Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is relatable.
News/ feed-clogging event(s) of the week
A bit like Labor Day in the U.S., the August bank holiday is a time to bid farewell to the last of the summer shine; to bask in the last few rays before autumn and winter descend in a drizzly chill. For once in this record-setting year, the weather may not have obliged, but that didn’t deter the good people of Instagram from attending one (or indeed several) of the glut of food-related festivities convened in the weekend’s honour. Perhaps it’s time for a Buzzfeed-style Harry Potter sorting hat quiz: what kind of bank holiday foodstival-goer are you?
What an amazing weekend @carfestevent raising money for @bbccin. Great to see friends old and new having a good time @jamesmartinchef @ollysmith @hitenvora01 @peterpancontomate @chrismackett @macaines @chefatulkochhar @paulainsw6rth @candicebrown @alexjonesthomson @jeremypang_official @montyaguilo @valentinashion @mrandrewdickens @josepizarrorestaurants #Friends #BCC #YesWayJose
Grilled peach straight from the fire, sweet grapes, yoghurt and @huskandhoneygranola by @natoora for breakfast this morning @pxplusfestival - I’m now watching a heritage grain demo by my baking hero @louise_bannon who’s promised to show us the entire process from hand milling her wheat to making the bread and pastries. Amazing.
Season’s eating of the week
There are advantages to the passage of the seasons, of course: as noted in last week’s column, the slow death of summer, twinned with wetter conditions, results in some of the most fleeting and exquisite delicacies in the produce calendar. Think porcini (or, to put it in proper Modern British, ceps); think menus rediscovering the comforting beauty of beans and pulses; think stone fruit almost purpose-designed to offset the ferrous tang of native game. It’s not all bad.
They got game of the week
Envy-inducing holiday snap of the week
In tribute to one of the greatest holiday-making experiences: cluelessly pointing at something in a bakery, holding up one index finger, and waiting to see what the hell is on its way.
Accidental Partridge of the week
Perpetuated stereotype of the week
When the New York Times recently released a(n actually fairly clued-up?) guide to 2018 London dining, it occasioned widespread derision, most notably for its claim that the national diet had at any point in its past been associated with porridge and boiled mutton. Correspondent Robert Draper must therefore be thanking his lucky stars this week for DUM Biryani, which has only gone and obliged him with… a porridge made of boiled mutton. He may have to wait a little longer, unfortunately, for confirmation of whether DUM’s Wardour street location puts it within the oh-so-classy Mayfield neighbourhood.
All this chat about boiled mutton and boring English food made us want to show you how the Desi team do it! Slow cooked lamb and lentils with clarified butter and served with green chilli and crispy onions. Mop it up with a paratha. Go on. I DARE YOU. Visit http://www.dumlondon.com for the full menu. #biryani #haleem #boiledmutton #thetimes #whatup
Post-katsu-sando emerging trend of the week
DUM Biryani, of course, was one of the pioneers of what this column initially described as alt-brunch: weekend late morning fare that dared to stray beyond poached eggs and avocado toast (e.g. the convention-defying fare at Black Axe Mangal). After JKS Restaurants recently kickstarted a similar offering at Brigadiers and Hoppers, it’s now the turn of Strand-adjacent tandoor chop house Tandoor Chop House, which has put some fairly negative early reviews behind it to generate some positive influencer coverage. In fairness, offerings like this are likely to become more widespread, and not just for economic reasons: table-obscuring cornucopia-like displays of communal consumption always play well on Instagram, suggestive as they are of large groups, conviviality, and beaucoup, beaucoup glasses of Sunday-blues-obliterating sparkling wine. With Duddell’s also recently launching its monthly champagne-and-dim-sum offering, don’t expect feeds to gain respite anytime soon.
Dish of the week
We’ve had third-wave coffee, we’re probably midway through third-wave ice cream (gelato?). Is this the start of… third-wave jelly?
Shot of the week