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This Is What the London Restaurant Industry Looked Like on Instagram Last Week

News, menus, dishes, influencers influencing — 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 an appealing blend of green and beige.

News of the week

For a certain kind of natural wine / east London small plates nerd, the opening of 2018 is not Tomos Parry’s Brat or Ollie DabbousHide — it’s Bright, the first restaurant proper (whatever that means) from the P Franco team. The past seven days has seen a drip feed of menu- and actual food-snaps from Will Gleave and Pepe Belvedere’s kitchen; being in the fortunate position of being able to take and share them is the ultimate sign that you’re one of the in-crowd. Think ubercool fermentation queen and food writer Olia Hercules, or Som Saa’s John Chantarasak, or former Noma fixer Ali Kurshat Altinsoy. Think, ultimately, Shoreditch rehabilitator-in-chief James Lowe (of Lyle’s), whose blessing indicates exactly what sort of person Bright will appeal to.

Upcoming feed-(and-artery-)clogging event of the week

For a certain kind of full-flavoured meat-sweat cuisine nerd, the opening of 2018 is not Tomos Parry’s Brat or Ollie Dabbous’ Hide, it’s Temper 3 (T3MP3R?), the new pizza/pasta/ragu-focused (Italian?) restaurant from Neil Rankin, currently running a “soft launch.” PR special forces unit Gemma Bell and Co is already on the case, so expect the next few days to feature all manner of enthusiastic, highly laudatory geotagged content. First up...

Meat-free offering of the week

If this column can do any good on this earth, it might as well highlight some of the more intriguing vegan and vegetarian menus on the market, given how opportunistically and cynically every big brand seems to be thirsting after the “meat-free” pound. And so, after Calum Franklin won the inaugural award last week, it’s off to north London, and Oldroyd. There are many ways to make vegetables taste delicious but, as the Japanese found when Portuguese traders introduced them to peixinhos da horta some four hundred years ago, deep-frying them in batter is always a good place to start.

Bold seafood-related Instagram claim (Instaclam?) of the week

The Cornwall Project’s Matt Chatfield is not one to mince his words or pull punches. Given his day-to-day (encouraging relationships between Cornish suppliers and London restaurants), though, he’s probably pretty well qualified to make pronouncements like this.

Influencer conspicuous consumption of the week

One of the (many) lies that Instagram can tell is that everyone is having a better time than you. Influencers, in particular, thrive on making it look like they are living the most gilded existence imaginable; an illusion of abundant consumption — more food than the average person could ever contemplate ordering, let alone eat — is central to this. It’s also kind of gross, in a world where — even in wealthier societies — food poverty is still very much a real thing. Serious question: what happens to fifteen burgers once the camera shutter clicks shut for the last time? Maybe they’re all going to a good home, but if they’re wasted, it becomes just another reason to wonder whether influencer marketing is in fact a waste of time.

Dinner for one @shakeshackuk . . #shakeshack #shackburger #meatfreemonday

A post shared by samphireandsalsify (@samphireandsalsify) on

Dishes of the week

It doesn’t quite represent a *menu* of the week, but Noble Rot’s kitchen this week has been on absolute overdrive, cranking out three deeply seasonal, intensely delicious-sounding specials. First an asparagus and Roquefort quiche, then more asparagus (this time with morels and Vin Jaune sauce), followed by this, the ne-plus-ultra of French neoclassical revivals:

Snails & Wild Garlic Butter on our Bar Menu tonight.

A post shared by Noble Rot (@noblerotbar) on

Shot of the week

This week’s winner in the increasingly overcrowded seafood-with-perfect-accompaniment category:


85 Piccadilly, , England W1J 7NB 020 3146 8666 Visit Website


1 Westgate Street, , England E8 3RL 020 3095 9407 Visit Website


39 Whitfield Street, , England W1T 2SF 020 7323 1544

som saa

43A Commercial Street, , England E1 6BD 020 7324 7790 Visit Website


Brixton Station Rd., Brixton, Greater London, London, 44 0207 998 3309 Visit Website


4 Redchurch Street, , England E1 6JL Visit Website


344 Upper Street, , England N1 0PD 020 8617 9010 Visit Website

Noble Rot

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, London, Greater London WC1N 3NB +44 20 7242 8963 Visit Website

P Franco

107 Lower Clapton Road, , England E5 0NP Visit Website