Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is oven-ready.
News of the week
Aaaand… it’s back to business as normal, except it’s a version of “normal” where the word “normal” has had its very meaning warped beyond recognition. Somehow, though, the restaurant industry continues to exert blood, sweat, and tiers to keep the doors open and the lights on — and this new phase of the nation’s convalescence is even being graced by two major new openings. Intriguingly, they couldn’t be more different on paper, with Café Deco’s beige-on-beige-on-beige collage of Western European cuisines — now available to eat-in for the first time — running in almost a totally different direction from Café Bao’s technicolour, Insta-baity, all-day fare. The race for the Christmas #1 could never hope to top the year in which Rage Against The Machine’s anti-police brutality anthem ‘Killing in the Name’ bested Simon Cowell’s cynical X-Factor dross for the first time in what felt like forever; this, though, might be a Yuletide showdown worth paying attention to.
Eggnog prognostication of the week
Every year in about July, some poor schlub at one of the major retailers has to pull together their desultory predictions for the upcoming Christmas season’s must-have ingredients (AKA TASTE SENSATIONS). But to the skilled interpreter of Instagram, the feed always has all the answers. Xmas 2020 in a nutshell, then: down with turkey! Up with trout roe! Up (and up and up) with crispy layered carbohydrate millefeuilles! Out with one horrible bitter vegetable that’s actually pretty OK when roasted, in with another! Not bad, on reflection.
Merch of the week
For the true connoisseur of single-origin, craft beverages.
Festive excess of the week
The British run-up to Christmas is a wonderful, terrifying thing to behold: a marathon distance travelled at sprint intensity. People: there’s still more than a fortnight to go! Going this hard a few days beforehand is probably sustainable, but keep at it for two whole weeks and Christmas lunch is going to be met with a groan of disbelief rather than a crackle of anticipation. Which is of course exactly what will happen, because it’s the same thing that happens every year. Never change, U.K.
Chou farci of the week
Nature tries its hand at the meal kit market.
Dish of the week
Bleak midwinter, meet Greek midwinter.
Shot of the week
Appropriately festive ratio of glassware to serving plates, that.