London eating

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New Tayyab (p259)
Nyonya (p267)
Snazz.Sichuan (p263)
Asadal (p243)
Lucio (p253)
Café Spice Namaste (p260)
El Faro (p261)
Anchor & Hope (p249)
Roussillon (p254)
Capital (p252)


London’s victories in the culinary arena over the past dozen or so years have been nothing short
of phenomenal. Some wags might suggest that there was only one way but up from cafs serving
greasy breakfasts and chips deep-fried in rancid-smelling oil, but don’t pay them any mind.
London has caught up with and, in some respects, overtaken its European cousins.
So what exactly happened? At some point the purveyors of stodge were lined up against the
wall, stripped of their aprons and replaced by a savvy new generation of young chefs including
the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes, Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver and Tom Aikens.
As trailblazing restaurants progressively raised the bar, the competition followed. Markets selling
fresh, free-range, organic produce sprang up, staff were drilled into professional service and the
designers were brought in to create some of the world’s coolest and most aesthetically pleasing
eating spaces. As a result, food in all its guises became the new sex, and everyone wanted a piece
of the action. Another change is that since July 2007 there has been a total ban on smoking in
all enclosed spaces in England including, of course, restaurants.
Eating out in London can be as diverse, stylish and satisfying as anywhere else on the planet,
and it’s by no means an exaggeration to call London a food destination. Designer eating is all the
rage, with restaurant openings attracting as much glitz and glamour as fashion parades, and every
week there seems to be a hot new place where half of London is trying to get a reservation.
That’s not to say you can’t still get greasy fries, overcooked vegetables and traditional British stodge (particularly in pubs, although this is changing too with the inevitable arrival of
a gastropub to a High Street near you), but with chefs absorbing the influences of this most
cosmopolitan of cultures, you’re more likely to get the world on your plate.
Just don’t count on value for money. We can’t count the number of times we’ve dropped over
over £40 a head for refined Italian food or the ubiquitous Modern European that tasted like
it had been microwaved (ding!), and wondered why we’d bothered. On the other hand we’ve
had Pakistani food in Whitechapel, Turkish in Dalston a...
New Tayyab ( p259 )
Nyonya ( p267 )
Snazz.Sichuan ( p263 )
Asadal ( p243 )
Lucio ( p253 )
Café Spice Namaste ( p260 )
El Faro ( p261 )
Anchor & Hope ( p249 )
Roussillon ( p254 )
Capital ( p252 )
© Lonely Planet Publications
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