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ISSN 2397-1975

L O N D O N , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E

Waitrose & Partners No.1 Beef & Chianti Tortelloni with a serving of Sage Butter & Aged Parmigiano Reggiano Tender shin of beef, slow-cooked in a rich stock with shallots, leeks and a generous splash of Chianti.

Waitrose & Partners No.1 Beef & Chianti Tortelloni with a serving of Sage Butter & Aged Parmigiano Reggiano 295g, ÂŁ7.50, ÂŁ2.60/100g. Selected stores. Subject to availability. Minimum online spend applies. Prices may vary in Channel Islands, Little Waitrose & Partners and concessions. Serving suggestion shown.

FRONT COVER: Photography by Ian Dingle


ISSN 2397-1975


Ally Head



Lydia Winter BEER EDITOR



Ben the Illustrator, Ian Dingle, Josh Barrie, Lauren Bravo, Nick Savage, Richard H Turner EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Jon Hawkins


Matthew Hasteley


Annie Brooks, Emly Black JUNIOR DESIGNER

Matthew Franklin VIDEOGRAPHER

O’Shaya Dawkins PRINTING


Mark Hedley


Alex Watson


Charlotte Gibbs


Ellen Cook, Francesca Neal, Jake Evans, Jason Lyon, Lewis McClymont, Lily Barclay, Matt Lincoln, Rhianne Cochrane MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Melissa van der Haak MARKETING & EVENTS

Kate Rogan


Amber Ahmad, Emily Fulcher LEAD DEVELOPER

AJ Cerqueti


Matt Clayton


Steve Cole FINANCE

Jess Gunning, Jenny Thomas OFFICE MANAGER

Caroline Walker CEO


Tom Kelly OBE

foodism uses paper from sustainable sources


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don’t really do ‘quick’ cooking. Even midweek, I can’t help it: I put a podcast on, lay my ingredients out on the kitchen table and really luxuriate in the simple but sacred act of cooking a meal. I have a great time, too, although my girlfriend inevitably gets hangry when we don’t eat till 8:50pm. It’s not perfect, but it works. The point is, here at foodism, we believe that cooking isn’t something to be endured; it’s something to be savoured. That’s why instead of tips for weeknight meals that take no time at all, we tend to source ambitious recipes from heavyweight chefs and cookbook authors that aim to bring some of the enjoyment of eating in a city like London into the home kitchens of you, our loyal readers. This issue, though, we’re flipping the script a bit. In this year’s home cooking special, speed seems to be the name of the game. That’s certainly true for Josh Barrie on page 48, for example: he talks to some of the city’s best-loved chefs and restaurateurs about just what it is they cook at home when time is the one thing that’s lacking. And in an effort to bring you even more tricks of the trade, we surveyed some of the finest cookbook writers on page 40, too, covering everything from nailing a delicious dinner in half an hour to teaching kids to cook food that’s genuinely exciting and ambitious, or industry legend Fergus Henderson on how well (and how simply) you can eat if you just trust the ingredients you’re cooking with. Even Lauren Bravo is getting in on the act on page 54, swapping long hours of proving sourdough for a breadmaker and using the time she saved to, well, scope out more bread. Naturally. It all goes to show that while slow and steady wins the race sometimes, the time-conscious Londoner can still eat incredibly well even against the clock. Although you’ll forgive me if I still break out the old weekday ritual now and again.

L O N D O N , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E
































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— PART 1 —




This month: MOMO Kombucha What is it?


When it comes to television to get your teeth into, it’s reality cooking competitions that win Lucas Oakeley over



to develop your own culinary smarts is another reason I find these cooking shows so appealing. They’re actually… useful. All you need to do is look at the various office bakeoffs going on across the country right now to get a gauge of just how influential these primetime programmes are. And anything that’s able to motivate Craig from accounts to try out something new in the kitchen can’t be doing much harm in my eyes. The Great British Bake Off, for my money, is the pick of the bunch and has seen some exceptional talents come through the hallowed tent over the years. Nadiya Hussein is now a household name and the likes of Edd Kimber, Ruby Tandoh and many others have also seen themselves experience huge success in their respective fields. Unlike Love Island – which, as entertaining as it is, seems to be little more than some kind of grad scheme for influencers – cooking competitions favour talent and effort over drama or storyline. They’re safe spaces where Joey Essex can receive a meaty pat on the back from a grinning Gregg Wallace for a misguided attempt at fusion cuisine. And, when you boil it all down, isn’t that what cooking is all about? f

Who makes it?

Husband and wife Josh and Lisa Puddle, who discovered and fell in love with kombucha – but not the ultra-processed kind – while on holiday in New York. Back in London, they began brewing their own, and so MOMO was born. What does it taste like?

It’s got a bit of kick, but that bite is how you know team MOMO are serious when they say they’re preserving those sweet, sweet probiotics. Choose from turmeric, tropical, and ginger and lemon – the latter being our favourite thanks to the acidity of Peruvian ginger. Where can I get it?

MOMO HQ is a small brewery in New Covent Garden Market, Battersea, where the team brew and bottle everything by hand. Get your mitts on a bottle at Brixton’s Wholefoods health food shop, Surbiton’s Sages Health Store, and in a number of bars, cafés and gyms across London or online at Photograph (The Final Table) via Netflix; (MoMo) Ben Marshall

EEING AS THIS is foodism’s home cooking issue, I’ve got a confession to make: I’m really into reality TV cooking competitions. Probably an unhealthy amount. You can keep your intense Nordic dramas and your six-part docu-series about twisted serial killers – give me a frazzled 30-something whisking like their life depends on it any day of the week. They’re the television equivalent of comfort food, something warm and mindless that you can let wash over you after a hard day’s work, but they also present a concept so antithetical to the inherently compassionate nature of cooking that I can’t help but get sucked into each individual narrative. Whether it’s the high-end culinary skills on show in the likes of Netflix’s The Final Table or the overwhelming naffness of Celebrity MasterChef, there’s something I find entrancing about getting a load of strangers to cook in direct competition with one another. Watching Joey Essex fabricate a stirotto (a cross between a stir fry and risotto) and serve it up to a salivating Gregg Wallace might not be the height of prestige television, but it’s at least a nice way to make you feel good about your own skills in the kitchen. That chance

The UK’s only small-batch, 100% glassbrewed organic kombucha. As well as being organic, natural and unfiltered, what makes this ‘booch unique is the fact that it’s brewed in glass bottles in small batches, avoiding the possibility of nasty chemicals leaking from the brewing vessel – a process that makes it stand out in the now-crowded kombucha market. On top of that, the team cold press their own organic juices to create unique flavours.




Organic veg stalwarts Riverford first set up shop in 1987 and paved the way for sustainable businesses and the fruit and veg delivery industry, taking produce from the family-run farm in Devon direct to your door. Many moons ago, the company’s first order dropped off a mere 30 boxes to friends; now, it delivers 45,000 boxes a week. There are a variety of products on offer, but the veg box is still the star of the show, starting from £11.75 a box.



Oddbox’s ethos is simple: to save produce deemed ‘not uniform enough’ for supermarkets from becoming food waste. Co-founders Deepak Ravindran and Emilie Vanpoperinghe launched the business after discovering that a third of food produced globally is wasted. Plus, fun fact: one large delivery box saves 8kgs of CO2 and 1,803 litres of water.



All of Pikt’s food is ethically sourced and certified organic by the Soil Association. But what really sets this newcomer apart is that it offers the only delivery box service in the UK with the plastic-free Trust Mark. Still on the fence? Pikt also does next-day delivery (through DPD, which is on the way to becoming carbon neutral) and you can choose exactly what vegetables you want. Nice.


Copper & Ink chef-patron Tony Rodd on giving up architecture for restaurants


NEVER WANTED TO be a chef. Cooking for me was always a way to relax. From a young age I always wanted to be an architect. I was creatively minded, but with a good understanding of maths. It seemed like a natural path and and I worked in an industry

didn’t take this time to explore the industry, I may never have the chance again, so I packed up my job in the city and became a chef. My architectural experience has been great in the kitchen. We always get compliments on the presentation of the dishes – I sketch out all the plates in the design stage, so my artistic experience comes in really handy. When we opened Copper & Ink, all the interior design and architecture was thought out and designed by myself and my partner Becky Cummings. Just because I’m now a chef doesn’t mean I’ve lost my business acumen. For now – however – it’s my cooking that I continue to work on. f

Photograph (Pikt) Isaac Newman


I loved for 20 years. In 2014 I was looking for my next adventure. One evening, over a dinner party at my house, a group of friends suggested I entered MasterChef. I went with the same relaxed attitude I do to most things; I practiced, but I had fun and didn’t take it too seriously – I’d be going back to my day job afterwards. But 24 episodes later and I found myself cooking in the final. After the show, I went back to work but my phone started to ring with offers to cook across the country. Over the next few months I took on private catering jobs, cooking demonstrations for festivals and markets, and various other opportunities. I decided that if I

THE WINNERS... This year’s Positive Change Hero is Life Kitchen founder Ryan Riley, whose school helps hundreds of people suffering with cancer through hands-on cooking classes



For those suffering with cancer or in the process of undergoing chemotherapy treatment, the change in their sense of smell can be heartbreaking. Many report a heightened salty or metallic taste, while for some, their sense of taste disappears entirely. For Riley, this meant watching his mother withdraw from social situations that included food and lose her love of eating. Life Kitchen isn’t about health or healing, but finding food happiness and nourishing the soul through dishes that genuinely taste good. The focus at the workshops is on experiment and enjoyment; he wants his guests to learn how to make food that’ll make their days that bit better. Some dishes focus


on stronger umami tones; a few include mint and horseradish, to trigger the trigeminal nerve between the eyes, nose and mouth. It’s a family-run affair – Ryan’s dad is the MD and his sisters are the admin and account executives, but they’ve far from gone it alone: alongside the celebrity support, Riley worked with Professor Barry Smith who co-directs the Centre for the Study of Senses to develop recipes using scientifically proven formulas. WHERE CAN I FIND HIM?

Riley teaches guests free of charge alongside his best friend and co-founder Kimberley Duke, who also lost her mother to cancer at a young age, at their Sunderland workshop. f; @lifekitchen

Photograph by (Riley) Chris Ord


After losing his mother Krista to small-cell lung cancer four years ago, 25-year-old Ryan Riley was inspired to set up Life Kitchen, a charity offering free UK-wide cookery classes and food events for people living with cancer. The idea, a first of its kind at the time, came to him after seeing her lose her sense of taste while battling the disease. Riley was a self-taught food writer and stylist but when a tweet explaining the concept of Life Kitchen went viral last year, Riley suddenly found himself being contacted by the likes of Nigella Lawson, Sue Perkins and Jamie Oliver all offering their support. Within a week of his initial social media post, his GoFundMe page had raised over £10,000.


E M IL E 26 Curtain Road, EC2A 3NY

Feeling hungry? We have good news: there’s a whole host of new restaurants in London waiting for you

Old Street

From the old restaurant director of Petersham Nurseries and landlord of muchloved London gastropub the Drapers Arms comes Emile, a new Shoreditch pop-up. It’ll fill the space left by Rok on Curtain Road and focus on local, seasonal produce, hands-on cooking and seriously sexy wines. Think pecorino paired with pear, pumpkin and speck, and venison loin with kalibos cabbage, plum and thyme. Clear your diaries quick – it’s only there for six months.

TONKOTSU New Inn Yard, 1 Anning Street, E1 6HU Shoreditch High Street

As if you needed any more reason to stuff your face with salty, warming noodles at Tonkotsu, the chain has just opened its 11th branch in sunny Shoreditch. Expect all the classic Tonkotsu dishes, plus a signature Shoreditch dish for you to feast on. The must-try, of course, is the ramen: made traditionally and cooked for exactly 32 seconds for that perfect bite. Drool.

S U S SEX 63-64 Frith Street, W1D 3JW

Tottenham Court Road

If you’re a Londoner who’s into their food, you’ve likely heard of the Gladwin brothers, the sibling trio behind The Shed, Rabbit and Nutbourne. This autumn, get set for the fourth restaurant in the group which, surprisingly, won’t be serving sharing plates like the others. Instead, it’ll open its doors in the old Arbutus site in Soho, serving food fresh from the family farm in Sussex, foraged finds from nearby woodland and wines from its family vineyard. It’s a family affair – and one you’ll definitely want to bag a table at, for the hand-dived scallops and blood pudding alone.





The Fairtrade Foundation has been going for a whopping quarter of a century. During that time, it estimates it has generated €1bn in Fairtrade Premium globally – which means €1bn-worth of produce where farmers receive a fair price for their products.

This absolutely incredible achievement was duly celebrated with a Fair Feast at Borough Market in early October. Food came from longtime Fairtradesupporting chefs including Martin Morales of Ceviche, Zoe Adjonyoh of Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, sustainability pioneer Tom Hunt and Allegra McEvedy of Albertine.

From 6-9 November, LA cocktail bar The House of Machines is taking over Mark’s Bar for a four-day event series comprised of cocktails, tastings and a bloody big party to bring their creative drinks to London. In partnership with Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, this

takeover will see mixologists Bad Birdy and Rudi de Vos flying in to take up residency behind the bar at Hixter.



8 Charlotte Street, Fitzrovia, W1T 2LS

2-3 Stoney Street, SE1 9AA London Bridge Photograph by (Norma interior) Milo Brown; (Norma food) Kris Kirkham; (Bulleit) Jade Nina Sarkhel

From the owners of cult Neal’s Yard porridge spot 26 Grains comes shiny new Stoney Street. Situated on Borough Market’s (who’d have thought it) Stoney Street, the team will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner plates using the best local and seasonal ingredients. Henrietta Inman, formerly of Leyton’s Yardarm, is heading up the kitchen, confirming that this spot is a must-try. Don’t miss the fresh pastries, seasonal tarts and local wines, available to take away from the front window hatch.


incubator for food start-ups run by refugees, supported by The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network. The first beneficiary is Muzaffar Sadykov, Uzbekistani refugee, chef and founder of Oshpa, which specialises in plov – a traditional dish of rice, vegetables and mutton you can now eat at his stall at Mercato. See you there.

OR E N 89 Shacklewell Lane, E8 2EB Dalston Junction

Oded Oren has been here, there and everywhere in London this year, popping up with his Mediterranean-Israeli fusion fare, and now his much-loved grub will be served from a permanent location in Dalston. If you’re in for ox cheek with hummus, and hake kebabs slathered in sheep’s yoghurt, get yourself on the Overground asap.



Elephant & Castle’s Mercato Metropolitano is pretty great, isn’t it? Firstly, it’s home to brilliant traders dishing up all sorts of tasty grub, but it’s doing loads of vital work in the local community, too. Its latest venture is Food Without Borders, an

Goodge Street

Does the sound of antipasti, fresh grilled fish and homemade focaccia inspired by Sicily and served in a converted Fitzrovia townhouse tickle your fancy? Ben Tish knows you all too well, as this is exactly what new launch Norma is offering. Located on Charlotte Street, it’s got Italian grand café vibes, plus all the moreish ingredients and drinks you’d expect – including a great selection of Sicilian marsala, passito and limoncello. Who needs a holiday, anyway?

Negronis are tasty. Negronis are really tasty. Negronis are also strong, though, and we’re sure we aren’t the only ones to fall foul of one too many. Enter the NOgroni, an alcohol-free take on our favourite aperitif from Seedlip. It’s made up of Seedlip Spice 94, Aecorn

Bitter and Aecorn Aromatic, and it comes in a pre-mixed bottle, available at Selfridges. Job done.


THE HIDEAWAY The Hoxton Southwark combines a strong sense of the brand’s signature style with plenty of references to SE1. It’s a great bet for a special stay, finds Ally Head What to eat?

What else?

The newest addition to the ever-expanding Hoxton empire has landed in Southwark and it’s every bit as slick, chic and richly rooted in local history as its eight siblings. Take the lift to the 14th floor and you’re greeted by breathtaking 360° views of Borough and London Bridge from the rooftop restaurant Seabird, or snuggle up in a bedroom designed by some of London’s top creatives. Expect signature Hoxton décor with a bit of a Southwark twist – exposed brick walls, plush plum velvet headboards, pastel Roberts radios and artwork curated by nearby gallery, Jealous.

The hotel boasts two hotly tipped restaurants, Seabird for glitzy fine dining, and Albie for all-day Italian-slash-French fusion food. At the former, we tucked into chimichurri lobster, chilli-dusted fries and the already Insta-famous polpo brioche roll, its sweet squid tentacle grilled to perfection and topped with salty padron peppers and sobrassada mayonnaise. Downstairs at Albie, it’s all about handmade pastas, freshly baked focaccia and charcuterie boards which are served effortlessly in a buzzing, bustling environment perfect for coffee dates and agile working days.

Attention to detail is next level – books in the rooms are selected by Hox Friends to add local personality; the mini fridge is piled high with locally sourced, independent products; and you get a free daily breakfast bag delivered to your room full of the same. A mix of bespoke and antique furniture gives the month-old hotel the air of having been established for years. Don’t leave without toasting over a Toucan Do-It cocktail on the roof – a spicy blend of tequila, mango, cinnamon and aji pepper served in an effervescent yellow ceramic toucan glass. Rooms from £139; f

After some inspiration for how to eat and drink your way around London? Head to and take a look at our restaurant and bar reviews, features and more…



◆ Address: 40 Blackfriars

Road, SE1 8PB ◆ Rooms: 192

◆ Event spaces: The

Apartment, with six rooms and a kitchen. ◆ Nearest station: Southwark.

Photograph (dining room) by Robert Rieger

What’s the draw?

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Effortless Culinary Creativity

Discover the world of the Cook Expert Visit the magimix website: @magimixUK @magimixUK



Alison Roman’s Nothing Fancy is an unfussy cookbook that’ll take your dinner-party preparation to the next level PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL GRAYDON & NIKOLE HERRIOTT


INNER PARTIES ARE capable of filling the stomach of even the most confident home cook with a sense of impending doom. Having all your nearest and dearest round for a few drinks and a spot of food always sounds like a great idea – who doesn’t love an evening where your entire journey home consists of stumbling from the kitchen back to your bed? – but manufacturing a menu that’ll cater to everyone’s desires is anything but easy. One mate’s trying on a plant-based diet for size, another doesn’t eat simple carbohydrates, and you’re already

sweating through the swish outfit you bought especially for the occasion… Thankfully, Alison Roman’s Nothing Fancy is a cookbook designed just for those kind of nights. Need a faff-free recipe that’s still guaranteed to have everyone scramble for their smartphones? She’s got you covered. Famous for her Insta-friendly recipes that taste just as good as they look, Roman’s garnered a loyal global following for good reason. Have a go at cooking any of her recipes and you might just find yourself converted to the Roman way of life... f




Photograph by ###

Magimix is passionate about great food, and the solutions to make everyone’s lives simpler in the kitchen. Since inventing the food processor more than 40 years ago, Magimix has become a must-have in kitchens, making light work of meal prep and transforming the lives of families, aspiring cooks and professional chefs.

The entire Magimix Food Processor, Cooking Food Processor and Blender ranges have been awarded the Quiet Mark, further cementing Magimix’s superiority in the kitchen. Magimix products are built better to last longer – a statement strengthened by the 30-year motor guarantee on its processors. Find out more at



Preparation ◆◆ 10 mins


◆◆ 30 mins

Serves ◆◆ 4-6

Alison Roman’s

TAHINI CARROTS Carrots are joined in the roasting pan with lightly pickled onions and a drizzle of maple to create a sweet, sticky veg dish topped with tahini for added wow factor


OASTED CARROTS ARE sweet enough that they don’t really need much help in that department, but I still like adding maple syrup or honey when roasting because I love how they get all shiny and sticky,” says Roman. “The perfect thing to do here is to channel the powers of an excellent PB&J and smear a bit of seasoned nutty tahini sauce (the ‘peanut butter’, naturally) on the bottom of the plate, then eat those sticky carrots with some jammy, roasted citrus slices (the ‘jelly’, of course). To keep things decidedly savoury, the carrots are also roasted with red onion that has taken a bath in lemon juice, because the only thing better than a roasted onion is a roasted pickled onion.”


1 Preheat the oven to 215°C. 2 Toss the onion and lemon juice in a small


bowl. Season with salt and pepper and leave for 8-10 minutes to lightly pickle. 3 Drain the onion, discarding the liquid. On a baking tray, toss the onion with the carrot, orange, chillies, maple syrup and olive oil. Roast, tossing occasionally until the carrot and citrus slices are totally tender and caramelised at the ends (25-30 minutes). 4 Meanwhile, combine the tahini and water in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. 5 Spoon some of the tahini sauce on the bottom of a large serving platter or plate and top with the carrots, onion and citrus. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve the remaining tahini sauce alongside. DO AHEAD: Carrots and citrus can be roasted a few hours ahead and kept loosely wrapped until ready to serve (no need to reheat). Tahini sauce can be made one week ahead and refrigerated in a sealed container. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 1 small or ½ medium red onion,

peeled and cut into 1cm wedges ◆◆ 2 tbsp lemon or lime juice, plus

extra to taste ◆◆ Kosher salt and ground black pepper ◆◆ 450g small carrots, leafy tops

removed, scrubbed, then quartered lengthways ◆◆ 1 small, unpeeled blood orange, tangerine or lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed ◆◆ 4 chiles de árbol, lightly crushed, or ½ tsp chilli flakes ◆◆ 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey ◆◆ 60ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling ◆◆ 60g tahini ◆◆ 3 tbsp water

Alison Roman’s


This fresh new way to serve scallops sees the succulent shellfish seared then paired with lively citrus flavours and beans to soak up all the punchy juices



◆◆ 20 mins


◆◆ 15 mins


◆◆ 4-6


CALLOPS ARE EXPENSIVE,” says Roman, “so I prefer to sweeten the deal with something affordable – in this instance cannellini beans and tomatillos. I think of this dish as a sort of one-pan meal, but if you want, serve with tortillas or rice.”


Photographs by Michael Graydon

1 Combine the tomatillo, tangerine, chilli, shallot, lime juice and 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper and set aside. 2 Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Heat the canola oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium–high heat. Working in batches, add the scallops and, using a spatula, press lightly to make good contact with the pan. Sear until deeply browned, about 3 minutes per side. 3 Transfer the scallops to a large plate or serving platter. Without wiping the pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the beans and Aleppo pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until the beans have soaked up all that scallop-y business, about 4 minutes or so. 4 Transfer the tomatillo and citrus to a large serving platter and top with the beans, scallops and coriander. Drizzle everything with a little more olive oil before serving. DO AHEAD: Citrus and tomatillos can be cut a few hours ahead. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 4 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and

thinly sliced

◆◆ 2 tangerines or small oranges,

peeled, thinly sliced, seeds removed

◆◆ 1 small green or red chilli, thinly

sliced, seeds removed for less heat if you like ◆◆ 1 small shallot, thinly sliced ◆◆ 2 tbsp lime juice, plus extra to taste ◆◆ 6 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling ◆◆ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ◆◆ 1kg scallops, side muscles removed ◆◆ 2 tbsp canola oil ◆◆ 425g tin of white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans, drained and rinsed ◆◆ 2 tsp Aleppo pepper, or 1 tsp dried chilli flakes ◆◆ 1 handful of coriander, tender leaves and stems


Introducing the Magimix Cook Expert, the multifunctional cooking food processor.

Alison Roman’s

SMASHED SWEET POTATOES Double cooked to maximise flavour, these potatoes come with lime sour cream for a sweet/sour hit


Preparation ◆◆ 10 mins


◆◆ 60 mins

Serves ◆◆ 4-6


With 12 dedicated programmes and a 30 year motor guarantee, this state of the art new machine will make everyday meals with ease, as well as more elaborate dishes.

OLLOWING IN THE footsteps of crispy smashed potatoes, the potatoes in this dish are also twice cooked,” Roman says, “but with different results – because a sweet potato, after all, is not a regular potato. Less crispy than its starchy friend, this is more about the creamy interior than it is the crispy exterior. You can, of course, use larger sweet potatoes, but the final product will probably not be quite as adorable as this one.”


1 Preheat the oven to 200°C. 2 Using a fork, prick the sweet potatoes all over, so they don’t explode in the oven (which can happen). Place directly on an oven rack and bake for 50-60 minutes until totally tender. Remove from the oven to cool. 3 Meanwhile, combine the sour cream and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. The mixture should taste fairly tart and salty. Smear on the bottom of a serving platter. 4 Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, use the palm of your hand to crush them slightly. 5 Heat the olive oil and butter in a large


skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add the sweet potatoes, pressing lightly to make contact with the pan. Season with salt and pepper and cook until lightly crisped and browned on one side, which should take around 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until browned and crisped on the other side. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the serving platter and repeat with any stragglers. 6 Without wiping out the pan, add the maple syrup and cook for about 2 minutes until it has thickened and is starting to caramelise. Drizzle all over the sweet potatoes. Top with the buckwheat, thyme and lots of flaky salt. DO AHEAD: The sweet potatoes can be baked up to 5 days ahead of when you want to serve, and kept covered and refrigerated. f

INGRE DIE NTS ◆ 750g small sweet potatoes ◆ 250g sour cream

◆ 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice ◆ Kosher salt and freshly ground black


◆ 2 tbsp olive oil

◆ 90g unsalted butter

◆ 80ml pure maple syrup

◆ 45g toasted buckwheat groats


◆ 2 tbsp thyme leaves ◆ Flaky sea salt

GET TH E BOOK Nothing Fancy by Alison Roman (published by Hardie Grant, £22) is available now.



Join the Cook Expert community Facebook Group: Cook Expert UK – Magimix


Alison Roman’s


Gently crushed blackberries are swirled into a lightly sweetened cake batter to produce a grown-up bake that lets the flavour of the fruit really shine through


“ WOULD CALL THIS a ‘snacking cake’

I N GREDI EN TS ◆◆ 125g unsalted butter, melted, plus

softened butter for greasing and serving ◆◆ 600g fresh blackberries, raspberries or blueberries ◆◆ 75g white sugar, plus an extra 2 tablespoons ◆◆ 150g plain flour ◆◆ 110g medium-grind yellow cornmeal ◆◆ 2 tsp baking powder ◆◆ 45g light brown sugar ◆◆ 1 tsp kosher salt ◆◆ 2 large eggs ◆◆ 125ml buttermilk ◆◆ 60ml canola oil ◆◆ Good quality honey (optional)

rather than a true dessert cake, which to me implies that it’s a lightly sweetened situation, made for nibbling and coffee drinking. If you like cornbread but wish it were sweeter and less crumbly, maybe studded with lots of sweet-tart crushed berries, then you will absolutely love this. And hey, if not, you’ll probably still love it.”


1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 23cm round cake tin with softened butter or non-stick cooking spray. 2 Place the blackberries and the extra 2 tablespoons white sugar in a medium bowl. Using your hands or a fork, crush the berries just to break them up a little bit and release their juices. 3 Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder,

brown sugar, salt and 75g of the white sugar in a medium bowl. 4 Whisk the eggs and buttermilk together in another medium bowl or measuring jug. Whisk into the dry ingredients until just barely combined, then add the melted butter and the oil, whisking until no obvious lumps or dry spots remain. Add half the crushed berries and gently fold, encouraging the streaking of juices. 5 Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and scatter the top with the remaining berries and their juices. Bake until the edge of the cake starts to pull away from the side of the tin and is turning a nice deep golden brown (45-50 minutes). Let the cake cool slightly before eating with some nice honey and softened butter, if you like. TIP: Best eaten in the first 48 hours. Keep wrapped tightly at room temperature. f



◆◆ 20 mins


◆◆ 50 mins


◆◆ 8-10

Photograph by ###



Effortless Culinary Creativity

Discover the world of the Cook Expert Visit the magimix website: @magimixUK @magimixUK

WEAPONS OF CHOICE Upgrade your kitchen with two design classics and some seriously smart coffee-making kit PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON


C OOL IT SMEG FAB38, £1,899 A new sizing of a bona fide design classic, the FAB38 fits in the middle of Smeg’s iconic range of fridges. Sleek, efficient and with some cool extra features, too.

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ROUND THE B LE ND KITCHENAID VELVET BLUE DIAMOND BLENDER, £149 A sumptuous new colourway, exclusive to cookware specialist Harts of Stur, sees the iconic Kitchenaid range reinvented. This blender will handle everything you throw at it.


M IST E R F R OT HY JURA COOL CONTROL MILK CHILLER, £189 This add-on to Jura’s range of brilliant coffee machines will have you creating a range of speciality coffees from the comfort of your kitchen in next to no time.




We couldn’t have done it without you Thanks to all of our sponsors including: JFOODO, Merchant’s Heart, House of Suntory, Kirin Ichiban, Japan Centre, FIJI Water and Nobu Hotel Shoreditch. Extra-special thanks to Raul Diaz, our tireless host and Japan Week ambassador; Estelle and the team at Nobu Hotel Shoreditch; Natasha and the team at Sexy Fish; Ben and the team at Hedonism Wines; Martin and the team at M Restaurants; Kate and the team at Ametsa; Tom Wilson and the team at Kanpai; Scott Hallsworth from Freak Scene; Frank and the team at Truman’s; Sam, Charlotte and the team at Beavertown; Asami at World Sake; Bruce and the team at Marussia Beverages; the Akashi Sake Brewery; the Soto Sake Corporation; and finally to the 200+ restaurants who took part in Japan Week and our guests at the events and diners at the restaurants. Japan Week will return from 28 September-4 October 2020. Find out more at


Our inaugural Japan Week celebration, sponsored by JFOODO, saw almost 200 venues across London get together for a celebration of the food, drink and culture of Japan across ten fun-packed days. Here’s a look at the best of the action

Photograph by (Bottle, fire and canapes) Phil Trout; (others) DB Photography;

PICTURE THIS: [clockwise from top left] Fire eaters at the Japan Week opening party at Nobu London Shoreditch; delicious sushi from our sake and seafood lunch at Sexy Fish in Mayfair; Instagrammer and influencer Kate Ovens at Sexy Fish; sake poured at Sexy Fish; sake sommelier and Japan Week ambassador Raul Diaz; premium sake on ice at Hedonism Wines; diners sip sake at our exclusive dinner at M Threadneedle; delicious dishes at our Ametsa collaboration dinner



Now that Japan Week, sponsored by JFOODO, is over, we feel it's time to look back at what we learned along the way. Namely just how great sake is at pairing with seafood


E ALL KNOW that wine and food go together like salt and pepper but we’ve recently discovered that sake is just as quality a partner for food. Especially seafood. Yes, seafood and sake is a match made in heaven. That really shouldn't be a surprise when you consider that sake comes from a country literally surrounded and shaped by the ocean. This isn't just about history and culture, though – it's also about science. For those of you that don’t already know:


sake is a Japanese alcohol made from rice, water, yeast, and an important fungus called koji. It’s one of the oldest alcohols in the world, believed to have been first served in 4,800 BC in China, and has been a mainstay of Japanese drinking culture ever since. Like a good bottle of wine in Italy, a good sake in Japan is never too hard to find. Sake has around five times as much amino acid as you’ll find in wine, which works in particular harmony with seafood's umami flavour profile. Unlike

wine, which can make fishier flavours seem overpowering as a result of its iron levels, sake contains little iron and no sulphuric acid, so the raw, fishy odours that some find a little off-putting in fresh seafood and fish are toned down with a sip of sake. Even the most ardent sushi detractor might find themselves enjoying a slice of sashimi when accompanied by a glass of sake. The sheer variety of sake – spanning from smooth, refreshing and aromatic serves to rich and aged –



WHAT A DUO: [from above] Both wine and sake pair well with acidic and salty dishes, but sake excels with umami flavours; the full range of Akashi-tai premium sake

makes it easy to find a perfect partner for any seafood dish. And not just Japanese food, either. Sake goes just as well with a piping hot plate of fish and chips as it does with a sultry slice or toro tuna. Yep, if you’ve never had a chilled glass of sake alongside some battered cod, you’ve never lived. We’d know, after all, having sampled lots of the fermented rice beverage over the course of Japan Week, sponsored by JFOODO, from 23 September to 3 October. Starting off with Akashi-tai's premium range of sake at the Japan Week launch party at Nobu Shoreditch. Akashi-tai is an artisan sake, handmade in small batches by master brewer Kimio Yonezawa and his trusted team, that specialises in a host of sake styles from honjozo to ginjo. Following that launch, we proceeded to spend the next ten days drinking some of the world’s very best sake at some of London’s very best restaurants. We learned that honjozo sakes pair beautifully with richer dishes with high levels of umami like mackerel pate, prawn risotto, and fish and mushroom pie. We also found out that ginjo and daiginjo sakes – floral, fruity and aromatic numbers – work great with dishes that have pronounced fish flavours like ceviche, Spanish cod croquettes and fish soup. We sampled plates of miso-glazed kalibos cabbage with cavolo nero, cobnut and miso aioli alongside a complimentary glass of sake spritz at Tredwells. We enjoyed a seafood and sake masterclass at Basque restaurant Ametsa. We even paid a visit to Clapham neighbourhood favourite, Bistro Union, where guest chef Yoshiko Wada whipped up a special menu designed for the occasion. ● Find out more about sake's food pairing potential at


— PART 2 —



NOW WE’RE COOKING... If you’re anything like us, you enjoy cooking food almost as much as you enjoy eating it. We asked some of our favourite chefs for their tips on how to easily elevate a home-cooked meal



Photograph by (Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery) Photograph Clare Winfield by ###

HILE WE’RE THE first people to say how much we love eating out, we also love eating in, whether that means putting together a simple meal just for us during the week, or a celebratory feast we’re putting on for friends and family. Of course, we know not everyone enjoys cooking as much as we do – the prospect of juggling times and ingredients and the risk of something going wrong can stop you from attempting anything more advanced than scrambling some eggs. But when it comes down to it, cooking is something that you do – in some shape or form – each and every day, so it makes sense to do it properly, and it can make a world of difference. Whether your skill level is closer to toasting pita breads, slow-cooking a bolognese or serving five courses of beautifully plated modern British cuisine, there are loads of things you can do to elevate your next home-cooked meal. We’ve enlisted a group of chefs and cookbook writers to bring us their top tips for whipping up a delicious meal in your very own kitchen. They’ve shared their advice on trusting ingredients and treating them properly, making sure you’re equipped with the right equipment, knowing the limits of your kitchen or your cooking – even something as simple as just giving a dish enough time for the flavours to develop. From making an impressive dinner in just 30 minutes to getting started with sourdough, here’s everything you need to take your home cooking one step further. Read on...

BAKE WELL: [left] A table of treats from master bakers Cutter & Squidge’s new cookbook


TRUST YOUR INGREDIENTS The inimitable Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver on letting raw materials do the work



Dishoom’s co-founder Naved Nasir on translating restaurant-quality meals to the home kitchen When we first talked about publishing Dishoom: From Bombay with Love, I really thought we’d have the final book in our hands in a matter of months. I had a whole binder of recipes in the Dishoom kitchen that I thought were ready and waiting to be published. As it turns out, I then went on a long and complicated journey and learnt it actually takes rather a lot of work to translate restaurant favourites into something a home cook can easily recreate. One of the biggest limitations we found is differences in equipment. Recreating breads proved to be a particularly tricky task when working with a domestic oven. The searing heat of the tandoor allows a restaurant naan to cook very quickly so it stays beautiful and soft while getting that deep, smoky flavour. Likewise, try as we might, it proved impossible to make our fluffy pau buns in a domestic oven. The answers? We did include a naan recipe, though we had to admit that they wouldn’t quite have the depth of flavour you’d get in Dishoom. However, if you happen to have a ceramic barbecue and a pizza stone (most lucky), you can use them to bake your naan – just make sure the barbecue is as hot as it can (safely!) be. As for the pau, we had to concede that a shopbought roll was the best substitute for mopping up keema and enveloping the deep-fried patties of the vada pau. This was a sad moment for us, but in the end we had to concede on this. Another important point for us was that the recipes should not only be achievable, but also enjoyable to cook at home. That meant ensuring the reader didn’t need to do any extra homework. We worked with Nicola Swift, a most trusted taste-tester, kitchen critic and home economist, who had very little prior knowledge of Indian cooking, so she approached the recipes with a beginner’s mind. That said, a little preparation from the reader is most welcome and sincerely encouraged. I do have a few top tips for first-time users of the Dishoom cookery book, or indeed any other culinary tome. Most importantly, readers should

Photograph by (The Book of St. JOHN) Jason Lowe; [Dishoom: From Bombay with Love) John Carey; (Naved) Jon Cottam

At St. JOHN we often say “simple isn’t easy,” by which we mean that it takes thoughtfulness to do simple things as there is nowhere to hide. Fear is a disaster when cooking – ingredients can sense your fear and misbehave. There are magical vibrations that shimmer back and forth between a cook and their ingredients, and tuning in to that magic is part of the joy of putting a meal together. Your dish will show the happiness, and your diners will sense that. It sounds like a hippy idea, but it’s true. If all else fails, a little wine can help wash the fear away. I am a great believer in genius loci – the spirit of place – by which I mean that things taste best when closest to the place from which they came. No one feels good after a long flight and the same is true for a tomato. Remember that nature writes our menu. Our short, sharp seasons are a miracle – just as we suffer a glut of one thing and begin to tire, whoosh! It’s all change, and something new and exciting appears instead. Tune in to your ingredients and work with their nature, rather than bullying them into submission. If the Great Chef in the Sky meant us to dice carrots, they would have made them square. When it comes to meat, hug your butcher! Butchers tend to look very huggable too, which helps. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, because you will be supporting someone who works hard and knows what they are doing, and can put bits aside for you. It’s no good going to the supermarket for slimy pink slabs wrapped in plastic – where is the joy in that? Your butcher should know where their animals come from and, crucially, what kind of a life they’ve led. That’s worth a hug, in our opinion. The Book of St. JOHN by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver is published by Ebury (£30)

DO IT QUICKLY Chef and author Rukmini Iyer on how to make an impressive 30-minute meal

familiarise themselves with preparatory recipes and cookery guidance before they begin. In the Dishoom book, for example, we recommend prepreparing the likes of the garam masala, tomato-onion paste and curry sauces – these provide the key building blocks of flavour in many of the subsequent recipes. In terms of ingredients, readers should hunt out the very best Indian spices they can find. Nowadays, there’s a wealth of online spice specialists, and with ever-expanding supermarket ranges and excellent local Indian groceries, finding the staple spices for Indian cooking is no longer such a challenge. If I had to give one piece of advice on spices, I’d say getting hold of the vibrant, warm deghi mirch chilli powder that’s in so many of our recipes is essential for the right flavour, and definitely try and find a reliable source of fresh curry leaves. They’re far better than dry, and they freeze well. Wherever you find them, ensure you’re not keeping your spices for too long – the flavours lose their vibrancy over time. Dishoom: From Bombay with Love by Shamil Thakrar, Kavi Thakrar & Naved Nasir is published by Bloomsbury Publishing (£26)


– Rukmini Iyer, The Roasting Tin

Timing is everything for a quick midweek dinner: what have you got in the fridge, what do you need to pick up on the way home – and most importantly, how quickly can you eat when you get in? My favourite method is to chop up a selection of healthy, fresh veg, and chuck it into a roasting tin along with grains, spices and perhaps a bit of salmon or chicken, because they’ll cook in 25 minutes,with no more effort from you than a bit of light chopping. To really elevate the dish, I’d make a sharp lime- or lemon-spiked dressing with olive oil, maybe a tiny bit of honey and or dijon mustard, and every chef’s secret, a tiny extra pinch of good sea salt flakes. Along with a handful of fresh herbs, it will lift whatever you’re making. I have a few store-cupboard essentials. For grains, orzo pasta or bulgur wheat cook in 25 minutes, uncovered, topped with stock and whatever fresh veg you have to hand. I always have lemons and limes for acidity, and garlic and ginger to finely grate into dressings or directly into your roasting tin for extra punches of flavour. Ideally a pot of creme fraiche should you need a more indulgent dinner, and packets of cooked puy lentils and tins of chickpeas or cannellini beans for extra protein in veggie dishes. If you’re having friends round, I think the most impressive thing you can do is pick an easy oven dish, but think about colour and texture as well as flavour, so when you bring your dish to the table it has real wow factor – without any more effort from you than chucking a tub of pomegranate seeds and fresh mint leaves over a Middle Eastern dish, finely sliced spring onions, coriander and peanuts over an East Asian dish, or finely chopped parsley, garlic, lemon zest & olive oil through a soup or casserole. And you’ll only have one dish to wash up. The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer is published by Vintage Publishing (£16.99)


GET THE KIDS INVOLVED Nutritionist Amanda Grant on how kids’ food doesn’t have to be childish



Sourdough specialist Michelle Eshkeri on why traditional baking is easier than you think Baking sourdough bread can be woven into the rhythm of any schedule. It is more forgiving than breads leavened with yeast, where the pace often demands action from beginning to end. It’s useful to find a recipe from a trusted source; a friend’s recipe or one from a book or the internet, and make the same recipe several times. Read more about the stages and process as the dough is being made; it is a skill learnt with the senses, by touch, smell and feel and the words used to describe the process will make more sense with context. Making bread in order to learn about bread will help you practice techniques and adjust timings each time to find a preferred crumb, crust and flavor. It can be an addictive process as one never quite gets to the end, there is always something else to try. A sourdough starter is not difficult to keep alive, but there are degrees of vitality. To bake with a neglected starter or one that has been in the fridge – a useful tool for those who don’t bake daily – it is important to restore it to full vigor with several refreshments for 1-2 days before using. Once the yeasts and bacteria have exhausted the nutrients in the flour it is necessary to take a small portion of the starter containing just enough cells to ferment the next portion of flour and make them work hard again. If the starter is ready, making the dough itself only takes a bit of time: to weigh the ingredients and mix it, perhaps some folds over several hours that take a minute or so each, and then some time to shape the loaf before it goes in the fridge until it is baked the next day. If called away, the dough can be popped in the fridge. If there’s no time for folds, mix the dough more at the start and reduce them. It’s as flexible as the baker needs it to be. No matter the skill level, it’s uniquely satisfying to make bread and the results of even the least successful attempts are nearly always delicious. Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri is published by White Lion (£22)

Photograph by (Modern Sourdough) Patricia Niven

Cooking vibrant meals for kids without dumbing them down can seem hard. Lucky for you, the team at The Silver Spoon have been tasting and testing to compile trusted Italian recipes in that are adapted for transforming children into budding cooks. Most love eating Italian food so it’s an easy place to start. These traditional Italian recipes have been handed down from generation to generation, so kids can imagine that they’re in a kitchen in Italy, learning how to cook the Italian way. Over the centuries, Italians have discovered exactly how to mix a few simple, good-quality ingredients to make meals that are full of flavour – an ethos it’s worth highlighting. For instance, you can make a delicious sauce for pasta with just a few basic items such as good-quality canned tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and a good olive oil. These recipes will help kids to learn the key skills and techniques used in any kitchen, and not just Italian ones: for example, they’ll learn how to use a small sharp knife (essential for doing some proper cooking), how to prepare vegetables, how to cook pasta, and even how to make their own pizza dough from scratch. Cooking isn’t just about making something good to eat: by following the recipes, children will practise some maths (measuring, sharing), reading (the recipes as well as lots of fun bits of information along the way), and geography, learning interesting facts about Italy. All the recipes in this book have been tested by children, so if your child is nine or ten or older, they should be able to follow most of the recipes by themselves. Then you can sit down and enjoy sharing the meal with family and friends – just the way they do it in Italy. The Silver Spoon for Children by Amanda Grant by Amanda Grant is published by Phaidon (£14.95)

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THE TAP THAT DOES IT ALL 100°C BOILING, CHILLED AND SPARKLING WATER With the new Quooker CUBE, you can now also dispense chilled and sparkling water from your Quooker tap. That means that a single tap gives you everything you need: 100°C boiling, hot, cold, chilled and sparkling water.

