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What do you mean... ...you haven’t been yet? ‘...beef just got bigger, thicker and juicier.’
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‘The warm service led us out of the door and back onto The Strand like a hug goodbye.’
‘...one of the best steaks we’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting.’
‘I’d go back in a heartbeat, for that burger alone.’
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One of the things I’m most often asked in this job – apart from “Can you get me some free gin?” and “Do you know Uncle Ben?” – is “What are the latest food trends?” At this point, I’m usually tempted to make something ridiculous up, partly because I can’t think of anything to say, partly because I get asked it quite a lot (did I mention that already?), but mostly because the more ridiculous a trend sounds, the more chance it might actually turn up – probably in east London. OK, definitely in east London. So you heard it here first, I’m predicting the following: there’s going to be a slew of rooftop barbecued quiche and mezcal shacks arriving all over London this summer; flaming ice creams are set to be HUGE; and the backlash against sharing plates means we’ll soon see restaurants serving one giant plate of food to an entire room of customers, turning the whole place into a massive, culinary ball-pit. Don’t quote me on that. So you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m making it up when I tell you that Michel Roux Jr has given Monday nights at his Mayfair institution, Le Gavroche, over to a series of pop-ups. But he has, really, and you can read all about it – and find out why he’s bringing his daughter, Emily, along for the ride – on page 36. What that means for classical French fine dining in London remains to be seen, but I can’t wait to find out. And for the record, no, you can’t have any free gin and yes, of course I know Uncle Ben – he’s my dad. How else do you think I got this gig? f
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GRAZE 010 THE FOODIST/ LOCAL HEROES 017 THE RADAR 018 WEAPONS OF CHOICE 022 RECIPES 028 #INSTAFOOD 031 RICHARD TURNER
036 LE GAVROCHE: THE NEXT GENERATION 044 EASTERN EUROPEAN FOOD 052 JUST DESSERTS 058 THE NEGRONI UNCOVERED 064 MIXOLOGY
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010 THE FOODIST | 010 LOCAL HEROES | 014 STREET FOOD FIGHT | 017 THE RADAR 018 WEAPONS OF CHOICE | 022 RECIPES | 028 #INSTAFOOD | 031 RICHARD TURNER
— PART 1 —
GRAZE “JUST LIKE ITS COUSIN THE BURGER, FRIED CHICKEN WAS ONCE THE SUB-£5 HANGOVER FOOD OF CHOICE” THE FOODIST, 010
Move over, burger – fried chicken’s intent on grasping the dude-food mantle, says Mike Gibson
LOCAL HEROES HANDY APPS
1 TIPS FROM THE PROS Where Chefs Eat
CCORDING TO A certain red-topped British newspaper, reality TV star Millie Mackintosh took her 11th holiday in ten months in January. Which got me thinking about the only thing that spent more time in the sun last year: the burger. And with good reason – with the quality of produce available improving all the time, something as beautifully simple as the burger can be elevated to dizzy heights with the right approach. Whether it’s aged beef from Bleecker St or crazy toppings at Big Fernand, its ability to be recreated and reshaped by hundreds of chefs and street-food traders means it’s no surprise that we couldn’t get enough of it once it had some momentum. But, like all good things, the burger’s dominance might just be coming to an end – not, though, before we see the beginnings of
the majestic rise of another US staple. Just like its cousin the burger, fried chicken was once the sub-£5 drunk or hungover food of choice – but that was in a London not yet obsessed with soul food and sticky fingers. Those leading the charge for 2016’s dude-food of choice include BIRD, fresh off its third restaurant opening in Camden (birdrestaurants.com), Joe’s Southern Kitchen’s authentic brand of fiery Nashville chicken (joessouthernkitchen.co.uk), and Mother Clucker, currently plying their trade at Street Feast events around the capital (motherclucker.co.uk). As with the burger, its simplicity and moreishness is key, but with its proliferation comes a hunger not just for crispy, buttermilk-fried bird, but for better provenance and more ethical sourcing, too. Now, who’s up for chicken and waffles? f
IN POUR TASTE If you’re spending top whack on wine, you’ll want to make sure it’s served in the best way it possibly can be when you taste it, with everything from the glassware to the decanting carefully measured. If you’re this way inclined, and you’ve got a spare bundle of
cash knocking around, the iSommelier and accompanying app is for you: it decants the wine with an intricate system designed for the perfect amount of oxidation and temperature within mere minutes, meaning more time for you to stare lovingly at the bottles in your cellar. You lucky thing. Available exclusively at Harrods; harrods.com
Ever wanted to know where Jason Atherton grazes in his downtime? Well, now you can, thanks to this insiders’ guide to the world’s best restaurants. Compiled by industry insiders, it’s got a whopping 3,000 reviews of everything from neighbourhood haunts to fine dining. £10.99; phaidon.com
BOTTLE SERVICE Vivino Wine Scanner
The vast and complex world of wine can be intimidating, but this app’s got everything you need to become an instant buff, including personalised recommendations and buying guides, bottle-scanning function and tips on where to get the best deals. Free; vivino.com
LOCAL HEROES + MORE HAN DY APPS
THAT’S THE SPIRIT Distiller
Distiller is like having a mate who’s a spirits connoisseur in your pocket with you at all times, constantly helping you to discover new flavours. As well as whisk(e)y, the latest version has opened out to rum, tequila, mezcal and brandy, and combines reviews from both its panel of experts and its users via a proprietary algorithm (we’d explain how it works, but we don’t want to confuse you) to provide personalised recommendations. Free; distiller.com
BASKET CASE Spring will soon, er, spring, and, as is customary at that time of year, farmers and producers will wake from their winter hibernation and flood London’s farmers’ markets with their goods. Here’s what we’ll all be throwing in our (handwoven wicker, natch) baskets this season.
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PAY YOUR DUES Velocity
Here’s a fact for you: the average consumer will spend a month of their life waiting for the bill in restaurants. That’s a lot of time to exert peak Britishness by patiently trying to make awkward eye contact with a stranger. But we’ve got a solution for you in the form of Velocity, an app that enables you to see your bill in real time and even split the bill with your table. It’s recently partnered with Uber, so you can also order your ride home while paying. The app is available for use at more than 300 London restaurants so far, from Burger & Lobster to HIX. Waiter? Waiter? Forget it. Free; velocityapp.com
, return If found to E8
COOK THE BOOKS Sesame
If you’re like us, you’ll be used to spending hours trawling the internet for the latest recipes – and inevitably forgetting what you’ve found. This slick app enables you to open a webpage, save the method and ingredients, and then converts the information into an easy-to-read format, creating something like a virtual recipe folder. Ingredients can be remembered as a shopping list, and dishes can be tagged by type or occasion. Unfortunately, not all web pages can be ‘scraped’, but it does have the added bonus that everything you’ve stored in the app is available offline. £2.99; sesame-app.com
WHAT’S IN YOUR FARMERS’ MARKET SHOPPING BASKET PURPLE SPROUTING HEIRLOOM BABY RADISH FLOWERS CRAFT GRUEL NATIVE-BREED FREE-RANGE SPAM AIR-DRIED TRIPE WINGS SOUTHERN-FRIED CRICKETS WITH SRIRACHA DIP THAT REALLY RICH, BIODYNAMIC FRENCH BLUE CHEESE YOU CAN STILL TASTE A YEAR LATER 26 BURGERS
STREET FOOD FIGHT
Meat stew with rice or rice stew with meat? The devil is in the detail when it comes to choosing between these delicacies from Spain and Louisiana, US
A traditional gumbo is one big, delicious, hot mess of tantalising flavours that’ll take your tastebuds straight to the Deep South. Ingredients can vary – it’s usually made up of chicken, smoked sausage and prawns, along with pretty much anything else that takes your fancy – but it’s always based on the Cajun vegetable holy trinity: celery, peppers and onion. This is soul food at its best; amen to that.
The ramen favourite uses rapeseed oil, de árbol chilli flakes, shichimi togarashi, red miso and sesame to create a hot, nuttytasting oil bursting with umami flavours. £4.99; tonkotsu.co.uk
◆◆ The Bayou Soul;
Gumbo; various. Chef Tom joined the street-food revolution to introduce London to the satisfying flavours of the American South.
20 Inverness St, NW1 7HJ. An all day Creolestyle bar and kitchen in Camden, with an unmissable blues brunch every weekend.
The Rib Man’s Holy Fuck Hot Sauce
A rice dish crammed with flavours According to tradition, the only two mandatory additions to the rice base of Spain’s national dish are chicken and rabbit – snails are an optional extra. How do you know when you’re on to a good’un? Properly cooked, the rice at the bottom should form a deliciously crisp layer known as socarrat.
◆◆ Jamon Jamon;
Packed with scotch bonnet peppers and naga jolokia chillis, this notorious sauce isn’t for the fainthearted. It’s freshly made each week, too. £5; theribman.co.uk
◆◆ Hola Paella; various.
Portobello Market. A stall that sources all its ingredients from its neighbours. You can’t get more local than that.
This Spanish café cooks its paella in enormous pans in front of diners for an authentic Mediterranean vibe.
T HE W INNE R IS
The Spanish staple hoovered up 60% of the votes in our poll. Check out the next pair-off and vote for your favourite at foodism.co.uk
Hot chili sauces
Tonkotsu’s Eat The Bits Chilli Oil
Rich stew to warm your soul
◆◆ Colonel Tom’s
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
African Volcano’s Hot Peri Peri sauce It’s taken more than 15 years to develop the recipe for this veggie-friendly sauce. No wonder it struck gold in the Great Taste Awards, then. £9; africanvolcano.com
Cookery school coming soon at Bourne & Hollingsworth Group, Farringdon, EC1R 0HU and for more information email@example.com
C OC KTA I L T RAD I N G CO
T HE G IB SON
Some track records can’t really be called into question. That’s why, when Marian Beke – previously known for steering City Road speakeasy Nightjar into the top three of the World’s 50 Best Bars competition three years running – sets up his own shop in Clerkenwell, we get excited. The new place will be themed around a journey through the Edwardian era, and specialises in the classic cocktail from which it borrows its name. EC1V 9AQ; thegibsonbar.london
THE RADAR In need of inspiration? We take you through the hottest new bar and restaurant openings Trending
Inamo is not your average pan-Asian restaurant – it takes the formula and runs with it, including enlivening features like at-the-table ordering and playing with design flourishes and immersive experiences (light-projected tablecloth, anyone?) to amp up your dining experience. Find it, relocated from St James’s, in the heart of Covent Garden. WC2E 9JP; inamo-restaurant.com
A first permanent site on Brick Lane for the innovative cocktail pop-up kings, featuring a 400-bottle back-bar and £9 cocktails, all based around rare or unusual spirits. Sign us up. E1 6GQ; thecocktail tradingco.co.uk
Pigeon kebab? Southern-fried rabbit? Consider us intrigued, Native. The menu at this new Neal’s Yard restaurant will be chock-full of artful, creative dishes based around game and foraged ingredients. The concept comes from two childhood friends with a background in supper clubs and a passion for seasonal British meat and foraged produce. As well as traditional game dishes, there’ll be a selection of punky street food, too. WC2H 9DP; eatnative.co.uk
100 WAR DOU R ST OPEN NOW
Want history? Restaurants don’t come with much more than this new incarnation of the space in Soho which has held the iconic Marquee Club music venue, as well, more recently, Floridita and modern Indian Carom. The new restaurant from hospitality giant D&D is split across two levels, with a lounge and club attached. It’ll focus on modern Mediterranean dishes. W1F 0TN; danddlondon.com
A former Nobu sushi chef takes the helm at the first London outpost of this awardwinning Japanese restaurant group, which has been a smash hit in the Middle East. W1D 4PP; olivermaki.co.uk
The Venetian-style bacaro continues its dominance of London with a new venue at Harvey Nichols’s Knightsbridge store. Read more on p 90. SW1X 7RJ; polpo.co.uk
WEAPONS OF CHOICE Hey, you – eating well doesn’t have to be boring, as these kitchen gadgets can testify PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON
MUST DRY HAR DE R MY KITCHEN FOOD DEHYDRATOR, ÂŁ49.99 Want to carry the clean living on to spring and beyond? Grab this and make your own dried fruits, jerky and pretty much anything else at home. lakeland.co.uk
TURNING JAPANESE 1. LEKUE SUSHI KIT, £38 Cook fluffy rice, roll it with raw fish and serve it to your specifications – this sushi set takes care of all the steps. selfridges.com
2. SAMEGAWA WASABI GRATER, £14
Grate expectations? Then grab this authentic wasabi grater – it’s made to turn the horseradish-like stems into the pasty consistency you’re accustomed to. kitchenprovisions.co.uk
3. KITCHEN PROVISIONS X BLENHEIM FORGE KNIFE, £140 We’re big fans of Peckham’s resident knifemaker Blenheim Forge, and this collab with Kitchen Provisions has produced a fantastic, all-purpose knife. kitchenprovisions.co.uk
BLENDING IN 1. TEFAL EASY SOUP MAKER, £79.99 Want to pep up your lunches? Experiment with flavours with this soup maker, which does the hard work for you. lakeland.co.uk
3. LAKELAND SPIRELLI SPIRALIZER, £18.99 Paper-thin sliced vegetables have been accompanying meat and fish since before 2015, you know. We love this portable version from Lakeland. lakeland.co.uk
2. PHILIPS COMPACT VIVA COLLECTION JUICER, £59.50 Fruit in, button pressed, juice drunk. Because buying it from the shops is so passé. johnlewis.com
BEETROOT TARTE TATIN SERVED WITH CRUMBLED FETA AND PINE NUTS, THIS FLAN FROM THE NINTH IS A FRESH AND DELICIOUS VEGGIE-FRIENDLY STARTER
◆◆ 20 mins
◆◆ 20 mins
ta and Beetroot, fe not much s e’ nuts – ther inning more of a w our book in on combinati
I N GREDI EN TS ◆◆ 2 sprigs of thyme
◆◆ 3 cooked beetroots, cut into
quarters ◆◆ 1 circular puff pastry sheet (12cm diameter) ◆◆ 25g unsalted butter ◆◆ 10g feta cheese ◆◆ 5g toasted pine nuts ◆◆ Handful spinach leaves ◆◆ 3 tbsp honey ◆◆ 150ml red wine vinegar
Special equipment: ◆◆ Cast-iron blini pan (12cm)
1 Place the honey and red wine vinegar in the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the mixture by half and take off the heat once ready. 2 Take the blini pan and smear butter in the centre and around the edges, adding 2 tbsp of the reduced honey and red wine vinegar mixture and two sprigs of thyme. 3 Lie the beetroot quarters on top of the butter and honey mixture in a fan shape, laying the puff pastry circle over the top.
