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If a Restaurant Opening Isn’t Announced on Instagram, Is it Even Real?

Plus more important questions raised by what chefs, diners, and influencers were up to on the feed

Chefs Andrew Clarke and Jackson Boxer Jackson_Boxer/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 carb-heavy.

News of the week

If a cool new restaurant isn’t announced via a gorgeous Instagram post, is it even opening? For two of 2018’s most influential duos, the answer is clearly a resounding no, as the teams behind celebrated newcomers St Leonards and Jolene took to social media to break the news about upcoming projects. Both restaurants will be focused on some of the best bounty that the British Isles have to offer; both will doubtless be among the most anticipated openings of next year. The febrile few weeks before December 31st are often given over to all manner of trend predictions for the twelve months to come: it’s a safe bet to forecast 2019 as aquanautical [sic] AF.

Covetable ornament of the week

Marina O’Loughlin, take note?

Evolving trend of the week

Virality on Instagram is weird. It’s not like Twitter, where functionality like the retweet button means a whole user base can jump on something and circulate it round the world in seconds. It’s a little more organic, perhaps — to borrow an appropriately festive analogy, a bit more like a tiny snowball slowly rolling down a hill, gradually gaining in size, before finishing up a something absolutely monolithic. Look at how the katsu sando took off this summer — and, more specifically, how one particular katsu sando became emblematic of the whole trend. Similarly, consider the mince pie: just a week ago, the feed saw a miscellany of different styles and approaches, sold by a whole host of different vendors. Right now, though, one pie rules them all — and it comes from a bakery that’s no stranger to doing big numbers on the ‘gram. Check out that Insta-lamination!

Whimsical literary geotag of the week

Fending off strong competition from Focaccia in the Rye and To Grill a Mockingbird.

Guilty pleasure of the week

So many questions. Are the cheeses laid out horizontally, or all melted together? Key amongst them, though: you would, wouldn’t you?

Suggested pairing for guilty pleasures of the week

Seriously, this time: would you?!?!

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A post shared by Kate Hawkings (@kate_hawkings) on

Zero-star one-star review of the week

PatriciaB might be on the naughty list this year.

Sustainability initiative of the week

Everyone’s talking about plastic straws these days. But when is the industry going to address the real elephant in the room: the incalculable damage done to the atmosphere by old-school French presentation techniques? Fortunately, the canny team at Pidgin have found an environmentally-friendly solution. Take that, Big Cloche.

Dish of the week

Kimizu is an egg-based sauce whose flavour profile is not a million miles away from that of classical Hollandaise. Critically, it also contains a decent glug of vinegar — making this another dish that joins the Koya pantheon of repurposed British classics like fish and “chips” and English breakfast udon. Is it too much to ask for a reimagined Sunday roast, too?

Shot of the week

Happy Christmas, goths.


52 Wilton Way, , England E8 1BG 020 7254 8311 Visit Website

St Leonards

70 Leonard Street, , England EC2A 4QX 020 7739 1291 Visit Website


54 Great Jones Street, Manhattan, NY 10012 Visit Website