Sunday, 8 January 2012

2011 into 2012

Another year rolls in, and with it a barrage of ‘Best Of’s, ‘Top 10’s and similar superlative-filled summaries of the year gone.

As one who is partial to a good list and practically speaks in hyperbole, one might assume that lists of this sort would set me salivating. Yes, I am guilty of trawling reviews before I manage to make it to the restaurant in question, vicariously eating my way through the menu many times over before I even walk through the door.

BUT (but but) on the contrary, I find them discouraging – either the lists are underwhelming and unimaginative (yes, Dinner is fantastic. NEXT.) and used for bragging rights, showing off how many Michelin stars a blogger can hoard before the year is out or they make every place seem passé, as though everyone has been there, done that, snapped the Meat Fruit. I guess it’s just my vicious case of the FOMOs (Fear of Missing Out) – apparently I didn’t manage to wrangle an invite to that uber-exclusive, pop up former Noma chef collab. Better luck next time.

One thing that the blogosphere’s ‘Best Of’s do prove, however, is that London is a city filled with fantastic food. I had thought nothing could compare to the quality and range available to the footloose food lover after New York, but it seems that every week serves up a new spot to correct this notion.

So in lieu of a look back, an appreciation of the bounty to hand and a look forward...

Forward to:

-      Luxurious brunches – there is nothing more indulgent than a long and lingering breakfast/brunch (definition: + booze), and I indulged my habit this year at antipodean haunts like Caravan and Lantana (dangerously close to the day job), the St John Hotel, the Albion, Del Aziz, Towpath, and Broadway Market’s La Bouche, but I can’t wait to try breakfast at Hawksmoor’s newest branch Guildhall as well as The Delaunay, the new sister restaurant to the Wolseley, for what I hope will equal the latter’s paradigm of the blue blood British breakfast.

 photo: Paul Winch-Furness

-      Quality coffee – when lacking time for an aforementioned breakfast or on the side, Tapped + Packed I and II (both, again, dangerously close), Fernandez + Wells, Caravan, or Monmouth can make the morning. (Although, and take note ‘tasched-and-tatted baristas, it must be said that sometimes seriously good coffee is all the better when not taken too seriously). So on to Prufrock and St Ali.

 photo: Lantana

-      Marketing – Maltby Street or Broadway/Netil Market on a Saturday, Columbia Road on a Sunday...there is no better way to spend the weekend than rambling down a winding street packed with giddy people, drugged with fresh air, and delicious things to eat. More marketing.

-      New York’s influence – I am enjoying the influx of casual food-centric NY-style spots, from their pressed-tin ceilings to their sleeve-tatted waitstaff. Burger + Lobster, Duck Soup, and their ilk are all a-waiting, and I still have yet to gather my patience to wait for a spot at Spuntino. Speaking of...

 photo: Paul Winch-Furness

-      Anything new from Russell Norman – I mean, seriously. Everything this guy touches turns to delicious, crispy fried gold. Bring on a further extension to the empire.

 photo: Paul Winch-Furness

-      Stopped trucks – after practically stalking the Meatwagon through its incarnations (get it?) as #Meateasy and now Meat Liquor, I couldn’t be more excited for Pitt Cue to open its stationary location, and Eat St in Kings Cross is still calling...

-      Other new openings I haven’t gotten around to – although too many to count, the unforgivably close Riding House Cafe, Pollen Street Social, Jose and Pizarro, the Corner Room, 40 Maltby St, the Young Turks at 10 Bells, and Worship Street Whistling Shop are among those on the docket.

Returning to old favorites - the Normans, cozy pubs like the Anchor + Hope, Mark’s Bar for Old Fashioneds and St John HQ for Negronis, St John Bread + Wine for everything else, Brawn for natural wine and the best rillettes this side of the Channel, Story for indescribable pizza, the Cay Tre types or Mien Tay when in need of spice or comfort, and Leila’s for tea and the perfect pear on a broody Sunday evening.

 photo: Paul Winch-Furness
To 2012.

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