4 Tuck in the edges of the pastry using the back of a spoon and make a small hole in the centre of the pastry using a sharp knife. 5 Place in a pre-heated oven for 14 minutes at 180ºC, then remove to cool. 6 In a pan, melt the butter over heat, add the spinach and cook until soft. 7 To serve, spoon the cooked spinach onto a plate, tip the tarte tatin on to the plate, on top of the cooked spinach. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts. theninthlondon.com
£479 Pointillee Cabinet
£119 Hill Dining Table
£30 OFF* SHOP ONLINE WITH CODE ACCENTCOLOUR *£300 minimum spend, offer ends 4th April 2016 and cannot be used alongside other offers. Subject to availability.
TEA-SMOKED BBQ LAMB SERVED UP WITH A SPICY KOREAN MISO, THIS LAMB DISH FROM KUROBUTA IS A CUT ABOVE PREDICTABLE WEEKEND DINNER FARE
ING R E DIE NTS Lamb and marinade ◆◆ 4 lamb cutlets ◆◆ ½ red onion ◆◆ Small handful of coriander
seeds and roots ◆◆ 2 cloves of garlic ◆◆ 2cm piece of ginger ◆◆ 1 long red chilli ◆◆ 20g sea salt
a classic This dish is ef Scott ch of example punky, Hallsworth’s se cuisine ne pa Ja modern
Smoke mix ◆◆ 1 cup fine smoking chips ◆◆ ½ cup sencha green tea
powder ◆◆ ¼ cup raw rice
For the spicy Korean miso ◆◆ 100g gochujang (Korean
pepper paste) ◆◆ 20ml rice vinegar ◆◆ 10ml sake ◆◆ 15g castor sugar ◆◆ 10g white miso paste ◆◆ 1 egg yolk
Serves ◆◆ 2
Preparation ◆◆ 150 mins
◆◆ 10 mins
F YOU’RE COMING home all smug about those lamb cutlets you bought, why not stop short of roast potatoes and the rest, and knock up this Japanese fusion dish from Scott Hallsworth’s restaurant Kurobuta? A statement-maker if ever there was one.
Method THE MISO
Whisk together all the ingredients except the egg yolk and cook gently over a very low heat for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, whisk in the egg yolk and leave to cool. THE CHOPS
1 Purée all the curing mix ingredients until fine; marinate the chops in the mix for at least two hours. Wipe the curing mix off the lamb chops. 2 Heat a wok or a similar pan and heat the smoking chips. 3 Once smoking, add the rice, heat through and add the green tea. 4 Put the lamb chops on a rack and
place over the smoke. Cover well and hot-smoke for 2 minutes on each side. 5 Remove and allow to cool for at least a couple of hours to allow the smokiness to mellow. 6 Chill until required (this can be done a day or two ahead of time). 7 Rub lightly with a little oil and season with sea salt and ground black pepper, then char-grill until cooked outside and pink inside. Serve with your choice of sides. f kurobuta-london.com
Over 30 years ago, I started Papa John’s with one goal in mind: Better pizza. Today, I am honoured that Papa John’s has been named Best Pizza Delivery Chain 2015 by the Pizza, Pasta and Italian Food Association. I’d like to thank them for recognising our commitment to quality ingredients and the passion of our pizza chefs, who work hard to deliver you a pizza that really satisfies. So, how do we do it? With hand thrown pizzas skillfully made with 100% fresh dough, generously topped with the finest, freshest ingredients – from the vine-ripened Californian tomatoes used in our sauce, to crisp vegetables that are freshly sliced every day. And to show my confidence in the superior quality of all our pizzas, I’ve introduced Papa’s Quality Guarantee†, which says “Love your pizza or we’ll deliver you another one, absolutely free”. Papa John’s is the only major pizza delivery company to make you this promise and, as long as I have my apron on, it will always be ‘Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.’ If all this talk of quality and flavour is making you feel hungry, order a hot fresh pizza now at papajohns.co.uk. I guarantee you’ll enjoy every slice.
Papa John, Founder, Pizza Maker
†Papa’s Quality Guarantee - Terms and conditions apply, see online. Like for like exchange, excludes temperature and delivery time, no more than 2 slices eaten, claim within 30 minutes of delivery or immediately on collection.
GINGER CAKE A RICH, WARMING CAKE MADE WITH GINGER AND BANANA THAT COULD BRIGHTEN UP A RAINY AFTERNOON? OH, GO ON THEN...
◆◆ 10 mins
◆◆ 40 mins
finishing We suggest a big this off with ch ice ri of p old dollo ious ic el cream. D
ING R E DIE NTS Banana purée ◆◆ 200g banana ◆◆ 200g sugar
Banana cream ◆◆ 55g double cream ◆◆ 5g whipping cream ◆◆ 1 tsp crème de banane ◆◆ 20g banana purée
ARCUS WAREING’S BEEN a busy boy this year – thankfully, he still had time to share his favourite recipe for a warming winter dessert with us, and true to form, it’s quick and simple to put together.
1 Preheat the oven to 170°C. 2 Caramelise the sugar in a pan, then add the banana and cook out until a purée is formed. Mix until smooth. 3 Whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Add the purée and the crème de banane and whip until thick.
4 Place the butter, sugar, and syrup into a bowl and melt over a bain marie, add the purée and mix well. Add the egg and mix again, then add the flour and mix until just combined. 5 Pour into a greased, lined tin and bake for 12-16 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool. 6 Place the sugar, saturated with water, into a pan over a high heat. Allow to boil and caramelise. 7 Bring the cream to the boil, add to the caramel with the butter and whisk until combined. Finish with the salt. f tredwells.com
Ginger cake ◆◆ 70g butter ◆◆ 100g dark brown soft sugar ◆◆ 100g golden syrup ◆◆ 42g stem ginger, puréed ◆◆ 90ml whole milk ◆◆ 1 egg ◆◆ 140g self-raising flour
Salted caramel sauce ◆◆ 120g caster sugar ◆◆ 120g whipping cream ◆◆ 20g unsalted butter
◆◆ ½ tsp table salt
Eat and have fun like a panda.
Follow Po’s recipes on PROMOTION CODE: F
and upload photos of your own dishes to win 1 of 4 trips to a European city and meet real giant pandas. Many other prizes await! Kung Fu Panda 3 © 2016 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved
Lee Kum Kee Europe
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Further offer: BUY ANY 3 LEE KUM KEE PRODUCTS
to get one of the noodle bowls
Available in World Food Aisle in Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, selected Morrison, Sainsbury's, major Chinese supermarket and Cash & Carries. Online @Amazon and Ocado
SNAP HAPPY He’s photographed every London restaurant worth going to. Now, Clerkenwell Boy gives you his tips for perfect Instagram food shots
I shoot all my pics on my phone, so I prefer to take pictures in natural light (ask for a table by the window if possible). Avoid direct sunlight or artificial light, as the contrast can be too sharp. Never use a flash – not only do the photos look worse, it annoys other diners.
Post photos when people are in the mood for that type of food: pancakes at breakfast, a doughnut in the afternoon, cocktails after work, or an epic feast on the weekend.
Composition Find a style that suits you such as ‘top-down’ or super close-ups (try a 45-degree angle). Use the grids within Instagram to guide how you frame and crop an image (the ‘rule of thirds’ is usually helpful). Play with negative space, or style up your shots with props that convey the atmosphere of where you are.
Photographs via @clerkenwellboyec1
Community Get involved: take the time to reply to people’s comments. Follow people who inspire you. Meet up with other foodies via various events, pop-ups and supper clubs. Most importantly, have fun. Follow Clerkenwell Boy on Instagram at @clerkenwellboyec1, and keep your eyes peeled on @foodismuk for an exclusive takeover soon...
Filters Don’t overuse in-built filters – try to keep your shots as natural as possible. However, if editing, try to do it manually by playing around with the brightness, structure and sharpness tools. Sometimes it helps to blur or darken the background if you want a sharper central focal point.
Find Your Niche Post what you love and what you’re passionate about, whether it be burgers, desserts or home cooking. Share insights into your thinking by adding comments, helpful tips or stories to your posts.
Tagging CLOCKWISE FROM MAIN: Some of Clerkenwell Boy’s top pics, including a babka selection at Stoke Newington café Good Egg, pastéis de nata from Taberna do Mercado, and chocolate, prune and cardamom at Selin Kiazim’s Oklava
Add relevant hashtags so your photos come up in related searches, and geotags so that people can easily find the location of where you’re dining. (Tip: don’t geotag the location of your home or office!)
WIN £500 AT LAKELAND Fancy yourself an Instagram pro? Prove it, and you could win £500 to spend at homeware retailer Lakeland. Instagram your best home cooking, tagging @foodismuk and adding the hashtag #FoodismCooks, and the best entry will win the big prize. For more info and a list of T&Cs, go to foodism.co.uk/competition
Richard H Turner
The chef, butcher, restaurateur and now Foodism columnist has a prodigious appetite for meat. So how will he get on with a week-long detox break in Bali? no calorie-counting here – just foods that increase concentration and energy levels while addressing blood-sugar imbalances. Ingredients are locally sourced and organic with a strong emphasis on raw combinations and nutritional integrity. Supper of steamed mushrooms, broccoli and asparagus with kekup manis and chilli – all washed down with vegetable juices – is seriously tasty. Afterwards, I head to my ridiculously picturesque villa, set in beautifully manicured jungle and entered over a large Koi pond, and make a mental note: must work harder to afford this kind of luxury. A week witho ut meat – a wel come break or an impossible task?
Photograph by Paul Winch-Furness
S A COMMITTED lover of meat in all its forms, I often eat up to a kilo a day – all in the line of duty, you understand. But while eating good, ethically farmed and naturally reared meat in modest quantities can be an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, my kind of consumption definitely isn’t good for me. So, after a taxing week of cooking BBQ and consuming delicious food and wines at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape in Western Australia, I found myself stopping at Como Shambhala Estate near Ubud, Bali for a quick reboot on the way home. Here – quinoa porridge and all – is how I got on…
DAY ONE. Shortly after arriving in the early evening, I dine at Glow, Como’s wellness-focused restaurant. There’s
DAY TWO After a surprisingly good breakfast of quinoa porridge and fresh fruit, I have an hour’s consultation with Nancy, in which we discuss myriad bodily functions. I’m given a schedule and a personal assistant called Tini to guide me through the coming days, and first up is a lymphatic drainage massage, (of course), which has a soporific effect. The day moves on at pace, involving physical activities such as TRX, yoga, pilates and something called qigong interspersed with endless juices, herbal teas and small vegan dishes. Before I collapse into bed at 9pm, I’m given a concoction of psyllium and bentonite clay in coconut water to drink. I sleep soundly and without interruption for the first time in months.
