I have eaten far too much this year. It got to the point where I actually had to join a gym just to balance things out a bit. Food is an integral part of my social life; one of the things that I genuinely love to experiment with and experience, and not just in London. Some of the best food I’ve had this year has been out of the city, and some of it not even in this country. When it comes to food, I just can’t help myself. Here’s the best of what I’ve eaten this year:
Here’s the best of what I’ve eaten this year:
Popping down to pop-ups
I know it seems like pretentious hype, but pop-ups are often so exciting because they make a huge effort due to their temporary life span. Some aren’t around for long, like the unbelievable grilled cheese sandwiches I had at Morty & Bob’s (some of which were served with Marmite *praise hand emoji*). My love of food has even led to making new friends. I now have regular dates with Lucy and Etta to try out new places which have included brunch at Square Root Soda and incredible udon noodles from Koya – both of which have been accompanied by Lucy’s stellar knowledge of how our food has been prepared which is always utterly fascinating!
Then there’s the pop-ups that have a theme. Those ones that are quintessentially London; a bit stupid, probably over-priced and always sell out. Some have definitely been worth it though and this year I especially loved the crazy booze-fest of Alcoholic Architecture and the sugar explosion of Happy Endings’ five course dessert menu.
Sometimes I eat somewhere and cannot stop raving about it. This year there have been four places that have rocked my world and if I could eat at all of them once a week I genuinely would. January started off very well with the discovery of Androuet, a tiny place in Spitalfields where I sat and ate copious amounts of fondue, charcuterie and demolished a bottle of red. It is the perfect date night restaurant or somewhere to go with the girls and just natter between mouthfuls of molten cheese.
Grain Store and Berber & Q had both been on my to-eat list for months and did not disappoint at all. In the former I discovered totally new flavours, from Vadouvan (a type of Indian masala made with burnt garlic and onion) to kohrabi (from the cabbage family), and in the latter I experienced a taste of the east in BBQ form with the stand out being a whole cauliflower cooked in shawarma butter and pomegranates. I can’t stand how happy these meals made me!
A surprising new favourite came from a quick work trip to Leeds. Not surprising because of it’s location but more because it’s a vegetarian restaurant and this blogger is a fully fledged member of the ‘MEAT ON EVERYTHING’ crew. I had the best onion bhaji of my life in Bundobust – stuffed with cauliflower and spinach, and spicy scrambled eggs which were simple and utterly genius.
A taste of Asia
You’ll notice that a few of the places I’ve mentioned already are of an Asian persuasion (best.rhyme.ever), and ultimately I do love food that incorporates these flavours. The big opening in London this year was Duck and Rice, and although the food was good there were some cheaper alternatives that I much preferred. Smoking Goat was a lucky little find on a rainy Monday night. It’s Thai flavours added to amazing cuts of meat and then barbecued were bliss, and thanks to them I’m now a total convert to papaya in salad.
Surprisingly, one of my favourites this year was a chain, albeit a London only one. Shoryu serves up fabulous ramen, is super affordable and genuinely delicious. It’s my new go-to for a quick, filling dinner when the purse strings are a little tight.
From beautiful mussels in Ireland, to sea trout in Oslo, insane paella in Barcelona and ginormous fresh scallops in Bergen, I’ve eaten some amazing seafood on my travels this year. I tried reindeer sausage in Norway and pork knuckle in Prague – both are dishes I’d never had before which is always something I try and do when I go away!
It’s so exciting to experience food in it’s country of origin and I especially loved trying homemade pizza in Tuscany (my god, the tomatoes there are just incredible!) and having a freshly baked cinnamon bun in Bergen.
And so to 2016. Well, there’s a hell of a lot more travel planned (more on this to be revealed soon!) so I will be eating everything I can find abroad, of course. As for London, well, my list is as long as ever and it’s sure to keep growing. I definitely want to try more places in the UK though, so if there’s somewhere worth hopping on a train for, let me know!