Favourite Forks: From the Best in Food Photography to London’s Top New Restaurant Openings

3 May, 2014

Delectable Art at Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2014

From a sizzling Instagram of a steak sandwich in Dalston, to a busy Malaysian street-food stall snapped at just the right moment – the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2014 exhibition is one to be devoured.

Judged by an extensive group of notable food-industry figures, including chef Yotam Ottolenghi, food critic Jay Rayner and acclaimed food photographer David Loftus, now in its third year, the competition received double the entries it did in year 1 – and, this year, they introduced a few exciting new sections: the striking ‘Politics of Food’ and the mesmerising ‘Unearthed Food in Film’.

From the highly styled image of a donut being dipped in a delectable-looking green glaze, to a family of smiling pigs roaming in a vineyard, the exhibition is an ode to food and our relationship to it – and to our ever increasing desire to document it.

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Food Sn-apping Category Winner: Peter Cassidy (UK) – Gelati

In the Mood for Morito

An impromptu recent Saturday afternoon was spent at sweet little tapas and mezze place Morito, all the better for Gilda and Amontillado sharpener. Gilda is the first Pintxo (Basque tapas) you traditionally eat on an afternoon of grazing small bites in the Basque region – with salted anchovy, baby silverskin onion and guindilla peppers.

Other standouts include an exemplary chopped salad of tomato, cucumber and red onion topped with crispy, deep fried spicy chickpeas, and lamb chops with cumin and paprika. All of which feature in the new, very inspiring Morito cookbook (published by Ebury Press).

Lamb rump with English pea & lovage purée, Jersey Royals and elderflower flowers_1
Floral-inspired lamb-rump dish to be served at Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show Tasting at the Gallery Mess

I recently attended an excellent tasting at the Gallery Mess for the forthcoming Chelsea Flower Show menu, that I created with “rhubarb”.

Lots of floral and herbal ingredients and inspirations laced throughout the dishes: from the truly summery lamb rump with English pea and lovage purée, Jersey Royals and elderflower flowers, to the colourful summer salad with exotic fruit and berries with sauternes jelly, lemon and basil sorbet and edible flowers.

Summer salad of fragrant exotic fruit & berries with sauternes jelly, lemon & basil sorbet, edible flowers_1
The very seasonal summer salad

Australian-global Fusion Arrives in Clerkenwell with Granger & Co

Very pleased to see the exceptional Julian Biggs, Bill Granger’s global creative chef, at the Granger & Co, Clerkenwell soft opening this week.

Their international adventures shine through in the food, which is Australian pan-global fusion and compromises nothing in the pursuit of flavour.

Highlights include a yellow fish curry that packs a punch: hot, sour, salty and sweet all at once, a soft and spicy pork belly with chili and crunchy crackling – perfect for wrapping in lettuce parcels, and a spring vegetable, pea shoot and feta salad – another fresh, vibrant dish, that left me eager for another visit.

Yellow Fish Curry 3
Granger & Co’s inviting yellow fish curry at their new Clerkenwell site

A Weekday Lunch at Ducksoup

The following day, I headed to the understatedly stylish Ducksoup for a quick lunch – one of my Soho favourites.

I tucked into a fantastic value set lunch on their table outside in the sun: enjoying a lamb breast dish with peas, wild garlic and barley with a glass of wine for a tenner. Another winner. I felt decidedly French as I added a splash of red wine to the remains of the lamb broth, and mopped it all up with the superb sourdough bread.

Ducksoup’s sister restaurant, Rawduck, opened its doors just last week. Located in Hackney and with a healthful approach to dining – brunch there this Bank Holiday weekend wouldn’t be a bad idea.

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A Soho favourite: Ducksoup at lunchtime

Making it to Mayfields

Mayfields celebrated its 1st anniversary on the 1st May, and I finally made it in to the restaurant myself.

Critics have been raving about the intelligent, seasonally crafted, small plates that are elegantly innovative and precise – and my first experience of the restaurant echoes this entirely.

The dishes are lyrical: sweet peas, creamy ricotta and salty notes from trout roe, paper thin slices of duck h  am with notes of lavender, quail with asparagus, egg yolk and shallot, green asparagus, sweet with freshness, and a soft, runny Burford Brown yellow yolk.

This last dish also had orpine (a suckler) a foraged herb with a slight mustard flavor – poignantly, there is a superstition that if orpine is hung in a home and suddenly dies, there will be a death in the family, and, on the other hand, while it lives it will protect all members of the household.

Another dish of lemon sole, citrus butter, daikon and liquorice was dramatically presented – the sole draped in thin, slightly pickled daikon and a dusting of powdered liquorice – and divided opinion.

Lee, our informative and friendly waiter, explained it was their “Marmite” dish. I liked how the yellow citrus butter, sharp daikon, salty lumpfish roe on the side and the haunting, sweet powdered liquorice worked with the perfectly cooked sole.

Mayfields Pea  Egg
Peas, ricotta, trout roe and fennel fronds at Mayfields