DAYS THREE TO SIX Variations on day two – sometimes the massage is Thai, other times it’s deeptissue or Indonesian. The workouts vary similarly, with rock climbing, cycling and gym thrown in the mix. Day four introduces the dreaded ‘C’ word (upon on which we shall dwell no more) and acupuncture, which proves so blissful
I fall asleep. Over the coming days, I rotate my treatments in a slightly spaced-out daze, constantly topped up with a variety of juices and teas. But by day six, the meat and caffeine cravings are intense. I’ve not been so fit clean, hydrated and healthy looking for years, but I’m starting to get dark thoughts about the Koi in my pond…
DAY SEVEN Enough! At 10.30am, I covertly comandeer a driver and head into Ubud. My destination is Ibu Oka, a restaurant famous for babi guling (Balinese roast suckling pig). The roasted pigs themselves arrive by motorbike, precariously balanced on trays, and they’re carved into chunks and served in a rattan bowl with rice, fried intestines, spicy vegetables and a secret sauce. The pork is unbelievably succulent and the crackling is thin and crunchy. This is carnivorous bliss. I wander the streets of Ubud, my hunger temporarily abated, until I reach Bebek Bengil, known by locals and tourists as the Dirty Duck Diner. The whole menu is dedicated to duck – seasoned with Balinese spices and wrapped in betel leaves, it is slowly smoked for a whole day and served with rice, satay and vegetables. I return to the resort sated, but with my head hung low, and try to avoid Nancy and Tini. My week finishes with a dinner of fish and seafood barbecue, accompanied by raw vegetable salads and 20 different sambals, all prepared at my villa by a chef who’s as gifted and lovely as everyone at the Shambhala Estate. Note to self: I really must work harder… f
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036 LE GAVROCHE: THE NEXT GENERATION | 044 EASTERN EUROPEAN FOOD 052 JUST DESSERTS | 058 THE NEGRONI UNCOVERED | 064 MIXOLOGY
— PART 2 —
FEAST “HEAD TO CAMDEN MARKET AROUND LUNCHTIME, AND THE QUEUE FOR PIEROGI WILL BE TWENTY DEEP” EASTERN EUROPEAN FOOD, 044
RIGHT: Three generations of the Roux clan are pictured here at their storied restaurant: Emily (on the left, obviously), Michel, and his father Albert in the portrait behind them. If you’re worrying Michel’s being overshadowed, don’t – there’s one of him on another wall
After years of anticipation, Michel Roux Jr and his daughter Emily will join forces in the kitchen. But itâ€™s not what you think, writes Mike Gibson PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON
Photograph by ###
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ICTURE THE SCENE: in 1979, a young chef returns to London after years of uncompromising training in France, freshly equipped with techniques ranging from classic French to nouvelle cuisine from an eclectic array of placements with some of the country’s most exciting chefs, and ready to turn his hand to the kitchen of his family business. That business was Mayfair institution Le Gavroche, and the young chef was the now familiar face of Michel Roux Jr. Fast-forward 37 years, and the story is similar: Michel’s daughter Emily is coming back from five years spent in Paris and elsewhere, having gleaned all she felt she could from more than a few French kitchens. But if you think this is a case of history is repeating itself, you’re wrong. “I actually left England when I was 18 to go to a catering college, because I didn’t want to have my name here,” she explains, on a cold winter day in Le Gavroche’s bar, where I’m sitting down with her and her father. “I didn’t want anybody to know me.” She describes working at two-Michelinstarred Akrame, under Akrame Benallal: “a really young chef. Really talented, modern – an amazing guy, and a bit whacky sometimes. I came back because I felt it was the right time,” she says. “I had been working for the past five years, and got a bit of ground, and been through the different echelons of the kitchen. I just thought it was a good time. “Walking into the kitchen here when I was 18, having never touched a knife before – I think that would have been horrible.” I refuse
the urge to mention that I can’t believe she hadn’t touched a knife, having grown up in the family she has, but I do ask if she felt pressure arriving in France. “No,” she explains. “Nobody really knew me over there. In France, Roux is like Smith.” Her father agrees. He would, of course, having done the same thing himself at a similar age. “I think it’s important if you are learning your trade not to learn it with your family, but to go out and prove yourself,” he says, “to work in different places and challenge yourself, push yourself, which Emily has done. I think that’s the best way.” Though their paths into cooking – carving their own mark in the shadow of a famous father – have been similar, this is where they deviate. Michel, of course, joined the kitchen staff at Le Gavroche under his father’s direction on his return from France before working his way up and becoming its chefpatron in 1991. “It’s not easy,” he says of the alchemy that occurs when working with one’s father, when that father has blazed a trail already. “Obviously there’s that pressure of working with somebody who is already established – who’s got a name and is set in their ways. My style, my interpretation of some of the French classics, was different from my father’s, and he would shake a stick at me and say ‘That’s not how you do it.’ I said ‘Well, that’s how I’m doing it.’ It’s not easy because you’ve got to be respectful of the customers, the restaurant and the name. It’s almost a burden. It’s a big monster to take on.” But now it’s 2016, and it’s Emily; not Michel. She may be returning to London, →
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP RIGHT: The two read their favourite magazine (don’t quote us on that); Michel and Emily talking to Foodism in the bar at Le Gavroche; a smiling Michel and his produce
THE ROUX EMPIRE The Roux family, and Michel in particular, may be best known for their brand of classic French cooking at Le Gavroche, but they’ve got their fingers in a whole lot more tartes than that. Here are some of Michel’s other ventures that prove he’s a jack of all trades as well as a master of, er, cooking.
Photograph by ###
The Michel Roux Jr cookery school at Cactus Kitchens is exactly that – well, if you book in a Michel Roux Jr Premier Experience, that is, where you’ll spend a day in the kitchen with the man, learning essential techniques as well as entire recipes. Otherwise, you can learn from Roux luminaries (Rouxminaries?) such as Monica Galetti and Toby Stuart. Just want to dip a toe? There are also recipes from Michel, Emily and more online. cactuskitchens.co.uk
You might not know this but in Roux’s native Clapham, there’s an underground farm in the old air raid shelters adjacent to the Northern Line that covers 65,000 sq ft. Yep, really. Roux is a director in the business, advises the team and uses the produce, having seen huge potential not just in the project, but in the future of farming as a whole. “Eventually, we’re not going to have enough farmland to feed the world,” he says, and tells us the underground farm “can be an economical way of producing food. It’s energy-efficient because the LED lights are state-of-the-art. It’s non-polluting. It just ticks so many boxes.” growing-underground.com
Yeah, he may be doing pop-ups now, but if Michel really were a hipster, this collaboration would probably be called MCHL RX X GLBL KNVS, and they’d all be made in an east-London former railway arch
out of distressed steel. Instead, Michel opted for simple and ergonomic kitchen knife sets from the world-leading knife company, which you can buy individually or in sets. michelroux.co.uk/merchandise; globalknives.uk
With his profile, it’s more than just fellow chefs Michel likes to look out for. Having partnered in the past with the likes of Springboard, a charity which helps disadvantaged and unemployed people find work in the restaurant trade, he’s also an ambassador for VICTA, which supports young people who are partially sighted, along with their families. For Michel, it was a more personally influenced decision than it might seem. He was injured in an accident that left him with a temporarily detached retina – an injury that would have posed a huge threat to his livelihood. He continues to raise money for the charity by running marathons. victa.org.uk
→ but she’s not after a place in the kitchen of this particular two-Michelin-starred restaurant, no matter the trust her training, even before her lineage, allows her. Not permanently, anyway. “I wouldn’t work here,” she says, assertively, but without malice. “I think it’s a huge pressure seeing as it’s grandfather and father so, yes, maybe I’m avoiding it because of that. But no, it’s not for me.” At this point, you might be lamenting the failure of a long-awaited narrative to materialise: the third generation entering the
IT’S GOING TO BE SO EXCITING TO SEE EMILY’S STYLE, WHICH IS MORE MODERN 40
Gavroche kitchen; perhaps the ceremonial handing-down of a first chef’s knife, dripping with allegory. Sorry to disappoint, but it’s just not happening. The prodigal daughter, so to speak, will not be spending her days and nights sweating in a kitchen in Upper Brook St. Instead, something else is happening. Something that feels somehow more suited to now than then; to Emily than Michel. From February, the two will be cooking together in the kitchen at Le Gavroche, but they’ll be cooking as equals, on a menu the two have designed together, and that reflects both him and her, under the title The Next Generation. That’s right: in 2016, even Le Gavroche is welcoming in a pop-up. A bit of context: Michel, like many other top-level chefs who’ve come to realise their restaurants take consume too much of their staff’s lives, took the decision – and the financial hit – to close Le Gavroche’s doors to the public on Mondays, starting this month. With the weight of two Michelin stars and the decades taken to build an immaculate reputation, it may represent a shift towards restaurants, at the top end and otherwise, giving their staff as much of a weekend as it’s possible to have in their industry. “Closing Monday nights was already in the pipeline,” Michel confirms. “We need to address this problem in our industry, because we still work too many hours. It is important that all high-profile chefs take a
ABOVE: Le Gavroche’s Upper Brook St entrance is a familiar sight to Mayfair diners, but it was originally located on nearby Lower Sloane Street
stance towards this – cutting back hours, better staff retention, better staff working lives – to make our industry more appealing. There is a shortage of quality chefs, so we need to treat our chefs and our staff better, and make it a better place to work.” It’s a noble challenge, and one that will surely have ramifications for the restaurant industry across London and beyond. But in addition to that, it represents something else: “I’d been umm-ing and ah-ing about it for more than a year,” Michel says, “looking at the figures and seeing if it was viable. It is viable, even if it’s a massive financial hit on takings. So that [the work/life balance of his staff ] was the driving reason behind closing Mondays. “But then we said ‘Well we’ve got Mondays closed; Emily is back. Maybe we could showcase some of Emily’s work. “Emily being here, it’s just presented itself as being perfect timing. It’s going to be so exciting for the customers to see the progression, and to see Emily’s style, which is more contemporary and modern.” “I think it’s such a great opportunity,” Emily chimes in, “and it will be the first time that it will be my little name on the menu.” Although I’d hesitate to call her →
→ name “little” (her last name, at least), it’s refreshing to hear from someone who could have had everything handed to her. But she hasn’t, and she doesn’t seem like one to rest on her laurels: when she’s not cooking with her father at The Next Generation series of pop-ups, helping with the family’s Chez Roux event offering or finishing the book she’s writing alongside her mother, Giselle (off her own back, with no input, and in fact a different publisher, from her father) she’ll be very busy indeed: “I’m doing other things,” she says. “I’m also working for Restaurant Associates, which keeps me occupied as well.”
I DON’T WANT TO CHANGE RADICALLY, BUT YOU HAVE TO EVOLVE – YOU CAN’T WORK WITH BLINKERS ON 42
Not only that, she tells me of her plan to open her own restaurant “within five years”. I ask whether it’ll be a competitor in Mayfair, or somewhere further afield, momentarily forgetting that, having spent five years abroad, she’s walking back into a very different London. I ask if it feels that way. “Oh yes,” she replies. “And not just in cooking. I came back and I was just, ‘Oh God, there’s another crane. What’s that building? What’s this building?’ Everything had changed. “Shoreditch at the time wasn’t somewhere you’d think to go, and now it’s the whole craze, and there’s so much stuff to do and eat there. I still need to explore because I don’t think Mayfair would be the best place for me.” Looking shorter-term, though, if Le Gavroche has the clout to influence opinion within the industry in its progressive attitude to working hours, how will this influence extend to the idea of one of the most storied, and in the eyes of some, most traditional, restaurants in London ‘popping up’? “It is an institution and it is iconic,” Michel concedes. “It has been here a long, long time and it has got its style. That style means French classic, and it’s cosseting, and very comfortable. Some may say old-fashioned. “There are certain things that I’ve changed over the years – to lighten up the service, and things like that – and there’s more to come. But I have to be respectful of what Le Gavroche is, and Le Gavroche is a place where you can get great French cuisine based on the classics, so I don’t want to change anything radically. But you have to evolve – that’s important as well. You can’t work with blinkers on; you have to open your mind to new practices and new ways. In the same way, as chefs, we open our minds to new ingredients.” I ask him whether he’s mindful of the ripple it could cause – of the painful prospect of this stalwart being perceived to jump on the pop-up bandwagon after so many years of doing things its own way, on its own terms. What if its customers don’t want a collaborative supper club? What if they just want a dinner service? “Le Gavroche has got a certain name for itself,” he says. “People see it or perceive it in a certain way, and pop-ups are more akin to being under the arches; a derelict place in the back end of nowhere. I just imagine opening up just for one night, a special night, with different crockery and no tablecloths.” He takes a moment to picture it, and makes himself chuckle in doing so. “That’s just it,” he says, “‘A pop-up at Le Gavroche? Wow!’ I think that’s fun.” f le-gavroche.co.uk
HEAVY METAL One of Le Gavroche’s most endearing motifs is the big, heavy, stainlesssteel animals placed on each of the tables. We loved the fighting cockerels, although Monsieur Roux told us he prefers the fish.
“ IT’S FOOD WITH HEART, SOUL AND ENERGY ”
Ditch images of dense dumplings and swap the stodge for something much more refined, because Eastern European cuisine is having its moment, says Clare Finney
Photograph by Kris Kirkham Photography
’M WRITING AN article about how Eastern European food is having a resurgence in Britain, now that people are starting to realise it isn’t all stodge and sauerkraut.” My friends waited for the punchline. None came. “But it is,” they all eventually exclaimed, launching into grim tales of the hefty dumplings atop grey stews of indeterminate meat and glistening lumps of fat they experienced while interRailing, “I’ve been there!” And that, as far as they were concerned, was the end of it. Had the conversation not then moved
on, I would have pointed out the following signs of change: one of the most talked about cookbooks of 2015 was Mamushka by Olia Hercules, a Ukrainian chef and food writer who’s been making heads turn and mouths water among food lovers across Britain; one of the favourites for Time Out’s much coveted Love London awards was the Eastern and Central European restaurant and bar Baltic; pickling expert Nick Vadasz, whose family emigrated from Hungary in the 1950s, has a fistful of Great Taste Awards; head north to Camden Market around lunchtime, and
the queue for Pierogi, a stall sizzling with smoked sausages and Polish dumplings, will be 20 deep – Rafael, its Polish proprietor, is a market stalwart. “I’ve been here since 2008,” he says. “It used to be that people didn’t know what to ask for, what we were selling. Now they even order using the Polish names.” Pierogi, the eponymous dumpling, is a case in point. Small, thin, with frilled edges and stuffed with a variety of fillings, it’s a far cry from the suet-laden cannonball you might associate with the idea of dumplings. “It’s more like a gyoza, really,” a British →
ARTISANAL TECHNIQUES LIKE BAKING MISSED A WHOLE GENERATION DURING SOVIET RULE → regular remarks, ordering pierogi z kapusta i grzybami – pierogi stuffed with sauerkraut and wild forest mushrooms – with familiar ease. “People think that Polish food is all heavy and fattening. Some is,” shrugs Rafael unapologetically, “We’re a cold, northern country – we’ll never be Lebanon or Turkey. But it doesn’t have to be, and something like dumplings vary according to the fillings and which country they are from.” One of the most fundamental mistakes people make is to either consciously or subconsciously view Eastern European countries as a single entity – a view which stems from decades of being hidden behind the Iron Curtain. This has led to various assumptions about its cuisine. We forget that famously harsh winters are followed, in the southern counties at least, by scorching summers full to bursting with ripe fruit and vegetables of all varieties. We underestimate the differences that lay between the cities, where most lived in communal flats and relied on the meager offerings of shops, and the countryside, where people like Hercules’s grandmother had kept livestock for milk and grew fresh cucumbers, ruby red tomatoes, fennel and “watermelons weighing up to 28 kg, which we’d pickle or reduce into a sugary syrup, like molasses,” she recalls. Coming to England at the age of 18, she was embarrassed by the poor reputation her country’s food had garnered. “I thought, if you could just come to my grandmother’s, you’d see it so differently. In the end a group of my friends came and visited, and they were totally blown away.” Nevertheless, Hercules concedes some of our assumptions are well-founded. “We produced some very bad things in the time of the USSR,” she tells me. “They suppressed the
individuality of a country and there was little fresh produce widely available, particularly in restaurants.” If indeed such a word can be used to describe the 1984-style canteens that defined the Soviet era. Even as recently as the 1990s, there has been a latent fear of communism “beating out enterprise and creativity,” recalls Jan Woroniecki, executive chef of Eastern European restaurants Baltic and Ognisko. “The cuisine became stunted and static. Food is like anything – part tradition, part fashion, it has to adapt to the demands of the day to endure and evolve.” Instead, the region’s cuisine was left in the hands of the canteens making food en masse, and the grandmothers at home keeping traditions alive. Techniques such as fermenting, baking and cheesemaking missed a whole generation during the time of Soviet rule. “Most customers I talk to tell the same story,” explains Nick Vadasz of Vadasz Deli, “that during the communist era, the women who would have made sauerkraut and suchlike at home went out to work, and had to buy it instead. Everything became very generic for the sake of expediency. “Yet the stuff sold in the big jars in shops is pasteurized and filled with sodium. It isn’t the same as homemade versions, which are made to unique recipes from local produce, and continue to ferment after jarring.” When Vadasz first set up in Borough and Brockley markets back in 2011, he doubted RIGHT AND BELOW: Olia Hercules’s poussin and plum sauce, from her book Mamushka; Hercules’s recipes put a modern slant on classics from her native Ukraine and beyond...
