Welcome back to Insta Stories, the column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is Clarendon at such a low percentage it’s basically just Normal.
News of the week
Tomos Parry’s much-anticipated BRAT is now open. Open to important influencer-y people, at least. Nondisclosure of freebies will likely not be the only ever-so-slightly fishy thing going down in Shoreditch: get ready for a steady flow of hero dish moneyshots (and, if we’re very fortunate, the birth of the hashtag #turbotcharged.)
Feed-clogging event of the week
International Women’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to draw attention to the inadequacies of an industry that has skewed male for far too long — but, boy, do a lot of brands (and men) get it wrong. This year, the potential for hypocrisy and scope for brand-burnishing virtue-signalling were exposed no more starkly than by The Drunken Butler, who presumably treats his own sister like he does Fay Maschler, staging an elaborate website takeover and posting offensive block-caps screeds about her every time they have a disagreement. Or perhaps this is just another case of the #sarcasm hashtag misfiring.
Menu of the week
Like any great literary text, a great menu opens itself up to multiple different readings and interpretations. So: the cararpaccio, the pici, then the farinata? The pappardelle then the rabbit? Is it possible to ask for the ravioli as a side?
Dubious promotion of the week
Oh look, it’s a tie-in between Insta-magnate Clerkenwell Boy, Insta-magnet Pastaio, and magnet-magnet #LeCreuset. Chef Stevie Parle has subsequently clarified that no hard cash traded hands in setting up the offer (from his side); it’s worth speculating whether such clarifications would be necessary if the act of declaring posts involving financial (or other) inducement was more common in the first place.
COMPETITION TIME! To celebrate @PastaioLondon's NEW range of sharing dishes by @StevieParle, we're offering you the chance to try *THIS* delicious seafood pasta dish for two *and* to take home a brand new #LeCreuset Provencale Cast Iron pan too || For a chance to #WIN ~ simply: (1) FOLLOW @pastaiolondon & @ClerkenwellBoyEC1 (2) LIKE this pic & TAG a friend you'd like to bring in the comments section below with a creative emoji (3) STAY TUNED as we'll announce a lucky winner in the next few days || T&C’s: must be 18+ and based in the UK. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via DM || # #pasta @LeCreusetUK #MyLeCreuset @CarnabyLondon #madebyhand #ThisIsLondon
Dish of the week
Long a favourite of AA Gill (who wrote about it astonishingly movingly shortly before his death), potato soup with foie gras is one of those combinations a dream London restaurant would offer daily during winter. So all hail Llewelyn’s, both for cooking it in the first place and then steering into its extremes of ugly deliciousness.
Shot of the week
It’s semi-unclear whether this is going onto the rotation at Brunswick House or whether it’s part of a mysterious side-project that is still very tightly under wraps. But either way, crikey.
“Oh, so that’s what that is” of the week
A new category, with the intention of preparing readers for a deluge of images that arrive unbidden the morning after a big event. This time: the Titans of Meat dinner at the very relevant Launceston Place, which boasts a murderer’s row of chefs and, no doubt, an #invite list to match. Keep those (rib)eyes peeled!
The wait is finally over!! Tomorrow, we welcome 5 guest chefs to cook alongside @launcestonplace’s very own Head Chef; @ben_murphychef. The Carnivorous feast, which features a dish from each of the top chefs, promises to leave the lucky guests of the sold out event drooling over cuts of unusual meat supplied by top quality London butcher’s @gingerpigltd. #titansofmeat #carnivorous #meatfeast #chefs #tastingmenu #london #nationalbutchersweek
Clarification: Under the heading “Dubious shill of the week,” this article originally stated “As everyone knows, when it comes to pasta, the most important thing is the dough.” The chef in question, Stevie Parle, who owns Pastaio, has since said that no money was exchanged as part of this promotion, but a free meal was offered to the winners of the competition announced by Clerkenwell Boy to his 173,000 Instagram followers.