flood your Instagram feed this month

Chef Jeremy Borrow, formerly of modern Israeli restaurant The Palomar, has cooked up a deliciously modern take on Iranian food. Plates here are designed to be shared, and to unite people in the process; the pink and green pastel interior mirrors the pistachio orchards of the owner’s hometown; and the must-try dish is a crispy, buttery, golden scorched rice dish called a tahdig. Hungry yet?

SW E ET C HIC K 8 Market Place, Fitzrovia, W1W 8AG Oxford Circus

You no longer have to adapt a New York state of mind (sorry) to tuck into sweet, sweet fried chicken and waffles from Brooklyn-based Sweet Chick, as they open their first permanent London spot this year. It’s headed up by rapper Nas, so if crunchy, succulent chicken, sticky waffles and London Fields beers served to Outkast tunes sound like a bit of you, get down.

E G GS LUT 185 Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W11 2ED

Notting Hill Gate

Love eggs on the regs? Well then, it’s your lucky day, as Eggslut is coming to London. The name may be somewhat, ahem, risqué, but the Californian cult chain previewed their egg brioche buns at Taste of London to round-the-clock queues and glowing Instagram reviews. Missed out? Fear not: its first permanent location opens in Notting Hill on 7 August. Head to Portobello Road for casual dining done well, with soft, buttery scrambled Clarence Court eggs and melt-in-the-mouth buns from Bread Ahead bakery – all delivered to the restaurant within six hours of being made.




Excitement’s been bubbling in the drinks world following the announcement that seafood specialists Wright Brothers and Piper-Heidsieck (one of Les Grande Marques Champagne houses) have collaborated to create a brand-new champagne. Known as ‘Piper-Heidsieck Essentiel by Wright

Brothers’, it’s a quality Extra Brut that’s been especially created to compliment Wright Brothers’s seafood offering. The drink – which pairs perfectly with oysters and shellfish but also has the complexity to be enjoyed with white fish and buttery, creamy sauces – is available in all Wright Brothers restaurants. Bottoms up.


caps and mugs are available as optional (but oh-so necessary) extras, too. Until 22 September;

After huge success in Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York, Ralph Lauren’s own café Ralph’s Coffee is coming to the brand’s flagship store on New Bond Street, serving a stellar selection of specialty coffees, teas and juices, plus snacks. Vintage-style totes,

Photograph by ((Natoora) Valeria Necchio; (arcade food interior) Paul Winch-Furness; (arcade food dish) Kris Piotrowski; [Lost Village] Jenna Foxton


ARBORET UM 2A Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0HF Covent Garden

This year is all about zero waste, farm to fork and sustainable eating, so it’s only fitting that the team behind Library has just opened Arboretum, the City’s first botanically-inspired private members club. The menu is seasonally planned and all organic, and will share the supply chain of dishes upon request. Eco-forward ftw.

103-105 New Oxford Street, WC1A 1DB

Tottenham Court Road

Food markets are having a moment: you’ll have seen Market Halls, Street Feast and Kerb expanding faster than Curtis’s head was turned on this year’s Love Island. Next up is Arcade Food Theatre. Its USP? It’s located in Tottenham Court Road’s iconic Centre Point building, and it plays host to seven of the hottest new restaurants in the city. Feast on next-level custard-stuffed pastries from Pophams Bakery, that katsu-sando from TŌU by TĀ TĀ Eatery and seriously tasty Mexican fare from Pastorcito and the restaurant group who bought you El Pastor.

NATOORA CAF E 5 Elgin Crescent, W11 2JA Notting Hill Gate

Marking a London first, ethical suppliers Natoora have opened a café serving genuinely traceable and radically seasonal grub. Not only can you enjoy flavourful and ethical produce, you’ll also be able to educate yourself on exactly where your food came from. Which is pretty neat.



The Soil Association’s BOOM Awards saw more than 300 attendees head to Oval Space in Bethnal Green for an annual celebration of all things organic in the food and drink industry. From great organic snacks to confectionary, packaging and marketing campigns, no stone was left unturned

in championing some of the UK’s finest. Some of this year’s winners include Daylesford in the Bakery category for its organic beetroot sourdough, Bothenhill for its organic asparagus, Riverford for its veg boxes and Sainsbury’s and Ocado for their strong organic offerings in-store and online respectively.

Lost Village just got wilder. The Botanist’s Greenhouse will be at the festival serving a selection of foraged cocktails and hosting a WILD workshop with brand amabssadors Abi Clephane and Nick Weston from Hunter Gather Cook. Learn

how to start a fire from scratch and enjoy snacks cooked over that very flame. 22-25 August;


THE HIDEAWAY Book into Sea Containers London for epic views of the city, killer cocktails and a laid-back restaurant that encourages lounging and feasting, writes Mike Gibson What’s the draw

What to eat

What else?

With a recent change of ownership, the hotel formerly known as Mondrian London has shaken off that moniker and metamorphosed into, simply, Sea Containers London. Having closed for a little while for some minor refurbishment (including at its awardwinning bar, but more on that later), it’s re-opened with an updated look and feel. Rooms and suites are cut with clean, Nordic lines, bathrooms hewn from sumptuous marble. If you can stretch to a suite with a balcony, the view – across the shimmering, twinkling Thames to the lights of the City – is borderline unbeatable.

The main event here is the aptly named Sea Containers Restaurant. The restaurant’s become more casual, with the kind of menu built for lounging and digging in, elbows on the table, to dishes like haggis croquettes with a slick of pungent mustard, al dente asparagus with white onion and capers in grassy olive oil, and a textbook mac n’ cheese. Drinks-wise, you’re in the safest possible hands at Lyaness, the updated version of venerated bartender Mr Lyan’s awardwinning Dandelyan, with a menu of slick, ambitious and delicious cocktails. Upstairs, 12th Knot bar completes the set.

With its own spa, Agua, tucked away on its own floor of the hotel (run in collaboration with facialist Kate Kerr), a 56-seat cinema operated by Curzon and a massive gym to add to its two bars and restaurant, you’ll theoretically never need to leave the premises throughout the duration of your stay. If you do want to venture out, you’re in a pretty decent part of town for eating and drinking: the OXO Tower Restaurant’s a few doors up, and it’s a pretty short walk up the Southbank to Clink Street and the southern entrance of Borough Market if you’re so inclined. f

Craving some inspiration for how to eat your way around London? Go to, where you’ll find loads of restaurant and bar reviews, destination guides, features and more…



◆ Address:

20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD

Rooms from £195;

◆ Rooms: 92 ◆ Event spaces: 3 ◆ Nearest station:

Blackfriars is a fiveminute walk away

ITALIAN TOURIST BOARD FESTIVAL OF FOOD AND WINE Friday 6th & Saturday 7th September A feast for the senses, with competitive Flat racing accompanying a host of culinary attractions. Sample and purchase from an exceptional array of food and wines across over 40 stalls, and enjoy unmissable demonstrations at our Gastronomes Theatre from culinary experts and celebrity chefs including Raymond Blanc OBE.

Tickets from ÂŁ19pp | Fine Dining from ÂŁ207 + VAT pp Children under 18 go FREE

THE WINNERS... We’re celebrating Cub and #CookforSYRIA’s respective victories in the Best Bar and Best Pop-Up or Initiative categories at the Foodism 100 awards 2019





Cub’s set menu (which is available for the whole table at £67 per person) is probably the best way to experience all this East London outlet has to offer. Some of the courses consist of food, some drink, and some are a mixture of the two. Plates of everything from nettle with sweet bell turnip and sea truffle to kid goat with spring greens and wild garlic are prime examples of how sustainable produce can be turned into food that is, quite simply, next-level. The dishes all make perfect accompaniments to Mr

An innovative bar and restaurant from World’s 50 Best-winning bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) and Brightonturned-London chef Douglas McMaster, which serves cocktails and sharing plates with an emphasis on cutting out food waste at every turn. Carefully considered ingredients, expertly created drinks and sustainable methods in the kitchen mean this Hoxton Street haunt is a location that’ll please your palate and your conscience at the same time.


Lyan’s characteristically inventive cocktails and Cub’s equally excellent wine list. A glass of 2016 La Rumbera followed by a lactorhubarb, cognac and cacao husk cocktail? Don’t mind if we do. Boozeless, gluten-free and vegan options are available too. WHERE CAN I FIND THEM?

Hoxton Street is where Cub calls home, though plan ahead if you’re thinking of stopping by. The cosy (small) premises mean booking ahead is probably necessary. 153 Hoxton Street, N1 6PJ;



From supper clubs and pop-up restaurants to charitable initiatives, this category celebrated those doing good things with temporary or semi-permanent events and venues. Our winner was #CookforSYRIA: a fundraising initiative created a few years ago by SUITCASE magazine’s founder Serena Guen, Instagrammer and philanthropist Clerkenwell Boy and PR director Gemma Bell, in partnership with Unicef Next Generation London. Over the last few years, the initiative has two cookbooks, supper clubs, restaurant takeovers and a host of other events that took place in London and worldwide to raise money for Unicef’s Children of Syria Fund, as well as a campaign for consumers to get involved in their own fundraising events, too. WHAT’S ON THE MENU?

Photograph by (Mr Lyan & Douglas McMaster) Xavier D Buendia/XDB

Photography; (syria main) Charlotte Hu; (Syria kebab) Scott Grummett

Whatever you fancy, really, because anyone can host their own #CookforSYRIA supper club to raise funds. All you’ve got to do is set up a JustGiving page, invite your friends, and give your best shot at serving up some tasty cooking for a great cause. If you’re not feeling particularly inventive you can always buy the #CookforSYRIA cookbook and try your hand at one of the 100 recipes it contains from top-notch chefs like Fergus Henderson, Angela Hartnett, Yotam Ottolenghi, and many more. Buying that book in itself, which costs just £29, counts as doing your part – by supporting #CookForSyria you’re directly helping Unicef’s Children of Syria Fund. Unicef supplies life-saving food, medical care and clean water to children affected by the crisis in Syria while also providing long-term care in the form of education and emotional support and safe places for children to learn and play. It helps these children put their lives back together and #CookforSYRIA is a great example of an initiative making a genuine difference. A stellar line-up of events is another one of the initiative’s major draws. Pop-up cafés? Bake offs? Tribal banquets with Neil Rankin at Lost Village festival? You name it and #CookforSYRIA has probably done it, and all for a bloody good cause, too.



Last year’s line-up of participating restaurants was a who’s who of the London dining scene’s hottest restaurants including Sabor and Sambol Shiok, Hoppers, Chiltern Firehouse and Petersham Nurseries. Expect next year’s slate to be as jam-packed as always. f


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BARBECUE BONANZA Ben Tish’s book Moorish reveals how the humble grill can jazz up everything from peaches to lamb chops


S Photography by Kris Kirkham

UMMER DAYS AND barbecues are just meant to go together, aren’t they? The smell of grilled meat wafting over from your neighbour Craig’s garden can latch onto a primal carnivorous urge in the human brain that’s hard to ignore and makes it difficult to avoid inviting yourself over despite the fact that Craig never signs for your Amazon parcels. Unless you’re a vegan, that is. Yet, even if you are a plant-based advocate, Ben Tish can help, as here is a man who understands just how good the grill can be for cooking fresh fruit and veg as well as meat.

His latest book, Moorish, focuses on recipes from the Mediterranean, given a sunsoaked spin with the flavours of North Africa and the Arab world. There’s not just charred perfection to be had either; Moorish is also filled with dishes that are just as useful for a lazy Sunday or slow-cooked mid-week meal. If you fancy seeing how your own attempts match up to Tish himself, all you’ve got to do is wait until September 2019 when he opens Norma – a Sicilian-Moorish influenced restaurant on Charlotte Street. Who knows – you might just give him a run for his money. f




Photograph by ###

Whether you have your heart set on a professional career in the hospitality industry or you’re just looking to gain more confidence in the kitchen, Le Cordon Bleu London offers a wealth of courses that will teach you the skills you need. Le Cordon Bleu London offers comprehensive training in cuisine, pâtisserie, wine, boulangerie, nutrition and management with a large range of programmes from

short cooking courses and certificates to professional diplomas and bachelors, taught by classically trained chefs, lecturers and wine experts. Fulfil your passion and get the qualifications you’ve always dreamed of. Start your culinary journey in autumn, winter, spring or summer. For more information, visit, email or call 020 7400 3900


Ben Tish’s


This fresh and fruity salad is a great combination of salty and sweet – the perfect choice for when you fancy something light for lunch on a summer’s day


Preparation ◆◆ 10 mins


◆◆ 10 mins

Serves ◆◆ 4-6


HE MOORS INTRODUCED the watermelon to Spain towards the end of the tenth century,” says Ben Tish of this dish. “The fruit became wildly popular due to its sweet, refreshing flesh, and soon the word had spread throughout the countries of southern Europe.” It’s not hard to see why. A chilled hunk of watermelon on a hot summer’s day is a refreshing and nutritious snack, and this combination of the sweet fruit with salty blue cheese and crunchy walnuts works excellently. “Moscatel vinegar, or muscat grape vinegar, is a delicious sweet vinegar with a gently sharp edge,” adds Tish, “but a white balsamic would be a good alternative.”

INGRE DIENTS ◆◆ ½ small, heavy watermelon

(800g–1kg) with unblemished smooth, shiny skin ◆◆ 50ml moscatel vinegar or white balsamic ◆◆ 100g walnut halves ◆◆ 70ml walnut oil ◆◆ Handful of herb fennel or dill fronds ◆◆ 150g salty blue cheese (such as gorgonzola, picos blue, roquefort) ◆◆ Sea salt and black pepper



1 Peel the melon in half, removing all the white flesh under the skin. Dice the coloured flesh into 2cm pieces. Place in a bowl. Season and toss in the vinegar. Set aside. 2 Place a sauté pan over a medium heat. Break the walnut halves into pieces directly into the pan and toast for a few minutes, tossing, until they are fragrant and have started to release their oil. Season liberally with salt and mix into the watermelon. 3 Add the walnut oil and fennel fronds and crumble in the blue cheese. Briefly mix together and serve. This is delicious on its own, with warm flatbreads, or as part of a mezze-style sharing meal. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 180g podded fresh English peas

(or frozen garden peas)

◆◆ 8 new-season lamb chops, trimmed

of excess fat ◆◆ Olive oil

◆◆ Juice of ½ lemon

◆◆ 150ml extra virgin olive oil

◆◆ 100ml white balsamic vinegar

◆◆ 1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed ◆◆ 3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

◆◆ Handful of mint leaves, to garnish ◆◆ Sea salt and black pepper

Ben Tish’s


Dust off your grill and get ready to remember just how sweet and succulent lamb can be with this fresh, Sicilian-inspired recipe. It’s simple, but oh-so satisfying



◆◆ 30 mins


◆◆ 20 mins


◆◆ 4


HERE’S NOTHING LIKE the smell of lamb chops cooked over charcoal, is there? They seem to be made for it; with their tasty fat lightly charring and crisping up while the outside flesh caramelises and the blushing pink inside stays perfectly juicy. Tish agrees: “I really think it’s worth wheeling out the barbecue and lighting some charcoal.”


1 Prepare a charcoal fire in your barbecue or heat a ridged grill pan. 2 Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and blanch the peas until they are just tender. Drain and refresh in iced water. Drain again and then set aside. 3 Season the chops well and rub with olive oil. Place on the barbecue or grill pan and cook on one side for 4 minutes. There should be a good caramelisation when the chops are

turned over, along with a slight charring along the fat. Cook on the other side for 3 minutes for medium rare – the meat should have a good spring when pressed. Remove the chops from the heat to a wire rack set over a tray and squeeze over the lemon juice. Leave to rest in a warm spot for 5–7 minutes. 4 Meanwhile, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil and vinegar in a small saucepan. Season well and add the cumin and garlic. Heat until the garlic just starts to fizz. Add the peas and remove from the heat. Pour in the lamb resting juices that have dripped into the tray and check the seasoning. 5 To serve, divide some of the peas, along with some of the vinaigrette, among 4 serving plates. Place 2 lamb chops on top of each pile of peas, then spoon over the remainder of the peas and vinaigrette. Finish each plate with a sprinkle of mint leaves. f


Develop your creative flair

Ben Tish’s

TARONGIA FLATBREAD Want to know what success smells like? We’re pretty sure it’s not far off this fragrant olive oil-fried flatbread


Preparation ◆◆ 1hr15


◆◆ 40 mins

Serves ◆◆ 6


ROM THE AEOLIAN islands off the Sicilian coast, this wonderful bread is not for the faint-hearted,” explains Tish of this brilliant snack or side dish. “It is completely delicious and the toppings can be varied to your liking.”


DISCOVER OUR COURSES: • Pastry • Breadbaking • Cake Decorating

1 Put the water, wine, oil and honey in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast and stir well. Leave to activate and become foamy. Now add a third of the flour, the lemon zest and salt and whisk in to make a smooth batter. Mix in the remaining flour to make a manageable dough. 2 Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes or until you have a firm, smooth dough. Shape into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with a cloth. Leave to rise in a warm spot for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. 3 Cut the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll out each piece into a rough circle. Leave to rest for 15 minutes before cooking. 4 Heat enough olive oil for shallow frying in a deep pan to 170°C. In batches, carefully lower the breads into the hot oil using a metal spatula or spider and fry for 5-6 minutes or


GET THE BOOK Moorish by Ben Tish (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26) is out now

until golden brown on both sides. Remove and drain on kitchen paper. Keep warm. THE FILLING

5 Heat a sauté pan over a medium heat and add a glug of olive oil. Add the fennel and season, then cook for 3 minutes or until softened and browned. Add the tomatoes, onion and chilli, stir and cook for a further 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 6 Preheat the grill. Divide the fennel and tomato mix among the flatbreads, spreading it over the top, followed by the anchovies and then the cheese. Place under the grill and cook for 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden brown. Sprinkle with thyme and serve. f

INGRE DIE NTS The dough ◆◆ 240ml lukewarm water ◆◆ 50ml red wine

◆◆ 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil ◆◆ 1 tbsp runny honey

◆◆ 1 x 7g sachet dried yeast granules

◆◆ 425g strong white flour, sifted, plus

extra for dusting

◆◆ Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon ◆◆ ½ teaspoon fine salt ◆◆ Olive oil

The filling ◆◆ 1 bulb of fennel, cored and finely


◆◆ 75g sun-dried tomatoes packed in

oil, drained and roughly chopped

◆◆ 1 red onion, finely sliced

◆◆ 1 fresh red chilli, finely sliced

Expand your culinary repertoire

◆◆ 18 salted anchovies

◆◆ 100g pecorino or caciocavallo, grated ◆◆ 1 tbsp picked thyme leaves ◆◆ Sea salt and black pepper

DISCOVER OUR COURSES: • Cuisine • Culinary Management • Wine & Gastronomy 27

Ben Tish’s

CHAR-GRILLED PEACHES Pop another peach on the barbie with this quick and easy recipe. It does more than just riff on the classic picnic staple of peaches and cream – it surpasses it


Preparation ◆◆ 15 mins


◆◆ 10 mins

Serves ◆◆ 4


RILLS AREN’T JUST for meat, y’know. “I love to cook stone fruits over the barbecue,” says Tish. “The sugars slowly caramelise, intensifying the fruits’ sweetness while lightly singeing and smoking the edges. This is where the beauty of live-fire cooking comes into its own.” The addition of fresh goat’s cheese helps cool this dessert dish.


