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New York Fine Dining Maestro’s London Debut Rolls Into Town

Daniel Humm’s Davies and Brook was always going to go down well on Instagram

Davies and Brook serves Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park roast duck at Claridge’s Hotel Evan Sung/Davies and Brook

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

News of the week

General elections, as a rule, do not take place on Instagram. But: The events of the most significant general election in a generation did, inevitably, start to filter through to even this most glossily apolitical of platforms last week, as optimism gave way to shock, horror, and the sort of pessimism not seen online since the bad old days of 2016. In moments like these, food can be a lifeline — a reminder of the great things human beings can do when working in solidarity with one another. Knob gags also work.

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You know what we all need??? Knob Gags!

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Duelling festivities of the week

Before all that, though, there were initially good-humoured election parties to attend. Two stand out for their commitment to the bit — although perhaps its best to declare them joint winners rather than going through the process of electing a winner.

Forthcoming festivities of the week

Something to look forward to: New Year’s Eve at some of London’s best restaurants.

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⁣Ah, New Years Eve. What cruel irony that the final night of the year is so filled with such pressure and expectations which, come the first hours of the year ahead, can so easily turn to disappointment and disaster. That is no way to start afresh! But what’s this?! Suckling pigs and Baked Alaska? Disco balls and Negronis? How could a night like this be anything other than glorious!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ What a feast! What a party, what a way to welcome the months ahead! We start the evening with the elegance of our own stunning crémant, or a gin and tonic if those are the bubbles that tickle your fancy, paired with a delightful array of canapés drawn from the St. JOHN classics. And then, the feast! At long tables, served on generously heaped sharing platters as befits such a jolly occasion, it's quite a spread. Beautiful crisp-then-tender morsels of Deep Fried Rabbit, and the flavoursome burst of Salt Pollock, Little Gem and Aioli to get the juices flowing for the main course - those plump and lovely Suckling Pigs.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ In the 1930s Middlewhite pigs were so highly thought of by the Emperor of Japan that he built a large bronze statue in their honour. How right he was! These are truly kings among pigs, with the most flavoursome melting fat and tender giving flesh. They are filled with that Red Wine, Bread and Onion Stuffing that infuses so beautifully to enrich those unctuous juices, and served with greens and potatoes to mop your plate.⠀ ⠀ And finally, that Baked Alaska! Dark and serious chocolate ice cream, brandy-soaked sponge and gold-tipped peaks of soft meringue. Then lights dim, the disco ball spins and twinkles and the bar is transformed into a dance floor, as the DJ plays and the Negronis flow until 2amwhen your weary feet and sated appetite will carry you home.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ Click the link in our bio for tickets!⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #newyearseve #stjohnnewyear #stjohn #stjohnsmithfield #stjohnchristmas #sucklingpigs #londonnewyear #bakedalaska #chocolatebakedalaska #deepfriedrabbit #crémant #stjohnclassics

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Caption of the week

More reasons to be cheerful: the chances of Stormzy releasing a Nigel Slater-themed freestyle in 2020 just increased significantly.

Seasonal tie-ins of the week

The unceasing Christmas onslaught continues, this week encompassing the gimmicky, the postmodern, the continental, and the deeply, lustfully classical.

