The story of London’s world-beating food scene, with recipes from 30 key restaurants
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been flicking through this book, deciding not only where we would like to go and eat, but also which recipes we want to try.
I’ve been really impressed by the diversity of this book, on one side it has the classics like The Ritz, The Wolseley and River Cafe. The Ivy’s shepherds pie and Sweetings Fillet of hake with a lobster mash top my list of things to cook. It moves on to new classics like BAO, Pitt Cue Co.
It moves on to new classics like BAO, Pitt Cue Co. and The Mordern Pantry. In this section the Challans duck with maple glaze and plum vinegar recipe from Portland and the Kimchi pacake, pork belly, duck eggs and gochuchang ketchup are top of my list.
The “School of St. John” gets its own chapter, due its influence it has had over the last 20+ years, some of the recipes in this section, in particular the ‘Fish head’ one is not for the faint-hearted and call me a wimp, but I’ll be giving that a miss. This section, of course, includes St. John, but also the likes of Lyle’s, The Marksman and The Clove Club. I’ll deffinately be trying to make the Braised shoulder of lamb, shallots and flageolet beans dish.
The books market section is smallish, but a good read, the likes of Borough, Broadway, Brixton and Brick Lane are to be expected. It is good to see my firm favourite Maltby Street and Street Feast feature. I was also very pleased to see London Farmers’ markets and Billingsgate get a mention. This section also includes probably the easiest and most accessible recipes. Mama’s Jerk, Jerk barbecue chicken will be making an appearance on the BBQ this summer, as will the swordfish kebabs.
In the Neighbourhood features China Town, Soho, Southbank and borough, Shoreditch and Hoxton. Nothing surprising there, but New Malden with its huge Korean community is pleasing to see, as is Greenwich and Blackheath which is underated in my humble oppinon.Harlesden is a new one on me, as Southall, but they are now firmly on my list.
One thing is for sure, London deserves its own show off foodie book, and while I feel this will appeal to London foodies, it will likely be as a present to those who don’t live in London.
The problem: London’s food scene is so vast, rich and exciting that Trip Advisor can barely keep up. Plus everyone has an opinion, but take the book as it is (an impossible task) and you have a good cookbook / London food guide.
For this reason, I’m not going to rate it. Though I might once I’ve gone through all the sections and tried a few recipes. Until then, I’m sitting on the fence with this one.