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Din Tai Fung’s Dumplings Have Arrived, on Instagram

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

Din Tai Fung London restaurant’s xiaolongbao soup dumplings The Lazy Foodie/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 prosecco.

News of the week

For years, it seemed like Din Tai Fung would be another London restaurant pipe dream — a rumoured import like New York’s adored Fatty Crab, that inspired furious speculation but never actually materialised. And then — suddenly — the dream came true. The first U.K. site opens to the public today, and the few tantalising shots that have trickled through from the soft launch suggest xiaolongbao fans should be getting plenty excited. And ready to queue, duh.

Sambal Shock of the week
With a handful of exceptions, restaurant Instagram accounts are fairly predictable, typically offering a balanced diet of site-specific news, harmless engagement-bait, and user-generated food shots. So for Sambal Shiok owner Mandy Yin to take to the platform to decry a series of unfair and/or ill-informed online reviews of her restaurant was undeniably striking. Maybe this is the future of restaurant Instagram: unmediated, open conversation with a community that genuinely cares. It certainly makes for a more interesting scroll.

Seasonal delicacies of the week
An inconvenient truth: Christmas food, as served in restaurants, is usually pretty terrible. Bland turkey, saccharine cranberry sauce, stuffing with all the texture and flavour of roof insulation — it’s nasty, but punters knock it back anyway, because Christmas. And yet Insta Stories’ most sparsely populated category returns again this week with not one but two strong candidates. Are London restaurants finally doing Xmas right?

Recherché winter warmers of the week
Another inconvenient truth: Christmas booze is usually pretty terrible. Mulled wine veers from scaldingly hot to repulsively lukewarm in a matter of milliseconds, somehow both too sweet and too tannic; a creamy beverage like Bailey’s may seem fine in isolation, but is the last thing a reveller wants on a stomach full of roast potatoes, cake, and cheese. In the manner of shepherds struck dumb by a heavenly apparition — hark! Viable alternatives!

#nofilter of the week
Behind the hobs (or P Franco inductions), Anna Tobias is renowned for an almost monastic restraint — for letting the best ingredients do the talking in the most direct way possible. Away from the kitchen… not so much.

Dish of the week
News that Bonhams would shortly close was met this week with horror from the city’s more in-the-know gastronomes, who have come to love it as a true hidden gem. With dishes like this, it’s not hard to see why.

Shot of the week
Let the great #mincepiereview of 2018 begin!

Sambal Shiok

171 Holloway Road, London, Greater London N7 8LX

Bonhams

101 New Bond Street, , England W1S 1SR 020 7447 7447 Visit Website

Texture

34 Portman Street, London, W1H 7BY Visit Website

P Franco

107 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 0NP 020 8533 4660 Visit Website

Lorne

76 Wilton Rd, London, Greater London SW1V 1DE +44 20 3327 0210 Visit Website

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