ABOVE: Nick Vadasz’s traditional pickled gherkins have a bit of a cult following and are used in the kitchens of BrewDog and Hawksmoor
Photograph by Kris Kirkham Photography
OUR CUISINE IS ABOUT HAVING GREAT PRODUCE, AND THE NEED TO PRESERVE IT FOR WINTER
Eastern Europeans would buy from him. “I thought I could never compete with the Polish and Lithuanian delis when it comes to price,” he modestly explains. He needn’t have worried. When word got out that a Hungarian man in Brockley was making pickles and sauerkraut from scratch, “like their grandmother would have done”, customers came in their droves. “They don’t come to me just because they want sauerkraut. They come because they want a taste of home and they don’t know how to make it.” Only recently, among young foodies here and elsewhere in Europe, has the idea of making food from scratch and rediscovering the ways of your grandparents come back into vogue. I try his new greens sours – made according to his grandmother’s recipe; sharp, satisfyingly astringent, and sour like nothing I’ve ever tasted – it’s nice, but I can’t help pulling a
face, and Vadasz grins. “We don’t really have the sour taste in our head here in the UK. Everything has to be sweet – and if it’s sour you eat it when you are pregnant, or once a year with some cheese. But that sour thing is in the culture of those countries, and in the diet from a very young age.” It’s one of the reasons he believes this country, historically speaking, has found the cuisine difficult to embrace fully. Yet with continuous migration and the assimilation of those Eastern Europeans who arrived in the early noughties, this attitude is starting to change. It’s been more than a decade since Poland, Lithuania and Hungary joined the EU: early immigrants now speak English, have British friends and colleagues, and have children who are integrating into the community. “In East London, where I’m from, you have young women from those countries having children, mixing with other women in their PCT groups and nurseries, and sharing food and ideas from their respective cultures,” Vadasz explains. Even if they’re not pregnant (and pickle-craving pregnant women do form an extraordinarily large part of his customer base, I’m told), young British women are increasingly interested in pickling and fermentation, thanks to their links to ‘good bacteria’ and the ‘clean-eating’ trend. The irony of ‘clean eating’ being associated with a cuisine that has historically been better known for its potatoes and pork fat is not lost on me – not least because, as both Vadasz and Hercules are at pains to explain, health doesn’t traditionally come into it. “Our food is about having good produce, and needing to store it for winter. We don’t preserve things for the health benefits involved,” says Hercules. In a land of long winters, during which little grows, pickling and potting the →
→ summer glut of fruit and vegetables was just what you did. “It was hammered into us from a young age,” Hercules continues. She chuckles at the idea of the clean-eating brigade giving forth on ferments like they’re a new thing. “They are steeped in tradition. When ferments and broths suddenly became fashionable, I remember thinking, ‘Hang on a second – I grew up on that stuff.’” Her own take on food, outlined in Mamushka and in her regular contributions to The Guardian’s ‘Cook’ section, could not be further-removed. Inspired by her grandmother and her travels round Ukraine and beyond, it is, she tells me, “real food, that you can stick your face in, to be made at home.” Vibrant, grainy salads, lemony lamb marinades and cool, pink beetroot soups abound in a book whose personal style and luscious imagery bears the hallmark of her many years spent working under Yotam Ottolenghi. It does for Ukrainian food what he did for Middle Eastern: it “mixes it up a bit; makes it relevant. Don’t get me wrong, traditions are great – but to make them work here, we need to assimilate – to accommodate the ingredients and the tastes of elsewhere in the world.” Thus Mamushka, which features not just the food of Hercules’s birthplace but of the various neighboring countries covered by her sprawling Eurasian family, embraces local produce, Middle Eastern spices, Thai herbs and other influences. She adapts her recipes to make them lighter, and accommodates British seasonality. Notably, there are only two potato dishes in the whole book – and she welcomes creativity: “When I was shooting a fennel and tomato relish for the book, the publisher tried it and said it would be a great tomato sauce for burgers – and
VIBRANT SALADS, LEMONY MARINADES AND PINK BEETROOT SOUPS ABOUND 48
then the photographer said, ‘Oh my god, imagine this with oysters.’ I loved that! Taking food out of context, putting something different with it – that’s how things develop.” The variety of the cuisine, brought to life so vividly in Mamushka, is another reason for its resurgence in London. “As people here have come to understand that there is a difference between, say, Greek and Cypriot food, so they are starting to appreciate the variety within Eastern European cuisines,” explains Woroniecki. A simple glance at the last five years of British food shows that our tastebuds have become far more eager to accommodate flavours we would previously have dismissed simply as ‘foreign’. At the same time, he continues, Eastern European chefs have made more of an effort to assimilate: “Of course they conformed to the stereotype when they first arrived here,” he argues. The migrants wanted comfort food.” A Pole or Hungarian, miles away from home in a foreign city, he explains, hankered for stew and potatoes “in the same way that a Brit might crave fish and chips when living in Moscow. That doesn’t mean it is representative of the cuisine.” He cites his own experience, serving the food of the Balkan states at a time when fine dining and Balkan food seemed polar opposites. “In 2000, when we first set up, Baltic was pretty much at the forefront of trying to modernise Eastern European cuisine. People were surprised by the quality of food on offer, and while at first we really tried to bridge the gap between western and eastern flavours, we were soon able to
ABOVE: Pampushky, the Ukrainian answer to garlic bread, taken from Olia Hurcules’s book Mamushka. The proof is obviously in the eating, but it looks gretty darn good to us...
introduce more interesting dishes.” Now, he finds customers demanding authenticity in the same way as with Asian food: tripe, ancient grains and jellied meats seem like plausible menu items; clear, nourishing soups with fluffy, yeasty doughballs a point of genuine interest. If the grey stew of yesteryear is the equivalent of a cheap tikka masala in the 1990s, then Baltic’s sautéed guinea fowl with butternut squash, walnuts, saffron and pomegranate is today’s chole bhatura from Dishoom. “People understand it more,” Woroniecki muses. “They understand the merits. I think people like Jeremy and Chris Corbin, behind the Wolseley, Delauney and Fischer’s, have helped.” After all, the food of Mittleurope, as the Corbins’ restaurants represent, is really like entry-level Eastern European cuisine. “There is so much crossover. Poland has been part of Germany, part of Austria, part of Russia – for the last 100 years or more the borders of these countries have been so fluid and people have travelled extensively.” Herring, smoked sausages, pickles and goulash: you’ll find them all at Fischers and the Wolseley – and if you like that, you’ll love the food of Woroniecki and co. The truth is, you’ve probably already had a taste of Eastern Europe even without having known it: a pickle atop a hot dog, →
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I REALLY HOPE THIS MOMENT CARRIES ON AND DEVELOPS INTO SOMETHING BIGGER
ABOVE: The blini selection at Baltic features herring, salmon and keta caviar. It’s pretty delicious, but even better when you wash it down with one of the 40 flavoured vodkas (BELOW)
Photograph (main) by Thomasz Piech
→ or a gherkin alongside a salt-beef sandwich. “Quality American street-food restaurants are a big market for me,” Nick Vadasz explains. “Two of my main restaurant customers are Hawksmoor and BrewDog. Americans always say ‘this is a proper dill pickle’ when they try mine at the stall,” he grins. Given the preponderance of stalls selling smoked Polish sausages, meanwhile, you could quite easily have eaten Polish at one of London’s many street-food markets: Pierogi in Camden Market is joined by Polish Kitchen in Bloomsbury Square and various temporary pop-ups such as Topoloski in Waterloo. Hercules lets on that she is thinking of trialling a bakery that serves sourdough bread made with a natural yeast from the Ukraine, alongside a kitchen dishing up nourishing, tantalising bowls of soup you can “cup your hands around and breathe in”. She, like most Eastern European foodies I speak to, feels that the restaurant scene has some catching up to do as far as their cuisine is concerned. Beyond Baltic and Ognisko, genuinely innovative eateries serving that kind of grub are few and far between. Vadasz rates the Rosemary Tree, a recent opening in
New Cross Gate: “It’s an organic Hungarian café-restaurant, run by young, hip foodies. It’s good, actually.” Little Georgia in Hackney is popular, and another excellent entry-level benchmark for the less adventurous eater. Yet for Hercules and Woroniecki, this place, while lovely, is still not quite “the real deal”. “We still have really far to go,” Hercules continues. “I really hope this moment carries on and develops into something bigger – because it has a place here. We need more restaurants to open that cater to people other than resident Eastern Europeans,” Woroniecki acknowledges. The key is quality produce: the defining trait of this cuisine, which, at heart, he says, is “good, country cooking, dependent on farmland and seasonality.” “You can’t get away with poor ingredients in Eastern European cooking in the same way you can with some other cuisines,” Hercules agrees. “You can’t mask it. You have to have good ingredients, and you have to put effort in. We’ve struggled in Ukraine, and it’s food with soul, heart and energy.” Between them, they list the flavours and ingredients that are the hallmark of their region’s rich cornucopia: piquant marjoram; syrupy watermelon; sweet, earthy beetroot; billowing flatbreads stuffed with eggs and herbs; hot paprika; the use of cherries and plums to zest up stews; kefir and curds. It’s a bounty of which we have had just the merest mouthful. Prejudices run deep – yet, as Rafael passionately predicts, “once you get it, you’ll go crazy for it”. Forget InterRailing – grab a tube map, a copy of Mamushka and your nearest Eastern European friend. You’ve half a continent on your doorstep to re-explore. f
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KEEPING IT SWEET Back in your boxes, sugar haters. With research now showing that sweet tastes can help us form memories, is it time we rekindled our love affair with dessert? Of course it is, says Amy Grier
Photograph by Emilie Baltz/Getty
T FIRST STARTED how most good things end: with a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream. Obviously I’d had ice cream before – I was six, after all – but the plastic cartons of luridly linear Neapolitan my grandma kept in the fridge for emergencies (which, after a few outings, usually only contained a sad strip of vanilla down the middle as both the chocolate and strawberry disappeared around it) could not hold a candle to this. It arrived in a silver dessert coupe that was so cold it stuck to my grubby little paws when I reached out to take it from the waiter. We were at a café in Golders Hill Park in North London, a sweet little family-owned Italian cafeteria where we spent most Sundays – now, sadly fallen from its culinary glory days. It used to do a mean spaghetti bolognese, and round the side →
Photograph by ###
NOT ONLY DO I REMEMBER THAT SCOOP OF ICE CREAM, BUT I REMEMBER WHAT I WAS WEARING AND WHAT WE ALL HAD FOR MAINS
it and reach for a Crosstown doughnut or you’re still waxing lyrical about a blob of ice cream decades after you ate it – is up to you. This research does, however, tell us how vital that sweet hit at the end of a meal is to our memory and perception of everything that went before. Something London’s finest pastry chefs have known for a while, long before anyone proved it in a lab. “Dessert is the completion of a meal. It refreshes your palate yet should also compliment what’s come before,” says Graham Hornigold, executive pastry chef for the Hakkasan Group. “If you miss it, your dining experience remains incomplete.” He says that, while →
CLOCKWISE, FROM ABOVE RIGHT: The Manor’s strawberries, tarragon, lemongrass and yoghurt; Hawksmoor’s addictive sticky toffee pudding; The Manor has a whole bar dedicated to dessert; Koffmann’s pistachio soufflé, served in style in the resturant’s chic dining room (far left)
Photograph by [bottom left] Damian Russell / [above and right] Jonathan Thompson Photogography / Toby Keane Photography 2015
→ had an ice cream kiosk that, come rain or shine, had a queue of expectant children clutching sweaty pound coins outside it. The first mouthful blew my tiny little mind, so much so that 24 years later, I can still remember exactly what it tasted like. To begin with, real chocolate. Not chocolate flavouring, or bastardised sugar-laced whey powder and cocoa claiming to have something to do with Belgium, but full-throttle dark chocolate that coats your mouth and fills your sinuses. The tannins simultaneously made me thirsty, yet adamant not to drink until I absolutely had to – lest any of the taste be washed away. Then, dense creaminess made light by the tingling coldness, and smoothness interrupted only
by a welcome shard of frozen chocolate. Not only do I remember that scoop, and the life-long love affair with dessert it no doubt initiated, but I remember what I was wearing when I ate it, what the weather was like that day and what we all ordered for main course. I didn’t need Professor Marise Parent’s neuroscience lab in Georgia State University to tell me that sweet tastes activate the part of the brain responsible for episodic memories (as the university revealed in November of last year), but now that it has, a lot of things have clicked into place. Because, delve into Parent’s research – which used rats that were fed a sucrose solution to prove the point – further, and it gets even more interesting. “Not only did we find that feeding the animals a 32% sucrose solution activated neurons in the dorsal hippocampus [where memories are formed],” she told me, “we found that the amount of activity in this area of the brain was inversely related to how familiar the animals were with the solution.” Basically, the newer the sweet substance was to the animals, the more of a memory it formed. Finally! A bonafide, science-backed explanation for my RainMan-meets-Mr-Whippy abilities. A lot is being made in the scientific community about the implications of this research on the obesity crisis; could, perhaps, ending a meal with something sweet forge a memory of that meal strong enough to stop us mindlessly ploughing into a bag of Kettle Chips an hour after we’ve eaten? The short answer is ‘no’. “Our research doesn’t say that sweet things can help control future intake,” says Parent. What it does say is that sweet tastes activate memory formation about the food itself and also about the personal experience of that meal: what, where and when something happened to you. What you do with that memory – whether you forget
SWEET VIRTUES Have spoon, will travel? Here are five desserts worth saving room for: Pistachio soufflé, Koffmann’s:
A pastel-green ramekin of light-asair nutty joy. At the table, one of the waiters breaks the perfectly aerated top and drops a quenelle of pistachio ice cream through the middle to complete the dish.