1 Prepare and light a charcoal fire in a barbecue – the coals should burn down to an ashen grey before cooking. Alternatively, heat a ridged grill pan over maximum heat on the hob. 2 Toast the almonds in a small dry pan until lightly golden. Season with sea salt and

drizzle over some olive oil, then set aside. 3 Dab the cut side of the peach halves with kitchen paper to soak up excess moisture, then drizzle with a little oil. Place the peaches cut side down on the barbecue or grill pan and cook for 4-5 minutes or until caramelised and lightly singed at the edges. The juices will drip on to the hot coals and create a little smoke that will flavour the peaches. 4 Turn the peaches over and lay a sprig of thyme on each cut side. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the peaches on the other side. 5 Divide the grilled peaches and goat’s cheese among 4 plates or bowls. Drizzle over the honey and scatter the almonds on top. Serve as a starter or a cheese course. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 60g blanched almonds, cut in half ◆◆ Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling ◆◆ 4 firm white or yellow peaches,

cut in half and stone removed

◆◆ 8 sprigs of thyme

◆◆ 120g soft, fresh goat’s cheese

◆◆ 2 tbsp chestnut honey or a quality

runny honey ◆◆ Sea salt


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— PART 2 —






The rise in the number of gin distilleries – and drinkers – in the UK and beyond has been swift and massive, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. Clare Finney investigates the enduring appeal of the spirit of the decade


Photograph by Getty Images / Kittibowornphatnon



FIRST VISITED SIPSMITH’S distillery in Hammersmith six years, five gins and 65 employees ago. It was 2013, and I was writing a feature about the gin revolution then taking place, in large part thanks to the founders Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall and their tireless efforts to change licensing law. Their being granted a license to distill gin in small batches paved the way for hundreds of craft distilleries to set up across the UK: when Sipsmith started, there were but a handful of stills; in 2013, there were about 150. In 2018 HMRC recorded 361 distilleries across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The revolution has been standardised and, far from receding, recent figures suggest more of us are drinking more gin than ever before. This is not just a UK phenomenon.


According to last month’s analysis by the International Wine and Spirits Record, the largest gain in global beverage alcohol consumption in 2018 was in the gin category, which posted a total growth of 8.3% compared to 2017. “It has been popular for a decade – and it is not relenting in any way,” says Chesca Torlot, who worked for Sipsmith when there were just four employees and who, like me, can’t quite believe they’re still thriving. It was Torlot who took me round their single still back in 2013: “now we’ve three stills and six distillers – so we still make it in the same uncompromising way we did at the beginning. We just make a lot more.” Torlot attributes Sipsmith’s success to the craft nature of its process. “You have to stay true to what you do. It’s authenticity that makes for

a good brand long term, and as technology takes over our lives that idea of craft will become more and more important.” Yet with big distilleries, like big breweries, cottoning on to the ‘craft’ pound and incorporating the word into new, arms-length releases, is there a risk that true artisans will start to struggle in a saturated market, and gin will once again go to the back of the bar? No. That’s the short answer, according to five distilleries, a – well, the – tonic producer, and a trend forecaster who expects more gin not just from Britain, but from all four corners. “We have already seen creative flavours aplenty – there are gins being distilled with the likes of earl grey tea, gingerbread, lavender, you name it,” says Shokofeh Hejazi, senior trend analyst at The Food People. “We will also see bottles

hitting shelves from countries that aren’t traditionally known for producing gin – like Japan, India and Taiwan.” We’ll see more gin like Manly Spirits Australian Dry Gin, or Malfy from the Amalfi Coast, which “combine gin’s signature flavours while evoking the taste of the Australian coastline or Italian seaside,” predicts Fever-Tree’s gin genius Craig Harper. And we’ll see more varied mixers, like the Fever-Tree Mediterranean tonic he recommends for the Malfy, or their Sicilian lemon tonic, which renders Sipsmith’s autumnal sloe gin into a sip of summer when piled high with ice and a slice of lemon. And yet: a word of caution to any gin lover wondering if they should invest aunt Gertrude’s legacy in a copper still: those halcyon days are numbered. “I don’t think it is enough to come up with a slightly random recipe, bottle it with a nice label and expect to make it nowadays,” says Ian Hart, the founder of Sacred Spirits in Highgate. “You have to be more innovative than that.” For his own part, this means vacuum distillation and a library of botanicals macerated in wheat spirit that are distilled separately so he can experiment with flavour profiles. He anticipates more flavoured gins – he himself has eight – but also sees gin producers diversifying into other spirits. “We have two vodkas, a vermouth, a whisky liqueur and a rosehip cup, which is like a Campari,” he tells me. The advantage of having a still is that vodka, flavoured gins

FREE POUR: [left] The founders of Sipsmith, whose efforts to change licensing laws in the UK paved the way for other small-batch gin producers


Photograph by (Sacred) White Fox Studios

and gin-based liquers are an easy transition. He doesn’t see gin disappearing, but he does eventually expect “a tipping point” wherein small producers either struggle, get swept up into larger brands, or choose to confine themselves to their own local market share. This last one is already happening. Much is made of gin’s debt to craft beer, and the latter has firmly gone in the local direction (as my allegiance to Hammerton N1 is testament to). Now brands like East London Liquor Company, Marylebone Gin and – outside of London – Psychopomp distillery in Bristol are putting their stakes in the ground when it comes to local markets. “Regionality is a big thing. People feel patriotic to the city or region they live in – and then when people travel, they want something that reflects the area they are visiting,” observes Psychopomp’s Danny Walker. He has no aspirations of national influence: “we are happy as a small independent in our little distillery on the hill.” With local sway comes regular buyers, drinkers and feedback. “I think the biggest lessons the gin industry’s taken from craft beer is to focus on provenance and your local market first and foremost. People want to go to their local brewery or distillery and enjoy something made in their backyard that they can see being made,” says Tom Hills of East London Liquor Company. Then there’s the advantage of what Walker calls “drink tourism”: “Historically people would go to another city and drink local beer, local wine – now they drink local gin. They visit distilleries and meet the distillers. The people are part of the story,” he enthuses, “and drinkers want to get inside it.” “I think the big thing that has helped →


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→ gin’s growth is the knowledge base of gin drinkers,” Hills agrees. Like breweries, some distilleries have been going – or should it be exploring? – the extra mile to reflect their locality, using botanicals that are locally foraged and distilled in situ. The Botanist is a prime example, distilled from 22 types of berries, barks, seeds and peels found on the Isle of Islay in Scotland. Down in Dartmoor Distillery, the Devon Artisan Gin is distilled from botanicals found among the ponies on the windswept moors. The popularity of these and international gins like the aforementioned Malfy suggest there’s an appetite for this not only among the distillery’s surrounding population, but among those who, on a wet day in London, quite fancy a hit of Amalfi lemons and wild Italian juniper; who, like my dad, dream of the Scottish Highlands after an hour on the Metropolitan line. They divide opinion, but Harper of Fever-Tree argues gin will increasingly be “not just about London Drys and juniper heavy flavours – people are now looking for brands whose liquid reflects terroir and surrounding culture.” Like wine, gin has the power to transport the drinker simply through the powers of taste and smell. London Drys, particularly those London Drys made in London (they don’t have to be) have nothing to fear in this, says Hart. Theirs is an increasingly international market. “Since 2016 a third of Sacred’s sales have been exports. We have importers and distributors across Europe, and in Canada, Thailand, Cuba, Zanzibar and Japan.” Sure, these countries are increasingly experimenting with their own distilleries, but “we’ve an advantage being British, and from London in particular.” “Globally I think the idea that London Dry gin must be rooted in London has more power than it does here,” agrees Torlot. “It’s why Sipsmith are so proud of bringing craft gin back to London.” Like France with sparkling wine, Italy with pasta or Scotland with whisky, “we’ll always be at the forefront of the world’s gin production.” There’s a whisky producer in almost every country in the world, Walker points out, “but Scotch will always be Scotch.” For his part and the part of Psychopomp distillery, it is not exporting gin but importing new botanicals that’s exciting. For some years now they’ve been producing bespoke gins for restaurants in Bristol and further afield, to

PEOPLE WANT GIN THAT REFLECTS TERROIR “tell the story of their restaurant, and together with their music and lighting help evoke the atmosphere they want to create.” They produced a gin for a local Indian restaurant recently, distilled with characteristic spices. “Sometimes we design to pair with the food, sometimes it’s an aperitif to serve on arrival.” Their biggest job, which they designed for Honest Burgers, was gin with botanicals of grapefruit, dill and cucumber: a perfect precursor to their famous patties laden with housemade pickles and relish. One of the reasons craft gin has proved so robust, argues Walker, is because it’s quick and easy to tweak and tailor. “There isn’t really another spirit category in which you can commission your own product so easily. With gin, it’s a matter of days before it can be on the market” – enabling experimentation,

make your own gin experiences and bespoke offerings for anything from hotels and restaurants to events. For Hejazi, the trends analyst, experimentation is where the future lies. “Distilleries will continue to experiment with distillation techniques and barrel ageing, for instance, to increase depth of flavour. They will also get more and more creative with the flavours and botanicals they use, to create new and unexpected flavour profiles” – something distilleries have barely scraped the surface of, Hart explains. “Gin is essentially a method of carrying botanicals into your palate. It is as dramatically broad and at least as wide as the whole gastronomical universe – more interesting than wine,” he continues boldly. “There are only about ten or 15 major grape types, with hundreds of sub varieties, which you get from the soil. There are, roughly speaking, half a million known botanicals out there.” That’s before you get to barrel ageing – something that the East London Liquor company are pioneers of, with their gins aged in ex-sherry and bourbon barrels – and techniques like vacuum distillation and using rotary evaporators to extract botanicals rather than the traditional pot still. If wine can evolve and remain relevant and interesting over the course of millennia, then we shouldn’t worry about gin, seems to be Hart’s message – and the statistics support him. The most recent report, from the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, revealed a →

JUST THE TONIC: The full Fever-Tree line-up. The tonic is widely credited for helping revolutionise the image of the G&T with its creative combos


KINDRED SPIRITS: The founders of the East London Liquor Company, who barrel-age their gins in ex-sherry and bourbon casks for flavour


→ record 73 million bottles of the drink were sold in 2018. Though some put it down to the endless summer and its obligatory roll of picnics and barbecues, in the run up to Christmas sales of gin were up by 40% in comparison to 2017. “It’s that versatility piece,” says Torlot. “If you like dry, you can get dry. If you want sweet you can have sweet. And there are so many ways to drink it, these days” – be it in a gin-based cocktail, straight up, or paired one of Fever-Tree’s flavoured mixers which – quite unlike wine – provide an entry point for gin-sceptics. “It’s hard not to sound like we’re blowing our own trumpet here,” jokes Harper, “but the role [of FeverTree in gin’s resurgence] really has been key.” “Some look at Fever-Tree and say, lucky timing – but they were part and parcel of it,” says Walker. “They made it accessible.” Their range and quality of mixers combined with a growing variety of gin flavour profiles means almost everyone has been able to find ‘their’ gin. “What’s been so interesting about gin’s growth is that it’s been in every demographic: age, gender, financial status – every category is seeing growth upon growth,” he continues. “There was a point when gin was gendered and aged, but that has gone completely out the window.” This is down to societal change, he acknowledges – after all, ‘brosé’ is a thing


Gin might resonate as a British product, but like all Great British things, it actually originated in another country: Holland, in 1550, though the Italians do like to point out that they were using juniper berries as flavourings in distilled spirits back in the 11th century. It was invented for medicinal purposes by a Dutch physician, though by the time it got into English hands its… recreational purposes had been realised, and under the Dutch King William of Orange everyone was encouraged to distill their own. Being cheaper than beer and safer than water, the spirit took off: gins were crudely distilled from all sorts of materials, with the result that some contained poisonous methanol, and many were sweetened with sugar, liquorice or honey. Dry gin came about with the advent of the Coffey still in 1832, long after the gin craze had subsided. It delivered a more consistent and neutral spirit which grew in popularity and, because the majority of it was distilled in London, became known as London Dry. Today, many gins are made to London Dry specifications, which under EU law state that the base spirit must be distilled to a completely neutral spirit of 96% alcoholic volume and that all of the flavours must be added through the distillation and be natural plant materials. Traditionally, it has also been understood that London Dry is juniper forward, although there are plenty of producers, all over the world, who adhere to the London Dry gin method but whose gins are of a very different flavour profile.

and far more women drink pints now – but it’s also because “gin is so wildly varied. You have juniper-forward, strong gins served with Indian tonic for a hardcore option, but someone who might previously go for alcopops could order elderflower tonic and a pink strawberry gin.” Were craft gin to continue to follow in craft beer’s footsteps, we could expect to see a slowing down of new openings, continued innovation in flavours and ages, and a greater drive toward sustainable production, a la Toast and Four Pure. There are signs of the latter, with renewable power, heat recovery systems, zero-waste drives and community ventures marking many distilleries in Scotland and, most famously, in Southwold with Adnams distillery, but they are a way off matching brewers in that league. I wonder if gin pairing menus are on the horizon: this, after all, is something brewers (and beerloving chefs) have pioneered in recent years, but Hart is sceptical. “I think culturally it will be an uphill struggle to serve gin in a classic meal time setting. People are accustomed to wine and beer with their roast lamb – though I have been distilling with fresh garden mint recently, which I think is complimentary!” There’s the odd gin pairing supper club – courtesy of Sipsmith, largely, who have in the past teamed up with restaurants Gymkhana and Peyton and Byrne – but gin pairing menus remain very much the exception. What such events highlight, however, is the incredible experiential value of gin. As well as supper clubs, Sipsmith have a subscription club, whereby some 1,000 members provide feedback on potential new flavours. Distilleries across the country do distillery tours and tasting events, harnessing the allure of potion making and the shimmering beauty of a copper still. “Gin isn’t going anywhere,” says Harper. “That’s not to say we’re resting on our laurels here at Fever-Tree. We believe long, mixed drinks are the future across the spirits industry, not just gin, and recently released a tonic in collaboration with Patron tequila.” But when it comes to a drink that can be made in your hometown and you can watch being made in your hometown, yet which can, through myriad botanicals, evoke anywhere from your local field to the Philippines, Holland’s liquid courage and our mother’s ruin – that’s truly unique. f



THEY TRIED TO KILL US. WE WON. LET’S EAT Jewish food combines flavours and traditions from all over the world, but the way it brings people together is what makes it truly amazing. Frankie McCoy celebrates her newly adopted religion’s culinary culture


Illustration by Shutterstock / Bullet Chained



T STARTED WITH my first bite of challah. Soft, squidgy, salt-sprinkled challah, an egg-enriched braided loaf that originated in 15th-century Germany; glossy mahogany on top and purest white within, fluffy as brioche but with a more satisfyingly chewy heft. It’s a bread that demands a second slice, maybe a third. But that’s never a problem, because there are always two challah loaves on the Fridaynight table, representing the two portions of manna doled out to the Israelites by God each Shabbat during the Exodus from Egypt. Not that I knew that then. This first bite of frankly celestial bread came on a night of many firsts. My first dinner at my new boyfriend’s parents’ house. My first Shabbat dinner. And my first taste of Judaism.


This summer I became Jewish, converting after a year of history, Hebrew lessons, synagogue attendance and festival celebrating – and eating. More than anything else, my path to Judaism has been one signposted by food, crumbs of challah and matzo tempting me forward, drops of chicken soup and kiddush wine mapping my way. Judaism as I’ve come to know it is about eating, because it is about togetherness, about re-enacting shared traditions and creating shared memories around a table. The code of Jewish law is called Shulchan Aruch – literally, the set table. That’s how important the idea of the dining table is: ritually set from memory, to create memory. And in my experience, the best memories are formed by eating, drinking, laughing,

squabbling, shouting loudly, with others and with way too much food. Jewish food, I’ve found, is about groaning generosity because of the historical shadow of want. It is about eating quickly, out of a not-so-distant memory of time running out. It is about always overeating despite best intentions, because instinct says, there may not be more. And because your soon-to-be mother-in-law has piled your plate high with her delicious roast chicken and golden potatoes, and she’s made three puddings which you have to try, and have some more challah, and you cannot

TABLE TALK: The Passover table features many delicious foods, but most characteristic is unleavened bread and traditional matzo crackers

Illustration by Ranganath Krishnamani


refuse any of this overwhelming love. Food also acts as mnemonic for the new convert. The rhythm of Jewish life ticks to the regular festivals. There’s the weekly celebration of Shabbat, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, and the myriad annual festivals celebrating biblical events and significant moments in Jewish history: Passover, Hanukkah, Purim, Shavuot, and dozens more. Every one of these festivals is a siren call for food – heaps of it, shared between family and strangers on one big messy table. Each Jewish dish is a story. There’s history and miracles in each and every bite. And so I have been eating my way in, catching up vociferously, furiously chewing and swallowing and absorbing 4,000 years of Jewish history.