Limited offer-£99 install* Interested? visit or call 0345 833 3333.

*Usual price £295 Connection to existing services.

GIVE IT TIME Food writer and chef Jenny Linford on how timing can be a help, not a hindrance

Photograph by (Jenny Linford) Chris Windsor; (Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery) Clare Winfield

Time really is the universal, invisible ingredient in cooking. Using the right amount of time is key to a dish’s success. Some ingredients are all too easy to overcook – eggs, fish and pasta all leap to mind; an eye on the clock and precision are required for these. Other foods like home-made mayonnaise call for patience and not rushing. Cuts of meat such as ox cheeks or lamb shanks require long, slow, gentle cooking to transform the connective tissues and collagen into gelatine, adding a succulent richness. And time, of course, plays a vital transformative part in creating flavour during the process of creating fermented foods and drinks. One of the satisfactions of making your own kefir or kimchi at home is that you can adjust the time spent to produce the flavours and textures you prefer. Being careful to take enough time over certain cooking processes can make all the difference. When it comes to browning meat for a stew, for example, allow the meat to take on a good brown crust before turning it to colour another side – that magical Maillard reaction. Time spent at this stage – before simmering the stew for an hour or two – brings taste benefits. It’s not just meat that one should brown well. Frying onions is the first step for so many dishes and time spent doing this properly, stirring over a low heat until the onions have reached the required level of browning, enhances the flavour of the final dish. If you’re planning a dinner party, then it’s useful to know that dishes like curries or braises benefit from being made the day before, cooled, chilled and stored in the fridge overnight, allowing the flavours time to meld together. Rather than always looking for short-cuts, let’s embrace time in cooking and see it as a positive element which, used correctly, produces delicious results. The Missing Ingredient by Jenny Linford is published by Penguin (£10)


Cutter & Squidge founders Annabel and Emily Lui on creating visually exciting bakes without compromising on flavour


– Jenny Linford, The Missing Ingredient

If you’ve ever been to one of our stores, you’ll know that baking amazing cakes and biskies (Is it a cake? Is it a cookie? No, it’s better than both) is what we live for. Baking can be tricky but we’ve done our best to make it easy. Bear in mind that we’re self-taught so we can also teach you. The only important thing to note right at the start is that we don’t use masses of sugar in our cakes and also we only use natural flavourings. We use a lot of homemade jams, syrups and soaks, but don’t worry, because these are easy to make and they keep in the fridge. Anyone can bake, even in the tiniest London kitchen. It’s such a pleasure seeing your results and watching you invite your mates over to share. But there are some key rules if you’re going to make a good impression. First, you’ll need to measure everything exactly; guessing doesn’t cut it. Borrow some accurate kitchen scales if you don’t have any. Secondly, you’ll need the right kit, so if a recipe says you need a piping bag or a muffin pan, then that’s what you need. Don’t improvise! Once you’ve got your kit, your ingredients and your scales, it’s easy to make everything taste great and look fantastic. We use natural colourings like green spirulina, blueberry powder and beetroot to create vibrant colours, but you can use something simple like freeze-dried raspberry powder to make a pretty buttercream to top or surround your cake. Add a few fresh raspberries and you’ve got something amazing. Afternoon Tea at the Cutter & Squidge Bakery by Annabel and Emily Lui is published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99) f




FLASH IN THE PAN A simple speedy supper doesn’t have to mean cutting corners... Josh Barrie asks some of London’s finest chefs to share their go-to recipes for quick-fix feasting Illustrations by BEN THE ILLUSTRATOR



Photograph ### Photograph by by ###




HEFS ARE A proud bunch and most are happy to share with us their most triumphant, accomplished dishes. Such recipes need a degree of skill; all, a knowledge and understanding of ingredients and flavour beyond what most home cooks have in their armouries. Even if the food imparted upon us from the country’s finest chefs has calmed down a bit (some of Gordon Ramsay’s early recipes were preposterous to mere mortals; we probably have Jamie Oliver to thank for a little simplicity and encouragement) much is still relatively high-brow, dinner-party fare. These days, recipe books are works of art and the food inside, too, is created to look beautiful. Their pages tantalise readers as guests have been tantalised in restaurants. The new Dishoom cookbook is a prime example of thoughtful effervescence: it is stunning, though most will have to wait for a free Saturday to whip up an Indian feast. On the flip side, we have been told countless times of chefs’ love for so-called junk food. After all that pie carving and timeconsuming sugar work, some might yearn for the practicality and ease of a Big Mac, or an early-morning kebab drenched in hot sauce and garlic yoghurt. What, then, about those rare occasions where neither will satisfy; when the most enticing prospect is cooking something rewarding at home that doesn’t require too much planning and process? We’re talking about a Tuesday night, say, and by some inconceivable scenario the chef has the night off. These are the dishes that would never make it into a recipe book but which might be made for a loved one on a rainy day, a close friend on holiday by the coast; quick, efficient cooking, ideally nothing taxing but something that needs effort beyond filling a Pot Noodle with hot water or cooking a portion of chicken dippers. I’m no chef, but I like softening up onions, carrots, celery, and coarsely chopped pancetta. After that, a few cloves of finely chopped garlic and a tin of haricot beans, drained. I leave it to cook down for a while, a beef stock is added (probably one of those Knorr jelly things), as is a splash of white wine, and soon my house smells the way I want it to. A dollop of crème fraîche and parsley lobbed in at the end elevates it all. Lately, Tom Aikens, who became the youngest British chef to win two Michelin stars when he was just 26, has been turning to albacore tuna as his go-to. He starts by lightly pan-searing the fish before adding plenty of


finely chopped ginger and garlic. Everything is fried quickly, and then cooked lentils are added, before spinach. Aikens deglazes with a little soy sauce, adds lime zest and toasted sesame seeds, and there we have it: dinner in less than 20 minutes. Chantelle Nicholson, chef patron at Tredwells, has a quick pasta dish she favours, where she renders a handful of lardons (from Waitrose, she says) in a pan on a low heat. Shredded hispi cabbage follows, and then a few spoonfuls of boiled pasta water. Nicholson adds a spoonful of mustard and “loads of black pepper”. The dish is finished with a bit of comté or gruyère.


In fact pretty much every chef has their own quick dish. It might be a phase or it might be a recurrent theme, such is its reliability and force. All across London, some of the city’s best get home, put one pan on the hob and make something quick and easy, but wonderful in its way.

Monika Linton BRINDISA

As chef and founder of Spanish importer Brindisa – which also operates a group of excellent tapas restaurants around the capital – it’s no surprise that Monika Linton’s quick meals revolve around great ingredients,

cooked simply. “Chickpeas with chorizo are a staple,” she says. “The combination of good jarred chickpeas that can be heated and sautéed or poached chorizo is something that I love for a quick, satisfying, tasty meal. “The point of this dish is the ease of putting it together, so I use beautifully creamy Navarrico chickpeas, panceta adobada (cured pork coated with paprika), plus jarred fritada (a tomato and pepper base, which can also be made at home).”

Richard H Turner GRIDIRON

As the founding chef of the Hawksmoor group

and co-founder of Gridiron, Richard H Turner has a typically meaty way of dealing with cooking on forgotten weeknights: “I often turn leftover roasts – or any leftover meat I have – into potted meat, which can then just sit in the fridge for a few days to be used later as a snack or go in another dish. “It’s the perfect way to use up leftover birds, sausages, gammon; anything. Just chop up your leftover meat, place in a casserole or roasting tray, cover with a generous amount of goose or duck fat and leave in the oven at 120°C overnight. In the morning check the seasoning and place in jars in the fridge, with a good covering of fat on the top.” →



It’s no surprise Masha Rener, who oversees pasta restaurant and Soho institution Lina Stores, keeps her dish limited, shining a light on just a few ingredients as is customary in Italian cookery. But that’s certainly not to say it isn’t adventurous. “I like to do fried veal brain with breadcrumbs, garlic and butter. It’s easy to make but also kind of gourmet. I always make it for me and my kids – they will probably remember me and my cooking by this one dish – also because very few people like brain, so I make it for the people who do. I always serve it with a fennel salad and seeds.”

Ben Tish NORMA

Ben Tish opened Norma at The Stafford Hotel in the summer. There, his food is inspired by Sicily, as well as the island’s Moorish influences. While many chefs reflect their restaurant styles at home, Tish does the opposite, instead gravitating towards one of the world’s most famous foods. “I love crispy chicken strips and can eat them by the bucketload,” Tish says. “One of my favourite things to do is get good chicken breasts, slice them into strips and then season, coat them in Dijon mustard and then panko breadcrumbs. I fry them until

ONE OF MY FAVOURITE THINGS TO DO IS MAKE CRISPY CHICKEN crisp and cooked in lovely olive oil. What these get served with depends – but usually a mayonnaise of some description, either shopbought or homemade, and watercress, baby gem lettuce and red onion salad and either crispy potatoes cooked on a high heat in the oven, or in a sandwich.”


Margot Henderson, who, with fellow chef Melanie Arnold, oversees the acclaimed Rochelle Canteen, as well as its second iteration at the ICA, also deviates from the classic, flair-free, beautifully comforting

British cuisine she’s known for. “I make aubergine mapo tofu,” Henderson says. “You need to head to your local Asian supermarket to get all the delicious potions that go into this dish; the flavours are intense and layered. But it’s simple to make once you understand the different elements, which together add to something quite complex. It is my new go-to dish and I always have what I need… well, unless maybe I have to pop out for aubergine or two. Otherwise, I do chicken thighs in ginger, garlic, and soy, simply baked after searing. It’s a dish I learnt in the Philippines that I have ‘Margot’d’. I always keep chicken thighs in the freezer and my kids think it’s a winner. I serve with rice and greens.”


Ali Borer from Smoking Goat doesn’t seem to want to follow any particular style at all. At Smoking Goat, the East London Thai restaurant inspired by the late-night canteens of Bangkok, his food is playful but true to form. Not so much at home: “I make cheesy broccoli and scotch bonnet pasta – lots of garlic, a good glug of olive oil, one scotch bonnet head and the stem of the broccoli, cooked. I finish with lots of black pepper and loads of pecorino cheese. My favourite pasta for this dish is pappardelle.” f

Photograph by ###


THE TAP THAT DOES IT ALL 100°C BOILING, CHILLED AND SPARKLING WATER With the new Quooker CUBE, you can now also dispense chilled and sparkling water from your Quooker tap. That means that a single tap gives you everything you need: 100°C boiling, hot, cold, chilled and sparkling water.

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From crumb shots to point-scoring crusts, London loves a longfermentation loaf. But what’s beyond sourdough? And have we forgotten how good other types of bread can be? Lauren Bravo chews it over




Photograph by Roy Mheta/Getty

T STARTED WITH a breadmaker. I had always wanted one, untrendy though they might be. I wanted to wake up in a house scented with ‘fresh-baked’ fumes. I needed to stop spending £4 a pop on beautiful, artisanal loaves that would go stale too fast in my bread bin. And because I’m temperamentally unsuited to proper baking – impatient, imprecise, quick to substitute ingredients with optimistic abandon – I thought a machine would be the perfect compromise. I pined for one. Then, one day, I was given one, as a thank-you present for conducting my friend’s wedding ceremony. And suddenly I was married, too; that is, to a twice-weekly routine of nightly weighing and measuring, scampering out of bed to inspect my carby arrival like a kid on Christmas morning. I experimented with nuts, fruit, seeds and herbs. I quickly became obsessed with rye, spelt and buckwheat blends. I was particularly delighted with a garlic, rosemary and hazelnut loaf, until someone pointed out it tasted exactly like Paxo. But at the same time, I felt oddly ashamed. Because the one bread you can’t really make in a breadmaker is the only bread I was, apparently, meant to be eating: sourdough. The rise of sourdough bread has been a beautiful thing. Over the 13 years I’ve lived in London, it’s evolved from foodie novelty to default order, found on every bakery counter and brunch menu worth its salt. Entries into the Brook Food Sourdough category at this year’s World Bread Awards have doubled over the last five years, and this year sourdough entries increased by 40% on last year alone. As awareness around the digestive benefits of long fermentation grows, and phrases like ‘gut health’ and ‘microbiome’ begin to sneak into our everyday vocab, so our daily bread has become central to the conversation. No longer just a vehicle for toppings, the definition of ‘good’ bread has shifted focus. To paraphrase Henry Ford, you can have any bread as long as it’s sourdough. But where there’s dogma, there will always be dissent. Where there are purists, you’ll always find rebels. And even the most totalitarian of food trends won’t be to everyone’s taste. At Max’s Sandwich Shop, the Crouch Hill institution that draws in disciples from all over London, sourdough is nowhere to be →

GO WITH THE DOUGH: Sourdough may be firmly under the spotlight but leave room for other breads as London is brimming with brilliant bakes


→ seen. In fact, it’s the enemy – among the shop’s ever-evolving range of merch are T-shirts emblazoned with the legend “f**ck sourdough”. But owner Max Halley isn’t looking for a fight, he swears. This is purely business. “I don’t hate sourdough on principle. I love it with mascarpone and jam, covered in steak tartare, with pâté,” he insists. “It is just fundamentally not a sandwich bread. “The important thing in a sandwich is crust everywhere. Sourdough is a poor choice because a) it’s too chewy, especially when untoasted, b) it’s too sharp when toasted, c) the fermentation is so slow that the holes in the bread are massive, so your mayonnaise is going to run out, it’s going to go all over your fingers, it’s going to be extremely messy. Your sandwich is going to lose its structural integrity almost immediately. It’s a disaster of a choice.” Then, a zinger to have the purists clutching at their pearls: “Quite frankly I’d rather use Mother’s Pride.” Every sandwich at Max’s is made not with

RULE OF CRUMB: [above] UK judging day at the World Bread Awards; [right] Henrietta Inman’s rye and beet loaf from her book The Natural Baker


sliced white, but with house-baked focaccia; fluffy but firm. All the better to soak up the porky, yolky, vinegar-spiked juices from his signature Ham, Egg ‘n’ Chips sarnie while safely containing its precious cargo. But while few chefs might be prepared to admit that there’s still a place for supermarket bread in our hearts and cupboards, ‘other’, non-sour breads do seem to be vying for the limelight. Our continued appetite for Levantine cuisine has made flatbread fashionable, from the crisp lozenges of bazaar bread at Nutshell and blistered, tandoor-baked naan e barbari at The Barbary, to the cloudlike pitas found mopping up rivers of tahini at The Good Egg. Rye is still on the up, with a taste for the dark, nubbly varieties growing with each bargain flight to a new corner of eastern Europe (I still think fondly of the Estonian black bread, almost malt loaf in its treacliness, that I encountered in Tallinn last year). Egg-rich challah is creeping onto more and more menus, its sweetness the perfect foil for salt, brine and heat. Ta Ta Eatery makes its Instafamous katsu sando with toasted brioche, and it’s safe to say none of its devotees seem to be sad for the lack of levain. And sometimes, late at night, there’s a hole that only a vast pillow of Turkish pide from the corner shop can fill.

