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Celebrated Chef Anna Tobias Is Back and Instagram Loved it

Plus everything else chefs, restaurants, diners, and influencers were up to on Instagram last week

Chef Anna Tobias — alum of The River Cafe and Rochelle Canteen — outside Lower Clapton wine bar and restaurant P. Franco, that forms part of the best 24 hour restaurant travel itinerary for London — where to eat with one day in the city Tegan Hendel/P. Franco

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is underseasoned.

News of the week

Rival expansions ahoy: this week, Cecconi’s and Blacklock both launched branches in what broadsheet food writers are contractually obliged to refer to as the “trendy east London neighbourhood of Shoreditch”. If anything, it’s just another piece of evidence (along with the recent Michelin announcement) that indicates how the balance of dining power in London continues to shift east. Shoreditch High Street is basically Leicester Square or Soho now, attracting the sort of footfall that can justify a location as part of a high-end mini-chain rollout; don’t expect the new openings — and their launch parties, press previews, and #invites — to dry up any time soon.

Feed- / Frieze-clogging event of the week
The links between the food world and the art world are obvious — both feature a somewhat uneasy balancing act between the desire for creative self-expression and the need to make money. Pleasure and enjoyment are vital, yes, but far from the only valid responses to the work in question. More importantly, one can post sweet ‘grams of both and get sick likes, mate. So, it’s no surprise to see one of London’s most aesthetically perfect restaurants leading the charge to the Frieze Art Fair in Regents’ Park — along with some other names familiar from the bouji festival set.

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Scenes at Frieze

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Fine print, as in “read the,” of the week
Cool, cool, Air Canada — totally down with this pop-up poutinerie idea. But, ahem: Hawaiian Loco Moco Poutine Poke? As the Québécois might say: mon Dieu, non.

Subversive menu of the week
It’s the second week of Anna Tobias’ residency at P Franco and so far it’s clear that this is the biggest departure yet from the house style of what can only ever be loosely termed “P Franco food.” Where former induction-inductees like William Gleave and George Tomlin were almost wilfully eclectic, ranging all around the world for inspiration, Tobias’ menus present would-be diners with an intriguing blend of Italianate nods to the chef’s River Café training and throwbacks to comforting classics from yesteryear. It’s a perfect example of how the rotating chef policy can help keep a restaurant fresh and relevant to regulars; it helps, obviously, that the food is also very, very good.

Blessed image of the week
There’s a popular Twitter account, @cursedimages, which basically does what it says on the tin: nightmarish pictures of things that should in no sane world exist. Here’s the antidote.

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Dripping toast. #nofilter @shaunsearley

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Geotag / broader philosophical question of the week
This week, it’s all about Newington Green, as the absence of a tag for London’s coolest new bakery Jolene leaves ‘grammers with few other options to signal they have visited *the* hotspot of the moment. And if you can’t tag the place you visited, did you even really visit it in the first place?

Dish of the week
Brown on beige ftw.

Shot of the week


16a Bedford Street, , England WC2E 9HE 020 3034 1394 Visit Website


54 Great Jones Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 Visit Website

P Franco

107 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 0NP Visit Website

River Café

Thames Wharf, Rainville Road, London, W6 9HA