Purim equals hamantaschen, moreish little three-cornered pastries filled with poppy seeds or chocolate which, depending on who has baked them, either resemble the hats of Babylonian exiles or the pockets of Haman, the villain of the Purim story. Hanukkah, the festival of light, means latkes (fried potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jammy doughnuts), oily foods to represent the story of a day’s supply of oil miraculously burning for eight days. No food means Yom Kippur: the 25-hour fast that forms part of the Day of Atonement, broken with a colossal quantity of food at my fiancé’s mother’s house: roast chicken and gefilte fish balls piled high, red cabbage and potato salad and smoked salmon. It’s a pile rivalled only by the Rosh Hashanah buffet put on by his aunt, over-catered to the power of ten, with the addition of apple slices dipped in honey to ensure a sweet new year, and a steaming lokschen pudding the size of a small car. Then there is Passover, which commemorates that exodus from Egypt, and is defined by what you can’t eat. The Israelites didn’t have time to leaven their bread before they left, so for eight days in April this year I didn’t eat leavened bread, nor wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats or rice. Essentially it is the Atkins diet, although any potential weight loss is levied by the one gloriously banal flour-based substance allowed. Passover is also about matzo: an unleavened Jacob’s-like cracker made from flour and water that is, on the surface, as much dry cardboard as that sounds. But spread thickly with salted butter, or topped with peanut butter, or even – as one Twitter thread this year proclaimed – smeared with salted caramel and chocolate to make ‘millionaire’s matzo’, and a magical alchemy occurs. It is a meagre morsel but one elevated by the meaning in each mouthful. A box of matzo crackers has become a regular feature of our house, and every time I lift it off the supermarket shelf, I feel a hit of Jewishness and I smile. At the Seder meal, which kicks off the festival, 30 of us crammed round the table to sing and slurp chicken soup, snapping and sharing endless piles of matzo, dripping wine on the table to represent the 12 plagues – and I felt so, so utterly at home. Over and over again throughout my conversion, I’ve heard the same phrase repeated: “They tried to kill us. We won. Let’s eat.” That is a motto I’m very happy to live by. I should point out that my map is both non-kosher – there are certain steps I would not take on my path to Judaism; giving up →


OLD FLAMES: As well as the lighting of the menora, the winter festival of Hanukkah is about giant (and delicious) sufganiyot doughnuts

→ bacon and prawns to satisfy arbitrary dietary laws is one of them – and Ashkenazi; that is, Eastern European Jewish. In her Book of Jewish Food, Claudia Roden explains that “the Ashkenazi world is a cold world. It is a world of chicken fat, onion and garlic, cabbage, carrots and


Illustration by Ranganath Krishnamani


potatoes, freshwater fish, especially carp, and salt herring.” My main landmarks in this apparently cold world are my future motherin-law’s infinite variations on roast chicken on Shabbat dinner, and her chicken soup. Obviously every Jewish boy’s mum makes the best, hence Dan’s mum Diana’s is the best in the world. Pure, clear, savoury; as the Jewish philosopher Maimonides wrote in the 12th century, “Chicken soup can be used as a cure for whatever might ail you.” In every hot mouthful lies a sense of community, and a thick, schmaltzy layer of love. And then there are gefilte fish balls – for which I am glad to be a British Jew, for here we fry rather than poach them, thankfully influenced by the Portuguese in the 18th century. Jay Rayner, in his 2018 review of Holborn Dining Room, talks about the difference between the two: “There is the boiled kind, served cold with its own fishy jelly, an abomination I always regarded as the closest food could come to cruel and unusual punishment. And then there is the fried, which is a different matter altogether. It

should be crisp and golden outside and light and fluffy inside. Cooking them made the house smell of indulgence.” Over the last year, I have indulged indeed, and can assert with a very particular kind of North London confidence that Platters in Golders Green make the best. But my path is also peppered with Sephardi cooking, the cooking of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Jews: as Roden puts it, a “warm [world] of peppers and aubergine, courgettes and tomatoes, rice and cracked wheat, saltwater fish and olive oil.” While Diana’s chicken soup will always run through my veins, this world is also intrinsic to my Judaism. I got engaged in Tel Aviv last year over bowls of chickpeas and red peppers doused in olive oil, after a day of stuffing ourselves with hummus and tahini, sparklingly fresh fish drenched in olive oil, huge salads of explosively ripe vegetables. With every mouthful I want to know more, understand more and consume more of this complicated, difficult but brilliant culture. My map of Jewish food is not complete – I don’t think it ever will be. Jewish food is complex. It’s the food of a diaspora; a cuisine of adapting, or converting, if you will. It is peripatetic, wandering out with the Israelites into the desert and continuing its journey throughout the Middle East to the USA and Britain, France and Germany, Ethiopia and Gibraltar, Mexico and India, picking up bits and pieces from each country, community and era it makes home. Every generation converts, consumes, continues. But even while it adapts, it ties us to history more strongly. Each spoonful of soup provides a link to the past, thereby reinforcing the future: as our ancestors ate matzo balls, so we eat matzo balls and our grandchildren will eat matzo balls. There is a gastronomic thread that stretches through time, changing flavour and shape but never breaking while there is still challah on the Shabbat table, even if that challah might be gluten-free or egg-less, raisin-stuffed or chocolate chip. Roden, this time in 1969’s Book of Middle Eastern Food, describes Friday-night dinners as “opportunities to rejoice in our food and to summon the ghosts of the past”. But it is also about looking forward. It’s about what was, what will be and what is right now: sitting around a table, eating far too much, far too quickly, together. f








F 50



From Sweden’s fika to Italy’s aperitivo, countries all over the world have rich traditions of mealsbetween-meals. So forget portmanteau meals; move over, brunch – it’s time to incorporate an extra mealtime into your day instead, writes Lauren Bravo


Photograph by Getty Images / Eskay Lim / EyeEm

HEN I WAS a university fresher, my friends and I invented a fourth meal of the day. We christened it ‘pstub’ – a contraction of ‘post-pub’, though it also sounded a little like ‘p***ed-up’, the main circumstance under which it was eaten. Pstub began in a casual manner; falafel wraps from Woody Grill on Camden Road, which would dribble garlic sauce down your best going-out dress. Slabs of baked cheesecake from Brick Lane’s Café 1001, delicious for the novelty of being able to eat them on a dancefloor. Cheesy chips from Dionysus (RIP), the ghost of which now haunts the Tottenham Court Road Crossrail platforms. Great heaps of fish fingers and ketchup, served family-style straight from the baking tray. Fray Bentos tinned pies, beloved for their novelty (“It’s a pie! In a tin!”) if not for their greyish innards. But soon, things gathered pace. Pstub grew more elaborate, and the food began to overshadow the parties. We’d be dancing in some basement bar or other, checking watches, already plotting the roast chicken or pad thai we were going to rustle up when we got home. Oneupmanship ensued, as we tried to out-pstub one another. There was even a Facebook group, ‘The Pstub Revolution Cometh’, because this was 2006 and no activity or quirk was allowed to go unsanctioned by the big blue thumb. Pstub had rules. It had to be eaten after midnight in order to qualify, and the closer it was to dawn, the more bountiful the feast permitted. Calories don’t count at night, as we all know, so it was free from nutritional concerns. But the most important criteria was reverence. This was a proper meal and had to be treated as such. Never mind that it was eaten at 3am under a strip light in a university halls kitchen last refurbed before decimal currency; every pstub was an occasion. Now, my clubbing days have long since passed, but the fourth meal of the day lives on. In fact it’s a bona fide trend, as anyone who has ever felt cheated out of a meal by brunch will be glad to know. “There is growing evidence that we are starting to squeeze a small, fourth meal into our daily routine,” claimed last year’s Waitrose Food & Drink Report. “This is not about gluttony; rather about adapting our eating schedules to our busy lives.” (Though the 21,459 #fourthmeal posts on Instagram, a hedonic parade of pre-lunch toasties, post-gym burgers and midnight pizzas, might beg to differ.) The reason we stick to a schedule of three meals a day is largely cultural, neatly bookending a typical 9-5 work day. It’s not →


→ biological instinct, nor set in dietetic stone. And while the idea that eating ‘little and often’ can raise the metabolism has now been widely debunked (sorry), the elusive fourth meal is more than just hyped-up snacking. It’s about pleasure, ritual, escaping the demands of the day for half an hour. Mindfulness, even. If a fourth meal has a health benefit, it’s giving us permission to take a proper break, with something more exciting than a KitKat to keep the wolf from the door. Afternoon tea could be said to be Britain’s fourth meal, but it seems to have jumped the shark over the past few decades. Once a daily custom, it’s morphed into something the average person might do once or twice a year, and despite the prevalence of restaurants and hotels offering either traditional or ‘alternative’ afternoon teas, in actual fact it seems more the preserve of hen weekends, Mother’s Day outings and Groupon vouchers for underbooked spa hotels. Instead of the humble greediness of an Enid Blytonstyle prefect’s tea, all anchovy toast and marmalade by the fire, these days we must fork out twice the price of a two-course lunch to be served crustless bread and tiny tarts like an aristocratic toddler. Elevenses, meanwhile, has done rather the opposite:


deprioritised and villainised as we all strive to optimise both our bodies and our working day. Stopping for cocoa and buns in the middle of the morning? You need a better slow-release breakfast, mate. Personally, I don’t think four meals a day is particularly extravagant. Hobbits, you might remember, eat six – including a second breakfast, and a second dinner if they can get it. Fiction is full of these meals-betweenmeals; the “little smackerel of something”, plot twists helped along by piles of hot buttered toast and mugs of good strong tea. We might think of the dripping crumpets and gingerbread in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, or equally lavish afternoon spreads in Henry James and Agatha Christie. Or we could look to those notable Londoners, Paddington Bear and Mr Gruber, who favoured hot cocoa and buns for their daily elevenses. Of course Paddington and Mr Gruber, we might note, were both immigrants who made London their home and created new pockets of familiarity within it. While Britain might have the monopoly on scones and cucumber sandwiches, almost every culture has its own bonus mealtime – a way to break up the day that’s equal parts social and satiating. And despite claims that we’re adopting the

LEADERS OF THE SNACK: [above] Boards of meat and cheese make for the perfect snack with drinks; [below] aperitivo at Bar Termini in Soho

‘New York day’, getting up earlier in order to squeeze in an extra spurt of productivity before work begins, maybe we’d fare better taking a few tips from our European cousins. In Valencia, almuerzo is a vital second breakfast – anything from a small pastry to a heaving ham and cheese bocadillo – eaten around 11am to see you through to a languid lunch. A Pret baguette might not hit the same spot, but José Pizarro’s mini serranito sandwich, stuffed with Ibérico loin, jamón, toasted red pepper and manchego, can be scarfed from 11.30am at his Broadgate Circle outpost. You’re welcome. Croatia has a similar tradition, mainly upheld by older generations, of a sociable mid-morning stopgap. In the tavernas of Split this is a meaty, spoonable affair – sometimes stewed beef, braised cuttlefish or even tripe – but more widely, marenda will be a platter of charcuterie and cheeses, perhaps an aged sheep’s milk offering like the brightly tangy paški sir, from the island of Pag, alongside rounds of spicy kulen sausage


Photograph by (main) Getty/Astrakan; [bottom] nick howe

and glossy ribbons of prosciutto, slow-cured in the cold Adriatic winds. Croatian culture is characterised by “an obsession with food,” says Chris Stewart, who opened Borough Market’s Taste Croatia deli nine years ago. “You plan lunch, you talk about lunch, then during lunch you’ll talk about what you’re going to have for dinner.” Hardly surprising, then, that time can always be found for an extra sit-down over coffee, both before and after work – a leisurely attitude that Stewart believes Londoners would do well to copy. “They don’t have the concept of takeaway cups in Croatia,” he grins. Once that lunch is out of the way, mid-afternoon is prime time to squeeze in a mini-meal. Popular legend suggests that the French don’t snack, and yet the afterschool goûter, also known as le quatre heures (the 4pm), is a basic right. Pain au chocolat; a baguette spread lavishly with Nutella; a stack of frilled Petit Ecolier biscuits – your reward for a school day completed, or a work day three-quarters endured. Then of course there’s fika, Scandinavia’s sainted coffee and cake break, which arrived on these shores around the same time hygge did but has demonstrably better staying power (there are only so many scented candles and cashmere socks a person needs in their life, while enriched dough is a limitless commodity). “Fika is both a noun and a verb. You can fika with someone, or you can have a fika with someone,” explains Brontë Aurell, author and co-owner of Fitzrovia’s ScandiKitchen. “But you can’t fika alone, it is a social thing. It’s taking time out to sit, connect, eat, drink and then go back to what you’re doing.” While we might know it as a midafternoon treat, you can fika in the morning too. You can fika with colleagues, with friends, with family, outside, at home, even on a date. But the one place you cannot fika, and on this Brontë is firm, is al-desko.

“The purpose of fika is not the coffee or the bun itself, but the act of breaking from what you’re doing,” she says. “At work, you leave your desk and you go to the break room for a fika break. At home, you sit and talk around the table or coffee table.” Unsurprisingly, phones are another no-no. Scrolling while you sup just won’t cut it. The classic fika snack is the cinnamon bun, these days to be found wafting seductively from bakeries and markets all over town. Every Scandophile in the city has their favourite, be it the cardamom-spiked, sugar-crusted kanelbullar at Bageriet in Covent Garden, the dense, buttery knots at Fabrique, or the burnished scrolls the size of your head at Nordic Bakery. ScandiKitchen’s own signature bun is gooey-middled, chubby and golden with a liberal sprinkling of sugar pearls. Listen very carefully during their ‘buy bun get bun free’ promotion every Wednesday morning, and you can hear Fitzrovia buzzing. But while the sweet treats give it marketable appeal, it’s coffee that’s the real cornerstone of fika. Norway, Denmark and Sweden are among the biggest coffee consumers in the world, with an artisanal fervour to give the Antipodeans a run for their money. And when you’re serious about drinking a quality cup, you’ll take the time out to make it. The simple ceremony of brewing a stovetop pot of espresso, waiting to plunge a cafetiere or taking a walk to the nearest barista offers a chance for a mental stock-

take, in a way that rehydrating a sad teaspoon of Kenco never will. “We see many people who pop by midmorning and again mid-afternoon for fika – and not just Scandinavians,” Aurell tells me. “I think Londoners were looking for an excuse to take more breaks; to leave their desks and go outside for a few minutes of fresh air and a cup of tea or coffee. We work so hard here, and such long hours. I think people were yearning for something that meant [taking a break] would be okay.” I’ve been one of those Londoners, hitting the 3pm slump and ‘treating myself’ to a few minutes away from a screen to answer the siren call of zone one’s warm ovens. It’s a sacred expedition. The perk-me-up power of a flat white and a sugar fix cannot be oversold, but it’s as much about the opportunity to unfurl your spine, stretch your legs and do a little light bitching with a colleague in the sanctity of a quiet side street. Fika might be highly caffeinated, but it forces you to slow down, too. Once work is over, of course, there’s another prime pocket of time in which to tuck an extra meal. Aperitivo hour, the snacky, pre-dinner buffet served alongside a bitter aperitif, is an Italian institution that has been gathering fans in the capital since the summer the Aperol Spritz went viral (2014, in case your memories are hazy). “More and more people are starting to embrace the aperitivo. It’s definitely something we’re going to see in the cities – →


→ London, Manchester, Liverpool,” predicts Natalia Ribbe, co-founder of Ladies of Restaurants, who hosted her own aperitivo hour at this year’s Taste of London festival. While a typical 5pm tipple is usually heady and herbaceous – Aperol, negroni, Campari, vermouth – the accompanying spread should be simple, but more than just a salty soaker-upper. “Some lovely olives, some great charcuterie, a little bit of cheese and a nice cocktail. Nothing overcomplicated. Nothing with umbrellas,” she says. London’s dinnertime has been creeping forward with the rise of the no-booking policy (“If I bunk my final meeting and leap straight on the central line I can be there by 5.45pm to guard the table!”) and the quest to snag the most talked-about table has begun to feel like work in itself. On a balmy summer evening, wouldn’t we rather be sitting and sipping at a pavement table than queuing round the block for yet another Insta-famous taco? Could aperitivo be the more civilised answer? Ribbe thinks so. “The beauty of the aperitivo hour is that it’s the epitome of relaxation. It’s that time at the end of the day, before your next social engagement, where you can unwind,” she says. After all, aperitivo means ‘to open’; be that loosening a tie, spilling some juicy gossip or just declaring the weekend begun. “I think if we can learn anything from our European friends it’s about loving that moment, switching off and really just enjoying it.” Beyond Italy, she’s found endless spins on the post-work bite. “In Barcelona, deep-fried thick-cut potato chips, beautiful boquerones, spicy peppers… in Vienna, everyone meets down the Naschmarkt Urbanek and they do these amazing Austrian cured meats with freshly shaved horseradish and GermanAustrian mustard.” Yet here, in a country where drinking can be a standalone activity in its own right, we’re late to the party when it comes to appreciating all the ways food


SUN’S OUT, BUNS OUT: Fika, a mid-morning break for coffee and pastries like these cinnamon buns, is a staple of Swedish and other Nordic cultures

rummage in your most formal dressing gown, or eking out a night out that you don’t want to end quite yet. Until recently, London was less the city that never sleeps, more the city that naps against the night bus window. But now, bolstered by the night tube, our late-night dining options are expanding beyond caffs and kebab houses. Duck & Waffle is famously open 24 hours, and that eponymous signature dish will sharpen you up enough to enjoy those twinkling views and make up for any crowds of braying bankers. Smoking Goat Shoreditch serves its volcanic nose-totail Thai until 1am (duck laab for the cab, anyone?), while at Chinatown’s chaotic Lanzhou Noodle Bar, the knife-cut dao xiao mian pull in the crowds until 2am on weeknights and 5am on weekends. And of course, there’s no better way to greet the sunrise than with a Brick Lane bagel in hand, oozing mustard and fat chunks of salt beef – a personal pstub favourite, all those years ago. But whatever you call it, wherever you find inspiration and whenever you decide to squeeze in a fourth meal, it deserves proper attention. Sit down. Eat slowly. And above all else, make it an occasion. Though if you find yourself starting a Facebook group, it’s possible you’ve gone too far… f

