I am a little bit indecisive when it comes to ordering food.
Little bit in the way that Donald Trump is a little bit awful.
It’s not so much that I’m a picky eater but that I’m someone who suffers from culinary FOMO on the daily. When I eat out, I want my choices to not only be better than the versions I could make at home but better than everything else on the menu.
Mercante have developed a rather magical way to do both.
This month, the authentic Italian restaurant launched a monthly ‘no menu’ concept supper club to showcase the seasonal delights of la dolce vita del cibo.
Head Chef Davide D’Ignazio’s evolving four-course menu is revealed to guests on arrival and plays heavily on his home country’s regional specialities.
At the supper club’s nativity, we enjoyed a plate of truly succulent pork cheek (with opaline crackling, porcini carpaccio & celeriac puree), delica pumpkin risotto amaretti with parmesan crumble, sea bass (with a shockingly tasty fennel, olive & caper salad), and a pomegranate gel panna cotta. Each cooked at our side by David while we indulged in perfectly paired wines.
The recipes of which I would also sell a kidney for.
(The ‘no menu’ Mercante Supper Club experience is priced at £55 per person for and will run on every third Thursday of the month at 7pm. Advance booking essential.)
This side of the pond, I’ve had nothing but tragic poutine experiences.
The Canadian culinary favourite (think jazzed-up cheesy chips with gravy) has, in my experience, only ever been executed well by Canucks.
The Air Canada Poutinerie in Shoreditch, however, makes this week an exception.
To celebrate their #CoolNotCold Winter destinations, the airline has taken over a two floor cafe on Kingsland Road to dish up a wordly interpretation of Canada’s iconic comfort food.
The offering includes Boston’s Loaded Crab putine (fries, fresh crab, gouda cream sauce, scallions & blue cheese crumbles), Cancun’s Costa Maya Mole (sweet potato fries, queso fresco, mole sauce & micro coriander) and the unbelievable Portland’s Vegan Chili Fries (fries, Szechuan chilli gravy, bean curd, sesame & spring onion) – all priced at £3.50.
Every poutine purchase also rewards you with the chance to win two Air Canada flight to any destination of your choice from its network of over 200 #CoolNotCold destinations on six continents (all you need to do is post a picture of your poutine on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #CoolNotCold, tagging @aircanada)!
For the price, quality and vibes (I was having so much fun I didn’t realise they were closing until I had to be thrown out) it can’t be missed.
(The shop is open until this Saturday (December 11th) at 52-56 Kingsland Road, London and poutine fans new and old are welcome to set down their Canadian beer or wine to enjoy a virtual reality experience which transports them from the mean streets of London to the skies of an Air Canada flight while you’re there.)
It’s finally here, mi amigos. The day I get to pop the champagne and announce my brand new partnership with One New Change as their Instagrammer In Residence!
Over the next year, I will be sharing my favourite parts of One New Change through @lelalondon and @onenewchange (so make sure you’re following both!) and holding four exclusive Instagram masterclasses to meet and treat you all at the luxe retail destination.
Their panoramic roof terrace has long been my favourite hidden gem for indulgent London ‘me time’ but their sixty-plus shops (Topshop, Oliver Bonas, et al) and sensational restaurants make this twelve month alliance a genuine dream come true.
Thank you all for your support and stay tuned for much more!
Unbeknownst to my former self, one of my favourite Londoners managed to eat her way through years in this multicultural mecca without ever trying Indian food.
That is, until I got involved.
Wanting to introduce her to one of my all-time favourite cuisines, I hedged my bets on the rave reviews of Thali‘s traditional North Indian faire and booked in a dinner date.
Playing our respective parts as the spice-fearful (my date) and Kashmiri-obsessed (sup), Thali beyond delivered.
Over a bottle of red, we sampled their lightly spiced grilled scallops, mint & coriander packed spicy crab patties (a moreish delight) and vegetable samosas before diving into the deep end of their spiciest waters.
For myself, the Goan fish curry (Cod fish matured in my beloved Kashmiri red chillies, coconut & tamarind) met every complexity its spices demanded. For my chilli-wary pal, however, the comforting chicken tikka makhani (herbed butters, fenugreek, creamy fresh tomato sauce, et al) provided the perfect cherry pop to a well overdue culinary exploration.
Even if I managed to clear the dish of cumin-spiced saag paneer (with spinach and garlic) before her Peshwari Naan got the chance to scoop so much as a paneer cube.
As a concession of curdlessness, the delivery of a small Indian rice pudding coaxed my date into fully-fledged Indian fandom.
Though they’re not reinventing the wheel, Thali’s authentic dishes offered more than an introductory meal demanded and managed to delight my customarily experimental culinary impulses through the very last grain of sweetened rice.
Musical theatre has made me a relatively intolerable human to be around.
Some time around the purchase of my first pair of tap shoes, I realised that every moment in life had a song and dance. Also that – regardless of my company’s desires – I would indulge it.
Mine and every millennial’s favourite, Wicked, has graced* my life on almost ten occasions and I have spent most of my OCD-addled adult life thinking there would never be another musical I would want to see as many times.
Then a ridiculous, no-budget musical came along and turned my Elphaba upside down.
Showstopper! – exclamation intended – is an entirely improvised musical for both intolerable show choir graduates (hello, friend) and the musically indifferent.
The Olivier Award-winning ‘Showstoppers’ have created an all-singing, all-dancing triumph of unpredictable genius.
Each show is curated purely on live suggestions from the audience and hilarity ensues at a level often difficult for practiced performers to reach.
Showstopper! takes the sharpest lolz imaginable and almost makes them feel intimate. It was unlike any show I’ve seen before and one I’m likely to stalk as they tour the country.
Do. Not. Miss. It.