The new London tables: who is the last?
Seven restaurants among the top fifty in the world, three in the top 10. Neither the crisis nor the unmerited fame of their cuisine have been able to with London. First, bravery; Second, rotation and dessert, surprise. The downside: here you pay in pounds.
Alain Ducasse dared to affirm that London was the gastronomic capital of the world. Although such an assertion in 2010 it raised the grievances of many of his colleagues, the truth is that he did not come to say anything new. Since then, four years have passed (four centuries in London) and the trend, rather than appeasing the economic crisis or squatting down the culinary landmarks of other cities, has only taken a run. The explanation is simple, not only because London has always been that place where you could go to dinner with the atmosphere of a Shanghai bazaar, to taste the best tandoori, but because things have never stopped happening here. All types.
Talk about a single London gastronomic scene is impossible, because there is not one, but many, to which, of course, they join the current and warm claim of the eternally defenestrated British food; an obsession with the product - its modes of production and its origin - and the incessant search for unpublished flavors and scenes. And not in a single neighborhood, but throughout the city. And beyond its center. Asians, exotic and ethnic more and more sophisticated, semi-clandestine restaurants, pop ups, models that repeat their formula until they die of success, locals that specialize in a single dish and queues that go around the block to get to know the latest trendy restaurant (where in general they don't book) ... This melting pot of factors is what defines -best, sketches- the latest and unbeatable gastronomic map of the city. And these some of its protagonists.
Where fish and chips are delicacies of gods © Simone Canetty-Clarke
THE PERFECTIONISTS 'CAFE
Few names make their vocation as clear as the one that baptizes the last restaurant of Heston Blumenthal in Terminal 2 of Heathrow. The chef and owner of The Fat Duck, punctual recidivist in the ranking of the best restaurants in the world, it doesn't satisfy its hunger for innovation or with its penultimate campaign, Dinner, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel; and dares at the airport with this new proposal that follows the line of his program In Search of Perfection, on Channel 4. The idea is as simple as infallible: offer the typical dishes of British cuisine 'yesterday, today and forever' and the greatest hits more demanded by travelers, and do it so that not even the most sybarite can scratch a single 'but'.
For this they have done an enormous field work, consulted with scientists, farmers and consumers, finding out what it was that 'I don't know what' that turned a fish and chips in a delicacy of gods and the exact point that made a meat pie Write in capital letters. They have visited master pizzerias in Naples to know the temperature and the appropriate time of the oven (of firewood) and they have discovered the form - grinding the minced meat always in the same direction - with which the maximum juiciness is achieved. This curl the curl has also reached the sweet, specifically to the ice cream bar at the entrance, where nitrogen is used to minimize the size of the ice crystals and thus make them much creamier (terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport).
Rivea, another jewel of Alain Ducasse © Bulgari Hotels
We have already said it. The multi-starred chef Alain Ducasse He has never hidden his great love for London. Moreover, he has left it in writing in his book J'aime London, where he suggests “100 places of reference for foodies" in the city. That's why he repeats. And in his second restaurant in the British capital, where he already has three Michelin stars (in the hotel Dorchester), has commanded one of his protégés, Damien Leroux, and has returned to look at the Mediterranean with a cuisine that drinks from the Italian and French Riviera and a space inspired by the markets of Provence.
Seafood from Scotland, lamb from Ireland, local fruits and vegetables, wines from Corsica or the Rhine Valley and Italian delicatessen, which promptly sends the family home Spigaroli, with more than a century behind them, are the pieces that make up the puzzle of his letter, which is based on small plates to share. It is essential to test your crispy socca, a kind of crêpe with chickpea flour typical of Nice; and strawberry and rhubarb pie (Bulgari hotel; 171 Knightsbridge).
Lobster and burger, the winning duet © Beast Restaurant
The idyll of surf & turf (the Iberian sea and mountains) and the fondness for a fixed menu They join in this restaurant on a little street in the West End. That Londoners are passionate about both formulas already demonstrated in the Burger and Lobster, of the same owners, who after the ball of their mother house in Mayfair (29 Clarges st.) They are already going through their sixth branch in the city. This space is just as fun, loud and unusual., with a meat refrigerator and an aquarium with lobsters as decoration, and communal benches and large tables as an inn, as furniture. While in that the 'jack, horse, king' was -and remains- the lobster, the lobster roll and the burger, all with a single price of 20 pounds and accompanied by chips or salad; Here the thing is sophisticated.
They are the noblest cuts - Angus sirloin and steak - and the Norwegian crab the duet that makes up the collation, which always begins with an entree of olives, artichokes and parmesan. For dessert you can choose between a delicious deconstructed cheesecake or a posset of lemon (a kind of pudding of medieval origin that is being reborn in recent times). Abstain those who seek romantic or economic places (£ 75, without service or drinks, at least £ 12.50 per glass) and, of course, vegetarians (3 Chapel Place).
