Seoullo 7017 and a string of new restaurants and bars are reviving downtown Seoul – and Very Rice in the Malli-dong neighbourhood has helped in more ways than one. Proprietor and brand designer Joon Oh undertook the branding of the pedestrianised roadbridge and his rice-focused restaurant opened to make Korean cuisine more accessible to international palates. Rice-made mandu (dumplings) are filled with either shrimp (with squid, seaweed and shiitake mushrooms) or beef.
Beirut round up
When it comes to the dining scene, Beirut is constantly reinventing itself and the buzzing neighbourhood of Mar Mikhael is no exception. The best recent addition is Maryool, a small but sun-drenched Middle Eastern affair with a contemporary twist. With delicious, daily home-cooked delights and snacky sharing plates from Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, this restaurant is destined to become as popular as its sister-space Meat the Fish.
Elsewhere, The Lobster Society opened earlier in 2017 to serve up not just the now-ubiquitous lobster roll but also a range of surprising salads – think yoghurt and beetroot sauce slathered over a crisp wedge of romaine lettuce.
Around the corner is L’Atelier du Miel’s workshop and garden café, where every dish on the menu of light Mediterranean food features mouthwatering honey from various parts of Lebanon. The café’s glorious little courtyard and rooftop terrace are well away from the buzz of the city and ideal for wiling away an afternoon and enjoying the sweeter things in life.
maryool.com; lobstersociety.com; atelierdumiel.com
“My concept is wakon yosai,” says Rintaro Makata. “The idea of learning western techniques without losing a Japanese spirit.” The chef started out with a food stall on east London’s Brick Lane market in 2007 and a decade later launched Aun, a Japanese tapas joint. Signature plates: tataki steak with mushroom sauce, and panko-fried Iberico pork tonkatsu.
Fabled US architect Frank Lloyd Wright was so prolific that it’s hard to remember that Chicago was where he first made his mark. The Wisconsin-native arrived while the city was rebuilding from the Great Fire of 1871 and helped reshape the metropolis with a take on arts and crafts that became known as the Prairie School. If you’ve ever wished to toast the school’s contribution to US architecture, now you have the perfect spot (from the stonework around the bar to the leaded-glass, designer Kevin Heisner hasn’t missed a trick). The drinks menu nods to Japan and includes the simple but effective Highball, and the snacks are just right too.
A new resident of the Pakt building in Antwerp, Standard’s sourdough pizzas come dressed with fresh salads grown on the roof garden above. Next to the large concrete counter are oak tables and poised Scandinavian-style chairs. Standard asked young architecture firm Petillon Ceuppens to take care of the interior: a clean open space with a vast oven as the centerpiece. “There’s even a plan to use the warmth of the traditional pizza oven on the ground floor to heat the large greenhouse on the roof, so a more constant supply of greens can be assured during winter,” says manager Michel Roose.
Woodstock, counter-culture epicentre turned upstate getaway, is now home to Silvia. And, despite the quasi-hippy feel of the town, the wood-heavy interior (note the railroad-style birch benches), boho artwork and savvy menu are proof that it’s not all about the Big Apple in NY state. Founded by Korean-American sisters Doris and Betty Choi in the former music venue Joyous Lake (The Stones played here), the evening-only menu (plus brunch at weekends) draws on produce from local farms. Look out for the cauliflower kimchi fried rice with an egg atop it. A decent excuse to get out of town, we say.
Somewhere between a co-working space and a restaurant, Turin’s Edit is in a vast former electric-cable factory. Founder Marco Brignone and ceo Giovanni Rastrelli have opened a café, bakery and bar, as well as a series of spaces for food firms to rent. “We’ve had requests from start-ups, famous chefs and restaurants that want to venture into catering,” says Rastrelli. Meanwhile, we recommend lunch from chef Pietro Leemann’s veggie salad and soup line-up.
The Dorset Dairy Co
Dan Miller’s decision to make Greek-style yoghurt gave a new lease of life to his family’s 60-year-old dairy farm in Dorset. “We think of ourselves as Dorset’s answer to Greek yoghurt. We use the same straining process,” says Miller, who started production at the farm in 2016 with partner Alex Rawe. Milk is poured into cloth bags and hung to drain off the whey and lactose. “For every litre of yoghurt we make, we start with three litres of milk. That’s what gives it that creamy texture,” says Rawe. Their gamble has paid off – the results are delicious.