Some sniff at food trends in the way that Falstaff cast aside the idea of being brave in battle in Henry IV Part 1. “What is honour?,” he asks. “A word. What is in that word honour? Air. A trim reckoning! Doth he feel it? No. Doth he hear it? No.” Change the word honour to trends, or fashion, they say. For it is so much air.
But enter I into the fray. A restaurant critic with my ear to the tracks, my nose in the wind, my lips quivering above the menus of a thousand places. So here comes not mere air, but with my writerly honour, what is, what goes, what will go and what will remain.
Take your pick in the bustling metropolis of London where there is something for everyone. There is the glory of the small in Kalimera, in Crouch End, and its genuine, wonderful Greek cuisine, or the fabulous absurdity of the vast at Ave Mario, in Covent Garden [pictured above], if you like the idea of 120 Italians serving food in 700 square metres of garish atmosphere.
There are boys playing with fire: whether it’s Nordic bigwig Niklas Ekstedt and his new place in Westminster (no stove, no electric griddle but all charcoal, smoke and fire and soot and ash or Jake Finn in Belsize Park whose Josper oven is almost bigger than his actual restaurant.
Then there are the new places designed to discombobulate – restaurants in places you don’t expect them. Such as Fiend, at the far end of Portobello Road, serving clever, brilliant, upscale dishes in an area that has always been lovingly, earnestly grungy, to say the least. The opposite concept, of course, being a place opening in exactly the spot you’d expect it to: I’m thinking Sunday in Brooklyn on Westbourne Grove. Yup, brunch in trendy Notting Hill. Die for it, or retch at the idea.
Read the full article in the Walpole Luxury Trend Report below.