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The greatest feast is a Goose Feast, a glorious celebration of every part from beak to webbed foot. The bird lends itself perfectly to such treatment - the juicy blushing breasts, the beautiful fat liver, the toothsome gizzards, the limbs which call out for crisping and the fabulous fat which makes a mashed potato that is so delicious you might be tempted to forget about the meat altogether. The one bird makes three beautiful courses, no part is wasted! Cook giving the goose the respect it deserves. 1. Little bites of Goose Offal Toast, rich with brandy and port and offset with sharp cornichons 2. Glistening piles of Crispy Goose Salad, the legs and gizzards confited until crisp and giving then shredded through bouncing leaves and fine fresh radishes, slick with a zippy vinaigrette 3. Pink-tinged, roasted breast with sage-flecked Goose Fat Mash, the fat rendered from the same goose and the beautiful rich, clear sauce made from the carcass and wings. There is a recipe for this extravaganza in the new Book of St. JOHN. It does take a little forward planning, but Christmas is certainly the time for such a rewarding effort. Otherwise, if there are eight of you or more, and you give us a week's notice, we will make it for you. The dream. The goosey dream. . . . by @samaharris, who always gives geese the respect they deserve. . . . . . . . #goosefeast #stjohn #stjohnrestaurant #goosefat #goosefatmash #thebookofstjohn #bookofstjohn #gooseoffal #gooseliver #roastgoose #crispygoose #confitgoose #feasting #christmasfeast

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Seasonal showstopper of the week

Easy to miss the finer details here: the different herbs used for extra hairline verisimilitude; the garlic studded with cloves; the fact that the recipe IS A POEM IN RHYMING COUPLETS. Hard to miss the overarching point that this will still be tastier than 95% of turkeys served this Christmas.

Service journalism of the week

And should you need a little something on the side…

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Five things about cooking sprouts: 1. You should — all winter, not just at Christmas. (Though the following partic applicable on The Big Day). 2. Many ways — boiled, steamed, roasted, deep-fried, shredded & creamed/gratinated, whatever — but main thing is you shouldn't *over* cook them. The aim is bright green outer leaves & even brighter yellow-green inner, tender but with crunch remaining, & plenty of natural mustard-pepper flavours at the core; rather than soggy, dull & sulphurous. 3. Cut the largest third-ish of your batch in half, so they take the same time as the smallest. I'm not sure timings can be defininitive as, like I say, you can use various methods, & quantity, cooking vessel capacity & sprouts size'll vary. But less time than you think. Basically: check for doneness as you cook. 4. That said, while roasting or deep-fry is Fun, most often you should throw your sprouts (trimmed at the base, shorn of any manky layers) into fiercely boiling salted water for around 4 minutes (tenderish, but still a bit more crunchy than you'd want), then chill quickly in iced/under running water & drain. When ready to eat, put a large wok over a medium-high flame, chuck in 30g of butter. After 20 seconds add the sprouts and fry them for 2-3 minutes so all are warm and the butter is golden and nutty. The wok is important - unless you're only cooking a handful, none of your other pans will be wide or hot enough to do this quickly. You could try and get a little colour on a few of the cut sprouts, but that's not as important as not overcooking them. 5. In terms of garnish &/or seasoning, IMO while lardons are a great match, they're overkill on Christmas day (you should already have pork covered in the chipolatas wrapped in bacon & one of your stuffings...); chestnuts are good; a honey or maple or balsamic glaze'd be nice; pomegranate seeds & molasses, yeah I suppose. Right now though I'm enjoying a simple dusting of a shit tonne of black pepper and quite a lot of celery salt. Plus that browned butter from the pan. Minimal thought, no extra logistics, great result. Post Christmas: fresh chilli, lime juice, a little sugar, fish sauce, Sichuan pepper. #sprouts

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Cosmic ordering of the week

After requesting more food-related Christmas tree content exactly one week ago, this feels like pretty speedy work from Santa and his elves.

Rockpool of the week

2019’s hottest presentation trend is going nowhere.

Unconventional toasts of the week

Maybe even combine the two?

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Egg and mash, and toast. I love him.

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Goose heart & liver on toast...new on the menu this evening!

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Winter warmers of the week

Special sweet edition!

Dish of the week

The minimum acceptable quantity of aioli.

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Hake cakes & aioli

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Shots of the week

Davies and Brook may not be reinventing the wheel so much as ripping it wholesale from the Michelin-branded chassis of Eleven Madison Park, but boy does this stuff look pretty.

Davies and Brook

Brook Street, , England W1K 4HR 020 7107 8848 Visit Website

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