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A Chaotic, Evil 2020 Saw London’s Restaurant World Set Christmas Alight on Instagram

Egg nog pie, your time is now, and only now

An enthusiastically flambéd Christmas pudding, licked by blue and orange flame
Up in smoke
The Crown at Bray [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 intimate.

News of the season

Christmas 2020, then: a time to eat, drink and be merry – except only in the confines of one’s own domicile and certainly without any unnecessary human contact. Perhaps unsurprisingly in this most unconventional of festive seasons, a great many revellers ended up opting out of conventional Christmas fare entirely, pivoting in directions rich and strange in the search for a more personally rewarding form of culinary self-expression. The net result was a marked absence of minging-looking dried-out turkey on the feed, so has 2020 finally chalked up a win at the last?

Guilty remnants of the season

Boxing Day 2020, then: a moment in time where the word “leftovers” brought to mind not so much a groaning smorgasbord as it did Damon Lindelhof’s criminally underwatched HBO drama about a group of survivors wrestling with guilt and existential dread in the wake of global disaster. Still: someone’s got to finish all those sprouts.

Countdown of the season

New Year’s Eve 2020, then: a night best enjoyed on fast forward, as the nation sought to put the previous 366 days – yes, it was a Leap Year! – behind it and get on with whatever 2021 holds. But also an opportunity to rage, a little, against of the dying of the light, and mark the end of it all in singular fashion.

Reasons to be cheerful of the season

Look, it wasn’t all bad. The British have a remarkable capacity for gallows humour in the face of pretty much anything the universe can throw at them; historians reviewing this particular period will be forced to acknowledge that the memes, at least, were Good.

Reasons for a skinful of the season

January is usually a month of privation and misery, as the excess of the Christmas window hits with a vengeance. But the government’s decision to belatedly place the country in a third national lockdown, just as Brexit occurs, has ensured that all thoughts of self-negation have been firmly put on the back-burner, as Brits turn once again to the simple job of self-preservation. The diet industry is a grotesque sham at the best of times — here’s hoping 2021 is the year it bites the dust for good.

Dish of the season

Feels about right.

Shot of the season

Toasty.

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