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The London Restaurant Scene Had a Field Day This Week

Instagram flocked to a field in Oxfordshire to eat food readily available in the capital

Crushed beetroot by Yotam Ottolenghi at Wilderness Festival, which dominated London restaurant Instagram this week Ottolenghi/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 pretty in pink.

News / Event / Insta-Singularity of the week

When it first announced the 2018 Wilderness line-up, Eater London suggested that it might be one of the bigger events in the industry’s social calendar. But it would be hard to overstate quite how monolithic the festival was for a few fleeting days this week, as influencers, chefs, wine enthusiasts, critics and even boring old paying members of the public descended on a field in Oxfordshire to eat food readily accessible to them in London.

Festival-going in the Instagram era is an interesting exercise in performative enjoyment — the right to post FOMO-inducing images is basically part of the goodie-bag of stuff purchased at the same time as event wristbands and boutique camping passes. Combine it with the dynamics of food Instagram and the results could be disastrous, a homogenous feed full of Insta-smug backslaps and industry in-jokes.

Largely, this year’s festival seems to have escaped this pitfall. The #ads and #invites from big brands and Grandes Marques unsurprisingly flew thick and fast — underlining the potency of events like these as marketing tools, as well as introducing prospective consumers to some inadvertently hilarious corporate account handles (@sanpellegrinofruitbeverages has got to be worth a follow, surely). But in general the sheer variety of dining, drinking, and other kinds of experiences available stopped things from feeling too monotonous. Furthermore — dishes from the chef’s table dinners and long-table banquets aside — there wasn’t anything hugely Instagrammable about much of the festival’s food offering (street stuff on a paper plate, mostly, plus the occasional slab of gammon). Factor in the blissful weather (and terrible phone signal!) and the overall impression under the ubiquitous ‘Cornbury Park, Charlbury’ geotag is of people actually having a good time rather than pretending to. It’ll never catch on in London.

Intriguing curiosity of the week, Part I

This could be well worth a look: one of the most forward-facing kitchens in the city just cutting loose and having fun for a couple of weeks. It will be fascinating to see what, if anything, happens to The Laughing Heart once the full team returns and it reopens for good later this month.

Intriguing curiosity of the week, Part II

Did someone say “best barbecue ever”?

Inadvertent homage to HR Giger’s concept art for Alien of the week

They mostly come at night. Mostly.

Welsh figs, Welsh sheep cheese, Welsh walnuts. Still not enough vowels here tho

A post shared by Bob Granleese (@bobgranleese) on

Envy-inducing holiday snap of the week

Who needs a holiday when the weather’s like this?

Endearingly complementary accessories of the week

Bag romance?

Possible hint of the week

Monday 1 October is a date that a select cadre of London’s chefs will have circled in triplicate in their diaries: this is when they find out whether their efforts will be rewarded with a(nother) shiny Michelin star. Courtesy of the official hashtag-rich Michelin account, we know at least one inspector has visited Ollie Dabbous’ Green Park megalith, Hide, which made no secret of its multi-starred ambitions from the get-go. Could this be a suggestion of good things to come in the autumn?

Eye-raising pickled product of the week

Counter-suggestion: no.


A post shared by Thom Eagle (@thomeagle) on

Dish but definitely not shot of the week

Ugly delicious barely begins to cover it.

Rabbit fritti with baby gem, mustard and rabbit offal

A post shared by Trullo Restaurant (@trullo_restaurant) on

Shot / onomatopoeia of the week



A post shared by B * A * M (@blackaxemangal) on


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


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

The Laughing Heart

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