Meanwhile, haven’t we all known a fancy £7 sandwich to fall apart in our hands as we attempt to chew our way through that unrelenting crust, precious fillings splurging out through the holes? And while mopping up a little tidepool of molten butter from your plate post-toast can be a happy morning ritual, the fact remains: sourdough might not (whisper it) be the best bread for everything. But before we go any further, some housekeeping. When we say ‘sourdough’, what we tend to mean is the loaf style most commonly associated with sourdough baking. The chewy-crusted, open-crumbed, tangy-breathed behemoth that’s become synonymous with ‘good bread’ in the capital over the past decade or so, in much the same way ‘good olives’ are plump green nocellaras and ‘good coffee’ is an inky-black singleorigin in a compostable Vegware cup. Yet the real defining character of sourdough isn’t in a web-like crumb structure or a dark, dentist-bothering crust. It’s not in the acidic top notes, nor the pliable, sticky innards. Truth is, sourdough isn’t a style of bread at all; it’s a process. “Saying f**k sourdough is like saying f**k beer, or cheese, or wine,” says Chris Young, co-ordinator of The Real Bread Campaign and one of sourdough’s most passionate defenders. “It shows a misunderstanding that using a sourdough starter results in one type of bread, when the reality is that if you can make a type of bread with baker’s yeast, you can make it with a sourdough starter culture.” A true sourdough process involves proving dough through the slow, alchemical fermentation of wild yeast spores and lactobacilli bacteria that occur in flour and the air, to create a loaf that rises through sheer force of nature alone. It’s the antithesis of the Chorleywood process, the industrial mass-production method that has seen the bulk of UK bread churned out at speed since the 1960s (‘bulk’ being the operative word, since so much of it tastes like loft insulation). And crucially it’s a different beast to bread made with baker’s yeast, even in the most artisanal kitchens. While yeast gees up the dough to get the job done faster and produces much more consistent results, sourdough is an unpredictable labour of love. But with enough patience, it could be used to make any kind of leavened bread – a point that Real Bread advocates are keen to prove. “In Sourdough September we saw challah, crumpets, cinnamon rolls, tin loaves, pizzas, you name it,” says Young. “A skilled baker can control the acidity to make it as subtle or tangy as they want.” The path of yeast


Photographs by (awards) Henry Kenyon; (bread) Langley

resistance, it seems, is clearly a long one. Still, Young understands the confusion. “There are lots of very tangy, very crusty, similarly-shaped and slashed sourdough loaves out there, so I can understand why some people might think that sourdough is a style of loaf, rather than a way of proving dough. You see a lot of bakers with the same influences,” he says, pointing to Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson’s Tartine, the Californian bakery chain and cookbook credited with kick-starting a craze for sourdough baking among the tech bros of Silicon Valley. Tartine Bread’s recipe for its signature country loaf is a staggering 38 pages long. Indeed, an obsession with sourdough’s aerated structure has become the new trophy for a certain strain of modern masculinity; the self-declared #crumbshotwankers of Instagram, flaunting their holey loaves for all to see. And you have to wonder if it’s the culture (no pun intended) around longfermentation baking, as much as the texture and tang, that has some of us retreating to the solace of a nice floury bap. Maybe when people reject sourdough, they’re rejecting an image that sometimes comes attached to it: of a pious breed of foodie hipsterdom that’s beginning to go stale. “There can be a lot of snobbery about sourdough. If things aren’t naturally leavened, people get really uppity about it,” says Tomek Mossakowski, co-founder of the Dusty Knuckle Bakery School. “I find this in classes; men are obsessed with having bread that is as holey as possible. You can do the Freudian analysis on that.” Thankfully it’s not all holier-than-thou ego. At sourdough queen Martha de Lacey’s classes, students breakfast on her signature ‘trashcrumps’ (sourdough crumpets) and are encouraged to play around with flavour

additions like Marmite, turmeric and even squid ink in their loaves. “I certainly don’t think the sourdough movement is elitist. I think it’s a wonderfully generous, kind community, forever sharing recipes, techniques and tips,” she says. “Of course there are always going to be naysayers who think sourdough can’t be soft and delicate and light and squishy, but it absolutely is and should always be those things. So if that’s their opinion, they’re probably doing it wrong.” “But saying that,” she adds, “I love yeasted breads. Doughnuts, croissants, sweet pastries, soda bread, bagels, pitas, focaccia… I just prefer the flavour of sourdough when it comes to actual sliced bread. And even more than the taste, I love the joy and sense of craft that goes into making it.” At The Dusty Knuckle, which began life in a Dalston shipping container in 2014 and has grown into a café, bakery school and awardwinning wholesale supplier, sourdough is king but baker’s yeast will always have a place at the table. “At the bakery, we don’t want all our breads sour. We don’t want a sour focaccia, we don’t want sour croissants, we don’t want sour brioche,” says Mossakowski. And while the quest for sourdough perfection is still overwhelmingly the biggest reason people sign up to the bakery school (“I think people just want to go for the hardest, most complex, most ‘foodie’ type of thing that there is,” as he explains), he tells me soda bread is often the biggest hit. I’m not surprised. While killjoys might dismiss it as ‘more cake than bread’ (as though that’s a bad thing?), soda’s dense, close-crumbed texture and lactic richness make it one of the most comforting breads

around. It’s ruggedly unpretentious. It’s a childhood teatime on a plate. “It’s… really frustrating,” laughs Mossakowski. “You can give yourself a hernia trying to do sourdough, and then you can make something in 40 minutes from start to finish and it’s delicious.” It was at Henrietta Inman’s year-long residency at Yardarm in Leyton, which ended in August, that I really fell hard for soda bread. Soda was the lynchpin of the breakfast and lunch menu – slathered in raw salted butter, heaped with seasonal greens and fettle cheese or perched on the side of a cloud-like soufflé omelette. Although she’d have loved to serve sourdough, Inman tells me, “we just didn’t have the capacity in terms of space, time and staff. But I still really wanted us to make our own bread and so soda bread seemed like a good option.” But it was far from a cobbled-together cob. As author of The Natural Baker (and now installed as head chef at Stoney Street, Borough Market’s new addition from the 26 Grains team), Inman’s baking is one of the best adverts for heritage grains you’ll find within the M25. “I think many of us are very used to white ‘pappy’ bread,” she says. “I love using wholegrain flours, not only for their amazing flavour but because they still contain the bran and germ, which is 80% of the grain’s fibre and other nutrients. It fills you up and leaves you satisfied and raring to go.” Her signature soda bread is made using a careful blend of einkorn flour, stoneground Suffolk wheat and rye from Oxfordshire’s Wessex Mill. “I really wanted the loaf to sing with their flavour.” As for how it went down with the E10 brunch crowd? “It was really positive,” she says. “I must admit, I was worried about a sourdough revolt.” →


DUST-UP: The Dusty Knuckle bakery is famed for its sourdough, but its yeast-based bakes and soda bread now rival it for popularity

→ While it may feel ubiquitous in certain pockets of the capital, nationwide we’re still a long way off a full sourdough takeover – as anyone who’s had a snobbish moment in a village tearoom can attest. Although Marks and Spencer reported a 98% rise in sourdough sales last year, ASDA 50% and Tesco 40%, those with a palate more accustomed to a Hackney Wild might still balk at commercial offerings. In a 2018 Which? study of 19 different supermarket sourdoughs, only four were found to comply with the Real Bread Campaign’s criteria for authenticity. The rest, containing extra yeast or ascorbic acid (E300) to boost the rise and yoghurt or vinegar to cheat the fermented flavour, fell firmly into the ‘sourfaux’ category. While the battle of natural starter vs commercial yeast rages on, perhaps the more important question is: what else is going into our loaves? The next point on the agenda for bread evangelists is home-grown flour, with more and more bakeries championing sustainable UK grain farming. “Imagine the farm-to-fork movement, but for bread,” says Mahala Le May who teaches baking classes in London and Cambridge and documents her efforts on Instagram as @dough_club. “It has previously been thought that suitable bread flour couldn’t be grown in the UK. But this isn’t the case, and there is a lot of work going in to making it available, which is really exciting. Bakers are taking steps to work with farmers and millers and produce more nutritious and flavourful bread from the soil up.” Did you know Brixton has a windmill?


how to make bread that’s delicious and doesn’t require a starter, and might actually suit their lives better.” On the school’s Rye Breads course, meanwhile, I learn that a sourdough starter can be used to give 100% rye loaves and rye soda bread a greater depth of flavour, without all the waiting around. As rye contains more free sugars than wheat, it ferments faster and doesn’t require the long, slow prove of a traditional sourdough – meaning a rye starter can be used to rustle up something complex, tangy and delicious in only a couple of hours. This could be the middle ground I’ve been looking for. A new fragrance for my eau de dough alarm clock. So, back to the breadmaker. I’m pleasantly surprised to hear Chris Young doesn’t think I’m a disgrace to the name of Real Bread. While the average breadmaker doesn’t allow for long enough proving times to bake a true sourdough, he tells me it’s possible to cheat by unplugging the machine. “A bread machine is a great way of taking charge of the food you eat,” says Young. “It lets you control exactly what – and what doesn’t – go into each loaf.” And that, surely, is the point we can all agree on. Whether it’s sour and chewy or soft and sweet, made with love and patience or knocked together quickly to feed a crowd, there’s no excuse for bad bread anymore. But what makes the ‘good’ stuff good? Well, that’s still a matter of taste. f

Photograph by Emanuelis Stasaitis


Well if you didn’t, you do now. Organic, UKgrown flour is stone-milled on site and sold at bakeries and delis in south London. At Jolene in Newington Green, grains sourced from Sussex and Norfolk are milled on-site, while Hackney stalwart E5 Bakehouse has gone one better and started growing its own buckwheat, oats and spelt at Fellowes Farm in Suffolk. Could we see a future where at-home mills become as common as grinding your own coffee beans? But wellness isn’t everything. If it were, we’d never queue for cacio e pepe, or know the joy of slurping hot tea through a Twix. We could never put that beautiful sourdough to use as a scarpetta, mopping up the remains of a Sunday roast. Sometimes our gut microbiome is top of the agenda, and sometimes… well, the heart wants what it wants. The good news is that while every sourdough aficionado agrees that time is the secret to ‘real’ bread, speed doesn’t always have to mean pap. The Dusty Knuckle Bakery school’s newest class, Quick Breads, is a sourdough-free zone. It teaches soda bread, fougasse and flatbreads, with the emphasis on delicious breads that can be made spontaneously, without a starter or ceremony. “A lot of people who come on the Introduction to Bread class – you can see it in their eyes, they’re not going to make sourdough again,” says Mossakowski. “I’d really like for people to come and learn




WE’RE REVERSING THE RULE BOOK The words ‘Peckham craft brewery’ often relate to beer, but not in the case of Kanpai, London’s only sake producer. Jon Hawkins meets brewer Tom Wilson, who’s adapting ancient techniques to create a distinctly modern drink


smooth, complex and alive with a vibrancy you only get from something utterly fresh and unadulterated, which is exactly what this is. Categorised as muroka nama genshu (no charcoal filtration, no pasteurisation and no dilution) and straight out of the tank, it’s the kind of sake that cemented Wilson’s love of the drink when he and his wife Lucy first visited Japan. “This is what it’s all about,” he explains. “Jizake – pure, unadulterated local craft sake that you can only get in and →

Photograph by burcinergunt


HE GLASS OF pale liquid parked in front of me is what Tom Wilson has just described as “the special one”. And he should know; he made it, in the Peckham brewery we’re currently sitting in. So new it’s currently nameless, ‘the special one’ is the latest sake to come out of Kanpai, and to understand why Kanpai’s head brewer is so excited about it, you don’t need to know its backstory, its ingredients or even anything about sake at all; you just need to taste it. It’s


WE’D TURNED OUR SPARE ROOM INTO A SAKE LAB → around the brewery in Japan. And it’s the same here.” Given that Kanpai is one of just two sake breweries in the UK – and the other is ultrahigh-end, Japanese-owned Dojima, located near Cambridge – you’ll struggle to get a taste of sake like this anywhere else in the country, let alone in London. Then again, as Wilson points out, you won’t find anything


quite like it in Japan, either. “We’re using a completely different water and we don’t have access to the equipment that’s readily available in Japan,” he says. This is sake by way of Peckham – innovative and experimental by necessity as much as by design – and that’s as true for one-off brews like the muroka nama genshu as it is for Kanpai’s core range of premium and super-premium sakes. Each has its own distinct character, but a faithful adherence to Wilson’s own preference for “robust styles that really slap you around the face with the flavour of the ingredients, but are super-smooth to drink.” Known as nihonshu in its home country, sake is made by fermenting rice, along with water, yeast and a mould called koji, resulting in a drink with a uniquely umami character, that’s typically far less acidic than wine and a little stronger on average. Also like wine, there are different styles and categories, determined by a wide range of things from the specific brewing technique used to how much the rice grains are polished (i.e. how much of the outer and middle layers are

ground off to expose its starchy heart, the shinpaku), and the degree of dilution (with water and/or alcohol). Though comparisons with wine can be helpful, sake production actually has far more in common with brewing beer, and for Wilson, who was already “messing around with homebrewing beers” when he visited Japan for the first time, making this distinction was a turning point. “There was always this term ‘rice wine’ thrown around but I’d never really thought too much about how sake was made. Standing in a small sake brewery I had the lightbulb moment: fundamentally it’s a beer. Proper sake – junmai-shu, purely fermented from a grain – has a much closer relationship with beer than it does with wine.” But the key difference between making beer and making sake isn’t, as you might think, the rice (in fact some big commercial beers, including Budweiser, list rice among their ingredients); it’s the use of koji. Rice on its own isn’t fermentable – the starch needs to be broken down into sugars that the yeast can consume, so the sake brewer (or toji)

Photograph by (pour) burcinergunt

steams the rice then inoculates it with koji mold, which is carefully cultivated to grow on (and into) the rice. As it does this it produces enzymes that break down not only the starch but also proteins in the rice, producing amino acids that give the resulting sake its unique umami character. The koji rice is mixed with more steamed rice, water and yeast in a small starter called a moto or shubo, which is gradually added to larger amounts of steamed rice, rice koji and lots of water. Throughout this, the koji continues to break down the rice, while the yeast simultaneously breaks the sugars down into alcohol (and carbon dioxide) in a process known as multi-parallel fermentation. If all that sounds really complex, that’s because it is, and the Wilsons’ first home experiments with sake brewing were an eyeopener. “I immediately thought, ‘Wow, this stuff is super-difficult to make’,” he tells me. “There are so many ways you can influence the ferment to give you different outcomes, and it gave me a massive appreciation for the complexity of making sake.” Rather than retreating back to beer, the pair dug even deeper into sake, to the extent that “without even really knowing it, over about three years the spare room in our house had pretty much become a sake laboratory.” At this point it was time to make a decision: “knock it on its head or find a lock-up and scale things up”. They chose the latter and found a small industrial space about 400m from the current brewery, which enabled them to take their experiments “to another level”. Though at this point it was still a homebrew operation, their sake was starting to attract attention from other homebrewers, sommeliers, sake brewers and, inevitably, drinks buyers and retailers. In the end the nascent Kanpai arranged an exclusivity deal with Selfridges. “Then we had to go legit,” explains Wilson. “We negotiated with HMRC for a licence to brew sake in February 2017, and we ran a small, rewards-based crowdfunding campaign so we could get enough kit, bottles and labels to produce that first batch.” The first bottles landed in Selfridges in June 2017 – shortly after the Wilsons got back from their honeymoon – and Kanpai soon started to grow and expand. “We were doing supper clubs, tasting events, anything we could to spread the word,” says Wilson. Having already spread into the neighbouring lockup, they soon outgrew that too and in summer 2018 the brewery moved to its current location in Peckham’s Copeland Park, again thanks to a successful crowdfund.

It was, Wilson explains, a win for both parties. “It was our dream to be able to move here, and it worked perfectly because Copeland didn’t want industrial manufacturing, including beer breweries.” Sake doesn’t qualify as such because it’s effectively a zero-waste product, unlike beer, in which large amounts of spent grain need to be removed regularly from the brewery. “The only by-product from production in this building is what’s called sake kasu,” says Wilson. “The multi-parallel fermentation means the rice grain is in the ferment until the final step, when it’s separated from the liquid. This means the grain is enriched; it still contains active enzymes from the ferment, active yeast, and rich amino acidity and probiotics.” Sake kasu, it turns out, is incredibly useful stuff, and the majority of Kanpai’s is sold throughout London for use in everything from ice cream to bread and even cosmetics, and especially for pickling and fermented foods. As Wilson points out, fermentation is having a moment in London’s food scene, and this means Kanpai has carved out an unlikely niche for itself. “Because sake production’s so hard – and we’re the only ones doing it – we’re the only place chefs can get a steady supply of super-fresh, high-quality produce that can enhance what they’re doing.” Which brings us back to the unique position occupied by Kanpai in London, as the only brewer of a beverage most of the city’s drinkers know very little about. While this →

A SAKE GLOSSARY Confused by the terminology of sake? Fear not – we’ve got you covered JUNMAI: Meaning ‘pure rice’, junmai is used to describe sakes that haven’t had brewer’s alcohol added. All of Kanpai’s sakes are junmai. HONJOZO: Premium sake made with rice polished to 70% of its original size, and with brewer’s alcohol added. GINJO: Sake made with rice polished to 60% of its original size. Can also be junmai if no extra alcohol has been added. DAIGINJO: Sake made with rice polished to 60% of its original size. Like ginjo, it can also be junmai if no extra alcohol has been added. NAMA: Most sake is pasteurised twice before bottling but nama, or namazake, is unpasteurised or, in some cases, pasteurised once before or after further maturation. NIGORI: Cloudy sake that’s unfiltered, or roughly filtered.

BREW IN TOWN: [clockwise from left] Inside the brewery; Fizu, hopped sparkling sake; Miru, ‘soft, and sessionable’, and limited-edition Kiku


BREW’S COMPANY: Lucy and Tom Wilson outside Kanpai’s Peckham brewery; award-winning Fizu embodies Kanpai’s classic/contemporary style

→ obviously presents challenges that brewers (and the tiny number of winemakers) in the city don’t face, it also provides a blank canvas for experimentation and education. Though Wilson’s keen to point out this doesn’t mean they’re moving away from age-old sakemaking techniques; quite the opposite, in fact. “We’re experimental at our core but the


Photograph by (exterior) burcinergunt


vast majority of our experiments have been around traditional sake-brewing techniques,” he says. “Our approach to brewing sake is very traditional, but we like to add contemporary twists and innovations.” Kanpai’s award-winning Fizu is a case in point; it’s a traditionally made sake that’s not only sparkling in the champagne style – which isn’t unusual for a sake – but dryhopped with Mosaic hops like a beer, and it’s gone down surprisingly well on sake’s home turf. “When people in Japan taste it they love it,” says Wilson, “but their first question is: how did you think of this? We’ve got a really nice melting pot in London and we can draw from these other influences. For us, sake sits so nicely between three categories: beer, wine and spirits; it can be treated as all three things but it can take inspiration from them, too.” Kanpai’s current and future experiments are in the same vein, with one foot in Japan and the other in London, ranging from ongoing collaborations with beer breweries

to maturation projects that borrow from other drinks categories. The week after we meet, the brewery is due to bottle a sake that’s been sitting in a red burgundy barrel for four months (for a Christmas release), and some of the brewery’s sake has been maturing in barrel for up to two years. Aged sake (koshu) isn’t unusual in Japan, but ageing in former wine, bourbon and sherry barrels – all familiar to brewers, whisky distillers and winemakers – certainly is. They’re even experimenting with maturation in amphorae – clay vessels used in early winemaking that have a mythical status among hardcore natural winemakers, and even some brewers and cider makers. As it happens, Wilson is also looking to create the closest equivalent sake has to natural wine, by experimenting with age-old ways of making sake that encourage naturally occurring bacteria and even wild yeast into the fermentation process. As a result, these sakes “tend to have slightly higher acidity, with heavily umami, savoury, really meaty character,” Wilson explains excitedly. “With the wild yeast style you can get funky, even slightly sour versions.” Unsurprisingly, then, these are his go-to sakes, the ones he’s been dreaming of making since those early homebrew experiments. “In my head this is where I’ve wanted to get to,” he says. “Nailing our modern method of making sake and reversing the rulebook to brew like it’s 150 years ago.” f








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SO MUCH OF COOKING IS ABOUT JUST BEING PRESENT As head chef of London’s iconic deli and restaurant Lina Stores, Masha Rener uses world-class Italian ingredients in dishes of unparalleled quality. On the eve of a new opening in King’s Cross, Ally Head takes in the dishes that have defined her career, from Umbria to Soho Photography by David Harrison



NTERING THE STUDIO at foodism HQ, I’m hit with a decadent and delicious smell. It’s the unique, tantalising scent of rich, buttery pasta – pasta that’s handcrafted with love by a chef with years of experience, using the type of authentic Italian ingredients that can make a tagliatelle strand sing in your mouth. There are only a handful of chefs in London who can cook pasta that smells this good – and Masha Rener is one of them. Many moons ago Rener moved to London for a year with the intention of developing her English and solidifying her love of cooking in a new country. It was then that, craving the traditional foods of her hometown, she met the owners of Lina Stores, which had long been established as one of London’s best-loved Italian delicatessens. They kept in touch, and when the idea for the first Lina Stores restaurant came to be, there was no question of who they’d ask to be head chef. It was simple: an authentic Italian chef with a raft of traditional knowhow under

her belt bringing the traditional tastes and flavours of central Italy to Soho. Each dish Rener puts on her menus is met with a fanfare of enthusiasm from London locals and tourists alike who travel to Soho just for a taste of her pici alla norcina. “Cooking has always been magical for me,” Rener says. “Being in the kitchen and developing something new is just truly magical and allows me to concentrate. So much of cooking is just about being present, which is important as someone who lives with their head in the clouds.” Next month, the second Lina Stores restaurant opens in King’s Cross, with even the smallest hint of what dishes will grace the menu being met with cult-like enthusiasm from Rener’s fans. She’ll play the role of executive chef for both restaurants, developing the menus and overseeing the cooking day-to-day. Here, we help her tell her story, from farm girl living in rural Italy to head chef in London’s buzzy Soho, and cover the dishes that made her the chef she is today – sharp, traditional and timeless.


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This pork pasta was one of the first dishes I ever learnt to cook. I grew up in the Italian countryside in a small town in Umbria with my mum and dad, where they owned their own hotel and restaurant, La Chinsa, which opened in 1985. The norcina was our dish – it’s what friends and locals came to the restaurant to enjoy. My mum taught my sister and me how to make it at the age of ten as it was a quick, easy dish that only

used a handful of ingredients: the pasta only needs flour and water, and you can roll it out by hand. Introducing it to London at Lina Stores brought its own challenges – you can’t get the same 70% pork and 30% fat meat, so we make our own – but we persisted with getting the ingredients perfect and it’s become a signature dish. The flavour combinations are weird (pork, porcini and cream seems like it should be wrong) but it makes people take notice. It’s quite unlike anything on any other pasta menu in London.


CLAUDIO SALAD This salad is named after my father, Claudio, as the dish was his and my mother’s invention. Growing up on a farm meant that most of what we ate was what we (but mainly he) had grown. Most days, we’d eat it for breakfast or to kick off dinner, although the chicory was always the most delicious from January to April when it was in season. I remember he was always tending to the


part of the garden where those leaves grew, and meanwhile, my mother would be in the kitchen perfecting the dressing using eggs from our hens. It’s the first time that I remember noticing the way two ingredients can marry together to make something beautiful, and acknowledging how my parents had worked together to do the same. Bringing it to London, for me, was like bringing a piece of home to the UK. It’s a beautiful union of two ingredients and two chefs.