Photograph by Shutterstock / Little Adventures


and alcohol can work in delicious harmony. Eating, let’s be clear, is definitely not cheating. You can find first-rate aperitivo at London’s finest Italian drinking dens; Soho’s Bar Termini, where Tony Conigliaro’s cocktails are mopped up by paninis, burrata and beef carpaccio, Chelsea’s glittering Ritorno, where the lavish happy hour lasts from 4-9pm on Sundays, and for the veggies, Bethnal Green’s Hive of Vyner Street, where hummus, activated almonds and buffalo cauliflower are all on the menu. But the traditional happy hour buffet, where punters pay for drinks but graze for free, is still hard to come by in the capital. The next best thing might be Covent Garden’s Italian farm deli Rosetta, where £25 will get you two cocktails and a sharing platter groaning with cheeses, charcuterie, grilled vegetables and olives. Manager Luciano Russo tells me that they enjoy introducing rookies to the art of aperitivo, though it’s still largely Italians pulling up a chair come 5pm each day. “Italians create their own little Italy wherever they go,” he says. And true to the legend of the fourth meal, it’s as much about the people as the provisions. “You go, you meet people at the bar, you chat, you socialise, you make new friends.” Is a solo aperitivo acceptable? “No! Never alone.” Of course, what we might call aperitivo, your mother might call ‘spoiling your dinner’. But then that’s a perfect excuse for the most deserving fourth meal of all: the midnight feast. Whether that’s a Nigella-style fridge

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CAROUSEL IS ABOUT BEING COMFORTABLE AND HAVING A GOOD TIME As it approaches its fifth birthday, Marylebone mainstay Carousel is a restaurant whose mission statement is as unrivalled as ever. Mike Gibson meets head chef Ollie Templeton, and surveys the five dishes that have defined the journey so far Photography by David Harrison



N A CITY that’s relentless in its pursuit of the new, it can be hard to find a dining concept that’s truly unique. But as Carousel prepares to celebrate five years in Marylebone, it’s actually difficult to think of another restaurant like it. In many ways, the most surprising thing is that it remains such a simple premise. Head chef Ollie Templeton, now 27, spent the majority of his childhood living in southern Spain, and was turned on to food and cooking by gardening and Jamie Oliver’s first few cookbooks. He went on to cook at Exmouth Market mainstay Moro for two years, then took a short break to travel the world – and on his return to London, he, his brother Ed and his cousins Anna and Will didn’t fancy working for other people. So, when an opportunity to set up a permanent version of the pop-up supper club they’d been working on presented itself, they jumped into it. The plan? To invite a different chef into their kitchen every two weeks: the chef brings the genesis of the menu, and Templeton and the staff liaise with farmers and suppliers, handle

the logistics of service, arrange the drinks and cook alongside the guest chef. In just shy of five years, the Carousel kitchen has welcomed in more than 150 names, from international big-hitters to younger chefs who’ve since gone on to achieve big things in food. It’s also a model that makes the restaurant one of the best in London for young chefs looking to expand their repertoire. “It’s rare that you’re able to see so many different styles and ideas on a weekly basis,” says Templeton. Carousel has gone from strength to strength, from starting with just Templeton and another chef in the kitchen to counting more than 30 among its staff. “We’ve streamlined things,” he says, when I ask how much has changed in five years, “but the experience is still the same. It’s all about being comfortable and having a good time – it’s not really serious in terms of how we go about things, but we’re very serious about food, drink, and service. The core values of where were started are the same.” His five dishes reflect a journey that’s still pretty much unmatched in London’s restaurant scene.


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Maria is a really old family friend of ours. She’s probably in her late 80s now, and she would look after us when we were really young. She was a mean cook and she’d make traditional Spanish dishes. The one my whole family is really obsessed with is tortillas. It’s basically eggs, onions, potatoes and loads of good olive oil. She’d just kind of come over and cut potatoes and onions in her hands, really old-school style, and whip up these amazing tortillas. She’d make five or six and say “Wait for them to cool down!” and we’d

have finished two straight out the pan. And there’d always be a lot of us around – I’m one of five brothers, and then loads of cousins – so it’d be a really competitive situation. As we got older, she taught us how to make it, and it involved four litres of really good olive oil. We’d all crowd around a table and eat, and that’s a really strong memory for me, Ed, Anna and Will. And actually when we were designing Carousel, the reason we went for long tables was to kind of try and bring back that memory of communal family eating and being in the kitchen at our house in Spain, which just came really naturally to us.



Henrik Noren


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Henrik came in the January of our first year, when we were still in the infant stages of Carousel. We’d had a few pretty good chefs in already, but he was probably the first where we were like “OK, this is like a whole different style of cooking” – really simple but really strong ideas. Gro wasn’t a vegan restaurant, but Henrik cooked amazing things with vegetables and nuts. He made

this pumpkin seed purée where you toast pumpkin seeds and blend them with a mix of spices, really nice vinegar and oil and it goes glossy – it’s kind of like peanut butter but super savoury. And he just did this visually striking and delicious dish with pumpkin and brussels sprouts. The idea of that pumpkin seed purée has stuck around. His had a Nordic influence, but then we’ve had chefs like Santiago Lastra – who’s a great friend and an amazing cook – do a Mexican variation. It’s cool how, whether it’s Nordic or from Mexico, the concept is the same but they might end up tasting totally different.


Carl Ishizaki

At Sushi Sho, this is one of the opening dishes. They change their menu a lot but this is kind of a classic, and they still do it four years in. It’s really simple but we’ve riffed on it in loads different ways, depending on how long you leave the egg in the soy, but essentially his version is that you leave an egg yolk in a mixture of soy and mirin for about six hours, and then Carl just puts different seafood with it – he did abalone, octopus, scallops, stuff like that – and then chilli and



okra. It’s just a really pleasing dish; when you puncture the egg yolk, it doesn’t burst straight away, because it’s cured, so it really slowly oozes and creates the sauce, and then it’s got the umami from the soy. We’ve done a lot of dishes by curing egg yolks, and sometimes we’ll dry them or we’ll make a mayonnaise with it after it’s cured, or we’ll totally dry it and shave it. We’d been curing egg yolks before but we hadn’t actually done it in soy sauce, and then we do it in lots of different things, whether it’s a chilli oil and soy, chicken garam, or elderflower syrup – just having fun with it and applying it to sweet and savoury dishes.


Mathieu Perez

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Mathieu Perez is this amazing, wacky French guy from Perpignan. I met him through one of our guests, but before he came to London we went and cooked at his place, when my brother and I went on a mini Europe tour to go and meet chefs and cook with them. I arrived at his kitchen and he was smoking a fag under the extractor fan, frying some octopus. When he

came to cook at Carousel, he sent me the menu and I was like “It all sounds wicked. Dessert sounds strange, but why not?” It was so simple but I loved it on loads of levels. The biscuit is made by passing the shells of each individual corn kernel through a sieve, then with the cream and the sugar you spread it, bake it and then layer it up, so you’ve got this crunchy corn. We’ve always been really hot on food waste, so I just liked the fact that he had this pulp in a sieve and then he turned it into this amazing texture that went really well with the dessert. It tasted amazing, it looked really simple, and people who don’t like blue cheese really loved it.



Niklas Ekstedt

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Niklas is quite a famous chef from Stockholm. He’s got an amazing restaurant which is all wood-fired – he came to Carousel and it was super busy, and there was so much smoke used on the menu that we’d set the fire alarms off nearly every day in service. We were searing smoked reindeer hearts at the table in big cast-iron pans and serving them with this flatbread. I love bread – in my Moro days I did a lot of the baking, so I’d make flatbreads all the time – but what I liked about this was how


light and fluffy it was. It was a sourdough but he’d put honey in it, and it’s enriched with milk and butter, so it’s got a bit of sweetness and a brioche-ness to it. Right now on our lunch menu we just do flatbreads and herb butter, and you eat the whole menu with bread. We’ve done variations on it where we deepfry it, we bake it in the wood oven, or we’d dry them out and make crackers. We didn’t change the recipe, because it’s so great – we don’t need to. We’ve probably used this recipe the most of all of these, so thanks Niklas for that. I don’t know if he knows we’re using it. f




SEVENTH HEAVEN Get down to London’s West End this August to see what Seven Dials Food Month is all about. Oh, and you can win a tasty weekend getaway on us while you’re at it...


EVEN DIALS – a unique village in the heart of London’s West End – has become the destination for anyone in the capital and beyond that’s interested in quality food and drink. Home to independent brands, unique concept stores and a collection of awardwinning bars and eateries, the area is a haven for the hungry and thirsty – and with the likes of Redemption, BOKI, The Barbary and a host of other great places to eat and drink, it’s not hard to see why. Throughout August, Seven Dials will be celebrating all things food and drink with the hotly anticipated launch of


To discover more and see the full schedule visit, follow @7DialsLondon or search #SevenDialsFood



We’re offering you the chance to win a foodie’s dream weekend in Seven Dials. The incredible prize includes an overnight stay at the Covent Garden Hotel, lunch for two at Chick WIN ’N’ Sours, a chocolate workshop at Hotel Chocolat, wine tasting at Compagnie de Vin Surnaturels, complimentary dinner and much more. To enter, visit

Photograph (top) by Chick ’N’ Sours


Seven Dials Food Month. The monthlong celebration will pay homage to the community of people involved in dining at the dial via a Secret Menu Trail, workshops, one-off cocktails, special promotions and more, a stone’s throw from both Covent Garden and Leicester Square tube stations. Register to download the Seven Dials Secret Menu Trail to uncover an exclusive taste of the area like never before. Drop in to Jacob the Angel to discover their innovative Chocolate & Tahini Slice, try the exciting guest doughnut flavours at St. JOHN Bakery and check out the signature Neal’s Yard pizza at Homeslice – plus many more. Look out for special promotions, offers and Secret Menu Trail from BOKI, Rossopomodoro, Timberyard and Circus, as well as an exclusive tasting experience downstairs in the sumptuous vaults of Hotel Chocolat’s School of Chocolate. ●

She’s a Milk - ing it. Are you ?


Fresh cows’ milk that naturally contains only the A2 protein


— PART 3 —



HIDDEN DEPTHS Located beneath one of London’s most talked-about restaurants, Hide Below is a basement hideaway where you can sip some of the finest cocktails in the city, writes Mike Gibson PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOAKIM BLOCKSTROM



PISCO VOLANTE This drink uses Peruvian pisco and German vermouth alongside a pepper and raspberry creation – sharp, sweet and complex.

ING R E DIE NTS • 35ml BarSol Quebranta pisco • 15ml Belsazar rosé vermouth • 10ml lime juice • 75ml raspberry and pepper juice • 7.5ml sugar syrup Shake and strain into a highball glass over ice. Garnish with a lime twist and a rosebud.

IDE IS A lot of things. On its first floor, Hide Above, it’s a restaurant of epic scope and ambition, presided over by acclaimed chef Ollie Dabbous with a tasting menu as grand and picturesque as the view across Green Park from its panoramic windows. Two floors down its now-iconic gnarled and steam-bent wooden staircase, though, and it’s a different story. Hide Below, run by Oskar Kinberg – who worked with Dabbous for years even before taking care of the drinks programme at the chef’s now-closed eponymous restaurant – is cosy where Above is expansive; a voluptuously decorated speakeasy-style lounge bar, with a sensuous carved wooden counter to set it off. The back bar, as well as the wine cellars that provide light and depth to the room, are a reminder that sharing ownership with Hedonism Wines is probably a good place to start when opening a bar in this part of town. The focus here, Kinberg explains, is on serious drinks that don’t take themselves too seriously: no overarching ‘concept’, not too cheffy – just proper cocktails with an emphasis on freshness and lightness. There’s a confident, 15-strong list of drinks that changes regularly aside from a couple of mainstays. These include the Smoke & Mirrors, a stirred drink made with Kamm & Sons and Gammel Dansk aperitifs, Ardbeg peated whisky, Cocchi vermouth and a flash of melon to cut through – it has earthiness, a pleasing tang and a long finish. The bar borrows small plates from the restaurant – house-cured charcuterie is astonishing, and truffle and artichoke flatbread simply delicious – but the stroke of absolute genius is in the Cross-Eyed Mary, a clarified bloody mary with Ketel One vodka, grassy olive oil, a punch of salinity from fino sherry, spices and clear tomato juice, new and familiar all in the same sip. f 85 Piccadilly, W1J 7NB;

Green Park

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THRILLER IN PERILLA Somewhere between a champagne cocktail and a spritz, this uses shiso, yuzu and white grapefruit for a crisp, refreshing sipper.


• 30ml Tanqueray gin • 10ml shiso syrup • 10ml white grapefruit juice • 15ml yuzu sake • 5ml lemon juice • 60ml Bruno Paillard champagne

Shake over ice for 3 seconds, strain into a sweet wine glass and top with champagne. Garnish with a shiso leaf on the stem.


STRAWBERRIES & CREAM This drink uses Venezuelan rum and Cocchi vermouth alongside homemade ingredients and clarified milk to produce a drink that tastes like strawberries and cream in a glass. Magic.

I NG REDI E NTS • 35ml Diplomatico Planas (infused with milky blue tea) • 15ml Cocchi Rosa • 15ml sugar syrup • 70ml secret strawberry sauce • 10ml lemon juice • 40ml whole milk Stir ingredients over ice and strain into a coupe glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with lemon balm.



foodism B E E R


Whether you’re a complete beer geek or an enthusiastic amateur, the foodism BEER CLUB is a community we want you to be a part of. It’s free to join, and consists of a monthly newsletter full of recommendations, exclusive offers and competitions, plus invitations to London-based tasting events, parties and more. Like beer? Join the club at

The brewery Launched in late 2012, Brew By Numbers (BBNo) is one of the OG breweries on the Bermondsey beat, brewing beers of all styles with its distinctive numbering system (more about that later). You’ll find the brewery and its taproom in the heart of the action on Enid Street beyond the Moor and Cloudwater taprooms. Since late 2018, the brewery has also housed a second site in a slightly roomier railway arch on Bellenden Road near Peckham Rye Station. Part taproom, part barrel store, it’s the perfect place to sample the whole BBNo range, as well as a select few guest beers across 22 taps.

The beer

BREW BY NUMBERS 75 Enid St, SE16 3RA London Bridge

THE LONDON BEER MAP Your guide to London’s best breweries and taprooms. This month, it’s Bermondsey Beer Mile staple Brew by Numbers

Brew By Numbers’ main focus has always been on creating beer in eclectic styles, and its tap list often stands up to that: down the years, it’s brewed more than 30 different styles of beer, and experimented with as many as 30 different recipes under certain styles like saisons and pale ales. It’s these styles – fruit-infused saisons, massive hopbomb DDH pales and occasional triple IPAs – that earn them the biggest love from London beer lovers, but BBN makes a mean fruited sour and barrel-aged dark beer, too.

What else? If you’re slightly confused by BBNo’s numbering system, here’s a quick guide to help you out. The first two numbers denote the style of beer, while the second two digits refer to the recipe used: 01|01, for example, is a saison brewed with citra hops, while 08|01 is a stout made at an export strength of 7%. 08|03, meanwhile, is still a stout, but this time one that’s made with cacao nibs and Seville orange zest. Simple. f




Your guide to the complex world of beer styles, both classic and modern. This month: wheat beer



Freising, Germany

Maine, USA

A quintessential wheat beer from Bavaria’s oldest brewery, this hefeweizen is packed with smooth flavours of banana and clove. 5.4%, 500ml;

Probably America’s best-loved wheat beer, Allagash White is complex and crisp, tangy and citrus-packed while retaining that creamy wheat beer mouthfeel. 5%, 440ml;


Wheat beer /ˈwiːt bɪə/

K I UC H I HI TAC HINO N EST W HI T E ALE Naka, Japan A white ale brewed in the Belgian tradition, but using coriander and nutmeg as well as the traditional peel. 5.5%, 330ml;



This summer, The Otherstudy – the National Theatre’s outdoor bar and event space – is hosting weekly tap takeover events, and some of the finest are still to come: Tempest, Yonder, Deya, Burning Sky and Tiny Rebel are all set to pour stellar selections of their beers at the bar before the season ends in early September.

4 AND U NION ST E PH W E ISS Bavaria, Germany A modern wheat beer made in Bavaria, Steph Weiss is a smooth and creamy weissbier with some plaintain richness. 5%, 330ml;



Join us at London Craft Beer Festival from 9-11 August at Tobacco Dock – specifically the foodism Bottle Shop: a place to pick up takeaway beers and check out talks and tastings from some of the UK’s best brewers. We’ll have super-rare US cans from Stillwater, Finback, Interboro, KCBC and more for you to take home. Beer Club members will get an exclusive discount, too.

Known as hefeweizen or weissbier in Germany or wit in Belgium, wheat beer is one of the most distinctive styles of ale – in part for its cloudy appearance, but also for its big notes of banana, clove and other spices. Basic wheat beer is made just how it sounds: with a high proportion of unmalted wheat to supplement the malt in the brew, giving it that cloudiness and silky mouthfeel. The clove and banana flavours come from esters created by the specific types of yeast used to ferment them. Ingredients like orange peel and coriander can be added for extra zest and spice.

We’ve teamed up with Anspach & Hobday to brew a one-off take on the brewery’s classic Patersbier. Inspired by beers brewed by Trappist monks in Belgium (hence ‘Paters’, or fathers) the collab brew is a 3.9% blonde ale fermented with Belgian ale yeast and a oneoff hop schedule of loral and citra. If you missed the launch (where were you?!) you can still get hold of it at Real Ale stores.

THE ARTIST London-based multimedia artist Leo Zero is the designer behind many of Two Tribes’ punchy, eye-catching labels. The artwork for the brewery’s new glutenfree offering PowerPlant originated as a doodle on an iPad before being tweaked in colour to match up with the flavour and tasting notes of the beer inside the can. The striking geometric pattern was chosen because it reminded the brewery team of ploughed barley fields when seen from a plane window. @leozerostudio

Photograph by (label mates) David Harrison; (wheat beer) Getty Images / South Agency



A quickfire look at the artists and designers behind some of London’s most iconic beer labels. This month: Two Tribes

THE BREWER Kings Cross-based craft brewery Two Tribes has love for three things: beer, music and art – probably in that order. Based in the creative hub of Tileyard Studios – home to tons of recording studios used by heroes of the music industry – it makes sense that the taproom plays host to regular live music and DJ nights, as well as acting as a space to get hold of the brewery’s latest brews, and the abstract art and graphic design its cans and pump clips help showcase. The latest is the above: PowerPlant – a gluten and preservative-free lager that’s made completely naturally. Tileyard Studios, Tileyard Road, N7 9AH; King’s Cross St Pancras




Beer crawls aren’t just about discovering new brews – they can be a great way of getting to know different parts of town, too. Here’s our pick of where to head…


HAC K NEY B E E R HOP Hackney Central

Hackney Downs

Head to either of the Hackney Overground stations and you’re slap-bang in the middle of one of the best pub crawls in London. Start at Five Points’ pub The Pembury Tavern for great pizza and a solid mix of cask and craft beers, then saunter down to Mare Street to check out The Cock Tavern – Hackney’s first brewpub. From there, head to Hackney Church, Pressure Drop and Verdant’s joint taproom The Experiment, and Deviant & Dandy under the railway bridge. Still thirsty? Get a short train to Hackney Wick for Beer Merchants Tap, the Howling Hops tank bar and Crate Brewery.


