Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is formally inventive.
News of the week
Where to start? Pride? The football? Pride in the football? Wimbledon? Independence Day? The occasional opportunistic marketing drive aside, though, none of this really mattered on food Instagram this week — it’s such a well-insulated bubble that the much-loved Xi’an Impression opening a sister restaurant almost entirely on the down-low can legitimately lay claim to being the biggest thing (in and only in this specific context!) that happened in the last seven days. All hail Audrey Gillan (@audreygillan) for the scoop.
Ubiquitous swamp-dwelling crustacean of the week
OK, some of them live in running water, too. Call them what you will — mud bugs, yabbies, crawfish, crayfish — but there’s no denying they were everywhere this week, popping up in a range of regional preparations and, come to that, in a range of mouths. There can only be one winner in the #sopretty stakes, though.
We’ve got a couple of new dishes on tonight, our chefs @joshbill22 and @meedu_saad have been busy testing some new ideas. First up is a boiled curry of freshwater crayfish, paste is made with shallots, dried chilli, turmeric and gapi. It’s very earthy, aromatic and cleansing. Second up is a smoked duck pa lo, an aromatic broth with crispy duck, Cornish hispi cabbage and white pepper.
Envy-Inducing Holiday Snap of the Week
No one has really come up with a satisfactory definition for the Portuguese concept of saudade, but looking at this on an empty stomach, Mediterranean sunshine on the brain, surely comes pretty close.
You can tell so much about a town or an area by its food market, and the one at Olhão was a treat. Fresh fish, shellfish, meat, cheese, fruit and veg on sale from 7am yesterday morning ... 1. Freshly filleted anchovies. 2. Baskets full of snails. 3. Huge sea snails (honestly some were massive!). 4. Gnarly tomatoes. 5. Boxes of plums. #olhaomarket #olhao #eastalgarve #portugalmarkets #portugesefood #fazendanovacountryhouse
Alt-brunch of the week
If places like Sunday are the mainstream pop chart of brunch, all fluffy pancakes and avo toast and other crowd-pleasing hits, of late there seems to be a counterculture developing for those who want something a little different on a bleary-eyed weekend morn. The approach was arguably pioneered by Black Axe Mangal, where the lust for punchy — at times challenging — flavours showed no sign of abating as it switched from evening to daytime service; now it’s the turn of Eater 38 mainstay DUM Biryani House, where things sound very promising indeed.
This Sunday we launch BRUNCH!! A mix of dishes from eggs, pavs, small and large plates, all things you've never tried before! Here featured is our peanut and poppy seed stuffed aubergine, ullavacharu dal, steamed rice and our bottomless rum punch! Doors open at 10.30am. BOOK NOW! #brunch #sundayfunday #hyderabadi #shtyle #dumlondon
#Sando watch of the week
Yep, still a thing.
I’m calling it - katsu Sandos are going to take over London. Here’s @nanbanlondon’s version - firstly pork with shredded white cabbage, kewpie mayo and tonkatsu sauce giving it that fruity tang. Swipe ➡️ for curried katsu chicken, lettuce and cucumber on brown bread. The pork tips it for me because: pork. Nanban are serving this at lunchtimes from their takeaway hatch on Electric Lane. GET IT IN YA.
Not technically a #sando but still, wow, of the week
One teeny-tiny question: how do you actually eat it?
Fruit family of the week
Tough one to call, this. Summer is not just the season when most sweet fruit grows, it’s also the time of year in which — served perfectly ripe, and maybe even tastefully chilled — it is the ideal conclusion to a meal. But what, among the fruits, is the most Insta-friendly of all? Is this the season of the tart, refreshing Hesperidia? The aggregates? No! This summer’s must-have accessory fruit is not, confusingly, an accessory fruit at all: it’s a member of the Cucurbitaceae, AKA the glorious melon. It makes great drinks, it makes great sorbets, a good one is great to eat all on its own. Plus, its flesh comes in an array of beautiful pastel tones, just perfect for the ‘gram.
Lurid beverage hue of the week
Move over, orange.
Ringing endorsement of the week
To recap the first entry of a very welcome column: where should someone on a third anniversary, looking for a tasting menu at £50-100 a head, head? Why, Perilla of course, which looks to be turning out some truly gorgeous food of late. Thanks, Ask Eater!
Perilla, July 2018. Meadowsweet custard tart with cherries and gooseberry. Puddings here have always been wonderful, and yet @ben_marks_perilla continues to up his game, upgrading this combo into a tart. What a knock out pudding this was. The meadowsweet infusion tastes much like earl grey + milk, cream tea sort of thing going. Amazing. Definitely one of the highlights of 2018 for me. #custardtart @perilladining @adamegwood
Dish of the week
Shot / genuine photographic masterpiece of the week
Enter this for all the awards.