Welcome back to Insta Stories, a new column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is Clarendon, with a little more saturation than is strictly necessary.
News of the week
One of the quirks of Instagram is that sharing the same piece of information is relatively difficult. Regramming is still a laborious, manual chore; as a result, there is not the same communal, water-cooler spirit that users can find on Twitter. All of which is to say, despite all sorts of newsworthy things happening in the real world, on Instagram, not much seemed to be up. Perhaps it’s more a question of reading the tea leaves and trying to extract further meaning from them. Luca is now doing breakfast, and a post from the Quality Chop House account hinted at a major piece of news to come. London’s restaurants seem keener than ever to make the most of the space available to them. Here’s another.
Feed-clogging event of the week
In any just world, the focal point of this section would obviously be Andrew Clarke’s highly laudable Pilot Light campaign, which aims to increase awareness of mental health issues within the hospitality industry, and which launched at Brunswick House with a fair few grandees (plus one Granleese) in attendance. Some questionable responses aside, it’s exactly the sort of thing people should be sharing and talking about more.
But this is Instagram, where nothing is more important than pancakes. A whole day dedicated to the highly stackable, infinitely customisable delights was always going to be ‘gram crack, and so it proved, with (almost) everyone getting in on the act. Giant ones. Skinny ones. Imaginary ones. Mini rye ones. In short: ALL OF THE SIMILAR FOODS.
So many amazing pancakes @outsidertart today - we’ve got the ‘Elvis’ with peanut butter, bourbon maple syrup and banana... the ‘Carrot Cake’ pancake with carrot jam and more syrup (plus mascarpone cream cheese on the side!) - and the classic hot cakes... what a wonderful morning with @alexiaclaire81 @glitterratti ... Honestly Outsider Tart have THE best pancake menu I have ever seen! Wishing we could stay all day and work our way through all 12 kinds ... LIFE GOALS!!
Hashtag MIA of the week
The once much-maligned #invite seems to be having a bit of a moment, with industry figures like Adam Hyman increasingly doing the decent thing and declaring comped meals. Can it be too much to hope it’s now the turn of #client?
Virality watch (AKA Baewatch)
It’s always interesting to see how quickly ‘grammers constellate around a single dish at a new opening — the shorthand that smugly signals “been there, done that” to a jealous audience of followers. In the past, these dishes used to be colourful, eye-catching, fresh-looking. But now, in a weird backlash against poké bowls and matcha soft serve, a perverse anti-aesthetic seems to be emerging: muted colours, wintry flavours, no-frills presentation. So, now that chef Henry Harris’ The Coach has opened its doors, expect to see many, many more examples of his grilled rabbit with mustard sauce and smoked bacon, which carries as an added bonus just that little soupçon of stardust from Racine, the Knightsbridge institution where the dish originated. The Coach may be classic French — but few places feel quite as en vogue right now.
Dish of the week
On the theme of not-quite #uglydelicious, but certainly not #sopretty Instagram, the annual Glandstonbury offal-fest at The Drapers Arms is often a source of precisely this sort of robust, defiantly unstyled, old-school cooking. So it’s only fitting that this week’s winner comes from the 2018 edition – in the form of this decidedly, uh, gutsy assemblage from Jackson Boxer.
Shot of the week
More like February King, lol.