GNUDI Photograph by ###

Around the age of 22, when I started to run my parent’s restaurant on my own, I became really passionate about developing my knowledge of traditional Italian recipes. I went to Tuscany to perfect their traditional gnudi, and I’ve been cooking it ever since. It’s a simple concept with complex flavours: you take the filling of ravioli (in this case spinach and ricotta), and cook it as is. The story goes that an old Tuscan woman

prepared the filling and, in a rush, forgot to do the pasta. She decided to cook the dumplingesque dish instead, and gnudi was born. This taught me that many recipes are born from mistakes: I used to serve a cheese and potato bread at La Chinsa that did not start well, but after my mum helped me develop the recipe, locals were coming to the restaurant just for that dish. I serve gnudi with burnt butter, sage and parmesan. We tried so many variations, but sometimes it’s best to keep things traditional.


w e n a r e v o c s Di t i r i p s d e r d n i k

Luxury English gin made in Surrey with 24 botanicals. Full bodied with delicate florals, fresh citrus and velvety local honey. Smooth, refined, refreshingly individual.

#forthespirited @silentpoolgin

TUNA TONNATO Photograph by ###

Fast-forward ten years and I’d made the hard decision to sell my parents’ restaurant in Umbria. As I began to wonder what to do next with my career, my old friends who ran Lina Stores got in touch and asked me to head up their newest venture, the Lina Stores restaurant. It was the biggest life decision I ever made, but it was the right one. One dish


I was adamant to have on the menu was veal tonnato: thinly sliced veal in creamy caper and tuna sauce, traditionally made in Northern Italy – but they kept pushing back and saying it was too rich in taste and too old, as they had served it at the delicatessen in previous years. One day, the idea to replace the veal with tuna came to me. It’s lighter and full of flavour, with a similar creamy tuna-caper sauce that compliments it beautifully.




5 Photograph by ###

This recipe is my newest creation and I am just in love with it. I have a friend who runs a traditional five-star restaurant in Alba and a few years back, I convinced them to help me get lots of chefs from the north and south of Italy together to discuss their best ideas and innovations. It was there that I first had the

idea to develop a dish that paired celeriac, grown in Northern Italy, and black truffle, which Umbria is known for. It’s a celebration but also fusion of traditional Italian food. I’ve been perfecting it for seven years now, and it’ll be a vegetarian option on the menu at the new Lina Stores in King’s Cross. It’s the best feeling in the world when you discover a new combination of flavours that shouldn’t work, but do. It’s what I’d order, if I went. f



THE CUTTING EDGE It’s nigh-on impossible to become a great cook if you haven’t got the right tools. Here’s your chance to win The Ethicurean gift set from TOG Knives worth £300


E KNOW THAT a bad workman blames his tools but, honestly, there’s only so much you can do in the kitchen if your sharpest knife struggles to cut through a warm pat of butter. The people over at TOG Knives understand that, which is why they’ve created a range of kitchen knives that are designed in Britain, made in Japan, and work a treat in the kitchen. Not only do they slice through fruits, vegetables and meats like it's nobody’s business, but they also look beautiful. Each blade is created from layers of steel and antimicrobial copper by skilled craftsmen in Seki, the Samurai sword capital of the world. TOG Knives are also the only knife company to use

four different metals to strengthen its blades; just another one of the many reasons that the knives are used and collected by Michelin-starred chefs all over the world. And home cooks like us. Preparing food is one of the moments in a day that brings us genuine joy and a moment of contemplation. Knives were, after all, the first tools humans invented and we're still drawn to them with the same primitive fascination as the flickering flames of a fire. Get a taste of that feeling for yourself with TOG Knives and this cookbook gift set from The Ethicurean that includes a Santoku knife, HARE chopping board and ceramic honing rod. Slice, slice, baby. ●



Is your kitchen knife as blunt as a Victorian school teacher? It's high time you got yourself a utensil upgrade. Nail your food prep with this Ethicurean set from TOG Knives – all of the essential tools you’ll need to prepare your food just like the pros. The collection includes a 17cm ‘Santoku’ multi-purpose knife, a ‘HARE’ edge-grain chopping board and a ceramic honing rod. It also includes the cookbook from TOG-loving local restaurant The Ethicurean. For full T&Cs and to enter, go to

To find out more visit




— PART 3 —



SETTING THE BAR A recent success at the World’s 50 Best awards underlines that the iconic and timeless Connaught Bar is still very much at the top of its game, writes Mike Gibson QUENCH



MAYFAIR LADY A stirred drink built from Patrón Tequila and an infused white wine, that’s complex in its construction but simple in its deliciousness.


• 25ml walnut oil-infused Patrón Reposado • 35ml Spicy Sancerre (sancerre infused with ginger, cardamom leaves and Vietnamese peppercorn) • 10ml St-Germain Stir all the ingredients in a mixing glass. Strain into white wine glass over a single piece of ice and garnish with a blue corn flower.

N THE WORLD of food and drink, a decade is a long time. More specifically, it’s a long time to stay at the top of your game. To operate a venue for that length of time means weathering constant change: new trends, changing tastes – even changing politics. One bar in London has, in its current setup, done just that. And if you needed evidence as to its continuing domination of the London bar landscape, consider this: in early October, it shot up to number two in the prestigious World’s 50 Best Bars list, behind only New York’s Dante, making it not only the best-rated bar in London, but Europe, too. It’s been towards the top end of that list for the whole of the last decade. The Connaught Bar doesn’t have an overarching ‘concept’, nor does it have a particularly ‘out-there’ menu. There’s no need for a long-winded explanation of the drinks list. If anything, the bar team, led by Agostino Perrone and Giorgio Bargiani, have triumphed by serving beautiful and simple (although sometimes deceptively so) mixed drinks. The ceremony of its flagship martini, made with the bar’s house-made gin and served on a now-iconic trolley table-side, makes it rightly talked about as a must-drink London cocktail, while its latest menu, Vanguard, combines carefully sourced spirits with the odd house-made or -infused ingredient. There’s the requisite touch of misty-eyed poeticism that’s a hallmark of even the most pared-back of top bars (one cocktail, The Dusk, comes with the description “When the last light of the day melts into the promise of the night, our bar takes on a golden glow. It’s a passing moment, captured in a glass,”) but drinks – no matter how complex they are in their creation or delivery – are always easy to drink. Put simply, a drink or two here spells out that there’s a very good reason for its decade or so of acclaim. Here’s to the next one... f The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL; Bond Street

Photograph by ###



The st~germain spritz



ST~GERMAIN Elderflower Liqueur

60 ML 60 ML

Dry Sparkling Wine


Sparkling Water

Stir ingredients in a tall ice-filled collins glass, mixing completely. Garnish with a lemon twist.





BEAUTIFUL MIND Made with vodka and a concoction from the Copenhagen-based alchemists at Empirical Spirits, this drink is tall, refreshing and made with opoponax syrup, a sweet natural resin with a smoky balsamic scent.


• 30ml Konik’s Tail Vodka • 15ml Empirical Spirits Fallen Pony • 10ml opoponax syrup • 60ml clarified pineapple juice • Soda water Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass and strain into a highball glass over ice. Garnish with dried pineapple.



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 If you’ve had a good beer at any of London’s many great pubs, bars, breweries or taprooms in the last ten years, you probably have The Kernel to thank. Launched in September 2009 by former cheesemonger Evin O’Riordain, it was one of the first breweries in the boom that’s seen more than 100 new breweries open in the city in the last decade. Its railway arch home became the model for new breweries, its former brewers have gone on to start projects at Beavertown, Redchurch Brewery, Harbour and more, and its old brewkit even went down the road to Partizan Brewing when it was done with a few years ago. That’s a lot of history for ten years.

The beer

THE KERNEL BREWERY Spa Road, SE16 4QT South Bermondsey

THE LONDON BEER MAP Your guide to London’s best breweries and taprooms. This month, Bermondsey classic The Kernel, which turned ten last month

It’s all about using simple methods to make bold, complex flavours – no loud label art or pun-led beer names here. Instead, singlebatch pale ales and IPAs are labelled with the types of hops they were made with, and stouts, porters and browns are marked with the old-school recipes that inspired them (our fave is Export Stout London 1890). There are saisons, ryes and foeder-aged sours, too – as well as the brewery’s crown jewel: the superflavourful, super-low-abv Table Beer.

What else? For a long time, The Kernel has eschewed the weekend Beer Mile crowds in favour of opening for a few hours early on a Saturday for off sales. That’s all set to change in the coming months, when the brewery opens a new taproom space that’ll be better equipped to deal with the weekend hordes than the current brewery site. Until then, keep an eye out for the ever-changing roster of brownlabelled bottles in your local bottle shop. f




Your guide to the world of beer styles, classic and modern. This month: an intro to lambic


B OON O U D E G EUZE Lembeek, Belgium

Beersel, Belgium

A fantastic entry-point to the world of lambic that’s affordable and easy to get hold of in the UK. 7%;

A special-blend gueuze that goes big on the funk and sings with notes of lemon and sherbet. 6.5%;

3 CAN T I LLON K RI EK Brussels, Belgium A kriek is lambic aged on sour cherries. This one is rife with notes of red fruit and almond. 5.5%;

/’læmbik /

Sour, vinous and rather unlike beer in flavour, lambic is one of the most complex, traditional and esteemed beer styles on the planet. It’s made by a select few breweries and blenders in and around the Zenne valley of Belgium by allowing wild yeast and bacteria in the air to kickstart the fermentation of the beer in an open-top vat called a coolship. Once the beer is inoculated, it gets aged for a year or more in an oak barrel to add depth and complexity before being blended to make a beer called gueuze. Sometimes, it’s aged with fruit for even more funk, flavour and aroma, too.

G UE UZ E R IE T IL QUIN OU DE QU ETSC HE Rebecq, Belgium Tilquin’s quetsche is a lambic aged on destoned purple plums. It’s tart but well rounded. 6.4%;




Cornwall-based brewery Sharp’s has been pretty busy of late: not only has it brewed its 2019 Adventure Series beer – a smooth and luxurious coconut stout – it’s also made a stand for the environment. That’s right: the brewery had a hand in pressing the first record made of ocean plastic with musician Nick Mulvey.

You know what’s better than a beer festival? A beer festival that’s also got great grub and live music. And that’s exactly what Battersea brewery Mondo is doing on 9 November. Good Harvest is a day of bluegrass, food and beer, with chilli con carne dishes from 10 Greek Street, Dishoom and Prairie Fire BBQ, plus great guest beer. Tickets £26.

Much-loved South London brewery Gipsy Hill has added a few favourites to its core range, as well as giving its cans a fresh new look. Classic pale ale Beatnik is now named Bandit, and is certified gluten-free, while Hunter helles lager, Carver micro IPA, Ranger pale and Baller IPA have all been given the 330ml can treatment.





THE ARTIST All of Fourpure’s newlook cans are created by the design double act of illustrator Warren Curry and graphic designer Sean Edgar. This can – the first seasonal brew designed after the brewery’s rebrand in September – took inspiration from the southeastern US state of Georgia, where you see peaches everywhere, from trees to the names of streets. The goal is for the can (and beer inside) to transport you to the far-off place that inspires the brew. We’re there.


Photograph by David Harrison


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

THE BREWER Fourpure has been brewing out of its Bermondsey home since 2013, but this year has been a big one: the summer saw an all-new taproom (currently London’s biggest, with 40 taps and a huge two-storey space), while this autumn it’s got a new look and an expanded core range. Fourpure’s motto is “inspired by adventure”, so each of its beers takes inspiration from a different place around the world. The artwork on the can reflects that: from the west coast of the US on flagship IPA Shapeshifter to the streets of London on its oatmeal stout Last Train, and the state of Georgia on the can of seasonal peach sour beer you see above.



WHERE TO DRINK IT Whether you want to learn a little bit more about the brewing process or taste a full range of beer right at the source, take one of these London brewery tours


F UL L E R’S Chiswick Lane, W4 2QB

Stamford Brook

If you want your beer tour with a side of history, heritage and great ale, a trip out west to Chiswick is the one for you. On the Fuller’s brewery tour, you’ll visit the iconic Griffin Brewery, where fine ales like London Pride, Vintage Ale and more have been pumped out since way back in 1828. You’ll see high-tech kit, old-school architecture and a sprawling wall of wisteria that’s well worth the Tube ride out west. After all that, you can choose from 14 Fuller’s ales at the tasting room, too. That’ll swing it. £20.

M E ANT IM E B R EW ING Blackwall Lane, SE10 0AR North Greenwich

T H E FI VE POI N TS 3 Institute Place, E8 1JE

Hackney Downs

CAM DE N TOW N B R EW ERY 55-59 Wilkin Street Mews, NW5 3NN Kentish Town West There are few beers more legendary in London’s recent brewing history than Camden Hells – that crisp, spicy and biscuity lager that helped catapult Camden Town Brewery to fame up and down the UK. On a visit to the brewery’s original site, you’ll hit up the home of Hells, seeing how Camden make beer and tasting a few of them fresh from the tank. If you want to see a brewery of serious scale, check the brewery’s site for occasional tours of its vast Enfield site. £15.

WILD CA R D B R EW E RY Unit 2, Lockwood Way, E17 5RB

Tottenham Hale

Question one: do you have an hour and a half? Question two: can you get to Tottenham anytime soon? If the answer is yes to either of those, we reckon you should probably book yourself a place on a brewery tour at Wild Card Brewery. The £25 tour buys you a bowl around the brewhouse with a member of the brewery team, plus four samples of your choice from a wide range of beer encompassing all ends of the style spectrum. You’ll also get a Wild Card glass to take home with you. £25.


Photograph by (Camden Town) David Cleveland; (Full-



ers) Thomas Skinner; (Five points) Sam Huddleston

There are loads of great breweries to visit in London, but if you really need to whittle it down, there’s only one with a classic London boozer pouring its beer right opposite. That brewery is Hackney-based Five Points, and the pub is the Pembury Tavern. On the tour, you’ll see where the magic happens, then hop over the road to sample some of the core range, from Pils and Pale to cask beers like Best and Railway Porter. Tasty woodfired sourdough pizza afterwards is optional, but definitely recommended. £22.15.


We love Greenwich. We love the park, the museums, the Cutty Sark and the market – it’s a delight. But do you know what we love more? Yeah, we love beer. Remarkably the second oldest brewery in the city despite opening in 1999, Meantime is also one of London’s biggest. Tours take in a walk of the brewery floor, a look at the cutting-edge kit and four one-third pours to help you get acquainted with the beers. Yeah, we love Greenwich. £20. meantime

Artwork taken from smallbatch Bootleg range



@LdnFldsBrewery @londonfieldsbrewery Enjoy Responsibly for the facts



CLEAR AS DAY Reacquaint yourself with vodka via these complex and flavourful new-school bottles. We’ve also got spirits that contain no alcohol at all, and the US drinks trend that’s about to explode in the UK: hard seltzers QUENCH



IN VOD WE TRUST From bold, single-malt spirits to tipples made from cow’s milk or rice, these new-school vodkas are full of flavour, complexity and subtle hints to their interesting ingredient lists. 1 KAVKA VODKA: Wrocław, Poland. A new-school vodka made with traditional 19th-century techniques in west Poland. It’s big, bold and distinctive. 70cl, 40%; £34.60, 2 BREWDOG DISTILLING ROGUE WAVE VODKA: Aberdeen, UK. Brewdog might be best known for its beer, but this new single-malt vodka – with notes of icing sugar and vanilla – is a beaut. 70cl, 40%; £22, 3 HAKU VODKA: Kagoshima, Japan. This Japanese vodka is distilled with white rice before being filtered through bamboo charcoal. It’s got a rich, subtly sweet flavour. 70cl, 40%; £31.95, 4 BLACK COW VODKA: Dorset, UK. Made from grass-grazed cow’s milk (crazy, right?), this vodka is exceptionally smooth and uniquely creamy. 70cl, 40%; £31.95. 5 SLINGSBY VODKA: Harrogate, UK. Crafted using the finest English wheat and Harrogate’s famous spring water, this vodka is soft and elegantly smooth. 70cl, 40%; £32.99.

Photograph by ###


3 2







LO OK B EAU T IFU L Foodism Reader Offer:

Terms and Conditions FOOD10 code is valid for £10 off orders over £50 at Valid until 23:59 on 22.12.19, excluding 29.11.19 - 02.12.19. Cannot be used with any other promotion code, including Tesco Clubcard voucher codes. UK delivery is free on orders over £50. Full terms and conditions can be found at

your order on

LOW SPIRITS Whether you don’t drink or just want to cut back, these no-alcohol spirits make use of a clever concoction of botanicals to give you the depth and complexity of a spirit without the added hit of alcohol. From new spins on familiar favourites to allnew spirits, give these a go. 1 STRYYK NOT VODKA: London, UK. A 0% vodka alternative that emulates the characteristics of a classic vodka with warming capsicum spice and cooling notes of cucumber and menthol. 70cl; £18, 2 EVERLEAF APERITIF: London, UK. A bright and complex non-alcoholic aperitif made with vanilla, saffron, gentian and iris that’s perfect for mixing into a spritz. 50cl; £18, 3 AECORN APERITIFS BITTER: London, UK. This aperitif from the people behind Seedlip is bitter, citrussy and sings with notes of bay leaf, orange and oak. 50cl; £19.99, 4 THREE SPIRIT: London, UK. A versatile, plantbased no-alcohol spirit that works well on the rocks, as a spritz or in place of rum in a dark and stormy. 50cl; £24.99,


1 4



GET FIZZY WITH IT Hard seltzers have taken the US by storm over the last couple of years, and now they’re hitting UK shores, too. Think of them as a flavoured water with a surprisingly strong hit of alcohol and (quite often) fewer calories per drink. 1 DRTY RASPBERRY ROSÉ: Godalming, UK. This naturally flavoured seltzer from Surrey-based producer Drty Drinks will be the next to go on sale in the UK imminently. 25cl, 4%; 2 BODEGA BAY ELDERFLOWER LEMON AND MINT: Bodega Bay, USA. A carefully balanced blend of sparkling spring water with extracts of elderflower, lemon and mint. 25cl, 4%; £3.99, 3 BALANS LIME AQUA SPRITZ: Kopparberg, Sweden. This new hard seltzer from the makers of Kopparberg was the first to make it to UK shelves, and is naturally infused with a twist of lime. 25cl, 4%; £1.80, tesco.com3 1 2 3




This October is Sonoma County Wine Month – it's the ideal time to explore the rich diversity of a much-celebrated Californian wine region. Here are a few bottles to try...

LOUIS M. MARTINI Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Louis M. Martini is an iconic winery that has crafted world-class cabernet sauvignon from the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma County since 1933. This Alexander Valley bottle is no exception – sourced from an area where dry, gravelly soils and a warm climate nurture acres of vines. Terroir-driven, this Louis M. Martini cabernet sauvignon exhibits aromas and flavours of dried cherry and leather with pleasingly earthy tones. 16 months ageing in carefully selected barrels of French and American oak adds complexity and sweet notes of caramel and toffee. £31.90; or




Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

J Cuvée 20 NV Brut

Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Photography by (main image) Frei Brothers Vineyards

Made with grapes from hillside vineyards in the Alexander Valley, this cabernet sauvignon is juicy, fresh and packed with aromas of berries and almost Ribena-like cassis. £17.99;

Russian River Chardonnay A complex white from one of Sonoma's most well-renowned coolclimate terroirs. It's full of green apple, and orange zest. £17.99;

A stylish assemblage of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier created to celebrate the US sparkling wine pioneer’s 20th birthday. Sourced from the Russian River Valley at the heart of central Sonoma, it was awarded the Gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2019. Expect a traditional method sparkling wine that's soft, delicate and full of notes of toasted almonds and brioche balanced with red apple and hints of lemon for a crisp and fruity finish. £31.90;

Macmurray Estate Vineyards is one of the Russian River Valley's most esteemed makers of pinot noir. Expect nuanced notes of pomegranate, cherry, boysenberry and a little bit of lavender. £29.50;

Russian River Valley Pinot Gris This cool-climate white wine is taken from select terroirs in the Russian River Valley. It's full of subtle white flower and pear aromas. £19.95; great




MEAT YOUR MAKER Steak nights aren’t the same without a glass of red. To upgrade your beef game for good, we’re offering you the chance to win two cases of Carnivor and a steak kit



It almost seems like meat was made for Carnivor. Hints of the wine’s mocha and black pepper match well with any cut of red meat, be it a tender ribeye or a char-grilled sirloin, and it pairs just as handsomely with chargrilled vegetables and chips. Carnivor doesn’t hold back when it comes to flavour, and neither should whatever you’ve whacked on the grill with it. Gather a few friends round for a steak feast and we can guarantee it’ll be Carnivor’s Zinfandel that ends up the talk of the table. Well, that and your affinity for always forgetting about the potatoes you put in the oven more than two hours ago... ● Carnivor is priced at £10 and available nationwide. Find out more at or on social media at @carnivorwine



Always dreamed of hosting the best damn steak night that London has ever seen? Bring that dream one step closer to reality with this great prize. We're offering you the chance to win two cases Carnivor Zinfandel (12 bottles in total) alongside a snazzy steak kit which includes a branded steak iron, two steak rub packs and a serving slate). To be in with a chance to win this great prize, visit


WIN Photograph by @ollie_eats

IKE LISTENING TO Hall without Oates, eating red meat without having a glass of red wine seems like, well, a pretty huge mistake (or should that be missed steak?) in our books. And when it comes to wines that pair perfectly with a juicy sirloin or ruby red filet mignon, you’ll struggle to find a better bottle for the job than Carnivor – the number one zinfandel available in the UK. Crafted with grapes from prestigious vineyards in California, Carnivor is an award-winning, full-bodied wine that boasts an impressive bouquet. Layered with notes of blackberry, plum and boysenberry, Carnivor’s rich flavours end with a smooth finish and rounded mouthfeel that really bring out the best in grilled meat, especially steak.