B E R MON D SEY BE E R MILE London Bridge

South Bermondsey


4 T HE K E NT ISH TOW N CRAWL Kentish Town This crawl kicks off at the Camden Town Brewery taproom under Kentish Town West station and heads up the main drag of Kentish Town before spitting you out near Hampstead Heath (should you need a lie down). From Camden Town, drop in at Tapping The Admiral for quality cask ale and pub grub before buying some cans at Caps and Taps on Kentish Town Road. Next, slide by old-school favourite The Pineapple, then take a stroll to The Southampton Arms on Highgate Road, with its impressive scotch egg selection on the bar.

LO NDO N F IE L DS TO B ET HNAL G R E E N London Fields Tucked a minute or two away from the buzz of Broadway Market you’ll find London Fields Brewery, which marks the start of another cracking crawl. Sample experimental brews at the taproom (relaunching September), then wander down to the Forest Road taproom next to Netil Market. From there, it’s a 15-minute walk to Sunday’s (a new taproom in the old Redchurch Brewery site), the OG Mother Kelly’s taproom on Paradise Row and Old Street Brewery. If you’re keen to keep going, head across to Shoreditch for brewery bars from Mikkeller and Goose Island, as well as Kill the Cat. f


Photographs by (pizza) Sam Huddleston; (London Fields) Tom Rowland

This is the ultimate pub crawl without ever actually setting foot in a pub. It can get busy, so start early, pick an end and commit to a sample or two at each bar. We recommend starting at the newly renovated Fourpure taproom right next to South Bermondsey station, then tack along the railway tracks stopping for saisons at Partizan and Affinity. Next up is the main drag on Enid Street and Druid Street for Brew By Numbers, Cloudwater, Moor and Anspach & Hobday. Keep an eye out for the new Kernel taproom coming in later 2019, too.


Starting at Peckham Rye station, head upstairs at live-fire restaurant Coal Rooms for a glass of Gosnells mead, then nip around the corner to the Brick Brewery taproom. Five minutes down the road, there’s Brew By Numbers’ second site and barrel store, and from there, walk up Bellenden Road (stop at The Victoria Inn if needs be) and check out Hop Burns & Black. Then it’s a short hop across Peckham Rye Park to Nunhead, where there’s The Beer Shop and the glorious suntrap terrace of the Old Nun’s Head.

THIRST QUENCHERS Sip your way through summer with the freshest gin releases, new-school tonic waters and some killer fruit-infused lagers PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON


NEW GINS The gin revolution is in full swing, and here are some new kids on the block you need to try. 1 FISHERS GIN, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, UK. A classic London Dry made in small batches in Suffolk, with barley-based spirit infused with native Suffolk botanicals. 50cl, 44%; £40.75, 2 MR KAMM’S GIN, Crouch Hill, London, UK. A fresh and fruity gin from the creator of the acclaimed Kamm & Sons aperitif. 70cl, 42%; £38.75, 3 BROOKIE’S BYRON DRY GIN, Byron Bay, Australia. A collaborative project from Byron native Eddie Brook and scotch whisky legend Jim McEwan, made with an exacting recipe of mostly native Australian botanicals. 70cl, 46%; £39.95, 4 STRANGER & SONS GIN, Ponda, Goa, India. One of the first gins made in India for decades, infused with Indian citrus fruits. 70cl, 42.8%; £34.75, 5 BROCKMANS GIN, Woking, Surrey, UK. A dry gin made with an eclectic mix of botanicals, including Bulgarian coriander and Valencian orange. 70cl, 40%; £36,



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Photograph by ###


TONIC WATER The iconic mixer might seem quintessentially British, but it has its roots in colonial India: quinine was known for its anti-malarial qualities as well as its characteristic bitter flavour, so when it was infused into sweetened and carbonated water it was christened ‘tonic water’. Here are a few new-school versions. 1 SEA BUCK TONIC, St Ives, Cornwall, UK. A small-batch cloudy tonic water made in Cornwall, infused with sea buckthorn. 200ml; £1.30, 2 BARKER & QUIN, Paarl Valley, South Africa. A vibrant and dry South African tonic. 200ml; £33.99 for 24, 3 LIXIR REFRESHINGLY LIGHT TONIC, Hoxton, London, UK. A lighter version of Lixir’s original tonic, created by two bartenders from this fair city. 200ml; £1.20, 4 PETER SPANTON BEVERAGE NO. 5 LEMONGRASS TONIC, Kennington, London, UK. One of an experimental range by London-based tonic brand Peter Spanton. 200ml; £1.05,

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FRUITED LAGERS Nothing beats a crisp jar of lager come summertime: nothing – maybe – except this new wave of fruitinfused lagers made to slake your thirst and give you an extra-juicy hit of summer with some added citrus, berry or grape notes. 1 CAMDEN TOWN STRAWBERRY HELLS FOREVER, Enfield, London, UK. Camden’s classic Hells lager infused with strawberries that’ll be harvested from a vertical urban farm at the Enfield brewery from next summer. 330ml, 4.6%; £6 for 4, 2 WILD BEER CO SLEEPING LIMES, Westcombe, Somerset, UK. Tangy, crispy and ever-so slightly salty, this lager is brewed with the fresh pulp and zest of limes and doesn’t taste a thing like your regulation lager. 330ml, 4.6%; £2.50, 3 MIKKELLER MOSEL BAJER, Lochristi-Hijte, Belgium. This lager is brewed with the juice of riesling grapes to give a little extra fruitiness to pair with the supersmooth mouthfeel. 500ml, 5%; £6.80, shop. 4 JUBEL COAST, Penryn, Cornwall, UK. This new lager from Jubel is cut with grapefruit to give it some extra citrus edge. 4%, 330ml; £1.80,


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BOTTLING IT: [from left] A bottle of Caorunn’s special-edition Scottish Raspberry infused gun; a bottle of Caorunn – look for the tag around the neck for your chance to win a trip to NYC

GIN IT TO WIN IT Having delivered a taste of the Scottish highlands for the last decade, Caorunn gin is celebrating its 10th anniversary, this year, and you’re invited to join in the fun


O YOU LIKE gin? If you do, you’re going to love Caorunn. Pronounced “ka-roon”, it’s a handcrafted Scottish gin that infuses five locally foraged botanicals (including dandelion, heather, coul blush apple, bog myrtle and rowan berry) and six traditional gin botanicals. Fresh and floral on the nose, it’s a spirit that’s clean, sweet, fullbodied and aromatic, with a long-lasting dry and crisp finish. To mark its upcoming 10-yearanniversary with something a little more unconventional, Caorunn has also launched its very first flavoured gin: Caorunn Scottish Raspberry. Made at Balmenach Distillery, a working whisky distillery located in the Scottish Highlands, it’s been handcrafted by gin master Simon Buley in small batches

of 1,000 litres at a time. Making full use of Scotland’s unique and bountiful natural resources, Caorunn is infused in the world’s only working Copper Berry Chamber. Caorunn’s distinctive aromatic flavour is then complemented by the addition of sumptuous Perthshire raspberries. The resulting spirit is set apart by its clear colour, avoiding the use of any additives or colours and letting flavour speak for itself. The Caorunn range has been further enhanced with the launch of its highest strength gin yet; Caorunn Highland Strength. Bottled at a bold 54% abv, Highland Strength enhances the dry, crisp, taste of Caorunn to create a peppery, fruity and herbaceous gin with a strong juniper character. ●

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SPIRIT OF MEXICO If you’re a late arrival to the possibilities of Mexico’s most famous spirit, look no further than Patrón Tequila, just as much fun at home sipping neat as it is in cocktails


HERE ARE CERTAIN accepted truths when it comes to wine and spirits, and top of the list is that tequila is only for shotting, not sipping. Right? Not always. Because good tequila – like Patrón Tequila, one of Mexico’s oldest and best-loved distillers of the country’s beloved spirit – is one of the finest spirits you can drink. It’s beautiful


in a lip-smacking margarita, shaken with orange liqueur, such as Patrón Citrónge, and lime; it’s a brilliant alternative to gin for mixing with tonic for a refreshing long drink; and it’s a uniquely flavoured, complex and delicious spirit that more than holds its own served simply in a glass with ice. But don’t just take our word for

it: according to results from research commissioned by Onepoll – a survey of more than 2,000 people – Patrón Tequila found that more than half of drinkers in the UK are more likely to enjoy tequila in cocktails rather than as a shot; and more than 65% of those drink tequila cocktails when they’re out. But there’s still work to be done.



MAKE IT YOURSELF If all this talk of cocktails has you hankering to play with Patrón Tequila in mixed drinks at home, this recipe for the Patrón Paloma is simple to make and shows the spirit at its best.

Ingredients ◆◆ 50ml Patrón Silver tequila ◆◆ 90ml grapefruit juice ◆◆ 15ml fresh lime juice ◆◆ Pinch of salt ◆◆ Grapefruit slice or lime wedge ◆◆ Salt rim (optional)

Method Add all ingredients to an ice-filled highball glass and stir. Garnish with a grapefruit slice or lime wedge.

SIP SLOW: [from top] The Paloma cocktail made with Patrón Silver tequila; the Añejo Old Fashioned showcases aged Patrón Tequila

Eduardo Gomez is the founder of the biggest tequila and agave spirit festival in Europe, Tequila & Mezcal Fest and has dedicated his life to promoting authentic Mexican food, drinks and culture in the UK. To help you break down the things that make this spirit so unique, he’s put together The Tequila Rulebook, a sevenpoint guide to mastering the simple knowledge behind the spirit.” “Tequila isn’t just for shots,” he says. “It’s a spirit with distinctive flavours and it can be as fine a spirit as whisky or rum when enjoyed correctly.” Read the guide at

While the UK’s palate is definitely discovering the quality and versatility of tequila as a spirit and cocktail ingredient, only 23% of them know that the spirit is distilled from the agave plant (specifically the Weber blue agave, from which Patrón Tequila is made from 100%). And only a small majority of people surveyed knew that tequila came from Mexico (specifically the state of Jalisco and the surrounding area) – many assumed that it might come from Spain or other Latin American countries. In addition to that, only a tenth of people were aware that tequila can be a dark spirit that’s aged in barrels, like Patrón Añejo tequila, which works beautifully in stirred drinks like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan. The important thing, though, isn’t about what drinkers don’t know; it’s what they’re discovering. Through its visibility on the back of some of the best bars in the world and its commitment to continuing to educate drinkers about what this beautiful spirit can offer, Patrón Tequila is turning perceptions on their head. So the next time you’re shopping for an addition to your home bar, or you’re scanning a cocktail menu for something new, you’ll know that this king of Mexican spirits should be at the very top of your agenda. Happy sipping... ● For more info, go to or search @patron on social media


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— PART 3 —







EASTERN PROMISE Shaped by both traditional practices and new political policies, Russia’s food is a reflection of the country’s past and present, as enlightening as it is enjoyable, writes Lucas Oakeley

Photograph by Getty Images / Paul Thuysbaert



Y BRAIN FEELS like it’s just gone ten rounds with Nikolai Valuev and lost. The intermittent, sharp throb that comes and goes in 15-second snatches is all that I can focus my attention on. Not even the presence of a plump ginger cat in the corner of Pyshechnaya – the most famous café in St Petersburg – can interrupt the vicious pang of my hangover. Thankfully, it’s just as I’m considering giving up and booking the next flight home that I make it to the front of the 40-person deep queue and a paper plate stacked with piping hot pyshki is placed in my arms, like baby Moses into a wicker basket. These freshly made doughnuts cost between 70 and 90 roubles (around £1) and come dressed in a light jacket of powdered sugar; their texture is wondrously chewy and churro-like. It’s not until I’ve rifled two of these golden rings into my gaping maw, chasing each bite with a greedy gulp of toothache-inducingly sweet coffee, that I’m able to feel almost vaguely human again. Brushing powdered sugar off my face and hands, I’m struck by a realisation I wasn’t necessarily expecting to come to: I kind of like Russia. Rewind 72 hours and I’m touching down in Domodedovo Airport in Moscow. My food-focussed trip has been organised by Intrepid Travel – an ethically minded tour operator that curates trips with a specific focus on sustainable travel and cultural exchange. This particular expedition is all about exploring Russia through its eclectic food and the people who make it. And that means dill. Lots and lots of dill. I would say that I embarked on this


journey with nothing but an open mind but that would be an outright lie, because this is Russia, a land where Putin rules with an iron fist, and the questionable and often problematic politics that go alongside it. To say that I was hesitant would be a vast understatement, but my curiosity – and hunger – helped fight that trepidation. Following a scenic coach drive from the airport we waste little time in unpacking and getting in our first Russian meal at Mari Vanna. Situated on Spiridonyevskiy Lane, this restaurant has the feel of a family dining room (chintzy crockery and table clothes included) with added modern touches like a television screen playing what look to be rejected University of the Arts London video projects. These contemporary flourishes become less surprising after I realise there’s actually an identical branch of the restaurant located in London. The only difference, of course, being that the Knightsbridge site is full of UAL students to boot. The food at Mari Vanna, much like the decor, combines the traditional and the modern. Dishes of ‘herring under fur coat’ and Olivier salad are exactly what you’d expect to find on the table of your typical nuclear Russian family. The former is an eyecatching mixture of viscerally purple beetroot and sunshine yellow egg yolk that, because of the fact it requires the removal of numerous bones to be edible, is a dish that’s usually saved for special occasions like New Year. While I adjust my palate to the presence of dill and sour cream on just about every plate, I knock back a few cooling glasses of kvass – a fermented ginger beer-like drink made from rye bread that could easily have the aisles of Whole Foods swooning. In fact, a great deal of the ferment-forward fare is what a lot of health-conscious shoppers are seeking at the moment; mounds of pickled cabbage, cucumbers, and tomatoes adorning most of the tables we dine at. This predilection for pickling has been borne out of necessity rather than nutrition, with the harsh Russian climate meaning people have developed a penchant for storing things as long as humanly possible. All one has to do is look at the Russian version of sauerkraut, kvashenaya kapusta, for an everyday example of that acidic stockpiling. And the embalmed body of Vladimir Lenin for a more extreme case-in-point. Nonetheless, not all of the fare is as Stoke Newington-friendly. A great deal of Russian food – like the beautifully bronzed pastries known as pirozhok – is designed to keep you going through the long winter

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE: [this image] Pyshechnaya, St Petersburg’s most famous café and purveyover of hangover-busting doughnuts; [below] ‘herring under fur coat’ by name… herring topped with beetroot by nature

months. These hearty carbohydrate pockets come filled with everything from smoked fish to potatoes; mushrooms to chicken, and are a perfect pick-me-up at any time of the day. Plied with an assortment of flavoured vodkas and plenty of pirozhok, pickles and pelmeni dumplings, we leave Mari Vanna on a high, buoyant, full and anticipating the rest of the eating to come (despite an untouched plate of holodets – boiled meat jelly – proving that aspic is unlikely to be making any big comebacks anytime soon). We follow our first night in Moscow with a walk around the city. Moscow in the daytime is a lot like Paris: wide streets and imposing buildings in various pastel hues unfold before me, all of them rifling with busy punters sifting in and out of the city’s expansive Metro system. At one point in our walk we pass Pushkin Square and the first ever Russian McDonald’s. The restaurant served over 30,000 on its first day of business in 1990: emphasising the enduring appeal of Western brands in Russia

Photograph by (restaurant) Lucas Oakeley; (dish) Istetiana / Alamy Stock Photo

and the notion that food is undeniably – and intensely – political. Vladimir Putin’s ban on the import of agricultural products from countries that applied economic sanctions against Russia (including the United States and all members of the EU) has rocked the country’s food ecosystem. It’s been reported that Russian authorities have destroyed over 19,000 tonnes of banned Western food products since its introduction in 2014. A more positive consequence of this ban,


though, is that Russians have been forced to start making their own products in response – or, at the very least, acquiring them from more local suppliers. Walk into any well-stocked supermarket and you can buy ricotta and mozzarella made in neighbouring Belarus. During a visit to Moscow’s Danilovsky Market, we even tucked into a log of local goat’s cheese made in Smolensk, as well as a wheel of local cheddar from the Ural mountains (local in Russia, of course, tends to cast a wider net than it does in most other countries – the Ural mountains are roughly 1,000 miles from Moscow). While the Russian version of gorgonzola may lack the punch of its Italian cousin, the fact that the country’s agrarians have even attempted to replicate it speaks volumes about the dogged and practical mentality of the Russian people. Indeed, part of schooling in Russia involves learning how to safely identify which mushrooms are poisonous and which are safe for eating. Leaving Moscow for Vladimir (a region

that’s far less, well, major) requires a journey on a high-speed train. It’s hard not to be entranced by the sheer scale of Russia once on board the locomotive; the verdant and vast scenery running by as it desperately tries to keep pace with our metal projectile – blurred birch trees and buildings taking turns to fill the frame of the window. Home to the International Cucumber Festival and over 52 churches and monasteries, the town of Suzdal relies entirely on tourism and the curiosity of Muscovites looking for fresh pickles and a taste of the pious life. Only 10,000 people actually live in Suzdal, but this spire-filled town is visited by one million tourists every year. Our hunger takes us into the home of Helen Polezhaeva. Helen is a staple of Intrepid’s food trips to Russia and, warmly welcoming us into her house while a Russian version of Jeremy Kyle takes over the television and a wall of dill hits our nostrils, it’s not hard to see why. After serving us cucumbers and tomatoes freshly picked →


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Photograph (Red Square) by Tara Kennaway