Pear and red wine tatin, Piquet:
Served at the table and designed for two to share, the crackle and crunch this makes as it’s cut in half is the first signifier of the delight to come. A thick, port-like wine reduction and spicy cinnamon ice cream (again, quenelled at the table) create a holy trinity of awesomeness.
Sticky toffee pudding, Hawksmoor:
You haven’t had sticky toffee pudding until you’ve had it here. The perfect combination of light sponge and heavy, decadent sauce – which is ever-so-slightly salted – results in a dish that you’ll wolf-down without a pause for breath. It’s so addictive, we’ve long suspected them of lacing it with class As (but they haven’t, promise).
Roasted Jerusalem artichoke, buckwheat and vanilla, The Manor:
The buckwheat is toasted and then made into a soft, dense, warm cake, the artichokes are roasted and poached in milk to make a caramelised foam that has a touch of coffee-esque bitterness, and it’s finished with roasted and gummed artichoke (cooked in sugar syrup and dehydrated – like a Haribo!). Finally, it’s topped with vanilla ice cream and crispy artichokes for texture.
Tipsy cake, Dinner:
It’s hardly surprising that ol’ Heston knows a thing or two about creating a memory-making dessert. This badboy sees a booze-soaked brioche appear at the table in its own castiron dish, garnished with a slab of smoked and caramelised pineapple.
DESSERTS ARE ALWAYS THE THINGS THAT CREATE A LASTING MEMORY → the methods for making sweets might have changed (less refined sugar, less heavy cloying puds, more respect paid to elevating the flavour of natural ingredients), the joy they inspire should not. “One of my favourite creations was called simply ‘the lemon pot.’ It had a lemon base, mousse, lemon confit, lemon sorbet and crumble pieces,” Hornigold explains. Each bite was different, evoking a lemon meringue pie, a lemon biscuit, a lemon sherbet sweet. It did what a dessert should do: transport you somewhere. Take you back to back to a time when life was less stressful than it is now.” This last point touches on another of the main reasons why burnt-out Londoners should not forgo sweets: nostalgia. A man who understands this all too well is Philippe Baranes, the restaurateur behind Dessance in Paris – pioneer of cuisine du sucre and the city’s sole dessert-only restaurant. “I have a two-month-old son, and if I dip my finger in something sweet and give it to him, he smiles. The sweet taste is one we instantly like and it stays present throughout our lives, always associated with that same pleasure,” he proffers, at the same time remonstrating
ABOVE: Dessance is Paris’s only restaurant dedicated to desserts, where unusual ingredients find their way onto a boundary pushing menu; BELOW: Designed for two to share, Piquet’s pear and red wine tarte tatin is served with a thick, port-like wine reduction and cinnamon ice cream
much as the next girl, I really do, but despite the sugar backlash of the last two years and the gathering (and entirely merited, in my opinion) call for a sugar tax, desserts have always been the thing that tip the balance and create a lasting memory. Perhaps now, in an era where some will pay £30 for ingredients for a ‘healthy’ sweet-potato brownie (Deliciously Ella, we’re looking at you), or get their sweet kicks from single-origin raw agave (other ‘you won’t believe it’s not sugar’ substitutes are available); at a time where drinking a glass of orange juice has become as passé as donning a Burberry baseball cap and using a Blackberry – it’s time to make the sweet treats we do allow ourselves really count. f
Photograph (Piquet) by Jodi Hinds
that “sugar and sweet are not the same thing.” At Dessance, entire tasting menus are devised not of pastry and sugar-syrup creations, but of root vegetables and fruits made into staggeringly complex dishes that play teasingly on the boundary of sweet and savoury. Think warm potato emulsion laced with vanilla or beetroot purée with bergamot ice cream, cacao nibs and white chocolate. This, too, is the direction puddings are heading in back home, and leading the charge is Kira Ghidoni, pastry chef at one of 2015’s most critically acclaimed openings, Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green. “My two favourite desserts are based on vegetables – one using peas, the other artichokes. Londoners love sweet things – at The Manor [which is from the same stable as Paradise Garage], we have a dessert bar and lots of people come in just for that course. The dishes should delight, but also surprise. That’s what diners want from a meal’s final dish” And she’s right. I love a cheese board as
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BITTER AND TWISTED
The humble negroni has risen from a rustic Italian apéritif to being London’s best-loved – and most debated – mixed drink. We asked Leigh and Nargess Banks, authors of new book The Life Negroni, to tell us ten things we might not know about the classic cocktail
SK A LOT of Londoners what their go-to choice for a predinner cocktail is and they’ll tell you that it’s bright red, bittersweet, served over ice and garnished with a wedge of orange. Whether it’s down to the unique flavour profile that gets your tastebuds tingling as soon as it touches your tongue, the sexy name, the effortless balance that prevails when gin meets vermouth and Campari, or simply the striking colour, something about negronis has the capital hooked. So much so, in fact, that writers Leigh and Nargess Banks decided to try and document exactly what the negroni brings to the table (or the bar) in their new book The Life Negroni. In it, you’ll find history, recipes, backgrounds on the brands that have made the drink a modern-day phenomenon, recipes for all kinds of variants, and much more. Not only that, they’ve also put together a list of ten things you might not know about this curious cocktail. Sip slow, and enjoy...
There would be no negroni had it not been for the americano, a popular drink dating back to the 1860s. This simple composition of bitter Campari, sweet vermouth and club soda, served in a tall glass on ice, was immortalised by James Bond, when 007 orders it in Ian Fleming’s first novel Casino Royale.
THE CLASSIC NEGRONI The Negroni Club on the classic recipe, and why you don’t mess with a winning formula
“Respect the original recipe,” comes the message from notorious bar the Negroni Club, via the pages of The Life Negroni. “It asks for equal measures of gin, vermouth and bitters, served over ice with an orange slice. “We use a London dry gin like Beefeater or Tanqueray, as they have the perfect balance of botanicals; a classic vermouth like Martini Rosso for its lack of ego; and Campari, of course, for without it there is no negroni. “Chill the tumbler with ice, empty and refill with fresh, clear ice cubes. Place one measure of gin and an equal one of vermouth and bitters on ice in a mixing glass, then gently lift the liquid – never shake or stir. Transfer to the tumbler, insert half an inch of freshly sliced orange, and serve.”
The negroni, like all notable inventions, deserves more than one narrative. The more widely reported account involves a Count Camillo Negroni, a much-admired figure in 1920s Florentine high society. One evening, somewhere between 1919 and 1920, on ordering his customary americano at Café Casoni, he asked the bartender to replace the soda with gin for a stronger cocktail, the new drink was christened and the negroni was born.
Photograph by Leigh Banks and Rob Lawson
3 The second tale involves General Pascal Olivier Count de Negroni, a Corsican of notable aristocracy. Having served in the French army, in 1891 the general retired to a château near Mayenne, and it was around this time that he is thought to have helped create the negroni. The combination of the bitters, sweet vermouth, and the juniper and botanicals in the gin helped ease his digestive issues.
The first aperitivos were documented in Turin around 1786, when Antonio Benedetto Carpano invented vermouth in the city. Cocktails that use bitters such as Campari or Aperol tend to work well as aperitifs, as do vermouths, thus making the negroni an ideal premeal cocktail. Its mildly bitter taste and sweet, botanical notes open the pallet, and the alcohol is just enough to relax you for the evening.
With its views over the wild Arno River, the Lounge Bar at Grand Hotel Royal de la Paix was a favourite haunt of Florence’s well-heeled 19th-century British residents on their ‘Grand Tour’. It was here where, allegedly, the negroni was first spotted when residents saw the dapper-dressed and handsome Count Camillo sipping a fieryred drink, and so they began ordering them.
YELLOW SUBMARINE NEGRONI Bartenders Agostino Perrone and Colin Field’s totally original, bright green twist on the classic
◆◆ 40ml London Dry gin ◆◆ 15ml fino sherry ◆◆ 10ml Galliano L’Autentico liqueur ◆◆ 2 dashes celery bitters ◆◆ Ice ball, lemon zest and cucumber skin
The Connaught Bar’s Agostino Perrone is no stranger to alchemic creations, and this twist, created with Colin Field of the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz Paris, is a great example. “The subtle colour gives a different impact,” Perrone says, “but when you drink it you have the same sensation, explosion of flavour, fragrance and layer of experiences on the palate.” To build it? “Transfer the spirits to a mixing glass over ice and stir. Strain the liquid into the rocks glass over the ice sphere. Squeeze the lemon zest to release the oils and garnish with the cucumber skin.”
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6 Italian drinks conglomerate Martini & Rossi founded the Milano Terrazza in 1958 as a way of communicating the brand’s artistic and cultural credentials. In 1960, Federico Fellini premiered his film La Dolce Vita here, and it wasn’t long before the bar developed a reputation for its stylish parties, where movie legends, writers, intellectuals, socialites and the beautiful people danced, debated and mingled as negronis and americanos flowed.
NEGRONI SBAGLIATO Arguably the most famous twist on the classic, this recipe builds on the original with prosecco
◆◆ 25ml Campari ◆◆ 25ml Martini Rosso (or other sweet
vermouth) ◆◆ 75ml prosecco
“Gently stir the Campari and Martini Rosso in an ice-filled double rocks glass – or, if you can source it, Bar Basso’s special vessel,” The Life Negroni advises. “Top with prosecco or another dry sparkling wine, stir and garnish with a slice of orange.”
One of the most famous variations of the cocktails, the Negroni Sbagliato, was invented in Milan in 1971. Mirko Stocchetto had refined his mixology skills in the 1950s and ‘60s at the famous Hotel Della Poste in Cortina – a magnet for Hollywood stars when America began its love affair with Italy – and he brought them with him to Milan’s bar scene when he opened Bar Basso. One busy night, as Stochetto was about to mix a classic negroni, he mistakenly replaced the gin with prosecco, hence the name’s translation – the ‘wrong’ negroni. 7
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Davide Campari worked closely with the avant garde and in particular the Italian futurist Fortunato Depero, whom he approached in 1932 to help design the bottle for his single-dose aperitif, served with a dash of soda bottled to exact measures and shipped globally. Depero’s original Campari Soda design is shaped like an overturned chalice with the brand name and company logo boldly embossed on the glass. It became a brand icon globally and the design remains the same today.
9 Without ice there is no negroni, and even though ice sculpting can offer a tantalising bit of theatre, most mixologists agree to respect the history of this cocktail by sticking to medium-sized cubes that are fresh and as clear as a diamond, and serving the negroni in a tumbler – preferably one with not too much of an ego, so that the delicate ingredients can really sing.
GET THE BOOK
There aren’t many drinks whose history combines as much folklore, hearsay, big and small business and heavily contested arguments as the negroni’s. The Life Negroni has all these bases covered, intricately putting together jigsaw pieces to create a comprehensive guide, with loads of recipes, too. Cin cin! The Life Negroni by Leigh & Nargess Banks, Spinach Publishing, 2015.
Creative and art direction by Adam and Rebecca Thomas; design and illustration by Rebecca Thomas and Simon Ward
10 Among the negroni’s many, many well-known aficionados and fans was Hollywood actor and director Orson Welles. The formidable figure famously said of the cocktail while filming in Rome in 1947 that “the bitters are excellent for your liver, the gin bad for you. They balance each other.”
