That was 2013 and now 2014
Over the past year I’ve increasingly been asked “what’s my favourite meal”, or “who’s the best chef in London?” It’s always difficult we are in the capital, spoilt for choice and the answer to that question depends as much on who is asking it, and what sort of thing they like or think they like. Looking back over the past year and head to the next here’s some recent thoughts and my standouts of 2013
In the Summer the Basque country and San Sebastian blew me away and I still think about those meals At Mugaritz, Extebarri and Azurmendi.
Closer to home the Green Man and French horn was still a standout for me. It’s been under the radar for a while though now it’s starting to gather more of a following in the press. It’s Boudin Noir and squid was one of the best things I ate last year. Restaurant Story is certainly pushing the Nordic inspired boundaries. Hereford Road and Barrafina continue to do what they have always done so well. Brett Graham at the Ledbury has to be on the verge of real greatness. A Sunday lunch there early in the year was as good as anything you can get in the capital at the moment. Ashely Palmer Watts is holding his end up brilliantly at Dinner whilst his boss continues with questionable TV ventures (please no more giant biscuit programmes Heston, you are better than this).
The coffee at the Fields Beneath, I will miss you, now we are out west….but my friends at Herman Ze German keep me honest with their excellent daily brew – yes they sell sausages – but together with Notes, it’s the best coffee anywhere round Charing x and Covent Garden.
As for 2014
Trend wise I guess for London its going a little Korean and I’d suspect we’ll see yet more Momofuku inspired menus with David Chang DNA popping up here and there …though the man himself will still refuse London’s siren call. The trend towards grilling over wood and charcoal will continue and it’ll be interesting to see how Ben Tish’s new venture Ember Yard and Ashe Mair’s Bilbao Berria openings will fare. I know I’ll be going back to the Green Man but I think the turn towards grilling suggests some more simplicity is in order or at least not just chasing the next new thing.
A revisit to some old favourite like Locanda Locatelli. I’m looking forward to Polpetto’s and Florence Knights return (Before I posted the Evening standard 5* this so I might have been on to something) . Converse to that perhaps I should probably get round to booking that table at Noma. Whilst on the one hand, I think the ennui with all things foraged will increase, hearing Rene Redzepi talk about Noma on the launch of his latest book and subsequently reading his journal has made me want to take the trip to Copenhagen even more. I think a return to Hedone might also be in order. I might eschew the mega eateries (oh yes I expect more of those) up tall towers in favour of somewhere more honest such as at the talented A Wong. I will of course be heading to Barrafina’s new venture in Covent Garden – once they actually open it …. I might even get round to some cooking of my own now, that I have some outdoor space. It’s time for more than a nod to that wonderful Spanish place in the mountains, and some cooking over wood embers….. Extebarri ahhh now a return there would be something to savour.