JUST ADD BEER Sharp's Brewery has dived into the world of food and beer pairing with it's cookbook Just Add Beer – and we're giving away bumper prize of beer and gin to celebrate...


Photograph by [food imagery] Guy Harrop; [book cover] Toby Lowe


TEP ASIDE, WINE: if you're looking for pairing perfection, give beer a go. Thanks to its broad range of flavours and rich complexity, beer is the perfect partner for just about any dish – and even works well as an ingredient in certain recipes, too. But with myriad styles to choose from, getting started can be a little daunting. But don't worry, Sharp's Brewery has got you covered with cookbook Just Add Beer. Brimming with more than 60 mouthwatering recipes that match, incorporate and revolve around beer, it's a great introduction to the weird and wonderful world of Britain's favourite alcoholic drink – and it's all introduced by Sharp's beer sommelier Ed Hughes, who you might know from BBC's Saturday Kitchen. Beyond just

pairing and cooking with beer, Hughes's commentary takes you through the basics of brewing, the various styles on the market, which glassware to use for each beer and more. And then there are the recipes: all 60 are organised by dining occasion and inspired by the amazing local produce of Sharp's home in Cornwall. From the owners of award-winning street food stands to stalwarts of Michelin-starred restaurants, it's full of ideas from some of the UK's top chefs. So what are you waiting for? The days of a pie and a pint are numbered, and a world of flavour pairing awaits – just add beer. ● Just Add Beer is available now for £18.99, with a £1 donation going to Hospitality Action with each purchase. Get your copy at


ENTER TO WIN We're giving away a bumper prize including a copy of Just Add Beer, a bottle each of Doom Bar, Sea Fury, Chalky's Bite, Atlantic Pale Ale, Wolf Rock Red IPA, Coconut Stout, Camel Valley Pilsner, The Hopster gin and 12 cans of Offshore Pilsner so you can make the full range of hoptails in the book. Enter at





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European Regional Development Fund

A way to make Europe

Scary Persimon® and Blueberry Porridge Get Halloween off to a scary start with a bowl of this frighteningly good porridge!

Serves 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 8 minutes Suitable for vegetarians 3 Spanish persimon® 200g high fibre porridge oats 1 litre oat milk or semi-skimmed milk 4tbsp low fat natural yogurt 8 blueberries 4tsp pumpkin seeds or mixed seeds

The Star of Valencia The season for P.D.O.-certified Spanish persimon® begins in October and runs through to January. Grown in the Ribera del Xúquer Valley near Valencia in Spain, it has a sweet, delicate flavour similar to a peach or a mango and is extremely versatile. This unique fruit makes the perfect on-the-go snack as it doesn’t require any peeling and doesn’t contain a stone. The P.D.O. label means it is grown to guaranteed levels of quality. Only persimmon bearing this persimon® trademark is certified and protected by the Denomination of Origin Ribera de Xúquer. This quality seal is the only one existing in the world for a persimmon fruit variety and is recognised by the European Union.

1. Chop one persimon® into chunks, removing the leafy stem. Puree in a blender. Cut the other persimon® into slices, removing the leafy stems. 2. Put the porridge oats into a saucepan with the milk and pureed persimon®. Heat, stirring constantly, until the porridge boils and thickens. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring. 3. Share the porridge between 4 serving bowls and level the surface. Top with the persimon® slices, yogurt, blueberries and mixed seeds, arranged to look like scary faces. Serve immediately.

The ‘Star of Valencia’ is available to buy in most major UK retailers. For more information, including recipe ideas and preparation tips, please visit @spanishpersimon



Cook’s tips: If you’re vegan or dairy-intolerant, use oat milk or soya milk and a soya yogurt instead of dairy-based.

Available at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Co-op, as well as other major retailers.

— PART 4 —





STRIP OFF If you’re a food lover, there’s never a better time to visit Sin City than for Vegas Uncork’d, an epic restaurant festival that unites hotels and resorts across the Las Vegas Strip, writes Mike Gibson


PLATE EXPECTATIONS: [below] The beef wellington at Hell’s Kitchen; [below right] The LINQ Promenade is a feature of the Strip


T’S 4:30PM AND I’m flying. Not in an absolutely literal sense, but as I shoot from one end of the busy Linq Promenade on the Vegas Strip to the other at breakneck speed, the Nevada sun blazing down and a dry desert wind whipping my face – trying not to think too hard about the waiver I just signed that absolves the relevant authorities of responsibility in the event of a “serious accident” – it certainly feels like it. Legs scrabbling for solid ground, I arrive at the end of the 350m-long Fly Linq zipline with a jolt, and an abrupt slowing of pace that makes my stomach lurch towards my throat. I smile half in exhilaration, half in relief. It’s been around two hours since I touched down at McCarran International Airport, and Las Vegas is already a feast for the senses.



Vegas Uncork’d Contrary to my initial experience, I’m not actually in Las Vegas to thrillseek. I’m due here for five days to check out the Vegas Uncork’d festival, a week of pop-ups, parties, special menus and one-off events curated by the US food magazine Bon Appétit across the Las Vegas Strip and downtown. It was an invitation I couldn’t turn down. After all, I thought, if I’m realistically only going to do Vegas once, a restaurant festival is probably the best opportunity. Because aside from the money pouring in and dribbling out of its casinos, its lavish fountains and neon lights, there’s not a lot else to this city, is there? Well, as it turns out, Vegas is a place of contradictions, and it’s also quite possibly a victim of its own infamy. Founded as a city


in 1909 on a patch of the sun-baked Mojave Desert – which stretches across California, Utah and Arizona as well as Nevada – it grew massively in the decades that followed, with a unique gambling culture and a focus on the entertainment industry as its backbone. Today it’s the 28th largest city in America, but arguably its entertainment capital. This is a city that inspires a frenzy of excitement in the millions from the US and beyond looking to book holidays, stag and hen parties and milestone birthdays, and revulsion in the cynics who brand it cultureless and superficial. But it’s possibly unique in that it draws these opinions, as often as not, from people who’ve never visited. There’s scarcely a city in the world with a bigger pop culture footprint relative

to its size. You can probably draw to mind the fascias of the casinos along the Strip as easily as you can the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramids of Giza (both of which are recreated as monoliths outside resorts here). Put simply: you’ve probably got an opinion on Las Vegas already, whether you’ve been there or not.

A city of stars My first experience of having a huge section of the city transmitted into my brain via my retinas while zooming down a zipline is in keeping with this common vision of Las Vegas – as, in all fairness, is the iconic scene of the fountains outside Caesars Palace, my hotel.

We’re on the way to dinner at the neighbouring Hell’s Kitchen, one of Gordon Ramsay’s Vegas outposts. There’s evidently a special place in Ramsay’s heart for Vegas – and probably his accountant’s, too – judging by the number of restaurants he operates here. And there’s a special place in Vegas’s heart for him: however famous you think our own sweary TV chef is in the UK, in the US (and specifically in Las Vegas) he’s a god. I genuinely don’t know what to expect at Hell’s Kitchen, a restaurant that aims to bring to life the reality TV show of the same name, where each season’s winners are pictures on the wall and many still duke it out during service in its open kitchen. It’s big, loud and brash, yet slick. The food is excellent: there’s a tower of fresh West Coast seafood; an excellent, butter-soft and flavoursome beef wellington (the signature dish) with mac and cheese; there’s a superb and reasonably priced wine list, featuring old-school Napa chardonnay from Far Niente and superb pinot noir from Flowers in Sonoma Coast. And after that, the experience is mirrored with drinks at Vanderpump. Lisa Vanderpump is another naturalised British reality TV persona (best known for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) with a raft of venues under her belt. The look and feel are probably what you’re imagining; but the drinks are good. Very good, in fact. A sidecar comes out balanced, structured; the tequila →


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AT SADELLE’S, TOWERS OF LOX SALMON AND WHITEFISH ARE READY TO PILE ON TO BAGELS → and mezcal list features, well, really good tequila and mezcal. Because, as I discover, the people who operate Vegas’s resorts are not stupid, and neither are their audience. Walking around the strip, food names are everywhere. Ramsay, Wolfgang Puck, José Andrés, JeanGeorges Vongerichten. Even Thomas Keller, he of the famed Per Se in New York and The French Laundry in Napa Valley, has a restaurant here. Their faces are emblazoned on giant billboards above hotel pools, tussling with the sensory overload. With so much on offer across the Strip’s many resorts and hotels, a good way to take it in is with a food tour, and the brilliantly named Lip Smacking Foodie Tours (yes, really) offers a few itineraries aimed to whisk intrigued diners around a few of the Strip’s must-visit spots in a few hours, with a course at each venue. The first stop is Javier’s in the ARIA Casino, the Vegas outpost of the small, high-end Mexican restaurant group that first opened in Laguna Beach in 1995. It’s an odd juxtaposition – a hand-carved Día de los Muertos alder wood carving by an Oregon artist and mother-of-pearl-clad private dining room bathed in the neon glow of the unending rows of slot machines – but the room is sumptuous and the food excellent: a half-andhalf enchilada with fat tufts of pulled chicken with guajillo sauce, and softly scented prawn and Dungeness crab with tomatillo. At Greek restaurant Estiatorio Milos in The Cosmopolitan Hotel, the smell of fresh fish and vine tomatoes lingers at the entrance. Operators here make a rebuttal to the perceived excess of Vegas with careful sourcing, and Milos is one of them: fish is sourced from individual fishermen in Greece,

BEST OF THE BRUNCH: Manhattan import Sadelle’s serves breakfasts like this tower of salmon and whitefish; [inset] Milos’ grilled octopus

and olive oil is whitelabelled from a single producer. There’s vibrant Greek salad and fresh bread, and hunks of meaty grilled octopus atop Santorini PDO fava bean purée and crisp white onion. Then, a few doors down in the same hotel, there’s Momofuku, David Chang’s famous restaurant group, which serves up a chickpea ramen with massive umami punch and crisp, chewy noodles, and unctuous pork belly in a bao bun with the group’s famous house-made Ssäm sauce. The day after, we take a trip to Sadelle’s. A recent import from Manhattan, this modern take on a classic Jewish brasserie at the corner of the iconic Bellagio conservatory – at this time bedecked in cherry blossom in an homage to spring in Japan – is similarly lushly decorated, and courses here follow suit: gleaming towers of lox salmon, whitefish,

julienned tomato and cucumber with capers and dill are ready to pile on to bagels, while crisp potato latkes are topped with cured salmon and caviar. It’s a feast for the the eyes and the stomach, and a must-visit Strip brunch spot. And the cocktail revolution hasn’t eluded Vegas’s operators, either – not if Juniper, a bar at the Park MGM, is to be believed, anyway. Again, the one thing Vegas’s hotels and resorts aren’t lacking in is cash, so if they decide to up their cocktail game, they do it right. The lounge looks a little like the recently reopened Lyaness on the Southbank – that familiar Duomo-in-Florence mix of light salmon, light grey and dark green – while the team behind the bar have a wealth of experience in the drinks trade. The list isn’t hugely conceptual (which is probably a good thing), but the drinks are excellent. →


→ The festival So, yes, eating and drinking in Las Vegas is probably unsurprising in its quality. But what we’re here for is the festival, and I’m booked in for four or five flagship events. Vegas Uncork’d is a co-venture between the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and the American food magazine Bon Appétit. The latter’s involvement is crucial: while it’s fair to assume good food exists in Las Vegas anyway, the Bon Appétit name is a ringing endorsement and a statement that suggests the city’s food scene is as serious as it is blingy. The first order of business is Behind the Scenes with the Master Chefs of France. A stark reminder of the city’s pulling power, it sees 20 or more French-born chefs who have received the title Maîtres Cuisiniers de France (bestowed upon those who have been considered to have carried the culinary torch for the nation in France and beyond) cooking canapé-sized dishes in a sprawling industrial kitchen in a secret location underneath The



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much I’ve left out in and around the Strip and as part of the festival. There’s excellent hand-pulled noodles and dumplings in La La Noodle; an great Italian brunch at Rao’s; a champagne sabrage competition between some of Vegas’s most prominent celebrity chefs on a rooftop at The Cosmopolitan; a wild night at Calvin Harris’s residency at Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace; a foray into Old Vegas for a speakeasy-style pop-up at The Mob Museum; and the inimitable Absinthe, a ludicrous variety show that combines incredible gymnastics with filthy skits bookended by a massive outdoor party. The festival is a genuine statement of intent, bedecking an already glittering oasis of potential good eating with an array of sometimes over-the-top but frequently brilliant events, along with a uniquely charged energy. I’d say that I don’t know whether the city, with its electric energy, corpulent lucre, its utter mastery of entertaining and hospitality, its crazy variety shows and its genuinely fantastic restaurants, is closer to the sublime or the ridiculous. But why can’t it be both? I think back to my mission statement: ‘my only trip to Las Vegas’; the naive words of someone who’s seen and heard a city enough in films or stories to make a judgement call with no personal knowledge. But actually, I can’t wait to go back. Viva Las Vegas indeed. f

Photograph (Chef) by Key Lime Photography

GRAND MASTERS: [from left] Behind the Scenes with the Master Chefs of France event; The Grand Tasting event at Caesars Palace; a tasty canapé

Venetian Resort, alongside free-flowing Californian chardonnay and pinot noir. The festival’s epicentre, though, is The Grand Tasting. Essentially a massive party in the courtyard of Caesars Palace (the “Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis”, to give it its full name), it’s a production of enormous scale. Ramsay and other high-ranking chefs are introduced on a red carpet, and more than 50 of the town’s top chefs have stations around the massive pool and a few breakaway areas to serve hero dishes to the evening’s 2,500 guests. Drinks are, of course, free-flowing: a friend takes the opportunity to talk me through some of the many exceptional US wineries who are pouring, and he and I divide the night cleanly into two sections, pre- and post- a visit to the Casamigos Tequila stand. If The Grand Tasting proves to be a big night (which, inevitably, it does) Picnic at the Park is the perfect hangover cure. Held in the bright sunshine outside the MGM Grand, it’s a similar concept, albeit with a lazier pace (apart from the mix-your-own margarita station that’s powered by exercise bike, and no I’m not joking). Chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Masaharu Morimoto and Roy Choi are given a rapturous introduction by Bon Appétit’s editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport (many of the magazine’s staffers are on hand across the events), before they go to their stations to cook individual dishes for the guests. If all the above sounds like a lot to pack into five or six days, there’s almost as

Depart the everyday



A passion for produce and provenance unites Claude Bosi and Rémy Martin, and it’s a pairing that makes perfect sense. Nick Savage joins two French classics in Cognac


Photograph by Stéphane Charbeau Photograph / RémybyMartin ###



N THE HISTORIC house of Rémy Martin in Cognac, a chandelier straight out of Beauty and the Beast has been polished to the point of incandescence, imbuing hand-painted jungle frescoes on the wallpaper with a living warmth. Behind me, on a marble countertop, two large-format wine bottles from nearby Bordeaux luxuriate next to freshly baked bread. I’m finding a 2010 Chateau Gloria from Saint-Julien particularly diverting, but I manage to absorb a bit of the conversation around me. “Sometimes lunch is better than dinner,” says Claude Bosi in a booming, resonant French accent. “The natural light is so good. And it’s so nice to be lazy in the afternoon.” He rubs his stomach. “I’m a big, lazy guy.” Everyone at the table laughs. Bosi isn’t lying when he mentions he’s a big man – he’s something of a chef’s chef, with the accompanying stature, heft and power – but I’m a little dubious about his claim of laziness, considering his knack for garnering Michelin stars, securing two at his previous restaurant Hibiscus and two at his current, Claude Bosi at Bibendum.


This sense of doubt is vindicated when one sees him in his natural working environment, finessing every minor detail into an extraordinary dining experience. It’s on full display during a visit to South Kensington’s Bibendum to sample his food pairings with Rémy Martin XO, the longest-aged of Remy Martin’s core range of cognacs and its flagship expression. He vibrates with rapt attention, instructing his staff on everything from how flowers should sit in the vase to how to properly marshal a carvery trolley. Despite his claims, laziness is not in his lexicon. Mr Bosi’s connection with Rémy Martin goes back further than this trip: in September 2018, the bar area on the ground floor of the iconic Terence Conran-designed Michelin House became La Maison Rémy Martin Residency at Claude Bosi. It features a series of curated events and signature masterclasses as well as food pairings with Rémy Martin cocktails, including a delectable array of filled bao buns, cockle popcorn and Morecambe Bay oysters. A number of affinities come to the fore between Bosi and Rémy as we make our way through the house. He

SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO BE BRUTAL, WHICH APPLIES TO COOKING AS MUCH AS COGNAC mentions that the brand shares his “passion for craftmanship, talent and terroir and ultimately the enjoyment of excellent food, which can really bring to life the different aspects of cognac.” Bosi was also one of the most prominent judges in the #RemySprint competition, which saw 12 duos of pâtissiers and sommeliers pitted against one another to create a dessert pairing with Rémy Martin XO.

