It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, contributors, rovers of the industry, and professional eaters. Even a year like this one. For 2022, the group were asked 12 questions, covering the best meals and the worst moments alongside 2023 predictions and dining standbys. Their answers will appear throughout this week, with responses relayed in no particular order; cut and pasted below.
Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London: That one of my favourite restaurants in London would turn out to be on the ground floor of a Holiday Inn Express, in an industrial park, just off the A102. And for that I must thank Jonathan Nunn.
James Hansen, Associate Editor, Eater London: That after a great many years of excellent Thai food in London, critics and influencers remain incapable of describing it in any way other than “insert fire emoji here.”
Anna Sulan Masing, food writer and Eater London contributor: This might not be what this question is asking, but after 21 years in London I discovered the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Top Garden. It’s a bar, in a little garden on the South Bank, overlooking the Thames. There is rarely anyone there, and although there’s a bar, as long as you’re not bringing any alcoholic drinks, you can bring your own food and drink, so it’s perfect for having your lunch. Wonderful for a post-work drink and book read, or meeting people. It feels very secluded, I love it. Only open in summer.
Jonathan Nunn, food writer and Eater London contributor: That Umut 2000 refurbed, that the refurb wasn’t shit, and that throughout it all, no-one in Dalston remembered that there was another Umut 2000 on Green Lanes.
George Reynolds, writer and Eater London contributor: Given the splashiness of JKS’s Arcade relaunch, and given the sheer range of dishes and cuisines on offer, I really expected people to get properly, McDonalds-menu-at-10:31 a.m.-creative with things, turning the new food hall into a sort of culinary London in microcosm, where foodstuffs cross-pollinated with dizzying results. I can’t be the only one to have contemplated upending Hero’s paneer tikka over Manna’s excellent tater tots, creating a twisted riff on poutine; or to have wrapped Bekbek’s smashed duck leg in Shatta and Toum’s flatbread – and yet where were the demented social media posts documenting this behaviour? You’d think TikTok, with its love of a questionable food hack, would have gone absolutely mad for it. Next year, perhaps.
Feroz Gajia, restaurateur and Eater London contributor: 180 at the Corner running a very good succession of events. It reinvigorated the chef led pop-up event space by producing great meals at exceptionally reasonable prices. Service was a little haphazard, as was pacing, but overall it had the feeling of P. Franco in Paris with the vastness of an LA dining room. The end result showed what is possible when you give chefs a reasonable budget and ample resources.
Sean Wyer, writer, researcher and Eater London contributor: That the Great British Bake Off is still sailing, like the ship of Theseus, but with Paul Hollywood still clinging doggedly to the helm with his handshaking-hand. And, that there is still an audience for it.
Angela Hui, food writer and Eater London contributor: How mediocre the McCrispy was. Why can’t we have McTiramisu, McDeepFriedOlives, McCornpPie, McEbi burger and McStick of cheese??
David Jay Paw, food writer and Eater London contributor: Not really a surprise, but it’s been energising to see the return of supper clubs for all tastes and preferences, from Newgate Studio’s private dinners to the achingly beautiful spreads from personalities like Kirthanaa Naidu and Bre Graham. In many ways, it’s worth more social capital than a ticket at a hard-to-book omakase joint.
Joel Hart, food writer and Eater London contributor: In my previous incarnation as an anthropologist, I spent 18 months doing fieldwork in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, so it’s fair to say I was skeptical of whether Pockets’s falafel pita could be worth the queue. I was surprised to see that it was. Other surprises include: beef tartare being on every menu and yet still displaying innovation; the bizarre way in which Maroush Park Royal plates its hummus mezze; and how shockingly dated and unpleasant to eat the classic menu desserts are at Core by Clare Smyth (the potato dish is transcendent, however.)