→ from her garden then pickled, she expertly takes us through the paces of making borscht. This traditional Ukrainian beetroot stew typically incorporates pork or lard in its bright and acidic broth. The version Helen fills us with, however, uses chicken schmaltz as a substitute but, as she explains through translation, the most important aspect of a borscht isn’t the meat; it’s what you add to it that counts the most. “Borscht without sour cream is not borscht,” she announces sternly, adding an iceberg of the stuff to my phosphorescent bowl. Learning to cook borscht is a rite of passage for a Russian; it’s a midweek meal that all home cooks must have in their arsenal. Or, as Helen puts it, “borscht is a dish a woman must learn how to cook before she is ready to get married.” Although she doesn’t have an exactly 2019 view on domestic duties, it’s undeniable that Helen is intensely proud of her role as matriarch, regularly cooking for her son and grandson during their weekend visits. That pride is reflected in how recipes in Russia are rarely written down and nearly always created depending on the cook’s own preferences. Helen adds a heaped teaspoon of sugar to her borscht when it needs sweetening; a glug of white vinegar when it needs a kick of acid. The result is a bright borscht that hits every flavour spot on your tongue. It’s simultaneously sweet and sour, nailing the same flavour components that make a Thai tom yum soup or a Filipino escabeche so tart and moreish. That perceptible connection between Russian and Asian cuisine is hardly an accidental one, either. It’s widely believed that dumplings were first brought over to

Russia by the Mongols (adding fuel to the fire of my belief that any dough-wrapped parcel of delicious has a universal appeal). While cultural appropriation remains a hot button issue in food culture – and rightfully so – all you need to do is look at the similarities between Chinese jiaozi, Russian pelmeni, Japanese gyoza and Ukrainian vareniki to witness culinary assimilation in action, and see how well it can work when done respectfully over a prolonged period of time. That cultural exchange doesn’t just end at the food chain, either – even Matryoshka dolls boast Japanese ancestry. Throughout our meal at Helen’s she pours out numerous shots of vodka for us to sample. It’s important to note that every time you have a shot in Russia (which is often), you’ve got to make a toast ‘to’ something. Usually “to health” or “new friends” depending on how well you know your fellow drinkers. And how many shots you’ve already had. Drinking in Russia is rarely unaccompanied by food thanks to the popularity of zakuski, a Slavic form of tapas where you are encouraged to snack on plates of everything from smoked herring and rye bread to salmon roe and slices of lard while you drink. Every shot you take is followed by an immediate bite of zakuski

designed to take the sting out of the vodka. After leaving Helen’s house full of zakuski and perhaps one too many toasts to friendship, a quest for what’s capturing the attention of the Slavic youth takes us to an outlet of the Khachapuri restaurant group. Khachapuri specialises in Georgian cuisine – a style of cooking that is super hot in Moscow right now with the hip and happening for reasons that are… a whole lot less hip and happening. After numerous economic sanctions caused the rouble to collapse in 2014, affordable travel to a country like Georgia was the only feasible way for Russian citizens to see other parts of the world. Following their trips to these neighbouring nations, travellers often brought back a taste for the food they ate while abroad, hence the spike in popularity of food from countries such as Georgia. One of the most popular Caucasian dishes at Khachapuri are the khinkali: soup-filled dumplings that are similar to a xiao long bao in just about every way aside from their more generous size. As I bite into the supple skin and slurp out the juices of a particularly hefty beef and pork bad boy, I’m taken back to memories of errant night outs in Chinatown. Lining our stomachs with the khinkali and a couple of hunks of the restaurant’s namesake khachapuri (a molten cheese-andegg-filled flatbread that looks a bit like an edible Bop-It!), we decide it’s time to paint →


QUITE A CATCH: [above] Russian food markets sell all manner of ingredients, from horse meat to fish heads; [right] you’ll find palmeni dumplings on lots of local menus


arrive and eat as they please. It doesn’t matter that this eatery is as no frills as they come because a stolovaya isn’t about impressing foreigners from abroad. A stolovaya is a place that’s for real Russian people. A brisk walk the next day past the pink palace where beef stroganoff was invented is followed by a caffeine pit-stop at Kofe Na Kukhne – a trendy spot that serves what an Australian I’m travelling with describes as a “fucking good flat white” – before we arrive at the Sennaya Square food market. Also known as the Hay Market, Sennaya Square is a scattershot of indoor and outdoor stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and veg to horse meat and bear salami. The market has been in St Petersburg for over 200 years and remains a place where locals come to get their weekly shops and catch up on gossip with their favourite vendors, from former Soviet countries such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. They all make their voices and heritage loud and clear at this market. It’s a literal cacophony that underlines the close relations that still exist between these disparate nations and the fact that Russia continues – rather staunchly in the face of protests from the higher-ups – to be a bubbling pot of multiple different ethnicities. Before leaving the market we

GETTING THERE Intrepid Travel’s ten-day Russia Real Food Adventure starts from £1,530 per person. The price includes accommodation, ground transport, and most meals and activities. It excludes international flights. Call 0808 274 5111 or visit

Photograph by (dish) Equatore / Alamy Stock Photo

→ the town red – or a slightly different shade of red – with a whistle-stop tour of some of its bars and clubs, including a visit to the city’s first LGBT-inclusive nightclub. Roughly two hours’ sleep and a quick morning flight to St Petersburg later and I’m in the Pyshechnaya café nursing pyshki, coffee and the aforementioned hangover from hell. Once the miraculous healing power of doughnuts, sugar and caffeine has kicked in, I’m able to take in my surroundings with a bit more clarity. St Petersburg is less severe than Moscow and less cathedral-heavy than Suzdal; the city has a Unesco-protected skyline in which only cathedrals and churches are allowed to stand higher than the iconic Winter Palace. A walking tour provides a broad taste of St Petersburg’s character and an understanding of what entranced the likes of Pushkin and Dostoevsky. Our maiden lunch in St Petersburg consists of a spread of dishes from a stolovaya canteen called Stolovaya no.1 Kopeika, the most popular chain of these casual eateries in the city. Each stolovaya is a cheap, nearidentical and relatively un-cheerful joint with severe school canteen vibes and multiple Soviet-era posters – Bob Bob Ricard this is not. But as I work my way through a plate of mimosa – a layered salad of fish, mayo, vegetables and egg white – I happily watch a multitude of people from all walks of life

make sure to pick up a bushel of honeyspiced pryaniki biscuits: a gift for when we’re welcomed into the home of Olga Prokopenko to break bread with her and her five children. Located on the sixth floor of a building on the outskirts of St Petersburg, Olga’s flat is a typical ex-kommunalka (communal apartment) similar to those that most Petersburgers live in. There’s not a lot of space to spare as we squeeze ourselves around a table heaped with glasses of kvass, herring and buckets of sour cream, but there’s more than enough warmth and hospitality to go around. Being able to come into the home of a local like Olga is a genuine privilege and part of the reason that Intrepid’s tours are so popular. To eat the hearty zharkoe (a pork, potato and plum stew) that Olga serves provides more than just a visceral delight – it’s a learning experience and a gateway into the life of another human being. Food is something of a great equaliser and eating in the home of your fellow man and woman is, in my opinion, one of the most humbling ways to learn what someone is all about. Eating sour cream and salmon roe spread on a blini while five children sing ‘Baby Shark’ (thanks, globalisation) isn’t anywhere near as luxurious as hoovering caviar in a lush cabin on the Trans-Siberian railway, but in many ways it’s better. Because this is the real Russia: a land of people like Olga; a land of innumerable immigrants trying to make ends meet; a land where you have to create your own gorgonzola because the man in charge won’t let you import it. And while my personal politics might be at odds with a lot of what Russia is about, I can definitely get on board with all of that. f

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CAPTURING THE SPIRIT How do you distil the essence of a region famed for producing cognac into a world-class gin? Jordan Kelly-Linden meets the forward-thinking producers of Citadelle to find out‌

WATERS RUN DEEP: The Charente river runs through the Cognac region



O YOU WANT to go to ‘paradise’?”, grins Paul McFadyen, before ducking behind a towering stack of dusty wooden barrels. I’m not quite sure what ‘paradise’ entails, but, as I glance up at the cobweb-strewn rafters and around at the dimly lit barn, the tropical beaches and cascading waterfalls the word often evokes seem very, very far away. We’re in the depths of ‘cognac country’, about an hour and a half from Bordeaux, being led through one of the most important buildings on the Maison Ferrand estate by its spirits ambassador and Notting Hill bar owner Paul McFadyen. Despite appearances, we’re not here for the aged eau de vie that makes this area of western France so special. We’ve got gin – yes, gin – on our minds. In this unassuming, whitewashed building, the maison stores its most inventive spirits – and what McFadyen is most excited to show us is just up a set of creaky wooden steps. But first, a trip to the locked cellar is in order, because the story of how Maison Ferrand got into gin starts in paradise… Or paradis, if you’re French and work with cognac, because in these parts that word refers to the ageing cellar where the estate’s oldest cognacs are stashed away to gracefully mature with the passage of time. Waiting at the foot of paradis, in front of a cast-iron set of gates, is McFadyen. Beyond the bars, ancient-looking bottles glitter in the half light. “Some of these have been here longer than Alexandre,” he says, audibly sighing at the sight of so many unusual and, in some cases, rare bottlings. The Alexandre he is referring to is Alexandre Gabriel, our generous host and current proprietor of Maison Ferrand. Gabriel started working here – one of France’s oldest cognac houses – in 1989. He came straight →

Photograph by ###


→ from Paris and was fresh out of business school. Back then Maison Ferrand’s sales were next to dormant. Given the long-standing quality of the maison’s cognac, though, it took only a little bit of effort (or so McFadyen tells it) to turn fortunes around. But Gabriel is a restless man: once things were on track and the collection of bottles behind the gates of paradis began to grow, he soon found himself wondering what else they could do with the estate. Thanks to strict regulations imposed by the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), cognac producers are only allowed to distill between November and March; after that their stills must be locked up and put into hibernation for seven long months. Eager to innovate, Gabriel started experimenting with gin, specifically gin distilled in cognac stills – a method that was not only unheard of, it was outright banned. “I was trying desperately to convince the French government to allow me to produce gin at my cognac distillery,” Gabriel tells us later that evening, once we’ve left the barn in search of a drink. “But no one in France had ever approached the government with this request.” It took five long years of intense negotiations before Gabriel finally obtained the AOC authorisation, and after that Citadelle Original was born. London Dry in style, it’s made from a neutral alcohol of French wheat washed with juniper, citrus and seventeen other botanicals. The result was a zesty gin smoothed over with almond, sugary aniseed, spiced pepper and cinnamon. It’s perfectly balanced and makes a cracking gin and tonic, but the recipe itself wasn’t exactly new: Gabriel had stumbled across this combination during his research; reviving the recipe (and, in fact, the Citadelle name itself ) from the records of an 18th-century gin producer in Dunkirk. What really set it apart, though, was the method of distillation. It’s an obvious point, but one worth making: alcohol and an open flame don’t mix. Instead, Most producers opt for steam coils or jackets to set off all those vital chemical reactions. But not Citadelle – the very cognac stills that Gabriel had petitioned so hard to use were the exact thing that brought such a distinctive flavour profile to the


gin. After progressively infusing all the botanicals, the team lightly filtered the liquid before heating it over a flame-fired still. With tiny bits of citrus peel still floating around, the spirit underwent what is known as the ‘maillard reaction’. That’s the same reaction responsible for making steak or freshly baked bread smell and taste so delicious. In this case, once the heat had built up to a hefty 1,000°C, the sugars in the alcohol started to caramelise. This last step was responsible for creating the unique taste and mouthfeel of Citadelle gin that is familiar, but exotic; traditional, but modern; distinctly French, and all the more delicious for it. There’s no doubt that Gabriel’s efforts had paid off, the only problem was, back in 1996 gin was not the furiously popular


ABOVE:[clockwise from top left] A riverside scene; Citadelle’s unique ‘blending egg’; a still in the distillery; the front of the maison

Photograph by ###

tipple it is now. In the 1990s, concerns about provenance, aromas and bouquet (topics you so often hear gin enthusiasts like McFadyen frequently talk about now) were not often heard outside the world of wine or whisky. Citadelle’s distillation method and its 19 botanicals were seen as absolute ‘fluff’. Remember, this was the era of cosmopolitans and appletinis; no one really paid much attention to the French producers doing away with tradition and firing up their cognac stills just as everyone else was packing down for the summer. Gin was thought of as the starting point for greater things – not a spirit celebrated in its own right. But come 2009 that all changed. Ferran Adrià of El Bulli fame declared drinking gin a “gastronomic act” and shared his recipe for the perfect G&T. His gin of choice? Citadelle,

no less. From then on, sales skyrocketed, going from almost nothing to a million, seemingly overnight. Citadelle Original was in vogue – and suddenly winning awards left, right and centre. Yet, if anyone thought Gabriel was about to slow down, content to ride that single wave of popularity, they were very much mistaken. Only the year before he’d started experimenting with an aged gin. What started as some family fun soon transformed into Citadelle Réserve, a golden-hued spirit that’s aged in five different wooden barrels over the course of five months. The Réserve came to be known as Citadelle’s spicier, more herbaceous sibling; pulling in top honours at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition World Spirits Award, The Gin Masters and more. But what made this →



ZEST FOR LIFE: The makers of Citadelle suggest keeping things simple in their signature serve with nothing but lemon, tonic and ice added to the gin [oysters on the side optional, but recommended)


best,” and I believe it. I also believe him when he points out that the French cooperage behind this £25k egg-shaped ageing cask only make four ‘barrels’ a year. It can’t be easy making something this complex. Nor, as I come to realise, is it surprising that Citadelle would be the driver of such an unusual method. Since its inception, the story of Citadelle and all its variants has been far from simple. But in a way, perhaps that’s what makes this gin so special. And despite its boom (and continued growth) in popularity, production is still relatively small – because the last thing the team wants to do is compromise on quality. “Distilling is the act of creating emotions in a bottle,” says Gabriel as he passes around more drinks later that evening. “To compromise on quality would be to settle

Photograph (G&T) by TLMALP

→ spirit stand out from the rest wasn’t the three extra botanicals or the fact it was left to rest. Gin, after all, has been aged since the dawn of, well, gin-time. It was how the Réserve was aged in the final stages of its journey to the bottle that really captured people’s attention. Back at the barn, McFadyen playfully calls for us to “Come on!” before he bounces up its creaky wooden stairwell. We follow, huffing ever so slightly, and by the time we reach the top he’s already sprung across the floor and is now leaning nonchalantly against a giant wooden egg. Around him, the entire year’s supply of Réserve is ticking away. “It’s good, isn’t it?”, he says, running his hand down the side of this great, big, polished beast. This is the grand reveal: the 8ft-tall reason why Citadelle Réserve stands apart from its competitors. During the final few weeks of aging, the gin is fed through the egg. “Citadelle is the only gin distiller in France to use this technique to age its gin.” Explains McFadyen. “The shape is super efficient. It creates a natural convection, so the gin is in constant motion.” McFadyen calls it “dynamic aging at its

for less.” Which is also the reason why, he explains, Citadelle doesn’t adjust its recipe or ABV for export. Whether you were sipping on a martini in London or saying salud with a round of G&Ts at El Bulli, your Citadelle Original gin always would – and always will – come in at 44%, while the Réserve will make itself known at 45.2%. Maybe that’s why Ferran Adrià took such a shine to it. A strong drink after service will always go down well, after all… “Well, maybe,” says McFadyen when I propose the idea. “Alcohol is a solvent and the higher the proof, the more flavour you carry. Changing the recipe or watering down the ABV changes the taste. It basically creates a whole new drink.” And, as Gabriel points out, they can’t have that: “To change the proof for every market would acknowledge that Citadelle is not the perfect gin for everyone.” Perhaps it’s the gin talking, but I can’t help agree. It is pretty much perfect, and without the complicated distillation process and all its unique blend of botanicals and that giant egg-shaped cask, Citadelle would not be the same delicious spirit it is now. But just because he has us convinced, does that mean Gabriel is ready to set back and settle for that? Not a chance. The next day, as we’re gingerly packing up our stuff ready to roll off the estate with our hangovers in tow, we spot him poking around in a field across the way. Not long ago, Citadelle’s team cleared some acreage to plant the first juniper bushes on the estate. Gabriel’s gaze might be scanning the ground now, but he never takes his eye off the future. f


THE GETAWAY With bucolic charm by the bucketload and a first-rate food and drink offering, The Duncombe Arms is a real weekend break winner, finds Lydia Winter What’s the draw

What to eat

What else?

A charming pub with ten rooms in the little village of Ellastone in Staffordshire, just outside the Peak District. And what rooms! The Duncombe Arms added the utterly gorgeous Walnut House last year to provide hungry visitors with a place to rest their weary, wine-y heads after a knockout dinner in the pocket-sized pub. Windows look out over rolling hills dotted with sheep; beds hit that delicious balance between reassuringly solid and delightfully soft; and the baths will have you wallowing better than a hippo. It all feels a bit boutique hotel-meets-country pub, but the marriage isn’t jarring – instead, the whole thing feels like a home away from (admittedly very stylish) home.

It’s unusual to start by talking about dessert, but this one warrants breaking the rules: a triumphantly wobbly pistachio soufflé, served with a scoop of blood orange sorbet. Elsewhere, there’s a market menu (Mon-Sat only), although pretty much everything here has the same local, seasonal approach. Chicken terrine with piccalilli and sourdough married crunch and tang; satisfyingly dense gnocchi was topped with umami-laden squidges of black garlic that offset the richness of a fried duck egg; beef bourguignon pie was declared “life changing”. There’s more – including an impressive list of fine wines available by the glass thanks to a Coravin – but you’ll just have to find out.

You’re in the ideal place to walk for hours on end, burning off last night’s dinner and making room for Sunday lunch. You can catch a bus from right outside the pub to nearby Ashbourne and head out on the Tissington Trail (go in spring to see fluffy little lambs), or there’s also a loop that’ll take you out for a few hours, starting and finishing at The Duncombe – friendly staff will point you in the right direction, but we’d still advise a map. What’s more, owners Johnny and Laura Greenall are offer walking tours of their extensive gardens, home to an array of exotic trees that’s bound to turn any horticultural enthusiast green with envy. f


ELLASTONE ◆◆ Population: 320 ◆◆ County:


A population of fewer than 400 makes this village a top spot for a little tranquility. For those wishing to get even further away from it all, head to the Peak District which is only half and hour away.

Photographs by Jake Eastham

If you’re feeling inspired to plan your own adventure, go to where you’ll find tons more food and drink destination guides, reviews and ideas…

Rooms from £160 per night.



