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 Inkwell, because it’s just not coming out right in full colour.
News of the week
The internet adage “pics or it didn’t happen” could have been written with 2018 London in mind. If a brand makes an announcement but doesn’t accompany it with a gorgeous photo on Insta, can it really be said to have happened? It is therefore an honour and a privilege to be able to (re-)break the news that Lyle’s is doing a bar menu.
From this evening, we will be offering a new menu for those seated at the bar, in addition to our set dinner. The bar menu will be around ten to twelve smaller dishes, ideal for those coming by after work for a quick drink and snack or for those wanting to curate a full dinner from the dishes off this list. It will feature lunch time favourites like the grilled mussels with cider butter and the smoked eel with January King cabbage as well as some of the snacks from the evening’s set menu such as the calçot, Stichelton and wild leek flatbreads from the wood fired oven. We welcome walk-ins as well as bookings. Reservations can be made by phone 020 3011 5911 or email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Feed-clogging event of the week
Scenes to leave bookmakers queasy this week, with a huge number of Instagram basics declaring themselves the luckiest people in the world. Yes, Wednesday was Valentine’s Day, with all of your favourite brands finding inventive ways to get in on the act. Some went defiantly anti-romance, others went a bit low-res and weird, others still just stuck to the basics: making things #sopretty <3 <3 <3
Slow burn social media campaign of the week
PR company Gemma Bell & Co remain one step ahead of the competition. Realising that the hype would effectively take care of itself for first few weeks after Sabor’s launch, they didn’t go hard with the influencer stuff — and, to absolutely no one’s surprise, the good and the great (and this guy) flocked to the place like moths to a flame. But the second phase now seems to be underway, a buzz-sustaining drip-feed of jealous-making shots from the launch of the upstairs Asador, before a full-blown Clerkenwell Boy shout-out (with added hero-dish plugging to boot). Twinned with a phased rollout that has so far kept reviewers away (coincidentally giving the kitchen time to iron out any kinks), this really is a perfect storm of a launch strategy. Compare it to Duddell’s “bring me all of the influencers… EVERYONE!” shock-and-snore campaign and it’s clear which has more impact, and a longer shelf-life — who’s seen a goldfish dumpling since early January?
Hashtag MIA of the week
Still, though: #client? #client? #client?!?!?!?!?!
Dish of the week
A rare win for the home cook this week. But, seriously, who could better this?
Laborious composition of the week
Anyone who has tried to photograph prime thirst trap content will know the difficulty inherent in getting that One. Perfect. Shot. It’s a nightmare: the weird close-ups, the helicopter angles taken standing on chairs. And, yes, the deliberate purchasing and artful arrangement of foodstuffs to deliver the most aesthetically pleasing configuration possible. And so a new category is born this week, to celebrate the ludicrously staged in all its glory. And a worthy winner!
Shot of the week