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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas on Instagram

Mince pies put in a strong showing, and #turkeycontent ruled the roost

Instagram/@felicitycloake

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

News of the week

It’s December, which means it’s fast approaching the point of no return for anyone seeking to avoid all things gaudily festive for as long as humanly possible. There’s the first flashes of #turkeycontent, a bevy of seasonally appropriate tie-ins and specials, and even some edible-looking Brexit sprouts. But most of all there are mince pies — so, so many mince pies. Which would be fine, if the mince pie weren’t an abomination of over-sweetened gluey stodge in all but the most skilled of hands. If only there were a way of tracking the best examples in the city!

Homage of the week

Sad news last week, as beloved TV chef Gary Rhodes passed away in Dubai. Except “TV chef” doesn’t quite cover it, since it implies someone cooking first and foremost for the cameras, rather than the dedicated and influential figure revealed through so many tributes that emerged on social media. It will be only a small consolation for his family, but what a legacy to leave behind.

Resilience of the week

More dreadful news came in the form of the London Bridge terrorist attack — a further blow to traders in Borough market, some of whom are still recovering from the terrible events of June 3rd 2017. But it is always striking how, even in the worst of circumstances, the industry finds a way to rally – cue a flood of supportive messages insisting that the best way to demonstrate courage in the face of the unthinkable was to get back on the streets as soon as possible. Quite right, too.

Talent pool of the week

Some good news (and another example of industry solidarity) came in the form of the Bodega Rita’s World AIDS Day Bake Sale, which assembled a frankly ridiculous panel of London’s best bakers in service of perhaps the single most calorific spread ever offered in one place. Sunday afternoon nap practically obligatory.

(Almost) affordable luxury of the week

High end ingredients are having a hard time of it at the moment. Caviar is too oligarch one-percenter, bluefin tuna is a swimming advertisement for heedless overfishing, foie gras is, to put it mildly, in need of a new PR agency. Almost by default, the white truffle has become one of the few acceptable luxuries — and nothing says seasonally sanctioned exuberance like a lavish dusting of luxury. So bring it on — and just pray it doesn’t go the same way as those sexy Sicilian prawns.

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The whiff off this

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#breakfast of champions! #mushrooms & #eggs . #truffle

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Tie-in of the week

Sips and the City.

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And I couldn’t help but wonder...

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Combo of the week

An, uh, robust pairing.

Winter warmers of the week

Increasingly necessary sustenance as temperatures continue to plummet.

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Partridge & cabbage

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Dish of the week

Mallard reaction: wow.

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Mallard/pigeon/prune terrine with very buttery brioche fingers

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Shot of the week

Your school dinner could never.

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Rice pudding

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