Burmese cuisine has echoes of Thai, Indian and Chinese, but it’s no tribute act – this is food with an intoxicating flavour profile all of its own, writes Breddos’ Nud Dudhia LEG WORK: Fishermen on Inle Lake in Myanmar. Their distinctive and tricky method of ‘leg rowing’ allows them to remain upright and see what’s what on the lake.



Photograph by (main) Getty/David Lazar; (menu) Nic Crilly-Hargrave

RRIVING IN YANGON is a much less stressful affair than neighbouring metropoles such as Bangkok or KL. Rather than the overwhelmingly chaotic, Blade Runner-esque hustle and bustle of those hugely overpopulated cities, Yangon feels composed and almost serene. There’s a noticeable lack of skyscrapers; instead the streets are lined with British colonial-era buildings, gilded Buddhist pagodas and an old school, charming ambiance. Time feels like it should be savoured rather than rushed. I was invited to Yangon to cook with my friend John Chantarasak, a fellow Londoner and Thai chef with whom I share a love of all things weird and wonderful in the world of food. We’d bonded at Glastonbury many years ago and ended up collaborating on a few occasions with a twisted melange of Thai-Mex food which wasn’t afraid to break all the rules of authenticity and was big on flavour and fun. We had much the same planned for the six-course meal that we were set to cook at Burma Bistro in Yangon, but before any of this was to happen, we embarked on a whirlwind adventure of epic proportions around Myanmar with our lovely hosts: Lady Goo Goo, a local food enthusiast and curator of this whole experience, and Winnie, the owner of one of the few organic farms in Myanmar. The foundational flavours of Burmese cuisine boasted their way into our palates at our first meal in Yangon through a huge bowl of the national dish, mohinga – a fish soup made using rice flour, lemongrass, garlic, fish sauce, rice noodles, dried fish flakes and a boiled egg. It was a perfect introduction to the country’s flavour profile: slightly funky, nourishing and earthy, but not too spicy like some Thai soups, heavy like Indian curries or overpowering like Malaysian laksa. After filling up on all manner of other local specialities like spicy samosas, luscious tofu curry and sweet, nutty satay, we wandered the streets of Yangon, getting lost amid the plethora of street vendors hawking everything from fresh fish on rickety carts to steaming hot flatbreads out of makeshift


streetside tandoors. The traders that caught my eye were clutching emerald-green banana leaf trays artistically strewn with oodles of laphet (funky fermented tea leaves), rice, noodles, dried prawn, boiled potatoes, kaffir lime, ginger, ngapi (fermented shrimp), sesame, peanuts, chilli and garlic oil. These contrasting ingredients were deftly brought together by the vendor into a salad known as athoke. However, to call it a salad would be a disservice – this mind-bending dish has a flavour that attacks the taste buds with every mouthful: teasing funk from the laphet, crunch from the nuts, sweetness from the prawns, piquancy from the chilli – all rounded off and complemented by the acidic thump of lime, lemongrass and kaffir leaf. The precision and balance was impeccable and seeing it put together within seconds of ordering in the rowdy market reminded me just how special Asia is, and how far behind we are in the UK when it comes to access to cheap, delicious food. A 12-hour overnight bus journey took us to Shan Province and the banks of the magnificent Lake Inle. Beneath a Mars-red dawn sky we weaved our way through the waterways of the lake, its banks dotted with ramshackle huts. We were on our way to meet a local entrepreneur and philanthropist who knew the ins and outs of Shan and Intha cuisine and wanted to show us around. At a roadside noodle shop just after sunrise, we ate tofu nway, a rich and restorative breakfast rice noodle soup with snow pea tofu and sugarcane, khao swe (a simple dish with peanut oil and bouncy homemade noodles), tohu jaw, (crispy, chewy tofu fritters) and kalaw, a fermented tofu and pounded green chilli soup. It was all very delicious and very Burmese. The influence of China, Malaysia, Thailand and India was there, of course, but this was no mutton dressed as lamb: this food has its own identity, history and ingredients. Yellow rice cakes, steamed rice dumplings, hot buttered roti, fermented black bean, twice-fried tofu and sugarcane syrup are all used in abundance, with real technique and care – the resultant flavours are quite unlike anything else I’ve eaten. A visit to the local Nyuang Shwe Market conjured romantic images of what real food markets should look like: throngs of locals bartering for goods under a rickety tarpaulin canopy; farmers proudly displaying their produce of dried fish, fresh vegetables, fermented pastes and fresh herbs. Big cauldrons of soup bubbling away, the smell as captivating as the look of the tribal elders stood behind the wood-fired hearths. With

THE MENU ◆◆ Fish skin chicharron, fermented black

bean mole, nahm prik ngapi ◆◆ Chickpea tostada, agua chile river

prawns, shaan avocado, fermented carrots ◆◆ Celtuce and green papaya som tam, cape gooseberries, fermented prawn, peanuts ◆◆ Burmese-tea-brined ‘midnight fried chicken’, pork fat jungle curry, makrut lime leaf ◆◆ Grilled river fish a la talla, fermented soy bean, wok-fried laphet rice and Burmese butter roti ◆◆ Laphet leche fritta, pandan leaf sangkaya

steam bouncing off the parapets, produce overflowing everywhere you look and hordes of people all over the place tasting, buying and conversing, the atmosphere was exhilarating. We ate chewy and slightly grainy steamed buffalo skin, pork blood rice and all manner of weird and wonderful local specialities that were unique to this market. With each dish we consumed in this ‘research phase’ of our cooking adventure our ingredient list grew, and after a visit to Organic Valley Farm to pick vegetables for our meal, the six-course menu started to come together using the influence of Mexican, Thai and Burmese cuisines. While Mexican and Thai food is flavour-packed, direct, often acidic and very spicy, we found Burmese food – like the people and cities I encountered – to be more restrained, balanced and composed. Some of our menu items took their genesis from a Mexican or Thai dish and were adapted to Burmese ingredients, like fish skin chicharron, whereas others were entirely new, like midnight fried chicken with pork fat jungle curry. We could never have summarised this cuisine in one six-course menu, but we took what we experienced and included as much as possible to try and celebrate a wonderful cuisine that deserves more attention from the world of gastronomy. f


WISH I HAD A RIVER: [clockwise from left] The Ribeira district is right on the Douro river; the beer garden at Letraria; a spread at Semea by Euskalduna; head to Big Bad Bank for great cocktails


THE ITINERARY From tasting menus in the centre of town to superb seafood in the suburbs, let Porto’s stellar food and drink offering guide you around the city and beyond


T’S OFTEN SAID that where there’s good wine, you can probably count on there being good food. With that in mind, if you’re planning a food-heavy city break – the kind where you plan which street-food markets, bars and restaurants you want to head to and then just fill in the blanks around them if there’s any time left over – Portugal’s second city should be top of your list. Perched at the mouth of the Douro river (which runs all the way through to Portugal from Spain, where it’s called the Duero), Porto’s history of port making means it’s had more than three centuries of world-leading fortified wine flowing through it – literally. Port houses stud the Vila Nova de Gaia district located on the south of the river, and


further afield is the Douro Valley, where as well as yet more makers of this fine fortified wine there are also winemakers making incredible dry red, white and rosé wines from the native-variety grapes grown in the scorching landscape, and which are frankly ridiculous value, too. All of this adds up to a city that knows good flavour, and one in which you don’t need to spend a lot to eat and drink like a king. This means that as well as plentiful £2 glasses of wine or refreshing white port and tonics, there are innumerable excellent and down-to-earth restaurants, great markets, vibrant nightlife and even a Michelin star or two. Continue for our foolproof guide to getting the best out of it…


Tábua Rasa

Blink and you’ll miss this newschool Portuguese restaurant – but to do so would be a massive shame, because although Tábua Rasa might be unassuming, it’s an ambitious project and, more to the point, a brilliant place to eat. The focus is on cheese, cured meats and tinned fish (a Portuguese specialty) all sourced as close to Porto and the Douro Valley as possible. Order a menu for the whole table – even the most expensive is a steal at €95 for four, including wine – which comes as a giant board of assorted goodies, with choices of Portuguese Iberian pork sausage, Douro Valley cheeses and very good own-label wine from the Dão region. R. da Picaria 68, 4050-477 Porto;

YOU DON’T NEED TO SPEND A LOT TO EAT LIKE A KING Semea by Euskalduna Portuguese chef Vasco Coelho Santos puts an experimental spin on his 16-course tasting menu at the Basque-influenced, tastingmenu-only restaurant Euskalduna Studio. For those looking to try some contemporary, creative dishes at a more accessible price point, though, head to Semea. Menus change almost daily, but expect modern takes on eclectic dishes: on our visit, we tried everything from a classic bacalhau salad to brioche with foie gras, stuffed veal tongue, cuttlefish stew and a ‘lamb sandwich’ reminiscent of The Quality Chop House’s classic minced lamb on toast. There’s a long list of Portugese wines, from classics all the way to newer-school pét-nats, topping out at €40 a bottle, with most hovering around €22.

school international traders, wine stores, retail and more. Stop by for a decent version of what’s become Porto’s staple snack, the francesinha – a kind of croque madame made with white bread, cheese, cured meats and topped with a tangy, fiery gravy. Av. de Ramos Pinto 148, 4400-261 Porto;



Wondering whether the craft beer movement had hit Portugal, a country known for port and wine? Don’t. A trip to Letraria, a taproom and beer garden by Portuguese brewer Letra, will convince you if you’re curious: enter via a tiny frontage on a quiet side street and you’ll be greeted by a line of 16 or so taps of new-school Portuguese beers – from fruit-infused IPAs to red ales and sours – but head downstairs and it opens up into an obliging beer garden, with benches, tables and the feel of a little oasis in an urbanfeeling part of the city. There’s another bar there, too, so you don’t have to navigate the stairs while grasping your cold pints. R. da Alegria 101, 4000-042 Porto;

Big Bad Bank Right in the middle of the old town is this cocktail bar at the Zero Hotel, styled after (you guessed it) an old bank vault, which

would feel just as at home in Hoxton as it does here. Cocktails aren’t cheap – around €9 a pop, which feels expensive when you’ve been drinking excellent wine for €2 a glass in most places – but they’re expertly made, with a house list that adds tweaks to classic cocktails without trying to reinvent the wheel. There’s comfy seating and space to sit at the bar, and long banquet-style tables in the dining room at Zero’s adjoining barbecue restaurant O Carniceiro (the butcher). R. do Ateneu Comercial do Porto, 4000-380 Porto;

Base If you’re easy about what you’re drinking and it’s sunny, there aren’t many better places in the city to hang out than Base. Slap-bang in the middle of the tiny triangular park Jardim da Cordoaria, it’s a hexagonal bar kiosk where hip bartenders serve beers, cocktails, and port and tonics, backed from late afternoon onwards by a soundtrack of Euro house tunes. If this sounds a bit much, fear not – there’s plenty of space away from the bar seating to lounge around in the sun away from the bar and the tunes, sit and read a book. Whatever you’re in it for, you won’t find a better-stocked public park in Porto. Quisque Jardim, R. das Carmelitas 151, 4050-163 Porto; →

R. das Flores 179, 4050-266 Porto;

Taberna Folias de Baco This is another conceptual restaurant – although one that’s decidedly low-key. The restaurant arm of Douro winemaker Folias de Baco, it’s a quiet, cute venue that conceals a clever take on Portugese dining. Like at Tábua Rasa, you order for the table – here for the frankly ridiculous price of €25 for two people – as well as being given the option to customise your menu for a couple of courses. Specialities include cold cuts, refreshing salad dishes (bacalhau and chickpea crop up again) and Portuguese blood sausage. There’s a deft touch to the cooking and preparation, all done in a tiny kitchen behind the bar, and a choice of Folias’s natural wines to drink with your meal or to take home. R. dos Caldeireiros 136, 4050-138 Porto;

Mercado Beira Rio If it’s street food you’re after, there are a few markets to be found around the city, but Mercado Beira Rio, next to the river at the bottom of Vila Nova de Gaia, offers an eclectic mix of traditional Portuguese and newer-


AGE IS JUST A NUMBER: [clockwise from left] The cellars at Taylor’s in Vila Nova de Gaia; the beautiful Douro Valley; Serralves manor and garden



R. do Choupelo 250, 4400-088 Porto;


Douro Valley Tours


If you can spare a whole day, a trip to the bucolic Douro Valley is another brilliant way to learn about the Anglo-Portuguese fortified wine. While the likes of Taylor’s, Sandeman’s and other big-name port houses are mainly located in Vila Nova de Gaia, there’s a more distinctly Portuguese flavour to the singleestate producers dotted along the Douro Valley next to the river. You’ll find plenty of operators offering packages – we went with Magical Douro, whose tour included a trip to the excellent Quinta do Lago, a trip to the riverside village of Pinhão, a short cruise along the Douro, and lunch at port house and restaurant Vintage Theory, higher into the mountains in Vila Real – led of course by a charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide.

A little further south is the vibrant suburb of Foz. It’s a proper beach town, with its own pockets of bars and restaurants, but one of the main attractions here is Serralves, a massive, beautiful park, manor house and museum of modern art. You could spend hours just wandering around the grounds here, gawping at the occasional giant sculpture and manicured garden, but make sure you have a look around the Álvaro Siza-designed museum and check out some spellbinding sculptures, installations, photography and films from Portuguese and international contemporary artists.

Tours from £75 per person;

Matosinhos With so much of the city’s sights packed into the city centre at the mouth of the Douro, it’s easy to forget this is a city on the coast as much as it’s a city on the river. For a reminder, though, the suburbs of Foz and Matosinhos are where to go. Heading to the latter is a must if you like seafood – walk with the beach on your left and you’ll find the street of Rua Heróis de França. On a sunny afternoon it’s absolutely buzzing, and, you can’t really go wrong with any of the restaurants here. Think fresher-than-fresh octopus, sardines, sea bass, cod and more, cooked on giant barbecues adjoining each venue’s outdoor terrace – alongside copious amounts of ridiculously cheap (and good) Douro wines.

R. Dom João de Castro 210, 4150-417 Porto;


Hotel Infante Sagres

If you’re looking for a bright, breezy, tastefully decorated and central hotel, Infante Sagres is a great shout. It’s situated in between the neighbourhoods of Bolhao and Ribeira, meaning it’s perfectly located for food, drink and nightlife and walkable to most of the city-centre restaurants and bars mentioned above. It’s also a pretty nice place to stay in its own right: decorations of the lounges and hallways hark back to the historic port houses of Vila Nova de Gaia, rooms are luxurious without going overboard, and its restaurant, Vogue Café, serves ambitious, modern European menus, with cocktails and bar snacks, too. f Rooms from £160pn based on two people sharing. Praça D. Filipa de Lencastre 62, 4050-259 Porto;

Photograph by (cellar) Antonio Chaves (Serralves) Daniel Rodrigues

Grapes used in port are grown in the sun-drenched Douro Valley a few miles away from the city centre, but many of the best port houses are located in the Vila Nova de Gaia district of the city, across the river from Ribeira (tip: walk across the Dom Luís I Bridge for some amazing views). Walk up its steep winding streets and you’ll find Taylor’s: part of the Taylor-Fladgate partnership, the estate encompasses the ageing cellars, a museum charting the rich and complex history of port production in the region, a beautiful visitor centre, gift shop and Barão Fladgate Restaurant, as well as a viewing platform that provides a beautiful panorama of the city. With hands-on tours and generous tastings on offer, there’s arguably no better way to learn about and try one of the world’s best fortified wines. If you can stretch to it, the company also owns the magnificent Yeatman Hotel nearby, as well as it’s two-Michelinstarred Gastronomic Restaurant.


WINE AND DINE... This tantalising opportunity to dine at Richard H Turner’s food haven Gridiron also comes with a complimentary aperitif on arrival and an additional wine pairing



UST IN CASE you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months, Gridiron by COMO is a new live-fire grill in Mayfair, showcasing a hearty menu of in-season, ethicallysourced ingredients. It’s really, really good. Meat, native fish and beautiful vegetables are all given equal attention, prepared on an open grill to create delicate smoky flavours. It’s also not exactly struggling in the theatrics department, either. At Gridiron, you can watch the flames soar in the open-front kitchen, helmed by leading British chef (and former foodism columnist) Richard H Turner. Good meat – as we all know – deserves some good wine for company. That’s one of the reasons that the

Gridiron wine list ranges from bold new world wines to much-loved European classics curated by Fiona Beckett. You won’t be hard-pressed to find the perfect accompaniment to your juicy hunk of Dexter ribeye, too. Not only that but there’s also a host of light and refreshing cocktails designed by award-winning mixologists Max and Noel Venning. Great food, great drinks, and great company – what more could you want? To find out more about Gridiron and keep up to date with all their meaty marvels visit the website and follow Gridiron on Instagram. ● To find out more visit or follow on Instagram at



Do you like eating ridiculously good food? Do you like eating ridiculously good food for free? If you answered “yes” to either of the above, we’ve got the ideal prize for you: the chance to win a meal for two at Gridiron worth £200. With an aperitif on arrival and wine pairing throughout the meal, this is a dining experience you won’t want to miss out on. To be in with a chance of winning this excellent meal for two, go to





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THE SELECTOR What do food markets, gin distilleries, Thai restaurants, and fish and chips have in common? Well, apart from being some of our favourite things in the world, you can find them all in this sun-drenched guide


HORTS IN THE office, pints in the nearest pub garden, iced goddamn coffee… We’re well and truly in the thick of summer now, aren’t we? It’s a time of year when wearing as little as possible and only eating dishes that describe themselves as “fresh” and “healthy” is the done thing. But seeing as we’re firmly in the ‘every body is a beach body’ camp, we think you should really be spending these balmy months eating as much excellent food and drinking as many refreshing drinks as humanly possible.

With that in mind, fancy ambling to London’s finest food markets? Well, we’ve got the best of the bunch. Want nothing more than a lip-smacking papaya salad? Our handful of the best Thai restaurants in the city will sort that. Maybe you feel like tucking into a portion of plaice and chips near some sort of body of water? Well, we’ve got all that, and more. And our gin issue wouldn’t be complete without a round-up of the finest gin distilleries for tastings and tours now, would it? Cheers to that… f



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 2  City of London Distillery

 4  Hayman’s Gin Distillery

22-24 Bride Lane, EC4Y 8DT

8A Weir Road, SW12 0GT

City Thameslink


For a hands-on gin experience head to the City of London Distillery’s historic microdistillery tucked inside Jonathan Clark’s cocktail bar on Bride Lane. The Distillery opened in 2012 and has been bottling its classic London Dry Gin and a range of other stonking spirits ever since. Tours run throughout the week (excluding Thursday) and include a three-flight gin tasting, too.