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Take in the spectacular views over London’s skyline, enjoy great value set lunch menus, relax on the heated terrace with a hot cocktail and kick back with live jazz every Tuesday! t 0207 368 3993 e firstname.lastname@example.org www.roofgardens.virgin.com @Babylon_London
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FEELING THE STRAIN Want to give your weekend nights a shake-up? Try some of these cracking cocktail recipes and you can do just that...
HAWKSMOOR SPITALFIELDS BARTENDER: Claude Clotilde COCKTAIL: Terroir This drink from the excellent Hawksmoor Spitalfields’ head bartender makes use of the unique flavour profile of cognac and, unusually, adds still wine into the mix. A great choice for those who are still in ‘winter warmer’ mode.
INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 45ml VSOP cognac ◆◆ 25ml chardonnay ◆◆ 12.5ml nettle cordial ◆◆ 1 dash orange bitters
Shake all ingredients together with ice in a shaker and double strain into a chilled coupette glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. thehawksmoor.com
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THE NATURAL PHILOSOPHER BARTENDER: Alban Hajdini COCKTAIL: Sextus Empiricus Like bourbon? Who are we kidding – everyone likes bourbon. But you don’t always have to go for an old fashioned or a manhattan – here’s a great recipe from Hackney’s Natural Philosopher that’s somewhere in between a mint julep and a boozy summer fruit mousse.
IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 50ml Buffalo Trace bourbon ◆◆ 20ml fresh lemon juice ◆◆ 20ml sugar syrup ◆◆ 15ml egg white ◆◆ 4 mint leaves ◆◆ 3 fresh blackberries
Muddle together the mint and the raspberries, add the bourbon, then add the lemon juice, sugar syrup, and finally the egg white. First, dry-shake (without the ice) – this creates a frothy foam out of the egg white – then add ice and shake well. Strain into a martini glass.
I N GREDIENTS ◆◆ 50ml Hennessy Fine de Cognac ◆◆ 2 tsp Mastiha Marmalade (otherwise
quince jam is a good substitute) ◆◆ 20ml Roots Tentura liqueur ◆◆ Half a lemon
Shake and strain over cubed and crushed ice into a collins glass. Garnish with dried yellow petals (camomile works well).
ORIOLE BARTENDER: Luca Cinalli COCKTAIL: Chios Graffito
Photograph by ###
Mastic fantastic... This cocktail from Farringdon bar Oriole – the new opening from the award-winning team behind Nightjar – makes use of the distinct flavour of the Greek tree resin (we’re sure you already knew that), although quince works as a nice substitute if need be.
CRAB TAVERN BARTENDER: Crab Tavern bar team COCKTAIL: Crab Jar No, margaritas aren’t a cliché – they’re a classic for a very good reason. This version from Broadgate Circle restaurant Crab Tavern adds a delicious twist in the form of fresh raspberries.
INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 40ml Olmeca Reposado tequila
(or your favourite tequila) ◆◆ 20ml Triple Sec ◆◆ 25ml fresh lime juice ◆◆ Handful of fresh raspberries ◆◆ Drizzle of honey
Muddle the raspberries, add the other ingredients, shake well and pour into a jar. Top with crushed ice, and garnish with the other fresh raspberries. crabtavern.co.uk
TRADING HOUSE BARTENDERS: Nick Whitby and Aaron Smallman COCKTAIL: Lemon and Anise Sour After something a little fresher? Try this sweet, sour and spicy creation from the Trading House, which makes use of sweet amaretto, apple and anise to create a refreshing and beguiling cocktail.
IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 30ml Bacardi Superior ◆◆ 15ml Disaronno ◆◆ 15ml anise syrup ◆◆ 25ml apple juice
Shake all the ingredients and pour into an old fashioned glass. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a piece of star anise. thetradinghouse.uk.com
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◆◆ 4 lemon wedges, squeezed
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— PART 3 —
EXCESS BAKLAVA CROISSANT! CAULIFLOWER NACHOS! THERE’S NO FORMULA – NO EXPOSED BRICK, NO COCKTAILS IN JARS” OUT IN LA, 070
BELOW: Pot is a popular hangout for LA foodies, serving traditional Korean dishes – such as spicy chicken wings – to hoards of eager feasters
EATING THE LA WAY MAIN COURSE Sun, sea and sriracha – Laura Goodman finds out how Los Angeles is bidding to become America’s most delicious city
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HE DAY OF my flight home, I saw on Twitter that the chefs behind some of my favourite LA meals were about to open a new spot. Their ‘French-Mexican brunch restaurant’ would launch the next day, by which time I would be back beneath London’s unruly sky, boiling my limescaley kettle. Devastated, I WhatsApped a friend to explain what had befallen me. “Laura. You’ve eaten a lot of delicious things”, she said. But this is how good the food ‘scene’ is in LA is right now – you just do not want to miss out. The new things are truly new; the ideas unlike all of the ideas that came before them. Two words: baklava croissant! Two more: cauliflower nachos! There’s no formula – no exposed brick, no cocktails in jars. There is this delicious, sunny freedom that’s impossible not to love. LA isn’t New York or San Francisco, because it doesn’t want to be. It lacks the dollar pizza slices and Michelin stars of NYC and the fine wines and fancy patisseries of San Francisco. What it does have is brunch beneath palm trees, all-American hamburgers, a long and fruitful relationship with Mexican food, California rolls, green juices, ripe avocados, and smart people working hard in schvitzing kitchens. Here’s my guide to not missing out.
JON, VINNY & LUDO The chefs who stole my heart are Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo. Their aforementioned French-Mexican brunch restaurant spot is called Trois Familia. They own it with their buddy Ludo Lefebvre, with whom they also run Trois Mec (troismec.com), the hottest ticket in town. In a literal sense, because you do actually have to buy a ticket in advance to get a crack at their tasting menu, and good luck doing that. Meanwhile, Jon and Vinny alone make the sweetest, prettiest, most dazzling
pizza I’ve ever eaten at Jon & Vinny’s (jonandvinnys.com), their LA riff on an old-school ‘red-sauce’ Italian. The Ham & Yeezy pizza (ham, vodka sauce, smoked mozzarella, pickled chillies) is named after their number two fan, Kanye West. I can also vouch for the bruschetta with ricotta and orange blossom honey, the braised lamb ravioli and the creamy, cheesy, life-affirming bowls of polenta. Nearby, at Son of a Gun (sonofagunrestaurant.com), Jon and Vinny turn their attention to seafood; their shrimp toast sandwich with sriracha mayo verifies their combined genius. I hope they know that I really love them.
GREEN GOODS Sqirl’s sorrel pesto rice bowl might be the city’s most Instagrammed thing. The café itself – in coolest Silverlake – is tiny, with
a marble breakfast bar, wooden stools and a little patio (sqirlla.com). Unless you get there with the fitness crew (before 7am), you’ll have to queue. The ‘toast’ is actually a door stop of brioche slathered obscenely with fresh ricotta and homemade jam, but – honestly – the wholesome savoury stuff is just as delicious. Get one of each genre to feel little Sqirl’s full force. In for a penny, in for a kelp noodle; jog on to one of three branches of Café Gratitude (cafegratitude.com) for organic, plant-based plates with names like ‘gracious’, ‘pure’ and ‘present’. In actual food terms, that means raw wraps, black bean burgers and veg-shrouded pizzas. The spaces are white and bright “celebrations of our aliveness” – a sentiment that’s pretty much about as LA as it gets.
taqueria gone glam, with murals on the walls, mezcal, high ceilings, martinis and oysters. The tempura squash tacos and cauliflower nachos are outrageously good.
BEACHSIDE BRUNCHES Behind Venice Beach, you’ll find some of the freshest brunches on earth. Gjusta, in particular, is magic: the deli-style space is long – longer than you’re imagining – and full of sun, with wooden floors, and cabinets lining the left hand side. In the first cabinet, there are those baklava croissants, plus pies and cookies; in the second, cheese; then it’s meats (pastrami, brisket, turkey) and smoked fish (salmon, anchovy, mackerel); followed by beautiful, bright, generous pizzas. And after all of that, there’s still a full breakfast menu to order from, which includes the Risky Biscuit – a sandwich of sausage, fried egg, cheese and harissa. Sound like a sort of paradise? I’ll say it again: Gjusta is magic (gjusta.com). Travel down Abbot Kinney Boulevard (the street on which everything cool in Venice occurs) to West Indiesinfluenced Sunnyspot (sunnyspotvenice.com). The brunch menu is a riot of bright, lively flavour, from the jerk chicken cob →
RICKY’S TACOS CONTAIN CHUNKS OF BATTERED FISH, HANDFULS OF SHREDDED CABBAGE, AND SALSA; REGULARS REACH FOR THE MUSTARD MAYO, TOO
Photograph by [bottom left] Mary Costa Photography marycostaphotography.com
The general standard of taco in LA is so high that laymen may not even recognise the specimens before them. Ricky’s (@rickysfishtacos), a truck parked at the top of Silverlake, is run by Ricky Piña, lord of the Baja-style fish taco. His babies contain flaky chunks of battered fish, handfuls of shredded cabbage, and good salsa; his regulars reach for the mustard mayo, too, which is kept in a fridge on the side of the truck. A little way south of downtown, Mariscos Jalisco (@mariscosjalisco) – a seafood truck where they pile vibrant ceviche on top of tostadas – is worth a detour. On the meatier side of the spectrum, Guisados (guisados.co) specialises in braises. Its handmade tortillas are only little, so pick and mix between steak picado, chorizo, shredded pork, mole poblano and more. Lastly, Petty Cash (pettycashtaqueria.com) is a
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Pot’s dishes are awash with colour; grilled steak ssam at Pot; Downtown LA at sunset; Petty Cash is a glam taqueria; murals on the wall
ABOVE: Jon & Vinny’s new-style, old-school Italian BELOW: Sunnyspot serves Caribbean-influenced dishes
→ salad with avocado, jalapeno vinaigrette and pickled onions to the coconut flan. There’s bottomless rum punch, too. A CLASSIC At Apple Pan (10801 W Pico), a diner in West LA, I met a couple who have been eating there for 64 years. It’s one of the city’s oldest continually operating restaurants, and it’s just the realest deal – the sign outside says “quality forever”. Indoors, you sit at a horseshoe-shaped counter on red pleather bar stools, and within that horseshoe, one man in a white hat moves between
KOREATOWN KICKS The patch around where Wilshire meets Western is one of LA’s biggest assets. Food-wise, Koreatown can be overwhelming, because it’s full of restaurants that specialise in single dishes. So, at Mapo Galbi (3090 W Olympic) you can get great dak galbi (a kind of stirfried chicken), while Genwa Korean BBQ (genwakoreanbbq.com) is all about the barbequed beef, and Buil Samgye Tang (4204 W 3rd) churns out restorative ginseng soups. You could get really deep into this stuff if you’ve got the time, in which case you’ll want to read everything Jonathan Gold has ever written in the LA Times. If you want a one-stop Korean dream
dinner, Pot is your place (eatatpot.com). It’s a restaurant inside the chic, new-ish Line Hotel, overseen by Roy Choi, one of the pioneers of the food-truck movement. He launched his Korean taco truck, Kogi BBQ, in 2008 and now has his hands in all sorts of pies (he part-owns Sunnyspot, too), but the trucks are still worth hunting down (kogibbq.com). At Pot – dark, glamorous, sizzling Pot – you can fill your table (and self ) with kimchi fried rice, spicy chicken wings, a giant pot of spicy veggies and sparkling wine. Now, is that living, or what? f
WHAT TO DO AND WHERE TO STAY Visit West Hollywood (visitwesthollywood.com) and Discover Los Angeles (discoverlosangeles.com) Both offer city tours, with made-toorder itineraries, hotel and restaurant bookings and more. America As You Like It (americaasyoulikeit.com) offers flights and bespoke tours across the USA and Canada. Double rooms at The Line Hotel start from £150/$209 (room-only). The Line Hotel, 3515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90010. 213 381 7411; thelinehotel.com
Photograph by [top] jwpictures.com / [circle] Eric Shin
you and the grill to pick you up one of three burgers. My choice, the Steakburger, comes with a cinnamon-laced relish, and is packed in greaseproof paper in a way that is both perfectly tidy and full-to-bursting. For pudding, there’s banana pie, piled high and cosseted with whipped cream. But my seasoned friends preferred the pecan.
AT APPLE PAN YOU SIT AT A HORSESHOESHAPED COUNTER ON RED PLEATHER BAR STOOLS WHILE EATING BURGERS
T R AV ELT E X A S.C OM > T HING S T O DO > CUISINE
AN AS, BBQ IS HERE IN TEX
LY AND THE ON
CURE FOR IT
© 2016 Offi ce of the Governor, Economic Development and Tourism.
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CHOP TO IT Weâ€™ve brought together the three stages of drinking: no messing about with tequila, taking it easy with low-alcohol beers, or abstaining completely with fancy soft drinks (which, you know, you can always use as mixers, too)
Tequila’s regeneration continues unabated – here are some of our favourite unaged (blanco) and aged (reposado) varieties:
1 CASAMIGOS BLANCO TEQUILA, Jalisco. Unaged and clear, with mint and cinnamon on the palate. Created (in part) by George Clooney. 40%, 70cl; £62.99, selfridges.com 2 PATRÓN REPOSADO TEQUILA, Jalisco. A superb blend of some of Patrón’s best unaged and aged tequilas. 40%, 70cl; £44.85, thewhiskyexchange.com
3 ILEGAL BLANCO MEZCAL, Oaxaca. Former bootlegged mezcal (hence the name), with notes of pepper and smoke. 40%, 70cl; £45, harveynichols. com 4 LOS DANZANTES REPOSADO MEZCAL, Oaxaca. Aged for 11 months in oak, with notes of caramel and honey. 43.2%, 70cl; £63.70, amathusdrinks.com
U NDE RSTAN D YOUR T E QU I L A Tequila? Isn’t that the thing you neck in shot form at a sticky bar before sinking your teeth into a lemon and wincing? Absolutely not – tequila, along with its cousin mezcal, is fast becoming one of the spirits of the moment, with a sweet and smoky flavour profile that’s great for sipping and mixing. Both tequila and mezcal come from the nectar of the agave, a spiky, cactus-like plant native to Mexico.
