It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, contributors, 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 and pasted below. Restaurant standbys and best newcomers; 2018 in a word and a city in neighbourhoods; restaurant surprises and dining grievances: they’ve all been covered. Now, read all about the single meals and remarkable dishes that defined an entire year.
Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London: Anna Tobias’ passion for peas is as great as my own. A dish of squid, courgette, peas, olive oil, and lemon zest at P. Franco in the early summer was among the year’s most memorable.
Elsewhere, TāTā Eatery’s pop-up at Borough Wines in Kensal Rise was so good, that it’s not hard to see why Zijun Meng and Ana Gonçalves have been snapped up to take permanent residence inside what will be one of the hottest cocktail bars in town next year. The Iberico katsu sandwich, of course. But even more so, a buttery, soothing yuzu kosho and curried prawn rice pot, and a salad of spinach, sugar cane, sesame, and tomato.
Several meals — including one recent Friday evening dinner — at Singburi have proven that it’s the best neighbourhood restaurant in London.
And, lastly, the most complete meal I ate this year was at Ikoyi. With the exception of a squid dish in chocolate sauce, the meal was the most inventive, well-executed, and flawless that I experienced.
James Hansen, Assistant Editor, Eater London: Singburi, on the hottest day of the year.
TāTā Eatery at Kensal Rise, in the same week — which also featured some of the best individual dishes of the year, particularly the extraordinary seafood rice.
An unimpeachable dish in a mixed meal — Leo Carreira’s melon, clove, and anise ice cream at Londrino.
The cuttlefish ‘bolognese’ at The Ninth.
An evening at 40 Maltby Street long on custard slices.
A Lyle’s lunch, especially for the wild mushroom-egg yolk-small pickled fruit combination that works so well, and Anna Higham’s continually astonishing desserts.
My first visit to Bright, particularly a dessert finished with grated, frozen, brown butter shortbread dough.
Alex Jackson and Henry Harris’ ‘Grande Bouffe’ dinner at Sardine.
I’ll be better at documenting things next year.
Jonathan Nunn, food writer and Eater London contributor: The huge Eater London meal at Singburi in August. Everyone was beautiful and covered in sweat, and everyone was barred from ordering spring rolls, Chef Sirichai made a suckling pig and tried to limit the number of moo krob orders — to no avail — and I ended up with the bulk of the leftover pig meat and spent the next day dismantling the head to make sisig. Nearly everyone who is part of this end of year round up was there, and I consider them liars if this meal isn’t mentioned prominently.
The best single dish however was an unbelievable white miso and barley soup that Will Gleave made at the Tschida event on his return to P. Franco, the kind of nourishing food a mother would feed her child, if she also happened to be cooking behind induction hobs at a wine shop in Clapton.
Sejal Sukhadwala, food writer and Eater London contributor: Vanilla Black, for relentless risk-taking and innovation. Not everything comes off, but no vegetarian restaurant is doing what they do.
Emma Hughes, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: A Sunday lunch at Brat back in August that I still think about several times a week.
George Reynolds, food writer and Eater London contributor: Can a meal last two days? I’m going to say it can, because at Coombeshead Farm you are seemingly never not eating. Eccles cakes on arrival, a dinner that continued to surprise and delight after multiple hours and even more courses, perhaps the best cooked breakfast in the country, a simple lunch of mutton cooked à la ficelle that took the idea of the Sunday roast and made it feel brand-new. And then, to round it all off, a perfect fool: rhubarb and red gooseberry, topped with lovage and tart apple granita. I actually giggled.
Shekha Vyas, food writer and Eater London contributor: My best restaurant meal this year was one by one omakase with Yasuhiro Mineno, or anything I ate in Nairobi / Lviv.
Helen Graves, food writer at Food Stories and Eater London contributor: It’ll be one of those lengthy afternoons at Bright in London Fields, I’m sure. Details hazy.
MiMi Aye, food writer, cookbook author, and Eater London contributor: The tasting menu at The Frog in Covent Garden for my wedding anniversary — absolutely stunning, even if chef Adam Handling’s most personal dish, ‘Mother,’ sounds like something that Alan Partridge would shout.
Zeren Wilson, food writer at Bitten and Written and Eater London contributor: Sorrel. Impeccable cooking, beautiful artistry on the plate, cosseting dining room: it’s pretty much perfect.
Daisy Meager, food writer and Eater London contributor: A summer lunch — sitting outside! — at Rochelle Canteen with my mum: radishes, rosé, sea bass with capers and lemon, buttery potatoes, the sweetest raspberry ice cream in a cone. Promise I’m not Bougie Lit Woman.
Angela Hui, food writer and Eater London contributor: Anything and everything from TāTā Eatery. I know everyone swoons over their famous katsu sandos, but their Iberico pork don is just the stuff of dreams. I think about this rice bowl dish a lot.
Leila Latif, Eater London contributor: The omakase at Endo Kazutoshi’s 8 seater pop-up at The Berkeley this summer. Endo is a force of nature whose enthusiasm is infectious, and every delicious little bite came with an intricate backstory. I’ll be first in line when Endo at the Rotunda finally opens.