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London’s Hottest Restaurant Developments Covet Instagram Real Estate

Plus everything else chefs, diners, restaurateurs, and influencers were up to last week

Coal Drops Yard King’s Cross and Market Halls Victoria are London’s two newest and biggest food hall developments Coal Drops Yard: Dezeen / Market Halls: Christopher Horwood

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

News of the week

After the unveiling of the charisma graveyard that is the St James’ development — and the subsequent closure of at least one of its restaurants — things looked bleak for big zone one hospitality projects. But then came Coal Drops Yard, with its striking architecture and cluster of well-received, people-pleasing new openings. And now there’s Market Halls Victoria, which seems to be following a similar formula, albeit at a lower price point. Does Coal Drops Yard have genuine competition?

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We’re here and cooking now! @markethalls

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Social media campaign of the week

A host of chefs took to Instagram this week in solidarity with the Chefs Hands Project, a collaboration with the Pilot Light campaign that aims to shine a light on mental health issues in the industry. Perhaps the most notable post came from Neil Rankin — striking for its honesty and openness on a platform not always known for its faithful representation of reality. In a fast-changing world, where even Instagram captions are now being professionalised and monetised, it’s heartening to see that there’s still a place on the platform for these vital discussions.

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Tonight I went to see an exhibition of @chefshands_project (my dirty digits included) dedicated to my industry and supporting @pilotlightcampaign which supports metal health in the hospitality industry. Ironically I only stayed for around 20 mins because I’m suffering horrendous anxiety attacks today ahead of a well needed holiday (happens every time ). I’ve been suffering these from long before I got into this industry and will probably suffer long after. I don’t talk about it online much but I’m not one to hide my issues from friends and never have. I suffer horrendous tinnitus 24 hours a day and anxiety attacks frequently and was physically ill for it for 6 years but I’ve learned to cope now with most of it and I don’t ask or want for any special treatment or sympathy. Everyone to me has a problem and the people that say they don’t have problems usually have the biggest ones. I’ve always been open about seeking therapy (which I’ve been seeing since the age of 23) in the same way as Ive always been open about going to the dentist or doctor which is pretty much the same thing, but it’s still great to see our industry and fellow chefs come out and make a statement of support because the hospitality industry is still way behind the curve in this macho bullshit fuckery. I’m not totally sure what giving money to charities like this can do but I’ll support raising awareness and normalising this shit anytime, because for me I don’t think there’s a cure for this. Mental health issues are a very normal symptom of the human condition and modern life and the only fix as far as I can see is not feeling like you have to be ashamed of all this so you can just get on with you’re own shit regardless. #mentalhealthawareness

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Ho ho oh hell no of the week

The warning signs were all there: previews in July, mince pies in October. It still seems quietly appalling that feeds only so recently jam-packed with images of pumpkins and Halloween costumes should suddenly give themselves over to full-blown Christmas mania with more than a month to go. At least the Americans have Thanksgiving to break up the festive-season creep. Still, no point in fighting it [begins half-heartedly carolling]

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Guess who’s been...

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Enduring influence of the week
Years on from its first raid on the public consciousness, Noma remains the pre-eminent source of inspiration for a whole brigade of cooks around the world. For proof, look no further than the Goth AF game season currently underway at the Copenhagen institution, which presents diners with stuff that, like, technically speaking might be food but which bears a closer resemblance to the trophies found in a budding serial killer’s basement. Could a similar aesthetic be making its way over here? It certainly could.

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Male pheasant.. @jknappett #London

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Breakfast of the week

Perhaps not one to rustle up from the average domestic fridge

Menu of the week
Bao. Moppers.

Dish of the week
If it looks like a duck palmier, swims like a duck palmier, and quacks like a duck palmier…

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Duck palmiers

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Gorgeous still life that would be quite a dissonant meal of the week
Rarebit and back fat, good. Smoked mackerel and back fat, also good. Rarebit AND back fat AND smoked mackerel? Perhaps not.

Shot of the week
OK, going off the caption it doesn’t sound that great. But: so pretty!

BAO

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