Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week, filters have been replaced by widespread use of the Layout app, not necessarily successfully.
News of the week
This year, the Fortnum & Mason awards has a dedicated category for social photography — a welcome space to foreground best the influencer sector has to offer. However, when the results were announced, a surprise was lurking: the category saw absolutely zero nominees shortlisted. Is this more of a Clerkenwell Void or a case of KS_Ain’t_Here?
SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED! Today we reveal the shortlist in the Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2018. Thank you to our Judges @dianahenryfood @ewanventers @henrygjeffreys @jose_pizarro @marinagpoloughlin @noblerotmag @petebrownbeer. To view the full shortlist, head to our Twitter or www.FortnumAndMason.com/Awards #FoodAndDrink #Shortlist #FandMAwards #Fortnums | FortnumAndMason.com/Awards
Feed-clogging event of the week
Things have been surprisingly quiet on the invite front of late — perhaps because London is in a rare lull following a seasonal peak (#Easter) and people are actually off enjoying themselves on holiday instead of pitching up to a west London mezzanine to hear a PR hype a dish of charred kale and samphire behind a rictus grin. Some have toddled off to Paris; some to Rome; and there’ll for sure be plenty of envy for the posse of some of London’s best young chefs who made it all the way to the new Noma. Lads on tour!
Accessory of the week
Diana Henry’s new book / self-help manual How To Eat A Peach has been the work of choice to flaunt on social media of late. This week, the ultimate endorsement from Yotam Ottolenghi, who admitted that he “can’t stop stroking it.” It will be interesting to see if Henry returns the favour for Ottolgenhi’s next book, which has an ever-so-slightly familiar title…
Menu of the week
A key focus of Henry’s book is the joy of composing menus — something of a dying art of late. How fitting, then, that chef Jeremy Lee should choose this week as the one to release this absolute beauty for Quo Vadis. All of it — the typography, the illustrations, the word choices, the flow, the ingredients — has something to contribute; the end result is a document that sings harmoniously of spring.
Sad indictment of a no-reservations policy of the week
Distressing scenes over in Mayfair, as customers are apparently growing so tired of waiting for a table at Sabor they are resorting to eating not delicious bar snacks, but...
Laboriously composed shot of the week
There is a moment at the end of Breaking Bad standout Season 4 episode ‘Crawlspace’, in which lead character Walter White is languishing somewhere under his house, his world slowly falling apart. The camera zooms out, seemingly vanishing into the ceiling itself, creating the illusion that White’s body is being displayed in a coffin. In the director’s commentary, showrunner Vince Gilligan details how they pulled the shot off: A camera was lowered through the hole previously occupied by a lightbulb, and then slowly retracted. The point to all this is: Pulling something like this off takes an incredible amount of work, creating an indelible moment in one of the greatest TV shows of all time. And then there is taking a picture of lunch.
A colourful Venezuelan feast at the newly opened @arepaandco on Paradise Row. @annabarnettcooks and I devoured a table full of intriguing recipes including our favourite the ‘Canoa de Maiz’ - corn dough mixed with herbs, spices, chilli and goats cheese wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. Always fun to try new cuisines in London. ✨
Dish of the week
One of the best things about The Laughing Heart is how it blends forward-looking, vaguely avant-garde flavour combinations with proper, no frills, old-school technique. Exhibit A.
Shot of the week
AKA, how to eat a strawberry?