For five generations, the Hayman family have distilled gin using the same traditional two-day process that was developed back in 1863. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Which is why Hayman’s full range of gins are distilled the same way as they were 150 years ago. In more recent innovations, the gin brand has opened its gleaming Balham distillery up to tours and cocktail masterclasses.

 3  Jensen’s Gin 55 Stanworth Street, SE1 3NY

 5  Doghouse Distillery Bermondsey

Unit L, Broughton Street, SW8 3QR

Battersea Park

Jensen’s Gin knows there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Distilled in small batches, using only traditional gin botanicals, Jensen’s Gin keeps things stupidly simple. The Bermondsey-based distillery only makes two gins: Jensen’s Bermondsey Dry Gin and Jensen’s Old Tom Gin. And that’s all you really need to be honest. Book yourself in for a distillery tour and you’ll get a real taste of what Jensen’s is all about.

Doghouse Distillery is an independent grain distillery located on an industrial estate in Battersea. The distillery’s South West premises is home to a full-on micro-brewery where it’s been pioneering grain-to-bottle gin and vodka. Working from the ground up to ensure the end-product is up to scratch, Doghouse Distillery is young, hungry and keen to ruffle a few feathers in the gin scene. That’s what we like to call big dog energy.






Summer days and gin are a more iconic pairing than peas and carrots. Here’s our pick of London’s best gin distilleries for tours and tastings

 1  East London Liquor Company 221 Grove Road, E3 5SN

Bethnal Green

Bringing spirits production back to the East End with a bang, East London Liquor Company is the first whisky, gin and vodka distillery to grace the area in more than 100 years. Which is, y’know, a fairly big deal. Found in an old glue factory just off Grove Road, ELLC has got some excellent gins available to buy. If that wasn’t enough, every Friday and Saturday you can go behind the scenes and check out its custom copper stills.


1  101 Thai Kitchen 352 King Street, W6 0RX

Stamford Brook

If you live out West and haven’t been to 101 Thai Kitchen, you’re doing it wrong. This King Street staple serves some of the best Isaan cuisine going in the city. Its bright pink exterior and simple interior are home to a series of vibrant dishes with flavour dimensions that’ll transport you into another realm of pleasure. While the blackboard specials are definite move to make, you can’t really go wrong with the safe-hold choices of stir fries, noodles, and rice either. 0208 746 6888;


THAI-TONGUED From local family-run joints to the trendy new wave hot spots that aren’t afraid to go hard on the fish sauce, here are some of London’s best Thai restaurants 2

BEST OF THE REST  2  Kiln 58 Brewer Street, W1F 9TL


Photograph by [City of London] Pascal Vossen; [AngloThai] Ben Broomfield


 4  Farang Piccadilly Circus

New wave Thai restaurants don’t get much newer or wavier than Kiln. They also don’t get much better. British produce is used to full effect on the menu in this cosy restaurant. Seafood is delivered fresh every morning and the hype surrounding the clay pot baked glass noodles is very, very real. Festooned with Tamworth pork belly and brown crab meat, that dish is a hot little bowl of love.

 3  AngloThai


Beginning as a street-food stall back in the halcyon days of 2016, Farang has gone from strength to strength over the years. The North London bricks and mortar has got a Michelin Bib Gourmand and a deserved reputation as one of London’s top Thai restaurants to match. In proper 2019 fashion the vegan dishes also do absolute bits, too. 020 7226 1609;

 5  Lao Café 60 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HG

Charing Cross

Desiree West and John Chantarasak’s AngloThai is one of the hottest food residencies going at the minute. Marrying together traditional Thai recipes and flavours with modern techniques and seasonal British ingredients, the restaurant’s unique dishes are all the rage with everyone from square mile yuppies to clout goggle-clad arts students. Paired with low-intervention natural wine? Absolute bliss.

With a focus on both Laotian and Isaan cooking, the Lao Café is a regional restaurant that knows what it’s doing. Spearheaded by the wonderful Saiphin Moore of Rosa’s Thai, Lao Café’s traditional Laos cuisine is given room to stretch its legs and run roughshod all over the numskull living in your mouth department. That being said, Northern Thai dishes like laab pla and sai oua sausage are just as punchy and impressive as the kitsch caff’s Laos-inspired cooking.

020 3740 4748;

Various locations


72 Highbury Park, N5 2XE


1 Bonnie Gull 21A Foley Street, W1W 6DS

Goodge Street

Bonnie Gull is that rarity of a fancy fish and chips joint that actually serves decent fish and chips. Scottish scallop ceviche and battered haddock join forces for a tour-deforce of sustainable seafood. It’s all a bit more frilly, refined and in Fitzrovia than your local chippy, but Bonnie Gull still takes care that it follows chip shop traditions. Yes, the chips might be triple-cooked, but they’re still triplecooked in beef dripping, delivering that old faithful flavour in a snazzy new package.



020 7436 0921;



BATTERED SENSELESS Is there anything more satisfying than a fresh portion of fish and chips on a summer’s day? Not that we know of




BEST OF THE REST 2 Poppies 6-8 Hanbury Street, E1 6QR

4 The Fryer’s Delight Shoreditch High Street

Owner Pop Newland has been cooking up classic East End fish and chips all his life, and some time ago he decided to ramp up the quality, bringing in fish from Peterhead Fisheries via Billingsgate Market and recreating a 1940s feel in his two restaurants and takeaway counter in Spitalfields. Jellied eels and whitebait round-off a menu of classic chip shop favourites done bloody well, making it, undoubtedly, one of London’s best fish and chips joints. If it ain’t broke... 020 7247 0892;


Chippies don’t get much better than The Fryer’s Delight in Holborn. From the formicacoated tables and chessboard-tiled floor to the crisp battered cod flung to you over the counter, Fryer’s Delight has been a favourite for fish and chips ever since it opened up its shutters back in 1962. The portly chips are fried in beef dripping, the saveloy sausages are a firm and delicious fire truck-red, and it’s simply not hard to see why The Fryer’s Delight is a hit with everyone from PhD students to senior citizens. 020 7405 4114

3 Toff ’s Fish 38 Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 3RT

19 Theobalds Road, WC1X 8SL

East Finchley

5 Kerbisher & Malt

Photograph by (Bonnie Gull) Helen Cathcart

This Muswell Hill chippy was established back in 1968 and has done just about everything right ever since. Fried in an old-school combo of egg and matzo, the fish is crunchy, hot and fresh as it gets. Furthermore, Toff ’s is a member of the N.F.F.F (The National Federation of Fish Fryers), the British Potato Council and – unlike most fish and chip shops – has an alcohol license to boast about. A glass of house white to accompany your rock eel? Perfect.

164 Shepherds Bush Road, W6 7PB

020 8883 8656;

020 3556 0228;


The Kerbisher & Malt restaurant group is quietly turning the original British seaside staple into a seriously good dinner and a meal deserving of a proper sit down occasion. This is fish and chips worth putting your pants on for, not some old cod you order while thumbing through Deliveroo when you’re three tins in, watching Friends re-runs. Prices aren’t the cheapest, but the portion sizes are generous. Go there. Now.




1  Borough Market Southwark St, SE1 1TL

London Bridge

It’s hard to do Borough Market justice as London’s longest standing and mostrenowned market. Launched initially for traders in 1014, it then opened its doors to the public 21 years later, when the real magic began. Head for the hustle and bustle of hundreds of years of food history under one set of railway arches, and to fill your basket with buttery, flaky sausage rolls from Ginger Pig butchers and freshly baked balls of joy (read: doughnuts) from Bread Ahead bakery.



From the famous to the all-too-often-forgotten, we bring you our guide to the musttry markets in the City and the local produce not to miss. You’re welcome

BEST OF THE REST  2  Market Hall Various locations

 4  Herne Hill City & Country Farmer’s Market

New to London but already turning heads this year, Market Halls is transforming abandoned warehouses into bustling food halls. Their Victoria and Fulham joints boast awardwinning fish and chips from Kerbisher & Malt, picture-perfect pink dumplings from Baozi Inn and towering ice cream cones from Soft Serve Society. Top tip: its Victoria roof terrace is the perfect spot for an Aperol Spritz in the sunshine – if it ever shows up.

Tired of the tube, grumpy rush hour commuters and polluted City air? Take a trip down to Herne Hill. Buying local never looked so easy (or tasty), with organic Fairtrade coffee from Perks & White, buttery, veg-packed pasties from Aston’s Bakery and deliciously creamy cheeses from the Bath Soft Cheese Company. Plus, with more than 50 stalls, there’s something here for all tastebuds.

Railton Rd, Herne Hill, SE240JN

 3  Maltby St Market

 5  Netil Market

37 Maltby St, SE1 3PA

13-23 Westgate Street, E83RL

London Bridge

North Dulwich


London Fields

Compared to a ‘more refined’ Borough Market, Maltby Street has showcased the best local street food vendors for over nine years. Unlike Borough, it’s still a safe haven from tourists – wander along the Victorian arches for everything from Little Bird G&T’s topped with fat, juicy grapefruit slices to mini ‘dhan’ waffle puffs soaked in Nutella, salted caramel, PB, vanilla custard and Taiwanese honey.

Most markets in London pride themselves on sourcing and serving outstanding fare, but Hackney’s Netil Market is an easy frontrunner. It’s supported some of London’s most loved establishments through their early years, most notably Bao, who just opened its fourth site. These days, head to E8 to enjoy afrotacos from Lemlem and seitan-topped vegan pizzas from Death by Pizza.




Photograph by (Borough Market) :John Holdship; (Maltby) bobosbites; (Herne Hill) Sustainable Kitchen 3; (Netil) 90foodie


Start your new career in food at Leiths “Leiths was brilliant. “It made me tackle things I would have never normally tried, like making pork pies and prepping squid. I learnt the science behind baking and fermenting, and how to troubleshoot in the kitchen. “It gave me the confidence to start an incredible new business with a great team. I love the heat of the oven, the mess of the flour, and sharing a hot, oily focaccia at four in the morning. It just doesn’t feel like work.” Tomek Mossakowski, Co-founder, Dusty Knuckle Bakery School, Dalston

Start a food business. Write a best-selling cookbook. Travel as a private chef. Style dishes for magazines, adverts and movies. Taste wine for a living. See your recipe on the supermarket shelves. Inspiring food careers are #MadeAtLeiths Evening and online courses available. Four week Essential Certificate starts 19th August.

WILD, WILD COUNTRY Working with a global community of foragers, chefs and bartenders, The Botanist Gin is truly at the cutting edge of the foraging movement


HE BOTANIST GIN is more than just a spirit. It’s story of place; a rare expression of the heart and soul of Islay. The team at Progressive Hebridean Distillers, who make The Botanist, are obsessed with local, seasonal flavours and terroir. In the world of fine wine, terroir is a concept that reflects the interaction of soil, sub-soil, exposure, orientation, climate, and micro-climate on the growth of the vine and harvest of the grape. At the Bruichladdich Distillery, they believe terroir is vital: it imparts a subtle nuance and variety that has a subsequent affect on any food or drink. The more complex the flavours inherent in that food or drink, the more profound the overall effect. In creating The Botanist, the team explored the flavours of their own backyard, the verdant island of Islay. And it’s a sense of adventure they’d like you to explore, too. The Botanist even has its own full-time professional forager, James Donaldson, who sustainably hand-picks 22 local Island botanicals, harvest by harvest, year by year. These are used alongside


nine berries, barks and peels in the distillation of the Islay Dry gin. Through their involvement in the foraging movement, the team have been lucky to work with some of the most exciting foragers, chefs and bartenders from all over the world. And to celebrate these inspiring individuals, The Botanist is releasing a mini film series, Wild – A State of Mind. Each five-minute film focuses on a different person and location, following the stories of Nick Weston, director of Hunter Gather Cook; Philip Stark, professor and director of the Berkeley Open Source Food project; Roushanna Gray from South Africa, founder of Veld and Sea; Nick Lui, executive chef and partner at DaiLo and Little DaiLo in Toronto; and Vijay Mudaliar, founder of NATIVE, a foraged mixology bar in Singapore. These people have found a way to live that reconnects them to nature and to a traditional knowledge that is at risk of being lost in today’s digital era. What links them is a profound desire to share this knowledge with others like, well, you. Nick Weston of Hunter Gather Cook – a foraging and cookery school that specialises in game butchery, wild cocktails and outdoor cookery, exclusively over live fire – has been working with The Botanist to deliver wild experiences. “Foraging is more than just harvesting,” explains Weston, “it is set in a sense of time and place. Mother nature is not something that can be rushed and to be able to capture that moment and serve it is a privilege indeed.” Cheers to that. ● The films will be released weekly from August 2019. View them at or search #BeTheBotanist on social media

SPIRIT OF ISLAY: [clockwise from top] A forager with a bottle of The Botanist Gin; cocktails decorated with flowers; Nick Weston starting a fire on Islay; The Botanist G&T with mint


Photograph by ###


Join the biggest female cycling event in the UK

Cycle 100km through London at night and raise funds to fight women's cancers. NEW FOR 2020 Exciting new venue Lee Valley Velo Park at the Olympic Stadium Shorter 50km route PLAC


Saturday 23 May 2020 For more information and to register online: 01590 646410 /




TO TAKE PART YOU NEED TO PAY A REGISTRATION FEE OF £45 AND RAISE MINIMUM SPONSORSHIP OF £199. Registered Charity Nos: Breast Cancer Care is a working name of Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now: 1017658/ SC038104, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust: 1133542/SC041236, Ovarian Cancer Action: 1109743/SC043478. Women V Cancer is established under Giving Works. Registered Charity No.1078770.



HERBAL INFUSIONS Body and Mind Botanicals is a single-estate producer of cannabis for CBD oils, honey and tea – and we’re giving one reader the chance to win six months’ worth of tea


T’S BEEN SOMETHING of a marquee year for CBD products, hasn’t it? Once demonised, cannabis has seen its standing vastly improved, thanks to more education about the purported health benefits one can glean from consuming the cannabidiol extracted from it. And it’s time you got involved. Luckily for you, Body and Mind Botanicals produces cannabis tea with a difference. As the only European company to harvest its particular strain of plant, B&M makes tea with a fresh flavour and packed full of CBD goodness, as well as the legal amount of THC allowed in the UK. The idea for the company came when founder Michael Fitzgerald was researching therapy for Multiple Sclerosis, something a close family member of his suffered with. It was

during this period of research that Michael learned how CBD can help with sleep and other ailments. Frustrated with misinformation and lack of product quality while trying to purchase CBD oils, Fitzgerald spent 12 months extensively investigating cannabis and CBD before setting up the company. As both a grower and producer, the company is able to pack its tea full of buds from the plant. The tea is available in loose leaf and individual biodegradable teabags as well as a zesty peppermint flavour. To see how to win six months’ worth, see right. ● For more information go to bodyandmind



Fancy seeing what all the hype about cannabis tea is about? We’re offering you the chance to win six months’ worth of Body and Mind Cannabis Tea. That’s one pouch of tea per week for six months. You’ll have the option to choose between loose-leaf tea, individual biodegradable tea bags and peppermint tea bags. All you’ve got to do is select your tea of choice; Body and Mind will then send you a pouch every week for six months. Sounds good, right? To be in with a chance to win simply visit






Looking to upgrade your chiffonade skills? We’ve teamed up with Savernake Knives to offer you the chance to make your own bespoke knife at the brand’s workshop


INCE OPENING ITS first workshop in 2016, an impressive premises nestled on the edge of the Savernake Forest in the West Country, Savernake Knives has been focused on one thing, and one thing alone: creating the perfect knife. Through a combination of the finest materials known to man, a host of modern innovations and a smattering here and there of traditional craft, it looks like Savernake’s tireless pursuit might just have paid off. Not only has the brand succeeded at producing a near-flawless range of both specialist and classic knives, but they’ve managed to do it by ripping up the knifemaking rulebook. Eschewing the typical design process of working from the ground up in favour of an approach that put the user front of mind, founders Laurie


Timpson and Philip Shaw started at the chopping board and worked their way back from there. It’s that Savernake ethos of always asking questions, always innovating and always pushing its processes forward that separates the company from the other tools out there. When it comes to questions like: what makes the cleanest cut possible; what makes a knife fit just so in your hand; and what turns any ingredient to butter? The answer is dedication, something that Savernake Knives – a brand that’s taken one of mankind’s oldest crafts, and brought right into the 21st century – has in spades. ● For more information visit



Fancy getting a hold of a Savernake knife of your very own creation? We’ve got just the competition for you. One lucky winner will be guided through a bespoke service (worth £950) – either at Savernake’s Sawmill workshop on the edge of the Savernake Forest or remotely – and shown the entire knife-making process. So, whether you’ve already got an idea of what your dream knife looks like or arrive with a completely blank slate, Savernake will work with you to design your perfect kitchen knife. For a full list of T&Cs and to enter, go to



Photograph by (hero image) Patrick Williamson; (knife glow-

ing) Sean Ebsworth Barnes; (knife on wood) Savernake Knives




We’re keen to find out more about you, our loyal readers. All we’re asking of you is to head to our website and fill out a quick reader survey. The best part? One lucky respondent will win a prize featuring some of our favourite alcohol brands. Head online to find out more. FDSM.CO/READER-SURVEY


1 ROYALLY GOOD: Rumour has it that cherries were first introduced to England by order of King Henry VIII. Henry had developed a predilection for the fruits after tasting them in Flanders and decided he loved them so much that they should be specially shipped and cultivated on British shores.

2 PIES AND LOWS: Although this frankly bizarre law has since become defunct, it was once deemed illegal to serve ice cream on cherry pie in Kansas on a Sunday.

3 GOUT OUT: Some studies have shown that cherry juice concentrate could potentially help cure gout thanks to its high levels of vitamin C. While drinking tart cherry juice twice a day has been proven in some cases to temporarily lower the body’s blood uric acid levels, it’s also far from a foolproof cure. Sorry, Henry.

Photograph by Getty/JBfotoblog

Whether placed on top of an ice cream sundae or freshly plucked from an orchard, the cherry is a fruity flavour bomb, destined to stain at least one of your white t-shirts


THE UNEXPECTED WHISKY Available from Waitrose


Available from Waitrose @JBRarewhisky

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Foodism - 36 - The Gin Issue