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This Is Not a ‘Fish Finger’ Sandwich, It’s a Pollock Fritter Sandwich

40 Maltby Street accidentally wades into Instagram-famous waters

A fish finger sandwich in profile, from the top down
That’s pollock fritter to you
Ste Tran [Tranvfood]/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 thirsty work.

News of the week

The words “40 Maltby Street” and “Instagram hype” go about as well together as chalk and an impeccably curated, beautifully presented plate of cheese. Everything — everything — about every London chefs’ favourite restaurant discreetly insists on decorum and self-effacement, from the uncluttered language of the beloved blackboard to the no-frills no-gimmickry food and drink on offer to the tucked-away space itself. And yet. Fried protein? Tick. Gram-friendly pops of colour? Tick. Ahem, “droolworthy” gobs of aioli? All packed into an honest-to-goodness sandwich, i.e. perhaps the most-photographed foodstuff of the past few years? Tick! Is this … the world’s first accidentally Insta-famous dish?

Crowded category of the week

If the 40MSando™ isn’t evidence enough that the whole world has once again gone elaborate sandwich mad, presenting exhibits B and C.

London eater of the week

London’s most exciting and inventive high end splurge-fest: The Sea, The Sea or Ikoyi, Ikoyi? Why not both?

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The Sea, The Sea, August 2020. The second half of Leo’s seafood carte blanche extravaganza, in which he hit the pedal to the metal and the rollercoaster just keeping rising till we hit the pud. The hot dishes, swipe : 1. Scallop, ginger, egg yolk. Raw scallop hidden until a lightly burnt cap of onion, an exceptional well-made yolk sauce laced with ginger, in which its subtle heat unlocking the sweetness of the onion and scallops as they mingle. With a little tempura of the scallop roe that has been marinating in a secret sauce for a few days, what a pure dish! 2. Canadian spot prawn brushed on/off over the course of the day with a barley paste, that itself has been fermenting for about a month. Finally it is torched to serve and garnished with stone crop. The deep funky savouriness akin to cheese on the sweet prawns only lightly cooked under the torch. Killer dish followed by another killer. 3. Monkfish lightly steamed, with a pure and translucent red pepper sauce, delicate and a respite for the palate for... 4. Leo’s lobster sandu. You know this one, it’s been on/off the menu for the past year, and it remains a winner. As you know, Leo never stops tinkering and this latest version is of course the best, replacing the peach acidity with a garlic kick. It is just as savoury and satisfying with the crispy-soft sandwich, comprised of rice spread across squid ink toasted over the course of the day until crispy. Perfectly paired with an IPA, it is of London’s best expressions of summer native lobster. 5. Peach, caramelised yoghurt and marigold. #toplondonrestaurants @theseathesea_ @leocarreiraa @renatoleitecosta @90renatosantos @camilocuellar105 @secchi.andre @wiltshire_truffles #seafoodbar #eaterlondon .

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Impressive haul of the week

Not a bad July.

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They said 'lockdown'? Easy mistake to make tbf.

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Salumi of the week

Urgent petition to make ‘Bear Ham (£9)’ a mainstay on every east London wine bar snack menu.

World-conquering baking project of the week

To search the terms ‘Basque cheesecake’ on Instagram is to enter an alarming rabbit hole that illustrates quite how stealthily widespread this one-time regional delicacy arguably perfected at the San Sebastián institution La Viña has become. Australian truffle ones! Two Michelin-star chef ones! Local hero bakery ones! Local hero restaurant ones! Given its economy of both sourcing (buy a lot of cream cheese) and method (cook it until its burnt), the stage has long been set for a period in the social media spotlight. Just remember: oloroso dulce is the way to go, pairing-wise.

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Basque Cheesecake - on today!

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Chaotic evil, or maybe good, but probably evil of the week

Suspending judgement until actually having tasted it, but a liquorice lolly — especially when the alternative is the elite tier “colourised” Twister — sounds like pure hellspawn.

Dish of the week

Expect to see something similar on the menu — and, more importantly, Instagram account — of every Spanish place with a lick of sense within the next month.

Shot of the week

“Men cooking stuff over fire,” but make it appetising.

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40 Maltby Street

40 Maltby Street, , England SE1 3PG 020 8076 9517 Visit Website

The Sea, The Sea

174 Pavilion Road, , England SW1X 0AW 020 7824 8090 Visit Website


1 Saint James's Market, , England SW1Y 4AH 020 3583 4660 Visit Website