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Instagram’s Christmas-Signal of Choice Is the Mince Pie

Plus everything else London’s chefs, restaurateurs, diners, and influencers were up to on the feed

Best mince pies in London: Esters Esters/Instagram

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

News of the week

It’s basically Christmas — the time of year where news goes to die. Here’s something worth reading about.

Contrasting fortunes of the week

After its staggering Insta-debut last week, things have remained rosy for beloved xiaolongbao icon Din Tai Fung this time round, as influencers, foodies, and common-or-garden ouraphiliacs (that’s queue fetishists) continued the love-in. For Imperial Treasure — the season’s other big-ticket import from east Asia — things haven’t been quite so cheery, with eyebrows being raised to Roger Moore heights over the ambitious pricing and so-so execution. Then again, it’s no big deal: it just needs to introduce a mandatory, Din Tai Fung-style four-hour wait time, sit back, and watch the punters flow in.

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Peking duck I love Imperial treasure in Singapore, it's my favourite duck now that hkk is no more, so the excitement of them coming to London was pretty high but sadly they didn't meet expectations, in fact i'd go as far as saying they are the worst opening of this year and if it wasn't for red rooster or pf Chang possibly the worst ever. First of all, the service, yes I know it's a soft launch and they are fine tuning things but to be honest that's a load of bollocks, they have done nothing to even start with any training, dirty plates are left on the table between courses, hand towels from when you walk in sit there watching course by course go by, nobody has a clue what is going on and then they have the cheek to sneakily add the service charge before discount which brings it to over 20%... The whole thing is a disgrace for a restaurant of this standard and reputation Then we have the food... Or the tiny niblets they have decided to call portions.... £22 for a fingerbowl of plain chicken soup, £28 for 9 small slices of pork belly, £20 pounds for a few pieces of chicken in dried chili's, £20 for rice, £12 for a vegetable spring roll, it's an endless parade of ridiculous prices for barely any food served badly, the duck doesn't even have a second course, you are given 2 tiny plates that amount to about half a duck, that's it, not worth £50 let alone the £100 they'll be charging next week! Complete cynical rip off, sure rents are high blah blah but if this is the best you can offer then why bother even coming, stay in Asia where everybody loves you and you are treated well and feel like you are at something special, not just being tricked into dropping a ton of money on a joke version of that Won't be wasting my time there again

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Festive icon of the week

Santa can do one. For the next fortnight, at any rate: for the time being it’s all about the mince pie. As foretold last week, Instagram has been overrun with images of the much-loved (and also much-maligned) treat, ranging from pinnacles of the form, to mediocre supermarket examples, to idiosyncratic riffs on the classic. It’s almost enough to inspire a yearning for a guide to the best mince pies in London.

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Witness the fitness

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Celebrity shout-out of the week

Now that her masterful and important cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat has been turned into an equally masterful and important Netflix show of the same name, Samin Nosrat is one of the hottest culinary properties on the planet. So for her to big up Honey and Co’s proprietary ashure mix is one hell of an endorsement — and yet more evidence of how the Fitzrovia mini-chain is slowly taking over the world, one celebrity fan at a time.

Celebrity shout-out of the week, part two

Oh, yeah, someone called Nigella said some nice stuff too.

Account of the week

Multiple highlights from Gordon Ramsay’s account this week, absolutely none of which address the critical question of why its handle is @gordongram and not @gordongramsay. Perhaps the least festive Christmas decorations of all time at the Royal Hospital Road flagship; the salacious promise of something called a “beef welly experience”; candid footage of the megastar chef in the midst of some backbreaking labour at one of his low-key pizzerias. Don’t bother forking out for expensive presents — this Christmas, give the gift of @gordongram.

Dishes of the week

A.K.A., “incontrovertible evidence that a pig has died” of the week

Shot of the week

Stop it, Nigel.