Welcome back to Insta Stories, a column examining the London restaurant scene through the often-problematic medium of Instagram. This week’s filter is suggestive.
News of the week
Welp, this was always going to happen. Sandwiches have been a constant in pandemic-food-life, as ubiquitous as the doomy bassline of ‘Blinding Lights’. At the same time, as the pandemic has amply demonstrated, rich people gonna rich people. The net result, in this case, is @mrz.luxurysandwiches, a collection of pieces of bread priced at anywhere between £25 and £50. There’s been the predictable fist-shaking from the likes of the Daily Mail — at times it feels like the only point of “luxury” products like this is to give Brexity Middle Englanders a chance to spit-take their tea as they flick past stories about British fishing companies going bust — but what is lost, somewhat, is how blandly safe this all feels. Smoked salmon, truffles, beef, edible gold, caviar sidecars.... It’s all the stuff of Jonathan Cheban’s aureate wet dreams, circa early 2018. Which is not to say that the sandwiches might not be good (the choice of bread, at least, suggests some thought has gone into the final result.) But it is to say that villainous billionaires need a better class of equally-villainous sandwich — something involving stem cells, or all-but-extinct species, or pilfered vials of vaccine. Then again, maybe the truly poignant point is that they don’t. As a recent profile of Jeff Bezos indicated, blandness almost comes with the territory of being super-rich. Nothing says “banality of evil” like a “Millionaire” sandwich priced at 0.005% of one’s net worth.
Parallel trend of the week
In fairness to Mr Z, though, what has 2021 been about if not the celebration of cheffy takes on comfort food classics? Witness: Arrosto, the startup disrupting the already competitive restaurant roast chicken market with its lovingly prepared and thoughtfully delivered offering. When everyone from chefs to influencers is getting on board the hype train, it can only mean one thing: in six months’ time there will be a bunch of imitators on Deliveroo, all of them terrible.
Serving suggestions of the week
*Extremely Coca Cola Christmas ad voice* Pancake Day is coming!
Double hopper of the week
Well, they do always say imitation is the sincerest form of imitation.
Reassuring constant of the week
Come back, New York Times, all is forgiven.
Dish of the week
Sea kale: asparagus’ younger, cooler, hotter sibling.
Shot of the week
Now that’s a winter tomato.