London

I love London. I sign things London. London is the key to my heart – it deserves some writing.


It sounds like the start of a terrible pun; two chefs walk into a shipping container and – spoiler alert – walk out with the best small plates I’ve had all year.

Alas, it’s the non-pun Smoke & Salt have made a reality. The micro-sized shipping container restaurant is the culinary chief of its POP Brixton neighbours, serving seasonal British small plates with an emphasis on smoking, curing and preserving.

From the arrival of their Old Post Office Bakery sourdough and smoky whipped butter I knew I wanted to try more than their absurdly affordable seven-course tasting menu (most gluttonous sentence ever?), so opted for a few suggestions from the owners and settled in for a treat.

Negroni Blanco in hand, I set into the roe deer tartare (with smoked gooseberries, rapeseed, and sorrels) to start, followed by a plate of tomatoes, smoked ricotta, whey, and toasted buckwheat.

Both dishes were undeniable unusual, yet phenomenally balanced. And the perfect amount for two people to share.

We moved on to new potatoes with beef heart (heightened with chimichurri and gorgonzola),
chalkstream trout (dressed with the most intensely delicious raspberry/chipotle concoction), chicken schnitzel (underwhelming compared to the other dishes, yet better than others I’ve had and a last-minute substitute for their typical veal schnitzel), and thick grilled chorizo (paired with aubergine and an exquisite burnt lemon mostada).

As the sun set, I watched an eager queue build up for late dinner reservations and smiled to myself. It has been quite some time since I’ve felt this excited to see what a new kid on the block does next.

Smoke & Salt is what London’s foodie underbelly is all about.

smoke and salt london pop brixton
smoke and salt london pop brixton
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spitalfields market london
Old Spitalfields Market really finds itself up against it. On one hand, you have neighbouring destinations of dreams for tourists and locals (Shoreditch, Boxpark, Old Street, et al). On the other hand, you have neighbouring destinations of dreams that mean you’re bypassed altogether.

What do you do to draw them in?

You get all the best hipster-loved culinary joints in London under one roof at The Kitchens – the market’s dynamic and developing street food hall curated by Nuno Mendes.

It’s a crowd-captivating concept in and of itself. One only heightened by the arrival of Summer’s seasonal wave of new traders.

The historic Victorian market now plays host to a phenomenal range of traders including High Mood Food – a health food concept with a unique focus on fermentation. Co-founder and chef Joey O’Hare makes the most insane, flavour-packed salads (and living dressings) which all prioritise gut health.

I genuinely had such a mind-blowing working lunch with them recently that I went back to pick something up for a dinner date. At the same time, I got so distracted by the signature shengjianbao (aka soup dumplings) from Dumpling Shack that I was temporarily diverted.

I mean, the Shack’s creators have spent three years perfecting their Shanghai-inspired dumpling recipes with regular immersive travel. It couldn’t be avoided.

My future trips (and yours!) will surely include Mazi Mas’ persian menu, Good Mood Matcha’s iced watermelon take on the frothy drink, Pleasant Lady Trading’s succulent Jian Bings, and the Insta-worthy Taiwanese treats from Wheelcake Island (for pancakes filled with everything from adzuki bean to Oreos).

spitalfields market london
spitalfields market london
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evening of meat london
It’s not often I find myself with a half naked woman feeding me pancetta, bent on all fours atop a dining table, but it does happen. Most recently at the literal feast of femininity known as An Evening of Meat.

The Evening, equal parts immersive theatre and supper club, first tickled my tastebuds with promising international reviews of a provocative feminist narrative. A narrative which tackled the concept of “being treated like a piece of meat” with no more than music and dance.

With an indulgent six-course menu, to boot.

As the tabletop dancers struggle to take up space, guests are brought Michelin-quality beef carpaccio, braised mutton, pig cheek, and more.

The choreography was powerful, the food was incredible, and the experience was definitively unique. Leaving a lot up to personal interpretation, the experience handled the complications, vulnerability, instability, power, and sexuality of female existence beautifully.

An Evening of Meat can be seen at The Vaults until June 2nd (Tuesday – Saturday).

evening of meat london
evening of meat london
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margarita rumble
I’m about to reveal the best margarita in London, y’all. Strap in.

This is a story about a woman (hey, there) who did all the ground work so your liver doesn’t have to.

Well, myself, Margarita Rumble, and Jose Cuervo.

The Rumble, now in its second year, is a day-long competition where expert mixologists from each respective city cocktail their way to claim prestige as creator’s of the Best Margarita. And the world’s number one tequila announced they would be sponsoring London’s grand ole fiesta. I could hardly miss out.

In three sessions, margarita lovers enjoyed two hours of bottomless 100% agave Jose Cuervo Tradicional-filled margaritas from the likes of Trapeze, Barrio Bars, Cabana Brixton, Whistling Shop, Benitos Hat, Little Bat, Eaton Square Bar, Zebrano, Simmons, The BootLegger, and title-defending Café Pacifico.

The space turned into a magical melee of margs. One with roasted pineapple and jalapeno puree, vanilla, and garnishes of pineapple crisps & candied jalapenos. One with rhubarb. One with Aperol foam. One flower-accented tipple spritzed with Laphroaig to finish.

Yet, after all votes were cast, Café Pacifico deservedly took the crown for the second year with a fruit-packed margarita; sweet and spicy rim, pipette-injected tequila watermelon, fragrant finishing spray, and all.

Realistically, when would Cuervo two-ways not get the gold?

‘Til next year!

cute mistake

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


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galvin anthenaeum food blog
Let’s cut to the chase here; the under-appreciated Galvin at the Athenaeum may not have Michelin stars of its own, but it has knocked some of my more recent Michelin-starred meals out of the park.

The sophisticated hotel’s ground-floor Galvin is the brain child of chef brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin (who you may recognise for their own trademark French-inspired Michelin menus). At the Anthenaeum, however, the double act have dedicated their seasonal dishes to all things British.

We’re talking local produce and independent farm faire with a haute cuisine métier.

The doorman greeted my dinner date and I warmly on arrival, walking us over to a tragically deserted restaurant. I was intrigued but dubious. With such inherently hospitable service and the Galvin name behind it, why was no-one having dinner at their more affordable outpost?

Unless their bottomless brunch is keeping them afloat, I still can’t be sure.

Absolutely everything was perfect. The fresh Glastonbury farmhouse-buttered wheat bread and champagne (menu-perusing mates at their best). The lasagne of Dorset crab with Nantais butter sauce (an intoxicating cloud of seafood). The Galvin cured smoked salmon, Burford brown egg ‘dust’, sour cream , and caviar (the pinnacle of quality DIY starters). The Iron Bark pumpkin risotto with seared Orkney scallops (the most flavourful and balanced risotto I have enjoyed in any restaurant). The Rose county beef rib eye with green peppercorn butter and chunky chips (because what is a British menu without one?).

By the time we were half-way through our mains, we were in a cacophony of culinary coo-fare with our table neighbours. So much so I considered offering up a spoonful or two in exchange for theirs.

Nonetheless, I licked my own plate clean and geared up for a expertly-curated selection of English cheeses (served with grapes and celery) while my date cast an inquisitive line into the depths of a warm rice pudding (with macerated prunes and praline, respectively) like no other.

Galvin have done the Great British Menu and then some.



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