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Katsu ‘Sandos’ Continue to Rule in London Restaurants

Here’s what everyone was up to in restaurants on Instagram last week

2018 restaurant trend, the katsu sando, which London restaurant Instagram is now over
The Iberico pork katsu sandwich at Tata Eatery in Kensal Rise
The Skinny Bib/Instagram

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

News of the week

Living, breathing accidentally Wes Anderson restaurant XU has now launched its Teahouse offering downstairs. It fits: the restaurant highlights tea as both drink and ingredient throughout its menu. While — perhaps — still managing the legacy of a mixed critical response, it could also be a savvy marketing move: as Jonathan Kauffman’s excellent piece for the San Francisco Chronicle argues, the artistry required to make the various miniature foodstuffs grouped under the Cantonese term dim sum makes them perfect candidates for Instagram. Let the parade of gorgeous, tiny snacks begin!

Legumes of the week

Cool beans.


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Envy-inducing holiday snap of the week

With the odd exception (see: Jason Atherton’s Hai Cenato), the ice cream brioche doesn’t seem to have taken root in London. Could this heady sandwich-like confection be the spiritual successor to the #sando?

Breakfast of champions

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Evidence of ongoing #sando supremacy of the week

Perhaps not. For now, at least, that dish reigns supreme, as the news that Tata Eatery will soon be coming to the end of its Kensal Rise residency has seen a mad rush of last-ditch ‘grams of Summer 2018’s hero dish. This is far from a case of style over substance — comments are universally positive, sometimes verging on ecstatic — but it is worth pondering the sando’s uniquely Instagrammable properties and wondering if at least some of its recent ascendancy is down to aesthetics as much as hedonics. Would a crust-on sandwich, photographed top-down, really have gone as locally viral?

The best sandwich in London @tata_eatery #tataeatery #katsusando

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Iberico & toasted brioche sando

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Cutlery substitute of the week

One complaint: there aren’t another eleven of them.

Dad bod update of the week

Yep, still tensing

How my wife sees me...

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Celebrity endorsement of the week

So nice for Elijah Wood to bring his grandad to Max’s Sandwich Shop.


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Surprising shout-out of the week

As Eater London has suggested in the past: Michelin’s social media presence is a genuine embarrassment. So it’s both heartening and eye-opening to see the main Instagram account giving a bump to one of the restaurants most beloved by London’s in-the-know. Who knows — maybe this year’s guide won’t be the usual progression of rote selections but will (finally) see forward-looking bistronomie-led wine bar / restaurants like The Laughing Heart get the recognition they deserve. Then again, we thought that last year, too.

Experiment in presentation of the week

Not content with creating geometrically perfect pies of all sizes and shapes, Calum Franklin seems keen to continue pushing the boundaries of how pastry is made and presented. Last week: pastry as knitwear. This week: tarte tatin au dog bowl.

Dish (you were here) of the week

Black pepper crab — truly the pinnacle of seafood preparations — is ubiquitous in parts of South East Asia, but while other regional delicacies like laksa and even curry puffs have made it over to U.K. soil of late, this spicy, messy, delightful dish remains very much a rarity in the capital. Here’s hoping Gizzi Erskine’s Mare Street Market will start offering a version ASAP; perhaps trip sponsor Malaysian Airlines can help?

In interviews I’m always asked about my favourite food memories are. I first went to Kuala Lumpur about 10 years ago and went straight to sky bar to see the city from 34 floors up, drank cocktails and shots. We then roamed round the city and accidentally fell into #jalanalor street food market. Having spent a lot of my teens in Bangkok, I’m pretty used to south east Asia and it’s food markets, but this one is really something special. Stalls and hawkers spill out into the streets each serving something equally as fresh, fast and delicious. Cooks fanning smoke, both into and away from satay or chicken wings grilling tightly over coals. Boards with wild and wonderful foods; frogs leg porridge and chicken fish and Cantonese pork offal soup with locals wolfing them down. I’ve now been here about 5 times and always come back, because it serves one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Black pepper crab, which is exceptionally better than its more famous counter part, Singapore crab. This, a few icy beers, some stir fried prawns with noodles made entirely of fresh egg and cooked in garlic butter, curry leaves and chilli, a whole barbecue “chicken” fish with a hot and sour dipping paste, a plate of clams and all the sauces of all of these things dripping from your hands to your elbows and more napkins than you know what to do with, in the buzziest place, in town is up there as one of the best things you can eat and do in life. Do put this on your bucket list. Thank you @shangrilakl and @malaysiaairlines I LOVE MALAYSIA and it’s food.

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Shot of the week

Shouts out to Elena Heatherwick’s dazzling series of photographs of Olia Hercules, which feel like the most gorgeous agrarian Soviet propaganda never committed to film. But for real heart-stopping beauty closer to home, here’s a plate of ham.

Mare Street Market

117 Mare Street, , England E8 4RU 020 3745 2470 Visit Website

Hai Cenato

79 Buckingham Palace Road, , England SW1E 5DJ 020 3816 9320 Visit Website


30 Rupert Street, , England W1D 6DL 020 3319 8147 Visit Website

The Laughing Heart

277 Hackney Road, , England E2 8NA 020 7686 9535 Visit Website