Photograph by David Harrison
Haven’t got the drinking stamina you used to? Us neither. Luckily, these lower-ABV and session beers are seeing us through: 1 WIPER AND TRUE SMALL BEER 11, Bristol. Gentle, with a bitter finish. 2.7%, 330ml; £2.30
2 RENAISSANCE CLIPPER SESSION IPA, Marlborough, New Zealand. Light, crisp and citrusy. 3.7%, 330ml; £2.70 3 WEIRD BEARD BLACK PERLE MILK STOUT, London. Pronounced coffee and chocolate flavours. 3.5%, 500ml; £2.85
4 SIREN LOVE OF WORK, Berkshire. Brewed with earl grey tea. 3.8%, 330ml; £2.20 5 TINY REBEL ONE INCH PUNCH SESSION IPA, Newport, Wales. Classic golden American ale, with Mosaic hops. 3.9%, 330ml; £2.50 All available from honestbrew.co.uk
3 1 2
Mixing, or just communities in Africa. 330ml; £1.59, not boozing? 1 2 3 Go waitrose.com off the beaten 3 THOMAS HENRY 1 BELSAZAR, White, Germany. 18%, track with these Vermouth (it’s an aromatised GINGER BEER, 750ml; £24.99, selfridges.com fantastic wine) smallis an essentialBerlin, cocktail Germany.2 REGAL ROGUE, Rosé, Australia. batch sodas andand great Bestfor with rum in a18%, 750ml; £29.95, 31dover.com component, darkthree and stormy.3 GANCIA, Rosso, Italy. 15%, 1l; mixers: sipping, too – here are £1.25, £12.65, thewhiskyexchange.com of our favourites: 330ml; harveynichols.com 1 SODA FOLK, Colorado, USA. Try with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or rum. Or both. 330ml; £1.25, sodafolk.com 2 KARMA COLA, London. Made with real cola nuts farmed sustainably in Sierra Leone. Proceeds from every bottle go towards
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4 SQUARE ROOT LONDON HOP TONIC WATER, London. Hopped tonic water, made in Hackney. 330ml; £1.60, cravedlondon.com
THE CRAFT CIDER DISCOVERY CLUB Discover new craft ciders, expertly curated for you and delivered fresh to your door each month
A PERFECT MATCH
Not yet seen the potential in food and beer pairing? DrinkUp.London's tips, plus the host of events at London Beer Week this week, might just change your mind...
EER AND FOOD pairing – unlike wine matching, it’s possibly not at the forefront of your mind when you’re inviting your friends over for a dinner party. But why shouldn’t it be? The variety and flavours of beer can easily compete with that of wine, and with so much diversity, there really is a perfect beer match for every cuisine and course. Start with a Czech-style lager as an aperitif (try Pilsner Urquell or Kozel craft Czech lager), moving on to something a little more hoppy, such as Meantime’s Yakima Red, with your meat dish – or a fresh IPA such as Big Hug Brewing’s Hibernation White IPA with fish – and finish up with a punchy, flavoursome ale or stout for dessert, like Innis & Gunn Rum Finish oak-aged ale. They’re not only delicious, but they’re lower in ABV than their vinous counterparts, which means you can get to the end of a fourcourse meal with senses still intact. With London Beer Week happening now, you can get stuck into road-
testing the beer and food relationship with gusto. For starters, all of the participating bars (100 in total) are serving a speciality brew for the week at £3 for LBW wristband wearers, many of these with a perfectly paired snack alongside. It’s a fantastic excuse to revisit some of your favourite haunts ~ and find some new ones, too. Then there’s the event timetable... Throughout the week, London breweries, bars and restaurants are joining in the festivities with a whole host of delicious ticketed events – you can work your way through a tasting menu of beers and small plates with London stalwart Fuller’s, enjoy a Meet the Brewer supper at newly refurbished Hops & Glory, explore beer & cheese tasting at the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich, or indulge in a Michelinstarred beer pairing dinner from Sharp’s Brewery at Outlaw’s at The Capital. ● londonbeerweek.com; @DrinkupLDN
GET INVOLVED There’s plenty more to feast on and to ensure you’re well fed and watered at London Beer Week. There is more than meets the eye at the Sharp’s Brewery LBW Hub at Old Truman Brewery, with secret, immersive tasting sessions for those who can find them, and just round the corner you can find week-long pop-ups such as Hop House 13 from The Brewers Project, Czech Club from Kozel and the DrinkUp.London Boilermaker Bar. Visit londonbeerweek.com for more info and to buy your £10 wristband.
The latest industry news in brief, featuring Japan’s whisky upstarts and guinea-pigging-out at Craft MAIN COURSE
Just how good is Japanese whisky? Very, very good if you pay attention to industry awards (which we do). Suntory’s vaunted Hibiki blends have garnered enough praise to turn more than a few heads in bonnie Scotland, and now its single malt Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013, which won the top prize in whisky critic Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015, is getting a re-release. A further three years of ageing and the inclusion of the distillery’s 25-year-old whisky in the blend means the winning malt is likely to get even better. You can expect to pay around £200 in Selfridges, Harrods, Hedonism Wines and a handful of other stockists. The innovation in Japanese whisky, as well as 2015 marking the first time that no Scottish distiller made the top five of Murray’s list – suggests that Japanese whisky’s definitely plotting on scotch’s throne. We’re watching with interest. suntory.com
WINED UP MERCHANT
If you’ve ever eaten at Threadneedle Street steakhouse and raw bar M Restaurants, you’ll know it puts as much time and effort into sourcing its wine as it does its meat. With its brand-spanking-new restaurant in Victoria, it takes it one step further with the addition of an on-site wine shop. The range will comprise specially selected bottles from the six countries from which the food is sourced: the USA, Argentina, France, Italy, South Africa and Australia, available in 50ml tasting measures and by the bottle. Don’t fancy dropping by? The range is also sold on a dedicated website, available for delivery by a sommelier, with a decanter and glasses included. Ours is a Screaming Eagle, cheers. mrestaurants.co.uk; mwinestore.co.uk
New developments at bar White Lyan are bound to get you growling: as well as a menu revamp that will see changes to the formula of its well-loved sazerac and martini – and new additions including collaborations with Jack Daniel’s, among others – it’ll be making its own wines, cheeses and a beer in-house from February onwards. How, you ask? “We’re going to be using microbes to ferment flavours from things like tea and chocolate”, says Mr Lyan, aka Ryan C. But of course… whitelyan.com
GET IN MY DELI
If we were eating at LIMA, we reckon the last thing we could get away with saying is: “Could we get these to go?” Now, though, the Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant is making bringing its celebrated food home a possibility, with a new deli range launching at Harrods’ food hall. As well as the signature ceviches, you can also grab potatoes huancaina, chicken empanadas and plenty more. limalondon.com; harrods.com
TEST THE WATERS
Recognise the really, really, ridiculously good-looking guy in the picture? You’re damn right you do. Yep – to celebrate the launch of its ‘Derek Zoolander Blue Steel’ limitededition vodka, CÎROC has gone and nabbed the star of the upcoming Zoolander 2, out in cinemas this February. Not only that, but the promotional campaign was shot by none other than internationally renowned photographer Mario Testino. We couldn’t think of a better pair of hands to capture Derek Zoolander, complete with blue suit and Blue Steel, in all his glory. ciroc.com; zoolander.com
Photograph by (Magnum) BTS ©Barwerd van der Plas | ATL © Mario Testino
There’s something about the sea air that’s good for the soul. But it turns out there’s something about it that’s also great for making a cocktail, if the Savoy, Jack Daniel’s and cruise line company Cunard are to be believed. The three are collaborating on a one-off cocktail called Age of Discovery, which began its journey around the world this January. Confused? Don’t be. The cocktail, which contains JD, Bacardi, Dubonnet and Madeira, will be made in one huge batch, and set in a 300 litre Jack Daniel’s barrel to age. Not only that, it’ll age on the Queen Mary 2 on a 41,000mile trip around the world, exposing the barrel to loads of lovely sea air, which the brands hope will combine to make a beautifully aged cocktail whose story can be told with one sip. Avast! jackdaniels.com
Always bragging to your mates that you’re ahead of the curve in the restaurant world? No? Just us? Well, in any case, get down to Stevie Parle’s CRAFT London, where you can take part in ‘Test Kitchen Tuesdays’. It’s simple: pay £28 per head, and be part of a collaborative tasting of new and experimental ideas. Your feedback will help decide whether they get put on the menu. Plus, they’re likely to be delicious. craft-london.co.uk
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SPECIAL DELIVERY Start your journey around Italy’s beautiful food regions with Gourmio’s homedelivered boxes of artisan ingredients, which come with step-by-step recipes
OURMIO IS A new, Londonbased food company that delivers authentic Italian ingredients and recipes, so you can cook Italy’s bestloved dishes at home. Each box comes packed with all the delicious ingredients you need to easily cook two gourmet Italian meals each for two people (four meals in total). With precise ingredients and step-bystep recipe cards, you’ll feel confident cooking the real food of Italy. You’ll also discover more about Italy’s fantastic food regions and producers. On each recipe card, Gourmio tells
you about artisans like Giovanna, the aceto balsamico producer from Modena, who follows a 150-year-old method to make her family’s aged vinegar; Cesare Ribozzi from Lombardy, who makes some of Gourmio's fantastic cheeses with his own hands; and the 79-year-old Gino, who’s been passionate about the art of making salami and spicy sausages for more than 50 years.
A passion for provenance Gourmio is passionate about where its food comes from, and its chefs in Italy look for Italian provenance in all of its ingredients. The brand also uses local
British produce for recipes that require fresh vegetables. It takes at least three months for Gourmio to source and handselect its ingredients, create a dish and test it for quality – this means you can enjoy cooking traditional Italian meals with reassurance, as well as ease. Chef Gianluca Zocca, who creates the brand's delicious recipes alongside his team in Italy, says “We look for a key ingredient, taking into account the story of that ingredient, the geographic zone and the excellence of the product. Our dishes are a balance of innovation and tradition, but we also want space for creativity for those who prefer not
to follow strict guidelines!” Take the brand's popular embergrilled beef brasato pot roast: Gianluca uses Fassona heritage beef from Piemonte, which is marinated in red wine and slow-cooked. It's succulent, and packed full of flavour, and while you save time in preparation, Gourmio also gives you all the ingredients and steps to enhance the sauce your way. Gourmio’s recipe boxes are perfect for a delicious mid-week treat, or a special weekend meal that also gives you the opportunity to cook something new. Or, if you simply want to learn more about the traditional ingredients of this gastronomic hub, then let your journey around Italy begin with Gourmio. ● View all of Gourmio's recipes at gourmio.co.uk
HOW IT WORKS 1. YOU CHOOSE Select regional recipes created by Gourmio chefs in Italy. Great matching wines will also appear at the checkout.
2. GOURMIO DELIVERS You say when, starting with the next day. Boxes are lined with sheep-wool insulation to keep food fresh on its journey. No need to subscribe and Gourmio delivers nationwide. Find out more about the flavours of Italy at gourmio.co.uk and @gourmiouk
GET £20 OFF YOUR FIRST BOX Take advantage of our special introductory offer by entering the code foodism at the checkout at gourmio.co.uk
WIN WIN 6 MONTHS OF BOXES Gourmio is celebrating its London launch with the chance to win a gourmet recipe box delivered to your home each week for six months. For more info, a full list of T&Cs and to enter, go to foodism.co.uk/ competition/gourmio
CHINESE NEW YEAR DUMPLINGS Right across China, people come together each New Year to celebrate. And while every region – and every generation – has its own take on the classics, here's a delicious delicacy you’ll find on most family tables. Dumplings, or jiaozi (pictured left), represent family unity and the hope for a prosperous year ahead. The tasty, tempting morsels are a kind of dim sum parcel. They can be vegetarian or full of meat, all wrapped up in a soft, thin dough and cooked until tender. Check out a recipe below.
STEAMED CHINESE PORK DUMPLINGS
LET’S PANDA! Hang up your red lanterns, chopsticks at the ready – the Year of the Monkey is here, and the release of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda 3 means this February and March is going to be totally awesome
EVER MIND HAVING invented oyster sauce and being one of the best- loved food brands among Chinese communities – Lee Kum Kee is helping to stir up more excitement with an addition to its iconic sauce bottles: the characters from the the soon-tobe-released Kung Fu Panda 3. It’s not clear whether Po and his foster father, restaurateur Mr Ping, cook with Lee Kum Kee – but it is certain that you’ll find the brand’s sauces in almost all Chinese kitchens. As an authentic and historic Chinese sauce company from Hong Kong, Lee Kum Kee would like to share how Chinese people prepare for this special time of year. They will also share with you the ancient secrets of kitchen kung fu – simple skills and techniques that,
once mastered, will turn you into a culinary legend. With the Year of the Monkey fresh in the memory, Lee Kum Kee is also inviting you to visit KungFuLKK.com for some classic Chinese cooking inspiration during this exciting time of year. Go and grab your Lee Kum Kee sauces from the World Food sections in Tesco, Waitrose or most big retail supermarkets, and eat and have fun like a panda – a Kung Fu Panda, to be exact. Speaking of which, you’ll be pleased to know that Lee Kum Kee is giving away an exclusive Kung Fu Panda 3 noodle bowl when you buy three Lee Kum Kee products – simply upload your receipt for three sauces from the above supermarkets to the website. ●
Ingredients ◆◆ 25 fresh dumpling skins, with
plain flour for dusting For the stuffing: ◆◆ 110g minced pork ◆◆ 30g Chinese leaves, finely chopped ◆◆ 1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce ◆◆ 1 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Premium Light Soy Sauce ◆◆ 1 tbsp spring onions, finely chopped For the dipping Sauce: ◆◆ 3 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Oriental Sesame Dressing
Method 1 Arrange the the round skins on a lightly floured tray and cover them with a damp kitchen towel to prevent them drying out. 2 Place 2 tsp of pork and leaves filling in the centre of each dumpling skin and moisten the edge by pinching it to form a pleat. 3 Arrange the dumplings in a bamboo steamer lined with parchment and steam for 8-10 minutes. Serve with the dipping sauce.
