Briefing / Global
Food & Drink Briefing
Scoops from around the world, from a Bangkok bistro to a fresh take on supermarkets in Toronto.
Regulars were sad to see the shuttering of Providores on Marylebone High Street in 2019 after 18 years of excellent service, but the new occupant of the site is whetting appetites too. Taka, sister restaurant to the space of the same name in Mayfair, retains the building’s Georgian shell and the three-storey fit-out by London-based B3 designers is a masterclass in subtle design, brought together by contrasting timber finishes (one pale, one charred), tan banquettes and a timber-and-terrazzo bar. Not to mention the striking backlit installation made with shoji-paper umbrellas. The menu prepared by chef Jonathan Dowling (pictured, on left, with executive chef Taiji Maruyama) has a pleasing selection of tapas-style small plates, such as the kani (crab) croquettes, scallop with buttermilk soy and roast seaweed.
Franco-Japanese music label-turned-clothing brand Maison Kitsuné has long been winning the approval of coffee aficionados with its string of cafés. It already has three picturesque outlets in Paris and February saw it add a fourth to the roster. Its latest, in Paris’s 3rd arrondissement, boasts a roastery (its only one outside of Japan) run by Florian Decousser, the man in charge of roasting beans for all of the firm’s European coffee houses. Keep an eye out for his next tasting sessions and workshops.
Dom’s Social Club
This multi-storey venue in the heart of the cbd brings together three different bars and restaurants, all connected by a handsome timber staircase. On the first floor, you’ll find woodfired pizzas (we suggest the marinara); on the second, there’s a billiards room and a cocktail lounge serving Australian spirits. At the top – well, we suggest you take in the view of the city skyline from the building’s roof garden and bar.
Zahir Mohamed made it his mission to bring quality Middle Eastern cuisine to Hong Kong’s Soho – and he doesn’t disappoint. Just over two years after opening Baked – his bakery-cum-restaurant specialising in sourdough – the sixth-generation Egyptian baker opened Acme in Soho, which serves traditional specialties with a twist. Don’t miss the smoked baba ganoush and sourdough flatbread – it’s worth dropping by for a nourishing lunch.
Founded by a trio of talented chefs, vegetarian restaurant Altatto in Milan’s Greco neighbourhood gives diners the chance to savour fresh seasonal produce prepared in creative ways – always with a healthy dose of spice. Sample the tomato ceviche with avocado mousse or a tempura dish of courgette flowers. To drink, try the citrus-based kir cocktail or orange-style zibibbo white wine from Pantelleria.
Bardo Social Bistro and Bar
This French-Mediterranean restaurant and bar, which has just opened in the heart of Sathorn, serves a flavoursome fix of dishes from cheese plates to beef tartare and foie gras. The unpretentious and hearty fresh cuisine is dished up in a modern setting. Be sure to take a peek at the wine list and cocktail menu while you’re there.
166 8 4079 8830
Chicago’s Avec in River North has made a name for itself over the past 17 years with its reliably excellent Mediterranean-inspired menu, featuring the ever-popular melt-in-the-mouth chorizo-stuffed dates, slow-roasted pork shoulder and “deluxe foccacia”. Its new outpost in River North will serve up these old favourites alongside new dishes, including baked hake fillet and braised lamb-neck ragu, as well as more pizza and pasta-inspired options.
First born as a small venture in the seaside town of Polignano a Mare, fish-focused street food outlet Pescaria has grown into a success story, with outposts across Italy. Rome’s Prati is the latest opening and its fresh fish panini have already attracted crowds (and queues) to the Prati neighbourhood. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with less conventional flavours – they’re all worth it.
Fresh City Farms
One critique of recent, high-rise residential developments in Toronto is that many retail spaces are too large for independents to risk taking on. So large coffee shop chains, big supermarkets and pharmacies have moved in, rather than newer, riskier brands. Fresh City Farms, Canada’s largest commercial urban farm, was founded by former financier Ran Goel (pictured) in 2010 to chip away at this trend. Its second outpost opened recently, with more locations planned. The shelves are stacked with goods grown at Fresh City’s own farm, made by the bakery and butchery brands it has acquired, or produced by local businesses, such as coffee bean roastery Propeller. The result is a refreshing riposte to the big-box supermarket model, where provenance is shelved in favour of variety.
Images: Courtesy of Alatto, Courtesy of Fresh City Farms, Maxime Frogé, One Off Hospitality, Haydon Perrier, Inna Redina, Kate Shanasy