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With spring well underway and the promise of fresh, seasonal produce gracing British tables soon, delighting in a luscious meal out is an exciting prospect. Lockdown saw a frenzy of comfort eating – largely in our pyjamas – with Instagram-ready cheese boards, homemade sourdough and attempts at chia seed puddings high on the lists. Home deliveries had a hot moment, takeaways became the main event and whipping up award-winning banana bread while blindfolded was the new norm.
Now, with all that behind us, we’re yearning to stretch our wings and get back into the swing of being social – around food. So from tasty street offerings to Michelin star dining, these are the places you need to be.
Gastronomic trends to get you going
Post-pandemic gastronomy, like interior design, shows a much stronger leaning towards high sustainability and low food miles, especially as the climate crisis continues to unfold. Plant-based diets, home-grown herbs, foraging, organic meats and regenerative farming are all in the spotlight as the new “conscious consumer” takes to the supermarket isles. And with global food staple shortages on the cards, yes, even insects are getting the eye.
Hosting dinner parties and revisiting old family recipes is the latest big deal and more expensive, quality ingredients are par for the course. Yuzu, hibiscus and turmeric are hot items along with fermented foods like kefir and kombucha. But when we’re out on the town it’s all about indulging in personal dining experiences that offer an extra edge. Think dramatic desserts, unusual settings and exotic oriental flavours.
New (Michelin) stars on the circuit
Upscale dining has a twinkling new lineup as the masters at Michelin list their stars for 2022. Here are 3 of our favourites:
Evelyn’s Table - Soho, London
If you’re looking for an intimate vibe, reserve your space at Evelyn’s Table, a sophisticated counter-dining venue that accommodates just 12 people per sitting. Young Chef Award-winning Luke Selby and his brothers Theo and Nat will astound you with their fabulous 5-course kitchen theatre experience and Japanese-inspired cuisine. Carefully curated and punctuated with gorgeous wines and sake, their ever-evolving menu is nothing short of mouth-watering.
Kol - Marylebone, London
Championing seasonal wild food and fine British ingredients, Kol’s dynamic chef, Santiago Lastra, creates dishes that embody his memories of the fresh flavours of Mexico. Bold combinations and simple seasonings give rise to extraordinary dishes like an Aguachile of squid, rhubarb and kelp sikil-pak or traditional tostada with Cheltenham beetroot, guajillo, walnut and heritage corn. Dine in the main restaurant or book a chef’s table experience - either way, it’s a treat.
Pine - East Wallhouses, Northumberland
Whether you’re ensconced in their three-tiered afternoon tea or a generous evening tasting menu, Cal Byerley’s restaurant, Pine, is sure to charm you. With views of the rolling Northumberland countryside from which produce is foraged, this converted barn boasts a bespoke open kitchen and food to swoon over. Featuring offerings like “Wilde Farm Duck Egg Mayonnaise” and “Raw Hand Dived Scallop” it’s no wonder they’ve been cited for their eco-friendly endeavours.
Whether you want to soak up the sun or celebrate the splendour of glittering night skies, rooftop dining offers the brilliance of food with a view. High above the crowds and in a league of their own, these three are simply breathtaking.
Aviary - Finsbury Square, London
From triple cooked chips and lobster to oysters and coal-fired steaks, Aviary Rooftop Restaurant & Terrace Bar is all about style… and contemporary British fare. Take in panoramic views of London while sipping on a signature cocktail with your mates. Or cuddle up in one of their 4 luxurious igloos on the 9th floor’s Palm Terrace when it gets a little colder. But whatever you do, get there!
Sushisamba - Bishopsgate, London
One of the highest outdoor dining venues in Europe, Sushisamba, perched atop the Heron Tower, offers extraordinary panoramic views that will take your breath away. With an enchantingly lit bamboo ceiling, giant glass windows and a jaw-dropping terrace featuring an orange tree sculpture, Sushisamba is a design wonder. Its menu, a mix of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine, is beautifully inventive and worth every penny. Expect plantain chips, crispy taquitos, ceviche, samba rolls, robata and so much more.
Seabird - Southwark, London
With sumptuous sea-to-table offerings influenced by delicious Spanish and Portuguese gastronomy, Seabird offers a fantastic view of London and the largest oyster menu in the city. Gracing the 14th floor of The Hoxton, its coastal décor and Mediterranean flavours include signature dishes like their “Afternoon Sea”, a three-tiered seafood extravaganza that will have you gasping. They also include divine vegetarian options, small plates and excellent service.
Take to the streets
While lounging at a discerning eatery is always a fabulous way to spend your day, there’s a lot to be said for street food. Pumping with energy and offering an array of fresh, unconventional ingredients, the food truckers of Britain have hit the flavour nail on the head. These are our must-haves.
The Little Taquero - Bristol
Having spent quite some time eating their way around Latin America, the proprietors of The Little Taquero wanted to bring genuine Mexican and Central American food to the city. Using free-range meats and sustainably caught prawns and fish, freshly pressed tortillas and their delectable homemade salsas, slaws, guacamole and frijoles, you won’t find anything more authentic.
Eat Like a Greek - Manchester
Served from a beautifully restored horsebox, scrumptious Souvlaki is Eat Like a Greek’s signature offering. Picture grilled, locally sourced meat, olive oil, beautiful Aegean spices and Samos oregano tucked neatly into fluffy flatbreads and served with fresh tzatziki and salad. Yum! For vegetarians, you can have the same with grilled halloumi instead. Or, if you want something lighter, indulge in fabulously tasty dolmades, saganaki or meze plates… Opa!
Blue Caribou - Arndale Market, Manchester
From crisp pogos (corn dogs) to their famed poutines (French fries and cheese curds topped with an unctuous brown gravy) the Blue Caribou brings Québécois cuisine to the streets of Manchester. Using produce from a cheesemaker from Lancashire, their 100% organic curds are topped with pastrami and pickles, veal and chicken or seaweed and sriracha and are lip-smackingly good.
Festival season is getting back into the swing of things along with a plethora of amazing eats. And let’s face it, there’s no better way to celebrate a weekend than with some great music and finger-licking fare. If you’re a foodie, here are some of the noteworthy ones.
Pub in the Park
Five months, nine locations and a bunch of brilliant chefs, musicians and crafters makes Pub in the Park a rocking affair. This year celebrity chef Tom Kerridge accompanied by James Martin, Michel Roux Jr, Matt Tebbutt, The Hairy Bikers and Andi Oliver will be showing you what pub life is all about. It’s UK’s biggest food, drink and music show, so don’t miss it.
Taste of London
Happening at Regent’s Park in June, Taste of London is your opportunity to sample all the latest dishes from the hottest restaurants around. 55 000 ravenous enthusiasts are expected to gorge themselves silly over 5 days of feasting in search of the next best food innovations. It’s a chance to spot future stars and get to know what’s really out there.
The Big Feastival
Held on a farm in the Cotswolds in August, The Big Feastival has a line-up of entertainment, food and music that’s great for the whole family. This year will include The Human League, Stereophonics and Anne-Marie along with an assemblage of auspicious chefs. With a cookery school, interactive sessions, pop-ups, street food and supper clubs aplenty, you’ll be champing at the bit to get stuck in. Camping, weekend and day tickets are on sale now.
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