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Move Over Gelato Nerds, It’s Mr Whippy Season

Summer is a time for the joy of cones, Whippys, and exuberant sundaes

Summer restaurant trend: Mr Whippy ice cream and 99 Flakes Wikipedia Commons

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

News of the week

When even banks reskin their apps to commemorate Pride, it’s maybe a sign that associated big brand bandwagon-jumping has reached endemic levels. But what could have been a cynically rainbow-washed affair turned out — in London’s restaurant scene, at least — to feel appropriately joyful this year, with the glorious maximalism of Bao’s one-day-only bun — and its 100 percent donation to LGBTQIA+ charity — a fitting icon for the celebration.

Major event of the week

Wimbledon is upon Britain, which is just another way of saying that it’s rampantly commercialised seasonal signifier season, baby. In kitchens away from the court — where squash magnates Robinsons, coffee magnates Lavazza, and reassuringly expensive lager magnates Stella Artois traded product placement rallies — there was only one option when it came to the signature serve.

Welcome return of the week

Ice cream has got properly serious of late. Just as baking has become broishly nerdified, so enthusiasts these days tend to agonise over authentic gelato and how to get the most intensely-flavoured single-origin-milk-organic-ingredient bases with the smoothest texture. So, as summer sets in, here’s to the whippies, the artificial mint-choc-chips, the ripples and sprinkles — ideally served in cones, not cups.

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Inglorious pasta of the week

No-one* ever pretended the food at Gloria was excellent — the real reason to visit being the lightning-in-a-bottle eff-Brexit vibe that the Big Mamma restaurant group had managed to curate. But what happens when it’s actively bad? Uh, this.

*Three restaurant critics.

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Completely confusing 'early' dinner at Gloria Trattoria, where despite arriving at 6pm when it opened we had to put our name down and wait 2.5 hours for a table because apparently people arrive when it's closed and queue to put their name down which is completely and utterly absurd and no plate of pasta carved out of a wheel of pecorino is worth 2.5 of your lovely hours. Especially not the one served here. . Claggy, tough spaghetti and too, too toothsome chunks of pecorino, served at an approximate 1:900 spag to cheese ratio, with pasta they promised was homemade but reeeally didn't taste it, all bound together with great swooping buckets of cheese oil and pig fat. Decent ham and truffled salami on foccacia, though after waiting 2.5 hours I had to restrain myself not to eat the blesséd plate (Exhibit 3: someone beat me to it). Curiously Kettle Chip-level crunchy courgette flowers stuffed with something so soft and unseasoned and chewy that I can only assume it to be leaky soggy batter, and a soft-boiled octopus salad for which I have no words left in me (see previous post). . Cocktails made with OTT panache but both of which tasted remarkably like 16 Berocca dissolved in a teaspoon of water (happily I spilled most of it), replaced with a bottle of their least expensive wine, £30, that I can only assume was a Blossom Hill bin end. . Genuinely, the one-way mirrored glass loo doors were one of the least awful things about Gloria, and I had such a terrifying nightmare about those that I woke up at 4am and had to take myself off for a little Horlicks, which was definitely the most delicious thing I put in my mouth all evening. . And all these treats in the most cramped, hectic, and mind-scratchingly chaotic space, all golds and reds and velvets and waiters hurling pasta, set to the traditionally Italian tones of James Blunt and Coldplay cranked up to 11. 'This music,' we shouted to our rictus-grinning waiter, 'it is atrocious.' The grin turned, finally, into a guardless grimace: 'I know.' A rainstorm drenched in pathetic fallacy as we left. . Avoid. Or, rather, go, take one look at the queue, then go to @leroyshoreditch over the road and stay there all evening.

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Deathless trend of the week

London’s appetite for the more edible kind of pasta, meanwhile shows no sign of abating. Could the estimable pedigree of pizza-slingers Zia Lucia be enough to outmatch the Insta-inferno that is Pophams in the battle for modern hearts and minds, a.k.a. likes and ‘grams? That was a rhetorical question: it’s a no.

Menu of the week

Kedgeree suppli, good grief.

Week of the week

Home kitchens are never going to be the same again.

Dish of the week

More bad news for Big Mamma group — they are no longer responsible for doing the most outrageous things to burrata in town.

Shot of the week

Doubtless inspired by that scene in Call Me By Your Name.

Texture

34 Portman Street, London, W1H 7BY Visit Website

BAO

590 Valencia Street, , CA 94110 (415) 658-7453 Visit Website

Zia Lucia

157 Holloway Road, , England N7 8LX 020 7700 3708 Visit Website

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