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Last Week in London Restaurants, According to Instagram

Gull’s eggs, 150 years of Tabasco, the legacy of ‘Insta Food’, and more

Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is self-promotion.

News of the week:

It’s gull’s egg season, people! Like grouse, these prized delicacies boast a, um… distinctive taste, and can command a staggering premium when plonked in front of willing punters in fancy restaurants. Also like grouse, they’re not without a controversial side; accounts point to a sizeable black market thriving off eggs stolen in questionable and decidedly animal-welfare-unfriendly circumstances. Each to their own, and all that, but at least go in armed with the facts. No one likes getting gulled, after all.

Feed clogging event/canny brand strategy of the week:

Hats off to Tabasco: this is how you regain hot sauce market share in the age of Encona and countless independent pretenders to the crown. Not an influencer-led strategy, nor a chef-led one, but one which covers both bases (and all the celebrity chefluencers somewhere in between). It’s a very clever, not especially intrusive way of positioning a fairly tired brand back at the forefront of public consciousness, suggesting associations with interesting, forward-thinking food rather than the usual beans and/or cheese on toast. Enjoy it while it lasts: it may not exist at all in a few years.

IGBrunchClub IGBrunch of the week:

Isn’t it great when the two most photogenic dishes you’ve ordered just fortuitously appear right in the centre of the table and form the perfect focal point for your image, meaning absolutely zero food styling is required?

Birthday of the week:

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the birth of the Cronut, which means it also marks the fifth anniversary of Instagram Food (as opposed to food on Instagram) being a thing. Certainly, salute its longevity — but it’s worth pondering what might have been had it never come along in the first place.

Deep thought of the week:

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s no bad thing. Perhaps, if one simply had to make a case for Insta Food, they could argue that the number of new things it exposes punters to is actually pretty laudable, and that the learning curve of the past half-decade has been nothing short of exponential — occasional atrocities like the ramen burger notwithstanding. Something to mull over while chomping on an authentic Taiwanese Imagawayaki sold from a central London market stall, at any rate.

Satisfyingly correct prediction of the week:

Just last week, Insta Stories predicted that Neil Rankin’s new Temper restaurant, AKA T3MP3R, would be the Insta-influencer honeypot of days to come. And lo, the influencers came, and the likes were good. Next up? The Principal, and seafood-heavy restaurant Neptune in particular. With the big guns in this early, expect a sustained/exhausting PR push. Perhaps it’s time for a name change to Clerkenwell Buoy.

Unexpected ingredient of the week:

Hyde Park: look out!

Dish of the week:

The resident queen of beige food strikes again.

Grand aioli

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Shot of the week: