TIt is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, rovers of the industry, critics and professional eaters. This year, the group were asked eight questions, spanning meal of the year to biggest dining grievance. Their answers will appear throughout this week. Responses are related in no particular order; cut, pasted, and unedited below. We’ve had restaurant standbys, most impressive newcomers, the industry in one word, and the top London neighbourhoods for dining in 2017. Here now with the biggest surprises of the year.
Grace Dent, former ES Magazine — and soon-to-be The Guardian — restaurant critic: King Cook at Box Park and Hackney Vegan market, the Loving Hut archway crowd and the growing vegan movement, including vegan options in chains and the supermarkets. I am fully pro.
Adam Coghlan, Eater London editor: Homies on Donkey’s cochinito in chipotle taco in Wood Street. And Michelin momentarily behaving itself when awarding a first star to A. Wong.
George Reynolds, Eater London contributor: The (welcome) return of actual grown-up restaurants offering proper hospitality and old-school, simple, elegant food in nice rooms.
Victoria Stewart, food writer: That fava could be *that* good (at Topik's supper club hosted at E5 bakehouse); wow flavours at Madame D.
James Hansen, food writer, editor and Eater London contributor: Somebody thought that the St. James development would actually have footfall.
Emma Hughes, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: Humble Grape. Had been put off eating there by the relentless jolliness of their website, but the cooking is fantastic — and even someone like me, who always just orders the second cheapest French thing on the list, found the wines really exciting.
Josh Barrie, food writer and Eater London contributor: There's still room for more tacos (I like tacos, just how far can we go?)
Suze Olbrich, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: That the industry is still going strong, just.
Zeren Wilson, restaurant discoverer and author of Bitten & Written: LovenPresents. Excellent wood-fired Neapolitan pizza in Tottenham? Truly, comrades, the N17 revolution has begun.
Chloe Scott-Moncrieff, food writer and co-founder of the YBFs: A Pitt Cue and Berber & Q mash-up with Oscar Holgado [now at Murano]. It was a one-off so no expectation, but it was brilliant.
Felicity Spector, Channel 4 News writer and pastry lover: The babka explosion! Suddenly it’s all babka!
Laurel Ives, former food editor of The Sunday Times The Dish: The welcome growth of innovative food popping up in residential neighbourhoods: Tufnell Park, Finsbury Park, Peckham and Stockwell. The audacious launch of the eight restaurants in The Ned, in a Grade I-listed bank in the City, which despite the critics is permanently packed. The sexy interior and food at Serge et le Phoque in the Mandrake Hotel.