For more information: KungFuLKK.com
Like restaurants? Fine – have all the restaurants. But only the ones that meet Foodism’s lofty expectations, obviously. Here we run the rule over department store hideouts, martini palaces, tasting menus and much more... 90
1 1 Polpo Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ
What do you get when you cross one of London’s biggest restaurant success stories of recent years with what is arguably the city’s most dapper department store? The kind of place that couture cuisine dreams are made of, that’s what. Grab your smartest shoes, and hot-foot it to Polpo at Harvey Nics for plates of cicchetti with a side-order of style. A match made in heaven. (Or Knightbridge, via Venice, as the case may be.) harveynichols.com; polpo.co.uk
WHAT’S IN STORE Some of London’s biggest, baddest shops have pretty good eats, too. Here are our faves BEST OF THE REST 2 45 Jermyn St.
4 Galvin Demoiselle
Fortnum & Mason, 45 Jermyn Street, SW1Y 6JD
Harrods, Brompton Rd, SW1X 7XL
Ah, Fortnums. That turquoise-tinted haven of all things edible that’s as British as a cup of tea. In the rain. While wearing a Barbour. It figures, then, that the gourmet department store’s new restaurant should be a celebration of some of the UK’s finest ingredients – think Cornish oysters and Launceston lamb, given an international twist (hello coq au vin with risotto).
The Galvins... in a department store? Surely not. But this is Harrods, a place where you used to be able to buy actual lion cubs, so perhaps it’s not so strange. The menu’s classic French, and the setting suitably chic, too.
020 7205 4545; 45jermynst.com
020 7893 8590; harrods.com
3 Brass Rail
5 Bond & Brook
Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, W1A 1AB
Fenwick, 63 New Bond Street,
Salt beef sarnies and shopping. Is there a better combination? Of course there isn’t. Unless you accidentally drop a pickle on your new silk Gucci bomber. But that’d be your fault, not ours. So join the queue at Selfridges’ recently relaunched (it was ‘born’ in 1966) Brass Rail, sink your teeth into some serious sandwiches, and for God’s sake keep a steady hand.
020 7318 3115; selfridges.com
020 7629 9161; fenwick.com
The elegant dining space on Fenwick’s second floor not only provides some much-needed calm along with the food, but there’s a sleek cocktail bar, too, where you can sip on a Fenwick martini or two.
BEST OF THE REST 2 Odette’s
4 Flat Three
130 Regent’s Park Road, NW1 8XL
120-122 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA
Chef-patron Bryn Williams boasts impressive credentials: he worked under Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux Jr before opening neighbourhood restaurant Odette’s in 2006. As such, his tasting menu (from £47) is suitably refined, featuring the likes of Lincolnshire smoked eel and Denham Estate venison.
Flat Three’s focus is Japanese, Korean and Scandi fusion – which, when you think about it, all go together very well indeed. You can create your own menu of seven courses (£69) with a selection of sashimi, greens and grilled dishes, and there are also options for veggies.
020 7586 8569; odettesprimrosehill.com
3 Kitchen Table 70 Charlotte Street, W1T 4QG
Bubbledogs hides a not-so-well-kept secret: at the back is the 19-cover, Michelin-starred Kitchen Table. The menu (£88) typically consists of 12 to 14 courses, with each dish named simply after its main ingredient. 020 7637 7770; kitchentablelondon.co.uk
020 7792 8987; flatthree.london
5 Almeida 30 Almeida Street, N1 1AD
Islington restaurant Almeida’s head chef Tommy Boland has worked at The Square, and Restaurant Tom Aikens, so he brings a wealth of experience to the table, visible in his seasonal, six-course tasting menu (£50). 020 7354 4777; almeida-restaurant.co.uk
A MATTER OF TASTE
We love a tasting menu. Because who wants to waste time choosing what to order when you could be eating? 4 1
1 Antidote 12A Newburgh Street, W1F 7RR
Not only does Soho’s Antidote have an extensive wine list featuring the best small wine producers of biodynamic and organic wines, but Mikael Jonsson, chef-patron of the Michelin-starred Hedone, has just handed the reigns back to exciting chef Michael Hazlewood. The best way to enjoy it, naturally, is the restaurant’s daily changing tasting Menu du Marché – with the biodynamic wine pairing, of course. It’ll cost you £70. 020 7287 8488; antidotewinebar.com
LOVE IS IN THE AIR Don’t save the ‘big date’ for one overhyped night. These dinner spots are for year-round romantics 92
1 Clos Maggiore 33 King Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8JD
For what it’s worth, we reckon it would take someone with a heart of stone to resist Clos Maggiore’s gorgeous, flower-filled grottocome-dining-room in Covent Garden. Head chef Marcellin Marc uses locally sourced ingredients to create a menu inspired by Provence and Tuscany, and executes it to perfection. Tip: make sure you book a room in the courtyard for maximum romantic effect. 020 7379 9696; closmaggiore.com
BEST OF THE REST 2 Spring Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, WC2 1LA
Skye Gyngell’s Somerset House restaurant needs little introduction, but with its high ceilings and stunning decor, it’s one of the most elegant restaurants the city has to offer. Produce comes directly from Herefordshire farm Fern Verrow, meaning seriously fresh ingredients and great-tasting food. 020 3011 0115; springrestaurant.co.uk
3 City Social Tower 42, 25 Old Broad Street, EC2N 1HQ
There’s something about skyline dining, particularly at Jason Atherton’s spot on the
24th floor of Tower 42, which sits cheek-byjowl with the Gherkin and the Heron Tower. Book one of the curving booths by the floorto-ceiling windows, for views to match the spectacular, Michelin-starred dining. 020 7877 7703; citysociallondon.com
at Galvin de Luxe, Orrery and Plateau. Food is Paris by way of Kent, with some ingredients reportedly foraged by his dear old mum. 020 3826 4500; piquet-restaurant.co.uk
5 The Dairy 15 The Pavement, Clapham, SW4 0HY
4 Piquet 92-94 Newman Street, W1T 3EZ
We’re not really sure why romance and French food go hand-in-hand, but it’s an age-old stereotype, so who are we to argue? Piquet’s name is derived from that of chef-patron Alan Pickett (more fence than French), but you’re in safe hands nonetheless: he earned his stripes
Clapham’s Old Town joined the culinary big leagues with the arrival of The Dairy almost three years ago. Owned by Robin and Sarah Gill – who also own The Manor nearby – this dinky neighbourhood joint can seemingly do no wrong: food is adventurous, seasonal and excellent (though not exactly cheap) value. 020 7622 4165; the-dairy.co.uk
0871 871 6611
Healthy and ‘free from’ shopping from the online shop who gather together everything healthy, free from, eco and organic + deliver everywhere in the UK. GoodnessDirect The special diet shop
Photograph by ###
*Simply enter the code
Your next order with GoodnessDirect when checking out. Offer ends
30/04/16 . Offer limited to one order per household. Only valid on orders over £50
BEST OF THE REST 2 Gunpowder 11 White’s Row, E1 7NF
Gunpowder’s founder Harneet Baweja hails from Kolkata, and this Bengali influence has been incorporated into the menu by former Tamarind and Zaika chef Nirmal Save. The result features Chettinad pulled duck; pork belly with tamarind kachumber; and molten spice chocolate cake with masala chai custard. 020 7426 0542; gunpowderlondon.com
3 Hoppers 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
This restaurant comes to us from the
seemingly charmed Sethi siblings, who set up Gymkhana and Trishna and are also savvy investors in Lyle’s and Bao, among others. ‘Hopper’ refers to a pancake made from fermented rice and coconut milk, a streetfood staple in southern India and Sri Lanka.
rabbit, and the suggested wine pairings are always interesting and on-point.
The second in the Sethis’ holy trinity of Indian restaurants, Gymkhana is named for the Anglo-Indian sports club, so the interiors are all dark wood panelling and rattan trims. It’s the food that really gets you, though: wild boar vindaloo, venison naan, pheasant seekh kebab; the mouthwatering list goes on...
4 Babur 119 Brockley Rise, SE23 1JP
Babur’s menu is a constant work in progress – which, after 30 years, means the food is pretty highly evolved. Dishes include scallops with crushed spice butter, and pot-roasted mustard
020 8291 2400; babur.info
5 Gymkhana 42 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JH
020 3011 5900; gymkhanalondon.com
TIKKA CHANCE ON ME Go beyond your standard chicken tikka masala at one of these winning Indians
1 Chai Ki Crossrail Place, Canary Wharf, E14 5AR
020 7408 7630; chai-ki.com
Photograph by (Chai Ki) Paul Winch-Furness Photograph by ###
The recent addition of Chai Ki has definitely spiced up the atmosphere of business hub Canary Wharf. Founder Rohit Chugh based the menu around the home-style eating he grew up with, so plates are generous and made for sharing. We can tell you that the chicken pear chaat – tender morsels of tandoori chicken tikka with charred gem lettuce, mint and mango thyme dressing – and the Goan prawns with tempered coconut rice are irresistibly moreish, as are slow-cooked lamb shoulder and the coconut prawns.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday and for Sunday Lunch Quote Foodism when you reserve to receive a complimentary cocktail with your lunch or dinner* Stoney Street, The Floral Hall, London SE1 1TL 0203 00 66 111 www.roast-restaurant.com RoastRestaurantUK
*Available Monday-Wednesday with reservations only for tables up to six guests. Deliciously British Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers.
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BEST OF THE REST
2 Dukes Bar
4 American Bar
Dukes Hotel, 35 St James’s Place, SW1A 1NY
The Savoy Hotel, 100 Strand, WC2R 0EZ
This magazine isn’t the first to tout the virtues of the notorious Dukes Bar dry martini – it’s been praised and enjoyed by everyone from The New York Times to Ian Fleming. Put simply, slipping inside the hotel’s inimitable bar and sipping a contender for the world’s best martini is an experience many try to emulate, but no one can quite match.
There’s something about the simplicity, elegance and history of the martini that suits the Savoy, in particular the American Bar, down to the ground. It’s a favourite serve of bartender Erik Lorincz, whose own take on the drink features Cocchi dry vermouth and his own specially created bitters.
020 7491 4840; dukeshotel.com
3 Salvatore’s Bar
020 7836 4343; fairmont.com
5 OXO Tower Restaurant Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Old-school it may be, but this decadent destination serves up an absolutely cracking martini. Its founder, Salvatore ‘the Maestro’ Calabrese, even made the oldest ever last year, featuring gins from the early 1900s.
We couldn’t talk martinis without mentioning trolleys, and OXO Tower’s recently renovated restaurant (try saying that three times fast) brought back the classic martini trolley last year, as well as a menu dedicated to variants of the classic cocktail from different eras.
020 7514 9000; playboyclublondon.com
020 7803 3888; oxotower.co.uk
The Playboy Club, 14 Old Park Lane, W1K 1ND
5 THE SELECTOR
However you like your martini served, here’s where to go 1 Dry Martini Meliá White House Hotel, Albany Street, NW1 3UP
020 7391 3000; drymartiniorg.com
Photograph by ###
To the untrained palate, the martini may be just a cocktail; but to those in the know, it’s a whole lot more. Javier de las Muelas knows this, which is why Dirty Martini in Barcelona – an ever-present in the World’s 50 Best Bars list – received worldwide acclaim. The arrival of a London outpost, at the Meliá White House Hotel in Fitzrovia, piqued our interest and tastebuds – its menu is based around the drink, and the bar team get inventive with the ‘Excentric’ menu, which features The Carnivore, built around pisco, with Szechuan pepper and passionfruit, served on a frozen flower with dry ice. Don’t try this at home, kids.
BOOK A TABLE NOW! (OR POP IN AND COLLECT)
0203 372 4631 82 LEE HIGH ROAD, SE13 5PT JUST PAST LIDL AS YOU HEAD TOWARDS LEWISHAM
VOTED LONDON’S BEST BURGER by @NewOpenings twitter followers
DO THE FUNGI CHICKEN: Laetiporus is an edible wild mushroom that tastes identical to fried chicken. What’s more, the vitamin content of mushrooms is similar to that found in meat.
CURE THING: Mushrooms have their own immune system, and use antibiotics to fend off other microorganisms that compete with them for food. Not only that, but the medicine penecillin is derived from fungus, too.
Photograph by Cultura RM/Michael Gross Photography/Getty
From portobello to porcini, cep to oyster, there are more types of mushroom than you can shake a stick at – and they’re all pretty tasty. We praise the humble fungus
SPORE SUBJECT: All mushrooms are funghi, but not all funghi are mushrooms. Confused? Us, too. Basically, a mushroom is to a fungus what fruits are to plants – which means that if a fungus doesn’t ‘flower’, you might never know it’s there.