Photograph by (house and barrels) Stéphane Charbeau /

Rémy Martin; (dishes) Thomas Alexander

Back in Cognac, after a series of strong espressos at the breakfast buffet in Hotel Chais Monnet, he points out a fish swimming in one of its fountains. “Great white shark?” I posit. “No, it’s actually a sturgeon,” Bosi replies. “They are quite common in this region.” Before our lunch, an amuse bouche is served, a crispy cuboid potato croquette laden with local sturgeon roe. It finds a supple pairing in a well-structured Royal Sidecar cocktail made with plum-infused XO. Over our first course, tartare of veal reared in nearby Chalais smoked over Rémy Martin oak barrels with a beetroot ravioli, I gain further insights into Bosi’s genesis into one of Britain’s leading chefs. “I always told my mother I either wanted to bake cakes or drive lorries.” I scribble a reminder into my notebook to verify this claim. Yet, apocryphal or not, there is an insight into his craft – here’s a chef that likes to get his hands dirty. He’s also someone who likes to know how the sausage is made, which is evidenced by our tour of the Rémy Martin facilities. We are taken step-by-step through the process of creating cognac by international brand ambassador Florian Hériard Dubreuil, a fourth-generation member of the family that has captained House Rémy Martin since

MAISON D’ETRE: [from left] Remy Martin’s estate; Claude Bosi touring the vineyards; a section of the distillery; barrels in the ageing cellars

1910. Claude peppers him with questions, his enthusiasm for learning apparent throughout. There are a number of requirements for a cognac house to be in accordance with their AOC – the rules stipulated by the appellation of the region. To be Cognac Fine Champagne, the wine must be distilled from a majority of Ugni Blanc with grapes such as Colombard and Folle Blanche filling in. It also stipulates that all of the grapes come from the Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne regions, with at least 50% from the latter. Rémy Martin formed the Alliance Fine Champagne in 1966, which allows the brand to work closely with roughly 1,000 winegrowers in the region to ensure they create the ideal white wine for the distillation. The percentage of rejection is usually under 10% and if you are rejected twice you can be removed from the system. Claude notes the similarity to running a top kitchen: “What I find interesting is that you sometimes have to be brutal with suppliers to ensure you get the right ingredients, which applies to cooking just as much as it does to sourcing the grapes for cognac.” He thinks for a moment and then adds “It’s good not to have a fixed contract with these guys. It helps to keep them on their feet.” Rémy Martin’s cellar masters decide when the grapes are ready for harvest, which of late has generally been earlier due to a changing climate and hotter weather. The wine is then double distilled on its lees in copper alembic stills, with 12kg of grapes feeding into just a single litre of eau-de-vie. Bosi notes that copper is better for heat distribution, which will cool down and heat up faster. “But somewhere along the line we are doing the same job. We start from a small pan and then move on to a big pan to get the final result.” Cellar masters train relentlessly to ensure they keep the heritage taste of the cognac, tasting every day for ten years or more before another inherits the mantle. “It’s like working with a new head chef in your restaurant,” says Bosi, “It’s imperative to stick with your profile.” It’s hard not to fall into boilerplate expressions like ‘kid in a candy shop’ when entering the XO Reveal room. A long table has been freighted with every note imaginable in the cognac, including pistachios, walnuts, almonds, grapes, apples, pears, figs, candied nectarines, ginger, banana bread, honey, dark chocolate, dark chocolate truffle and

MATCH MAKER It’s not only Claude Bosi who’s been discovering the pairing potential of Remy Martin’s flagship XO:the Remy Sprint competition saw teams of pastry chefs from some of the UK’s best restaurants compete to pair unique desserts with XO at their restaurants. The five winning teams were Aurel Istrate and Romina Vasquez at The Connaught, Solene Bonhumeau and Loic Pellegry at The Five Fields, Enzo Housseau and Hugo Danjou at Mere, Sarah Riddle and Marie Launey at Sketch,and Scott Goss and James Harrison at Verdigris, with the dessert pairings available at their restaurants from now until Christmas. Find out more at

18-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bosi flits from one station to the other, excitedly shining insight on everything from the flavour profile of the XO to the umami quality of the parmesan. Later on he mentions that he enjoys working with Rémy “because of their tradition and respect for what they’re doing. They have one belief – they’re doing it because they believe it’s the best way to make a great product and the best quality they can deliver.” We wrap up our day on the banks of the Charente River, sipping aperitifs of XO and Fever-Tree tonic. The river is of paramount historical significance to the region as, originally, barrels of liquid were shipped out to the greater world on the back of its waters. Bosi mentions how much he’s enjoyed spending time in Cognac, how much he’s loved its architecture and the richness of its history. He says he’ll be back. I don’t doubt it. It’s been clear throughout the day here that in Bosi, Rémy Martin has found a kindred spirit, one that both understands and respects tradition yet doesn’t stand on ceremony. As for the liquid, it’s probably no surprise that Bosi puts it best: “When you taste it you can actually experience 400 years of knowledge – its brain, heart and soul.” f




In the Kimpton De Witt hotel, Amsterdam has a new hideaway where you can sip cocktails by London legend Mr Lyan. Lydia Winter pitches up to visit a new old favourite What to eat?

What else?

Let’s face it: it’s pretty hard to dislike Amsterdam. The only problem is that the city is so damn likeable that, well, everyone likes it – which means plenty of tourists. Upgrade from the hostels you stayed in when you were 18 and book into the Kimpton De Witt, an oasis away from the crowds that’s still close to all the canals and culture you could wish for. The hotel even has bikes you can borrow for the day, making the sights, sounds and stroopwafels even easier to reach. Inside, the property is elegant and peaceful, but not without an edge. If you can, stay in a room in the older part of the hotel, filled with old world touches like wooden beams and gilded light fixtures.

Front and centre is Super Lyan, an all-day cocktail bar on the hotel’s ground floor. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it should: the bar is the brainchild of cocktail maestro Mr Lyan, and began its life in London before emigrating to Amsterdam. Sadly we can’t do the same, but we were able stop in for the bar’s brilliant drinks (natch) and inventive all-day brunch and light bites. Soak up the sins of the night before with a pork belly-filled bao bun; satisfy afternoon cravings with a beef bitterballen (beetroot for veggies); or try the curious, moreish vegan ‘magic cheese’. Oh, and don’t miss the bar’s freshly baked vegan doughnuts – when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Obviously there’s no shortage of activities in Amsterdam, from heading out on a canal boat to taking in the city’s world-class museums. But when you aren’t gazing at all that soulenriching art, the city is also a hub for excellent food. Cool cafés abound, particularly in the trendy De Pijp area, which is well worth a gentle wander. Elsewhere, sample authentic Dutch cooking at Moeders (‘mothers’ in Dutch), where you can eat traditional dishes like beef stew with onions and cabbage, or stamppot, with mashed potatoes, vegetables, bacon, meatballs and sausage. For something more refined, try De Kas, located inside a greenhouse that grows its own veg and salad.

If you’d like to plan your own food and drink adventure, go to where you’ll find lots more destination guides and inspiration


AMSTERDAM ◆◆ Population: 821,000 ◆◆ Country: The Netherlands

From £260pn; f

Flights from London to Amsterdam take around an hour, or you can jump on the Eurostar – the route launched last year and takes just under four hours from London St Pancras.

Photograph by (bathroom) Laure Joilet; [Super Lyan) Ashkan Mortezapour/Dishtales BV

What’s the draw?



A trip to Brazil for a cooking competition makes Richard H Turner even more determined to highlight the current plight of the Amazon rainforest


VEN IN A country the size of Brazil, 1,700 miles is a long way. That’s the distance from my table in São Paulo to the Amazon, yet smoke from the colossal fires that have ravaged the rainforest this year is blocking out the sun. It’s certainly a far cry from the magnificent tropical dawn that greeted me two days ago, when my plane touched down for the first stop on a trip that would take me from a meat-lover’s paradise to an Amazon that’s currently the subject of international fury. I’m in São Paulo for the fifth edition of the Churrascada International Barbecue Festival, one of several events around the world spawned by my own Meatopia. Founded by Gustavo Bottino, who had an epiphany at Meatopia UK back in 2013, Brazil’s first


barbecue festival began as a small and friendly gathering for 30 people and five years later is one of the world’s preeminent culinary and entertainment events. Hawksmoor executive chef Matt Brown and I have been invited to cook here, along with 70 masters of meat and fire from five continents. The festival lasts for two days and hosts more than 7,000 people – all fed by truckloads of meat, accompanied by truckloads of cold beer, and entertained by 12 bands over two stages – and competitions such as the first edition of Brazil’s Butcher Wars, a butchery competition that’s worthy of its own television show. Following a site recce as soon as we arrived in São Paulo, the following day we’re pitched into the event itself, and it’s a frenzy

of feasting and dancing. We cook around 250 2kg tomahawk steaks, medium rare, low and slow above smouldering charcoal, then throw directly into the fire to finish, a technique called clinching. The result is juicy, tender and flavoursome and we serve it with some blue cheese-baked potato malarkey that Matt came up with. Once the half tonne of meat is cooked, sliced and served we wander round the event and network like crazy, using sign language where necessary. One participant has created a piece of apparatus that suspends whole turkeys, ducks, chickens, pheasants, guinea fowl and quail over smouldering orange wood.

Photographs (Main) by Mackinmal/shutterstock; (BBQ) Craig Hastings/Getty Images

Another has whole suckling pigs rotating on a kind of Ferris wheel contraption. I can barely contain my excitement and we agree he’ll create something similar for me at Meatopia London next year. There’s certainly a lot to reflect on the following day, sitting at local celebrity butcher Rogério Betti’s butcherysteakhouse, the midday sun shrouded by those distant clouds of Amazonian smoke. Later that week, after a quick stopover in Rio de Janeiro to visit the statue of Christ that seems to symbolise Brazil, we fly the four hours and 2,000 miles to Manaus, gateway to Amazonia. We spend one night in Manaus before driving through the rainforest for two hours until we’re deep in Amazonia, which covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. Our jeep drops us at a jetty striking out into the river where a small sea plane awaits and we fly the last 100 or so miles upriver before landing back on water. This basin encompasses seven million square kilometres of which nearly 80% is rainforest, comprising the largest and most biodiverse tract of jungle in the world, with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species. This jungle represents over half of the world’s remaining rainforests. By the time we arrive, towards the end of August, 80,000 fires have broken out so far this year; a 77% rise on the same period in 2018, with a 90% rise in deforestation. There’s a lot of spurious bullshit about the farts of intensively farmed cattle affecting ecosystems and the environment, but in the case of Amazonia there is clear and direct causal link between intensive cattle farming and the environment: they are burning the forest in order to farm cattle. It’s thought that life on earth might actually die out without the Amazon rainforest. Brazil has long struggled to preserve the Amazon, sometimes called the ‘lungs of the world’ as it produces 20% of the world’s oxygen. Despite the increasingly strict environmental protections of recent decades, about a quarter of this massive rainforest is already gone – to put it into perspective, that’s an area three times the size of the UK. Dry weather isn’t to blame for this year’s destruction. These wildfires are manmade, set by loggers and cattle ranchers who use a ‘slash and burn’ method to clear land. And, feeding off the dry conditions, these fires have spread out of control. While climate change does damage the Amazon, bringing hotter weather and longer droughts, development is the single biggest threat facing the rainforest. Deforestation is largely due to farming – particularly cattle ranching, which is one

of the region’s main industries – but also soybean production. Since farmers need a massive amount of land for grazing, they are driven to continuously clear forest, illegally, to expand pastureland. Twelve per cent of what was once Amazonian forest – about 93 million acres – is now farmland. And deforestation in the Amazon has spiked since the election last year of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. Arguing that federal conservation zones and hefty fines for cutting down trees hinder economic growth, Bolsonaro has slashed Brazil’s strict environmental regulations. President Bolsonaro is also pushing forward an ambitious infrastructure development plan that would turn the Amazon’s many waterways into electricity generators. The Brazilian government has plans to build a series of big new hydroelectric dams, including on the Tapajós River, the Amazon’s only remaining undammed river. But the indigenous Munduruku people, who live near the river, have stridently opposed this idea. Bolsonaro’s government is, however, less likely than his predecessors to respect indigenous rights. One of his first moves in office was to transfer responsibilities for demarcating indigenous lands from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice to the decidedly pro-development Ministry of Agriculture. His plans are part of a broader South American project, conceived in 2000, to build continental infrastructure that provides electricity for industrialisation and facilitates trade across the region. For the Brazilian Amazon, that means not just new dams but also waterways, rail lines, ports and roads that will get beef and other products to market. This proposal is far more ambitious than earlier infrastructure projects that damaged the Amazon. If the plan moves forward, it’s estimated that 40% of

the Amazon could be deforested. Apocalyptic as all this sounds, science suggests that it’s not too late to save the Amazon. Ecologists believe tropical forests destroyed by fire, logging, land clearing and roads can be replanted. Although these second-growth forests will never exactly replace the older forests that have been lost, planting carefully selected trees and assisting natural recovery can restore much of the former functions of the forest. Fortunately the part of Amazonia that we get to see is not burning and we witness myriad epiphytic plants and orchids, giant spiders, arboreal snakes such as boa constrictors, macaws and toucans. A guide takes us on a trek through the jungle pointing out flowers, plants, leaves, bark, grubs used for medicine by the local people. We go on an early morning boat-trip and we see dolphins and piranha and the part of the river where the salt water meets the fresh. From our boat we watch the sunrise, in awe at the spectacular beauty of this place. Armed with a renewed appreciation for this unique environment we head home and contemplate our own impact on the Amazon. So what can we do back in London? Well, there’s vegetarianism, of course, but that comes with its own particular issues and problems, the most glaringly obvious being how to fertilise the land to grow vegetables, in the quantity we need, without farm animals or chemicals? A better answer might be to shop more carefully. Britain is the ninth-largest importer of Brazilian beef – at nearly 60,000 tonnes per year, a not insubstantial amount of cow – so a useful starting point might be to eat ethically farmed British meat instead, and less of it. And yes, I know, I’m a broken record, but at least I’m consistent… f Follow Richard on Instagram at @richardhturner




New York doesn’t start and end in Manhattan. For a different side of the city, look no further than the vibrant Brooklyn neighbourhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint A TOWER ABOVE: [clockwise from left] The Empire State Building sits just over the river from Williamsburg and Greenpoint; Brooklyn Brewery; an NYC-style slice; tacos from Greenpoint Fish & Lobster



NOFFICIALLY SEPARATED BY the short expanse of McCarren Park, and just a short hop across the water from the East Village, the neighbourhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint provide a slightly more laidback foil to the frenetic streets of Manhattan. There are Michelinstarred restaurants (try Mexican restaurant Oxomoco or Peter Luger Steak House) and huge open-air street-food markets like Smorgasburg. There are breweries, distilleries and urban wineries to drink in, and chic new hotels to check into. And there are music bars where the discarded shells of monkey nuts coat the floor (Skinny Dennis), dive bars complete with bowling alleys and heavy metal venues (hello, The Gutter) and rooftop bars to sip cocktails and stare at the Empire State from. But most importantly, it’s a part of the city where tons of New York classics sit cheek-by-jowl with instant institutions that have popped up in the last 20 or so years. And if you want to know where to find a few of them, you best read on...


Greenpoint Fish & Lobster

Small and unassuming, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster is a great way to get a taste of the Atlantic without heading out to Long Island. Head down any time and you can splash the cash on chowder and lobster rolls, but it really comes alive at happy hour (2-6pm weekdays; 4-6pm weekends), when you can sit at the counter and chase half-price oysters and clams with a plate of baja fish tacos – all of which will set you back a modest $15-20 – then hit a couple of $5 beers from the likes of Queens-based brewery Finback. 114 Nassau Avenue, 11222;

Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop Photograph by (Brooklyn brewery) Mark Newton; (dishes) Mike Gibson

If you’re caught short of cash with an empty stomach in NYC, you generally have two options: hot dogs or slice. And if you’re asking us, it’s always got to be that big, pliable triangle of cheesy goodness with simple toppings, served on a paper plate. Although relatively recent (the slice-only branch of legendary pizzeria Paulie Gee’s only opened in 2017), this place is already one of the most visited spots in all of Greenpoint thanks to its pepperoni cup-covered slices and strong variety of vegan options. Sure, the pie at Paulie’s might cost a little more than the traditional dollar slice (the cheapest is $3.50), but it’s most certainly worth the price hike. 110 Franklin Street, 11222;

Peter Luger Steak House Down by the bridge in the southernmost

reaches of Williamsburg, Peter Luger Steak House is as quintessential a New York restaurant as they come, with its surly waiting staff, Edward-Hopper-meets-bierhalle interiors and excellent dry-aged USDA steak served with creamed spinach and Germanstyle fried spuds. It ain’t cheap – you’re looking at upwards of $100 in cash for steak for two plus sides – but you’ll be immersing yourself in an absolute NYC institution. 178 Broadway, 11211;

Fette Sau Think Brooklyn and your first thought might not traditionally be BBQ. But save yourself a trip south by dropping down Metropolitan Avenue and feasting on a bevy of brisket, burnt-end beans, kraut, pickles and sauce. Bring a coat and prepare to get cosy if you’re visiting in winter, because this cafeteriastyle joint is housed in a former garage with communal bench seating. It’s also got a beer list so strong that it played a part in inspiring Kernel Brewery owner Evin O’Riordain to start brewing in London after he visited a

decade ago. Thanks, Fette. 354 Metropolitan Avenue, 11211;


Williamsburg beer crawl

Much like London, Williamsburg and Greenpoint have seen a boom in new breweries over the last ten or so years – and you can walk five of them (plus some great craft beer bars) in less than an hour. Start just outside the bounds of East Williamsburg in Bushwick at KCBC for big IPAs and fruited sours, then hoof it 25 minutes north to Interboro for more. Less than five minutes around the block on Metropolitan Avenue, you’ll find Grimm Artisanal Ales, where you’ll want to try some barrel-aged sours and stouts, pick up a sharing bottle for your suitcase and fill up on snacks and shawarma at inhouse kitchen Samesa. With a full stomach, head from Grimm to Beer Street – about a ten minute walk – where ten rotating lines give you access to NYC breweries like Other Half and Fifth Hammer (which lie a little out of reach in other parts of Brooklyn and Queens) →


PETE’S CANDY STORE IS A GENUINE RELIC AND HAS BEEN OPEN SINCE THE 1920S → plus more rarities from further afield on the East Coast. After a fortifying ten-minute walk across McCarren Park you’ll land at Brooklyn Brewery, worth a visit for the taproom exclusives and US-only brews on draft. Pete’s Candy Store A genuine relic, Pete’s Candy Store has been open since the 1920s. Run first as a general store and then, from the 1970s onwards, a candy shop (hence the name), it’s now a great little neighbourhood cocktail and beer bar that’s also played host to regular live music nights since it reopened in 1999. Names to have graced its compact stage setup include Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright and Sufjan Stevens, but if you go on a night where there’s no one playing you can still expect great mixed drinks, a more than decent beer selection and great service. 709 Lorimer Street, 11211;


The Hoxton Williamsburg

For a little slice of East London in the heart of Williamsburg – or for a bolthole that combines easy logistics with

FUN AND GAMES: [clockwise from top right] Westlight at The William Vale offers booze and views; the hotel’s spectacular corner suites; Summerly at The Hoxton

the hipness for which The Hoxton’s hotels have become renowned – its recent opening should see you right. The tiny rooms manage to feel cosy rather than cosseting, fitting all you need into a small footprint, while its airier lobby is the requisite level of full (but not too full) with hipsters on laptops, and restaurant Kleins offers up contemporary US dishes in its dining room and bar counter. If you’ve got time, terrace bar Summerly

presents a gorgeous Manhattan panorama – a spritz or two as the sun goes down is a must. From £141pn. 97 Wythe Avenue, 11249;

The William Vale For something a bit more spacious (OK, a lot more spacious) try the recently opened William Vale around the corner. Its upsidedown-looking, cyperpunk-brutalist exterior is already a feature of the skyline in this part of town, and a stay here is pure luxury done the Williamsburg way. Ground-floor restaurant Leuca offers up southern Italian-inspired dishes cooked on a wood-fired grill, while Westlight on the 22nd floor is the place to go for mixed drinks with a dazzling view. There’s even a food truck, Mister Dips, if you’ve not got time to sit down. All rooms come with a balcony, but if you can stretch to it, a corner suite on one of the upper floors is an absolutely breathtaking setting, with possibly the best view of Manhattan in the borough from its sumptuous wraparound balcony. f From £277pn. 111 N 12th Street, 11249;



FROM LEFT: Dining al fresco in Rouen; a selection of Normandy cheeses; a traditional Normandy restaurant with outdoor terrace in Barfleur

Photograph by (al fresco) Vincent Rustuel, (cheese) Thierry Houyel, (restaurant) Normandy Tourism

THE SCENIC ROUTE Boasting a rich culinary heritage, the beautiful French region of Normandy should be on your list of places to visit come autumn. Just make sure to bring an appetite...


F YOU’RE LOOKING for a food-packed holiday where you can fill your boots (and stomach) with the finer things in life, there’s no need to look further than across the channel to scenic Normandy. Accessible by ferry, car, train and


plane from the UK, Normandy is a region that has a culinary heritage worth exploring, not least because of its many regional specialties. It’s there that you’ll find plenty of cider and perry, endless wheels of Normandy’s four cheeses, rich-as-sin dairy products, and enough fresh fish and seafood to put our own shores to shame. And it’s there where a proper food tour awaits, too: explore the picturesque Pays d’Auge, home to Camembert, Livarot and Pont-l’Evêque cheese, and take yourself down the 40km Cider Route which links together 18 PDO-labelled cider producers. Sample oysters in Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue (recently voted France’s favourite village), mussels in the beautiful Barfleur, or lobsters in Granville –

France’s number one shellfish port. As you can probably tell, a lot in Normandy has been designated as “the best” that France has to offer. So, shop like a local at the extensive Saturday market in Dieppe (voted the second best market in France) and treat yourself to a superlative meal at one of the region’s 29 Michelin-starred restaurants. While you’re there, you might as well pay a visit to one of the many food festivals taking place over the autumn. From cider celebrations happening inland to the popular herring festivals taking place on the coast,whatever you end up doing, we have no doubt it’ll be delicious. ● Book your trip at, follow @Normandy on Twitter, @normandy_tourism on Instagram, or search #NormandyFoodie


Gingerline, the pioneers and leaders of immersive dining in London have created Chambers - a fully immersive and interactive, 5-course, multi room dining adventure. Formerly known as Chambers of Flavour, this is the 4th adventure through the multi-verse. You may have been to immersive experiences before, by Gingerline’s Chambers offers something entirely different. Chambers is a ‘multi-dimensional’ dining adventure where brave diners explore the multi-verse by traversing through different rooms, or parallel realities, enjoying a course of food in each. This format is designed for the brave and the hungry, not for the meek or cautious of palette. Diners will be directed by text to their hidden HQ in Hoxton, where you will delve deep into the multi-verse, mapping its delicious dining secrets along the way. Gingerline experiences are built around unpredictability, so who you meet, where you will go and exactly what you’ll eat are kept top secret until the day of your adventure. Expect 5 flavoursome courses served within incredible sets from the absurd reaches of the imagination, populated by a host of mischievous characters. That’s about all you need to know, but Gingerline’s delectable track record ought to be enough to get minds wondering and mouths watering.


