When you find a good pub, take a tip from me and hold onto it with two hands. Maybe even a well constructed sailors knot or two as well! They're ever too scarce in this bustling city of ever-rushed pints and hurried sundays. Since I discovered it, I've therefore had The Florence in Herne's Hill firmly lodged in my short lists of cracking London boozers.
In the eyes of many, Ireland is about as synonymous with food as the English are. Unfortunately, from food pasts of pineapple and cheese sticks or egg and chips, both of our nations have not earned the best reputation for gastronomy. However, what many forget is that our fair isles were invaded centuries over for one thing – land. Both England and Ireland had big fat targets on their backs to our neighbouring Europeans from the fertility of our lands. Even today, Ireland has the most nutrient rich land in the whole of Europe. The Emerald Isle has the perfect foundation for growing the finest produce, and it does. During a mid-week stay in Dublin, I went to some seriously good restaurants and sampled some fine produce from their artisan delis, patisseries and chocolatiers.
Read my guide to some of the best spots to eat!
Compared to the 18th century, the recent resurgence of gin has been a more civilised affair. Craft distilleries are springing up all over the place, dedicated gin bars are appearing in every city, and the real snobs among us have joined gin clubs, which provide a welcome excuse to get very drunk and engage in deep conversations about ‘botanicals’ with moustachioed gentlemen and other beardy folk.
I think we can all universally agree that there’s little nicer than settling down somewhere scenic with a glass of crisp, chilled champagne. It’s the world’s favourite sparkling wine and is synonymous with all things luxury, celebration and, d’accord, romance. But where on EARTH does it come from and exactly how is it made? I had a vague idea, if vague means ‘not a bloody clue’. So when I was invited by Mumm and Perrier-Jouet Champagne Houses to come over to the Champagne region in France and see for myself, as soon as I could spit the words ‘oui oui’ out I was packed on the Eurostar and on my way.
If there’s something we Brits love it’s Indian food, so much so that it’s our national dish. Masalas, Biriyanis, Kormals, Jalfrezi’s...true it cannot be said that any of these represent what you would eat in India. Most Indians are vegetarian, but whether authentic or not, we Brits have adopted the wonderful spices from this former colony and made our own bastardisations of true Indian food. And it’s great. There is an abundance, if not overload, of Indian restaurants to choose from in Leeds. Moreover, Bradford is not too far away where the best curries around can be found, so it’s a tough market to conquer. So when Khana Bombay Cafe opened in studentville, Headingley, I was sceptical. I was wrong.
Love your Latin? Smitten for your samba? Until 8 months ago I couldn't say the same but then I met Mr B (B for Brazilian) and pretty soon I was thrust, sashaying, into the world of carnival, sequins and pineapples. Actually that's a total lie and horrible use of stereotype - haha - but, there is a part of me that says I should make an effort to get in involved in his culture. Or at least learn how to dance Latin without looking like I'm having an epileptic fit.
Until very recently I’ve lived in Clapham. It’s the only place in London I’ve lived in fact, and I love it. I like to think that I explored its blossoming food and drinks scene relatively thoroughly in my 3 years, but there was always one striking omission: The King & Co. This pub, notable for it’s gigantic beer selection and spree of residencies by street food/ pop up chefs, was right around the corner from my old house (literally right around; about 2 minutes walk). I missed a whole host of awesome vendors, including Donastia Social Club and The Cheese Truck, and theres no excuse for it. Not one.
So, when Fowl Mouths brought their Japanese comfort food to the King and Co pass I figured ‘enough’s enough’ and stormed down to try it out.
India is a country as diverse and varied as its spices. From the rich, buttery cuisine of the Punjab region, to the banana leaf plates and lentils of Tamil food, it’s as different as French is to German. I have a particular penchant for the food of the South, of Goa and Kerala, lighter than the North, flavoured with tamarind, coconut and seafood.
My dad would call me a traitor for what I am about to say....I think these may be some of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had. I can almost hear him shouting, “They’re not from bloody Yorkshire”. Well pops, sorry not sorry. I would like to think I am a connoisseur of the humble chip and fishery for the simple fact that I eat their wares a lot. The first thing I do when I get off the holiday plane from LBA is go straight to my local chippy, ergo; I’m a connoisseur. Anyway, when the invite came to try Sutton and Sons third outpost in Islington, I went down with a healthy bite of skepticism.
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