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It’s Only 364 Days Until London Loses Its Mind Over Pancakes Again

Plus everything else that happened in the world of food on Instagram this week

Albert Adria’s pancake at Cakes and Bubbles on Regent Street
Albert Adria’s pancake at Cakes and Bubbles on Regent Street
Cakes and Bubbles [Official Photo]

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

News of the week

The only acceptable topping for a pancake is lemon juice and caster sugar. Wait, don’t go! Yes, this seems unduly, even unfairly prescriptive, but consider the anarchy that unfolds if London brooks any alternative. Richer, more complex toppings open the doors to richer, more complex pancake; opening even more doors to the doorstops beloved across the Atlantic. Do this and the very ontology of a “pancake” comes into question: if it’s just some batter cooked at a high heat, are hoppers (sure) and Yorkshire puddings (absolutely not) allowed through the door? If the “savoury pancake” is suddenly a thing, what’s to stop the toppings veering off in all manner of unpredictable and upsetting directions? And if the borderline puritanical simplicity of the trad pancake is abandoned, what is to stop people — genuine, certifiable maniacs — from stacking their creations sky-high in a hideous Insta-baiting tower of Babel? Pancake day, 2020? More like pandemonium.

Toolkit of the week

The last thing a pie sees before it is tortured.

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Pie surgery is in session

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Elevated staple of the week

Earlier in 2020, Insta Stories predicted that this would be the year the confit potato went mainstream. Now, though, a half-disquieting, half-thrilling question must be answered: what if the confit potato was just the start, a canvas on which deviant chefs could create even more calorific creations? Behold: the confit potato tart.

Ambiguous facial expression of the week

AKA a raviol-o face.

Alternative handle of the week

Risottoat, surely?

Self-fulfilling prophecy of the week

Truly, nothing is safe from Instagram’s remorseless march to global domination.

Oozing, lip-licking money shot of the week

Seems legit.

Oh, that kind of oozing, lip-licking money shot of the week

It’s called a closed-loop system, look it up.

Welcome backlash backlash of the week

Those celebrating the great carb revival of the late twenty-teens as a comfort-food backlash against the discomfort-food privations of clean eating overlooked one tiny but vital clue: the texture of those carbs. As the definitive representation of the boom, pasta fresca emphasised yielding softness, embodying a total surrender to an existence devoid of any hard edges. With all due respect to pappardelle, though, life simply isn’t like that: sometimes we need to grit our teeth and bite down to get things done. It’s time for carbs with backbone; it’s time for carbs that don’t cost £9 for a tiny portion; it’s time for carbs that grip and grapple with their sauce, rather than subsiding into it with barely a murmur. It’s time, in short, for pasta secca.

“In-flight meal? More like in-flight steal” of the week

Humblebrag. But also: Ewwww.

Dish of the week

British Airways First Class catering team, take note.

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Steak and chips. Le steak frites. Ah Paris.

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Shot of the week
A tie, but happily they pair very nicely together.

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Pork belly, artichokes & bitter leaves

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