“A highly entertaining, clever and delicious evening out.” Broadway World

“One would be hard pressed to find a quirkier way to enjoy a five-course dinner in the capital...” West End Wilma.

“Uttlery bonkers...” The Upcoming

THE SELECTOR Eating al fresco is well overrated. Make the most of the great indoors by testing out London’s darkest basement bars, heartiest Sunday roasts, finest Japanese restaurants and best nose-to-tail eateries


EEING AS THE weather’s decided to take a turn for the worse, we feel it’s only right that you should spend the next couple of months drowning your sorrows in as much food and drink as possible. That’s why we’ve devoted ourselves to ensuring your eating experiences are as pleasant as possible and spent the last few weeks eating our way around London to provide you with our pick of the city’s eats. We’ve dined at the best Japanese restaurants –

ranging from cheap izakaya joints to high-end sushi experiences; we’ve got down and dirty with London’s most historic nose-to-tail champions; we’ve sipped on cocktails in its deepest and dankest basement bars; and we’ve eaten enough Sunday roasts to fell a fully grown shirehorse. After all, it’s a wellknown scientific fact that the best cure for seasonal affective disorder is a ruby-red hunk of beef with all the trimmings. OK, it’s not scientifically proven, but we still believe it. f




From 21-24 November, Taste of London will return to East London’s Tobacco Dock to ring in the beginning of the city’s festive season, and celebrate the best food and drink from London’s internationally renowned culinary scene. Featuring a collection of London’s hottest restaurants including Bao,

Burger & Lobster, Xu and Master Wei, plus bountiful banquets, cosy campfires, and London’s hottest chefs on The Fire Pit, Taste is the ultimate place to gather your mates and kick of the festive season in style. Book now and save with advance tickets from £17 at


BEST OF THE REST  2  Endo at Rotunda

 4  Koya

101 Wood Lane, W12 7FR

Various Locations

Wood Lane


“You’re telling me that the former BBC HQ is home to one of London’s most accomplished sushi chefs?” Yes. “You’re telling me this is a restaurant where the food tastes as if it’s been passed through the hands of an angel?” Yes. “You’re telling me it’s really, really expensive?” Yes. But the things that Endo Kazutoshi can do with raw fish are more than worth the price. If it’s your mission to eat at the best Japanese restaurant in London, not making a visit here wouldn’t be a minor lapse of judgement, it’d be an inexcusable error.

Koya has become almost synonymous with good udon noodles in London. It might take you a few visits to work out which udon style works best for you personally, but once you’ve identified that magical combination, you’ll be turned into an unstoppable wheat flour noodle-slurping machine. If you’re not careful, you might end up losing friends over your constant protestations to go to Koya rather than any other restaurant that doesn’t offer that same broth satisfaction. But with food this good, who needs friends?

 3  Atari-Ya

 5  Flesh & Buns

Various Locations

41 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX

While its shops supply hard-to-find Japanese ingredients, it’s Atari-Ya’s sit-down eateries that are some of our favourite places to indulge in the sheer range of food that comes out of Japan’s kitchens. Get the sushi, get the salmon sticks, and get ready for a bill that’ll make you nod and go “that’s more than fair”. The house sake isn’t half bad, either.

This meaty offshoot from broth barons Bone Daddies is a right laugh. Don’t come here if you’re looking for a serious meal that requires a furrowed brow and Moleskine notebook to comprehend. No, you come here for a few slaps around the face with loud and punchy flavours. Shichimi! Yuzu! Miso! And obviously the namesake meat-in-buns dishes.



Covent Garden



BE MORE JAPAN From multi-course menus to casual market meals, these Japanese restaurants have all bases covered

 1  Hinata Broadway Market, 24 Tooting High Street, SW17 0RG Tooting Broadway

Tooting’s Broadway Market has some absolute gems in it, and Hinata – a snug and inviting restaurant and sake bar – is undoubtedly one of them. Katsu curry is an essential order when it’s on the menu – crisp, golden, juicy and just the right amount of gloopy, it’s right up there with some of the most comforting dishes you can eat in the city. From homemade gyoza to picture-perfect karaage and yakitori, the izakaya selection has enough going for it that you really will have to become a regular if you ever want to try it all.


1  St. JOHN 26 St John Street, EC1M 4AY


St. JOHN in Smithfield is a bastion of the London food scene – and so is its chef and founder Fergus Henderson, who set it up in 1994 with Trevor Gulliver and pioneered nose-to-tail cooking through his use of offal, heads and snouts. The restaurant is hugely respected in the industry, and it’s gone on to branch out with its Bread & Wine, Druid Street Bakery and Maltby (sadly now closed) sites. The standout dish on the menu? The devastatingly simple roasted bone marrow.


Photographs by (Endo at Rotunda) John Scott Blackwell; (Smokestiack) Carol Sachs; (Atari-Ya) John Scott Blackwell; (Flsh & Buns) Charlie McKay; (Flank at The Print House) Matt Austin


Calling all carnivores: here’s where to head in London to find nose-to-tail dining at its meaty best BEST OF THE REST  2  Smokestak 35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB


 4  Temper Shoreditch High Street

Various Locations

For a city dubbed the Big Smoke, London has a surprising dearth of great barbecue restaurants. So thank god for Shoreditch stalwart Smokestak, where you can find just about every edible part of an animal on the menu, from crispy ox cheek nuggets – rich, meaty and cut by the acid honk of anchovy mayo – to chewy pigtails drenched in an addictive and treacle-like soy molasses. We’re fairly sure there’s no other restaurant in the city serving them this way but boy, are we glad someone’s doing it.

Unlike a lot of other restaurants, Temper buys most of its meat whole, direct from small farms, and butchers it all in house. That means Temper uses an average 65 less cattle a week to serve the same amount of meat as any likefor-like restaurant, which equates to around 3,300 less cows a year per restaurant. The group also sources rare breeds from small UK farms with high-welfare practices and refuses to get involved with anything mass-produced. Oh, and the dishes they make with all that meat? They’re pretty damn good, too.

 3  Chinese Laundry

 5  Flank at The Print House

10 Coulgate Street, SE4 2RW


133 High Street, E15 2RB


4 Stratford

Inspired by the kind of cooking you’d find if you visited someone’s home, Chinese Laundry’s constantly changing menu features dishes like five-spice offal with daikon, and fermented tofu with chicken liver. What we’re particularly interested in, however, is one of its most popular bites: the dry-fried chicken feet and marinated chicken thighs that arrive piled high with hot chillies, designed so that diners can just gnaw at the toes – a dish that’s well worth getting sticky fingers for.

If we were a pig we’d happily sacrifice our lives to the greater cause preordained with the knowledge our carcass would end up in Tom Griffiths’ safe, tender hands. Griffiths and his fellow butchery experts have brought his nose-to-tail ethos to Stratford in Flank’s latest residency at The Print House. He truly cares about every ounce of meat; offal, snouts and whatever else he can weasel flavour out of appear on the menu. The lovely beef fat naan is perhaps the best example of the ethos in action.



Restaurants TOÚ / Tata Eatery


Bubala Master Wei Hoppers Bao Smoking Goat





Xu Lemlem Kitchen Sagardi Burger & Lobster Farzi Café


The finest meal of the week gets a serious upgrade at these superlative Sunday lunch spots

Zelman Meats Wild Rice plus many more!

1 12:51 107 Upper Street, N1 1QN

21–24 NOV


James Cochran’s 12:51 is the place to be on a Sunday to get a proper roast done right. For £25 per person for a minimum of two, you’ll get 60-day-aged sirloin and a slow-braised aged brisket of Dexter beef served with crisp and fluffy roast dripping spuds, roast carrots, chargrilled hispi cabbage, cauliflower cheese, Yorkshire puddings, truffle mayo, smoked bone marrow, horseradish, and gravy. If working through that on a lazy Sunday sounds like your idea of heaven, get to Upper Street for one of the best Sunday roasts in town. Stat.


BEST OF THE REST 2 Blacklock

4 Coal Rooms

Photographs by (Blacklock) Paul Winch-Furness; (12:51) Jessica Jill (Cora Pearl) Rebecca Hope; (Coal Rooms) Derek

Various Locations

11A Station Way, SE15 4RX

The menu at Blacklock states that it does “roasts almost as good as your mum’s”. Now, we love our mum a lot. But Blacklock’s roasts are better. Cooked over open coals – and served with Yorkshire pudding, duck fat roast potatoes, seasonal veg and gravy – every piece of meat is an education in the Maillard reaction. Choosing between the 55-day-aged beef rump, Cornish lamb leg and Middlewhite pork loin isn’t easy, so go for the ‘All In’ sharing option. Sorry, mum.

All of the roasts at Peckham’s Coal Rooms come with the goods; ‘the goods’ in this case being beef dripping potatoes, roasted carrots and gremolata, spring greens, swede and pecorino, and a Yorkshire pudding. Douse your 40-day-aged Hereford sirloin and smoked chuck with Coal Rooms’ signature ‘Barney McGrew’ gravy for a river of flavour you’ll be dreaming about for the rest of the week. Or if you’re veggie, tuck into coalroasted cauliflower and rich vegetable gravy.

3 Cora Pearl 30 Henrietta Street, WC2E 8NA

Peckham Rye

5 Jones Family Project Covent Garden

78 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3JL

Get Involved The Fire Pit Feast in the Forest

Old Street

Sundays in Covent Garden can involve getting harangued by jugglers while a bunch of immovable 12 year olds block your path and fawn over sub-par entertainment. Avoid having one of those days and spend your Sunday at Cora Pearl instead. The roast pork is our pick of the meats – a tenderly cooked piece of pig that comes with a Yorkshire pudding and glorious crisp and chewy hat of crackling as well as broccoli, parsnips, crunchy potatoes and cauliflower cheese.

This independent Shoreditch restaurant and bar was set up by a group of friends who share a passion for quality dining, so it’s no surprise that the menu is heavily based on top-of-theline ingredients. Beef from the Ginger Pig, a whole roast free-range chicken and a strong veggie option in the form of a nut roast mean everyone will be happy, while even the beers and spirits tend to be produced within a few miles. Still need convincing? What’s wrong with you?! Just go already.

Diners Club VIP Lounge The Deco Noir Piano Bar Ketel One Kitchen Laurent-Perrier Ski Chalet Clubhouse


The Kuka Coffee Nitro Bar House of Tanqueray No.Ten The Campfire


21–24 NOV

1  Kwant 25 Heddon Street, W1B 4BH

Piccadilly Circus

Erik Lorincz, former head bartender at The Savoy’s American Bar, has now stationed himself under Mayfair’s Momo at Kwant, where he is quietly serving some of the best cocktails in the city. Trust us when we tell you that Lorincz is an absolute wizard when it comes to mixing a stiff drink. Yes, the cocktails here are on the spenny side but it’s worth it for the special occasion cocktail of your dreams.




Looking for a sumptuous start to an evening out? Give these subterranean stunners a go…


BEST OF THE REST  2  Milk and Honey 61 Poland Street, W1F 7NU

 4  Discount Suit Company Oxford Circus

29A Wentworth Street, E1 7TB

Aldgate East

The entrance to Discount Suit Company is nondescript, but the drinks inside – including the ‘Deal or No Deal’ with Woodford Reserve bourbon, sweet vermouth, abruzzo punch and Bogart’s Bitters – are anything but. Even if you’re not a cocktail person, a bottle of Castell d’Age 100% Orange 0% SO2 wine should prove to everyone around that you are, in fact, cool enough to drink in East London.

 3  WC Clapham

 5  Original Sin

Clapham Common South Side, SW4 7AA

129 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 0PH

Clapham Common


Stoke Newington

The wine list at this bar located in the former public loos at Clapham Common Tube traverses from the old world to the new world and back again, while the “superior” cheese and charcuterie platter features enough sheafs of meat and quality cheeses to have your head spinning. One of London’s best bars located in a former lavatory? Yes.

Original Sin is one of our favourite basement bars in town, thanks to cocktails like the Persephone (vodka, manzanilla, pomegranate, rose and tomato) and the Negroni Rosa (rosa vermouth, amaro, aquavit, strawberry, and balsamic) which are a little bit savoury, a tad fragrant, and a whole lot delicious. The bar snacks aren’t half bad, either.




Photographs by (DSC) Justin De Souz; (Original Sin) Addie Chinn

There are loads of reasons why drinkers keep returning to this Soho staple. One of the main ones? It’s very, very good – hence why it’s on our list. This is a cocktail bar where the who’s who of London’s glitterati can be witnessed from all their various angles; a place to see and be seen. Just make sure you follow the strict house rules of “no name-dropping, no star f**king”. Er, OK then?



HOP, HOP, HOORAY To celebrate the fact that Chang Beer is returning as beer partner for Taste of London from 21-24 November, we're giving you the chance to win a year's supply of beer

G Photograph by [Taste of London] C Faruolo

REAT NEWS FOR fans of quality lager: Chang Beer is back as the official beer partner for the winter edition of Taste of London at Tobacco Dock this November. That's right: the award-winning, internationally acclaimed beer will be on sale across the festival, keeping your appetite well lubricated as you try some of the very best dishes that London has to offer. Created through a time-honoured brewing process and made using a selection of only the finest ingredients, Chang's premium lager is a real easy drinker that pairs damn well with just about any cuisine out there. You'll be able to find Chang at its stand located in prime position on the ground floor near the open air area. While you’re ambling about Tobacco Dock afterwards, you

should really take the opportunity to visit Chang’s festival bar and discover the craftsmanship behind the beer. Chang won't be alone in its dedicated commitment to sate your thirst, either. Joining the Thai beer in its mission will be tropical bar Laki Kane, who’ll be pouring special Chang-infused concoctions throughout the festival, as well as Thai restaurant Wild Rice, who'll be serving up a storm alongside Chang throughout the weekend. So, whether you’re up for a tropical twist on a classic lager or a cold glass of refreshing beer, there's something for everyone. ● Chang Beer is available in selected Tesco stores nationwide. Find out more at or follow on social at @ChangBeerUK



Is there a sweeter combination of words in the English language than "free year's supply of beer"? We don't think so. In honour of Chang Beer hopping onboard as the official beer partner of Taste of London, we're offering you the chance to win a whole year's supply of tasty, refreshing lager. Yep, you read that right. One lucky foodism reader will be selected to win a year’s worth of Chang Beer, as well as a £50 voucher for Wild Rice and two vouchers for Chang cocktails at Laki Kane. Jackpot. Enter at






Christmas is on the horizon, and that means several things. But most importantly, it means cheeseboards – and you could win the ultimate cheeseboard with Peter's Yard




is the ideal complement to softer, milder varieties of cheese. While the flavours are complex, the recipe is simple: organic fresh milk, Shipton Mill flours and a sourdough starter, which ferments for 16 hours before baking. The crackers are then hand-baked until thin and crisp. And if you don't like cheese, top with smoked salmon or sauerkraut, or slather sweeter toppings like honey, peanut butter or jam. Whichever way you eat them, they're undeniably delicious – which is probably why they've all won a Great Taste Award, then. • The range is available to buy in Waitrose and Sainsbury's stores nationwide, or online at



Yep, you read that right. This Christmas, stock your cupboards ready for the perfect festive cheeseboard thanks to Peter's Yard. The prize includes a selection of Peter’s Yard sourdough crispbreads, worth more than £50, a reusable Peter’s Yard cotton bag and a £100 voucher for thecheesegeek. com – a modern cheesemonger that specialises in top-notch cheese. For full T&Cs and to enter, go to



Photograph by Mowie Kay

OVE OVER, WATER biscuits: it's time to bring a big player to the table: knäckebröd, Sweden’s much-loved crispbread, first invented in the 16th century to substitute bread during the winter months. But you don't have to go all the way to Sweden to get them, because Peter's Yard has introduced the traditional recipe to the UK – and the crackers are so good that that they were termed the "crispbreads of dreams" by our very own Nigel Slater. The sourdough crispbreads, made with simple, natural ingredients, are malty, light and crispy with just the right amount of crunch, making them a great cheese companion. What's more, there are loads of different varieties to choose from: spelt and fig pairs perfectly with salty blues; while pink peppercorn



CHRISTMAS AT CAXTON GRILL From 27th November, celebrate Christmas in Westminster with our festive menus from £35pp. Large get-together or something smaller, we have the perfect menus for you. Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve menus also available. caxton_grill caxtongrill

BLACK ROE Hidden under the streets of Mayfair, Black Roe is now home to an opulent private dining room, The Rambutan Room. Accommodating up to 20 guests and specialising in modern Asian cuisine, our expert team have curated a truly decadent range of seasonal menus for the festive period. Get in touch for a tailored party proposal. @blackroe



This year Roast invites you to join them for your own festivities from the 25th November. Whether it’s a festive gathering with friends or colleagues or a joyful meal with your family, Roast’s got you covered. Their festive set menu is the perfect treat in the lead up to Christmas. roast_restaurant @roastrestaurant

Located in the heart of Marylebone, our award-winning Italian restaurant will be throwing open its doors to the festive season, offering sumptuous seasonal menus and a hand curated series of festive events for everyone to take part in. Whether an indulgent team lunch or carol singing with the family, we have everything covered. @fucinalondon



Experience the world’s 1st interactive restaurant tables at Inamo. Featuring awardwinning private Games Rooms with 150-inch screens, games consoles and karaoke. Perfect party location. Asian fusion cuisine includes stunning sushi Dragon Roll and Asian tapas such as Sizzling Black Pepper Beef Fillet, and many veggie & vegan dishes. inamorestaurant 020 7484 0500

Ametsa’s a la carte menu, served in the main restaurant, features a selection of traditional Basque sharing plates – perfect for convivial Christmas meals. The elegant private dining room at Ametsa is available for festive feasting and drinks receptions,. Tel: 020 7447 1234 email



Located in Clapham, Tun Yard Studios provides a blank canvas and flexible space for studio work and events – from fitness classes to pop-ups. Thanks to its kitchen diningroom, the studio is also great for a private supper club. We are offering Foodism readers a special 50% off all bookings through December in time for Christmas shoots. Please quote ‘FOODISMxTUNYARD’ in your enquiry email to:

Join us for a Christmas like no other at our West India Quay Pizzeria. The pizza playground can host your party of up to 100. Play a spot of Mario Kart or a game of giant fussball. Plan your bespoke alternative party with games, music, festive drinks and pizzas, and of course our legendary mince pie calzone. Stuff stuffing for Christmas, eat pizza. Email @pizzapilgrims



Looking for the perfect gift this Christmas? Book onto our 22-seat Sky Table suspended 100ft in the air, where you’ll enjoy fantastic dining, accompanied by truly unique views of London. Book now at to treat your loved ones to an experience they’ll never forget, AND when you enter LITS-FOODISM25X at checkout, you will receive 25% off bookings before Christmas.

Looking for the perfect gift for your foodie friends or family this Christmas? Well Freak Scene in London’s Soho have got you covered. Treat them to Scott Hallsworth’s cooking with a gift voucher worth £50 or £100 valid for lunch or dinner. So what are you waiting for? @Freaksceneldn @freakscene



2 3 1 WORTH ITS SALT: Although it’s undoubtedly prettier than generic table salt, pink Himalayan salt can also be up to 20 times more expensive. This is because rock salt is harder to acquire and requires largescale mining operations.

LIGHT OF MY LIFE: Lamps made out of pink Himalayan salt come in all shapes and sizes. What do these lamps do, supposedly? Why, everything from balance out your ions and clean the air around you to fixing your erratic sleeping pattern. What do they actually do? Look rather nice in your bedroom.

TRUE COLOURS: Pink Himalayan salt is 98% sodium chloride, making it almost chemically identical to table salt. The rest is made up of trace minerals including calcium, potassium and magnesium, and that’s what provides its coral-pink tint.

Photograph by ### Photograph by Sunyixun/Mirage C/Getty

Mined from an area of the Himalayas in the Punjab region of Pakistan, pink Himalayan salt will improve both the look and taste of your cooking

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Foodism – 38 – The Home Cooking Issue