An essential Jewish restaurant © The Palomar
The chef of the restaurant more cool from Jerusalem, Machneyuda, inside the Mahane Yehuda market, lands in Soho with a exotic cuisine with Mediterranean influences brought to the plate in a contemporary way... and at affordable prices. Nothing to do with the rest of Jewish restaurants in the city, usually boring, repetitive and topical, The Palomar is ideal to discover new flavors.
The Daily 6 is a selection of mezze to share: eggplant salad, lentils with hazelnuts, mint and yogurt; Toasted sweet beets with sour goat cheese or cabbage with feta ... As an entree, spicy or minipole olive in the style of Jerusalem, and among the main ones, Moroccan oysters with coriander, lemon zest and droplets of Arisa oil. It is not very large and is set to the flag, so the equation is only solved by being a forecaster and reserving with time. As the last (or first) option there is always the kitchen bar, with space for 16 people (here, however, they do not reserve), which also it's more fun because you can see the chefs cooking (34 Rupert st.).
An elegant place two steps from Chelsea © Pavilion
To cover the mouth of those who refuse food british Pavilion is born. Although the space has some members-only areas (it is located in one of the most exclusive private clubs in London), others are open to the public and are a showcase of premium British product and recipe book perfectly interpreted by the chef Adam Simmonds. In its history two Michelin stars: one, in the Ynyshir Hall of Wales, and the other in the Danesfield House hotel.
Simmonds's is a simple, modern and aesthetically maintained kitchen, which uses more than 50 varieties of cheeses, the cured meats of Cannon & Cannon, fine deli ... all collected or manufactured by small local producers. Every day new bouquets Natural flowers adorn and perfume this elegant place. For something we are two steps from Chelsea (96 Kensington High st.).
Exclusive dishes in an exclusive club © Pavilion
It is in an old fire station. Inside a small hotel boutique. And it has two top godparents: the hotel belongs to the same owners as the two heaviest New Yorker, The Standard and The Mercer, and the stove is steered by Nuno Mendes, the same that turned El Viajante, in Bethnal Green (in the near East), into a whole reference. Nuno returns here to show why, with A menu of American roots, simpler and much cheaper. Among the dishes called to consolidate as the classics of the house are the stuffed crab donuts, the steak tartare (which should be accompanied with the delicious homemade sauce), the breaded chicken and the contemporary version of its panna cotta of Apple (1 Chiltern Street).
THE MAGAZINE The food of Oliver Lange (Ollysan for his Asian mentors) and the architecture of Zaha Hadid, in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, meet in The Magazine: it is the London of a thousand faces and a thousand contrasts. In this new temple (in continent and content) of fusion cuisine, the Japanese footprint interpreted in a very personal way and British products prevail. Among the most prominent dishes are Ollysan's Sushi and chocolate pudding with tea ice cream and experimental cocktails (such as Sochu and Elderberry Sour). All in a bright building that integrates with the Kensington Gardens, where it is located.
The food of Oliver Lange (Ollysan for her Asian mentors) and the Zaha Hadid architecture, in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, meet in The Magazine: It is the London of a thousand faces and a thousand contrasts. In this new temple (in continent and content) of fusion cuisine, the Japanese footprint interpreted in a very personal way and British products prevail. Among the most outstanding dishes the Ollysan's Sushi and Chocolate Pudding with Tea Ice Cream and experimental cocktails (like the Sochu and Elderberry Sour). All in a bright building that integrates with the Kensington Gardens, where it is located.
A London of contrasts © The Magazine
It can only happen in London. That there is an Austrian restaurant and that, in addition, make travel in the early nineteenth century, when Klimt and Loos alternated in a Viennese cafeteria from the time of the Secession. That is what Fischer's wants, a restaurant where paintings with alpine landscapes and mirrors art deco they live in a space reminiscent of a train station with its large clock and its frosted tiles. Here the gastronomy of Germanic roots, forceful and not too sophisticated, rules. The king is the wiener schnitzel, a veal scallop that can be served in the Holstein version (topped with a fried egg, anchovies and capers), but also its six würstchen, accompanied by some of the wines of your letter, mostly Austrian or Hungarian. The icing on the dinner is the chocolate cake and Grand Marnier Dobos (50 Marylebone High st.).
The Austrian restaurant of Klimt and Loos © Fischer's
* This article is published in the September 76 Condé Nast Traveler magazine. This number is available in its digital version for iPad in the iTunes AppStore, and in the digital version for PC, Mac, Smartphone and iPad in the virtual kiosk by Zinio (on Smartphone devices: Android, PC / Mac, Win8, WebOS, Rim, iPad).