Food / Global
Crossing the River Thames to south London reveals a burgeoning food scene. Elsewhere this issue we unearth must-try dining spots in Porto, Singapore, Toronto and Paris, as well as a Milanese meal to remember.
Emerging food hub
Long upstaged by the established dining scene north of the Thames, south London is proving fertile ground for a new crop of culinary start-ups. “There has always been a market but restaurateurs haven’t wanted to take the risk,” says Jane Alty, who opened Thai restaurant The Begging Bowl in Peckham in 2012.
Similarly, Hamish Pritchard’s homely café No67 has drawn crowds to the South London Gallery’s restored Victorian building, where the café occupies a ground-floor space. The restaurant serves Allpress coffee and delicate cakes as well as lunch and dinner service (and has a great bookshop, too). Down the road in Camberwell, coffee shop Daily Goods does a fine trade in juices, pastries, beer and bread, all of which makes a point of emphasising the area’s burgeoning food scene. “Everything is delivered to us on bicycle or foot,” says owner Carter Donnell.
Three south London stop-ins:
Daily Goods, Camberwell
Coffee is from London roaster Workshop; expect a frequently updated roster of events and pop-ups with your flat white.
The Begging Bowl, Peckham
Thai street food with unlimited rice portions; the sticky pork belly is a must.
The Full Spanglish breakfast is the signature dish. For dinner try the onglet steak.
South Brisbane may boast a world-class art precinct but its dining scene remains underdeveloped. Jerome Batten plans to change this with Gauge: an elegant spin-off from his highly successful Sourced Grocer café in the Teneriffe neighbourhood.
From breakfast to dinner, Gauge serves a refined, seasonal menu; the cucumber kimchi with cured pork cheek is among the highlights. “Locally sourced will always be our driver but we’re pushing the concept of casual dining using sophisticated cooking techniques that you’re not going to find in your normal café setting,” says Batten. A neighbourhood focus also informs the space’s design with furnishings from Melbourne designer Lab De Stu.
77 Grey Street
Opening its doors last December, Leitaria Lisboa revives the charming notion of a Portuguese creamery with yoghurt from the Azores and local goat’s cheese just two of the star offerings. “The idea of fresh milk every day reminds us of our grandmothers,” says Tiago de Jesus, one of the owners of the family business. “All of our offerings, from lunchtime salads with cottage cheese to the almond-milk yoghurt desserts, use fresh ingredients.”
Rua Artilharia 1, 87A
Broth is the flavour of the month in New York. Having started with a takeaway window at Hearth Restaurant in the East Village, Brodo’s chef Marco Canora is currently developing a slew of warm-weather recipes to turn a winter favourite into a year-round affair.
JQ Dickinson Salt Works
The brother-and-sister team of Lewis Payne and Nancy Bruns are the seventh generation of salt-makers to sun-dry the flaky bounty produced by the JQ Dickinson Salt Works.
Dating back to 1851, the company’s salt found its way into the Confederate Army’s rations during the US Civil War and is made using water from beneath the Appalachian Mountains, which gives the salt a unique taste.
With a name meaning “rice shop”, Okomeya opened its pared-down space in Tokyo’s Togoshi neighbourhood last December. Taking over the site of a former vegetable shop, branding agency Owan and Jo Nagasaka of Schemata Architects have breathed new life into the area. Its onigiri (rice balls) are made from Koshihikari rice from Minami-Uonuma in Niigata, while its minimal packaging comes courtesy of art director Yoko Shiraishi.
Started as a cold-pressed-juice delivery service, Gorilla Press moved into its first bricks-and-mortar shop last summer in the One North development. “It’s a lab where recipes are tested,” says co-founder Ong Weiquan, who adds that drinking a bottle of green juice equates to eating four servings of salad. Meanwhile, the brand’s nut milks – in flavours such as matcha and black sesame – boast high levels of vitamins A and D.
+65 9178 8927
Sabaja Craft Brewery
New Yorker Alex Butler and two partners from Kosovo have joined forces to start the Sabaja Craft Brewery. The trio now sell their Balkan brews across Pristina and at their bar by the city’s football stadium.
Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen
Morristown, New Jersey
Housed in a 1917 mansion, Jockey Hollow is worth the trip from New York for its marble interior and central staircase alone. Restaurateur Chris Cannon has brought his experience from the Big Apple, where he has backed mostly Italian-influenced restaurants.
His New Jersey outpost features walls dotted with contemporary art and original features enhanced by midcentury chairs in the top floor fine-dining area and wooden panelling in the ground-floor oyster bar. The menu is fresh and seasonal and Cannon also has a stake in an oyster farm. So prop yourself at the bar and tuck into a burger and an old fashioned from the ample cocktail menu; alternatively sample the grilled cuttlefish or sweetbread saltimbocca upstairs.
This February, Nagoya-born Taro Yamamoto opened his third small restaurant in the Japanese capital. Mimet in Tomigaya is a 15-minute walk from his two busy bistros, Aruru and Urura. From its location in a renovated two-storey house, Yamamoto’s talented team runs an all-day service.
Inside the 40-year-old building you can expect a great breakfast; itself a rare service in Tokyo’s café scene. Think thick Japanese-style toast, homemade preserves, boiled eggs and beans from Aalto Coffee in Tokushima. Upstairs, the wonders continue in a shop run by Yamamoto’s wife Ikumi, who sells Nambu tekki ironware, clothes and a delicate select of handsome homeware from Japan and France.
Les Très Particulier
When Morgane Rousseau left Paris for the Caribbean, she gave the keys of the magnificent Hotel Particulier in Montmartre to her 26-year-old son Oscar Comtet (pictured), who has since busied himself improving the hotel’s offerings. He began by keeping chickens for fresh eggs and black bees for honey, adding flavour to a menu that is now served up at dinner from Wednesdays to Saturdays as well as brunches throughout the weekend.
Most recently, he opened Le Très Particulier cocktail bar in the basement. Try the L’Attrape-Cœurs or Le Malaparte cocktails in the garden designed by architect Louis Benech. And if it’s too crowded, hotel guests can try pastis and pétanque at the club next door.
Two years after his first coffee- stand opening, Tokyo-born Daisuke Matsushima (pictured)opened a permanent café in Shibuya’s charming Nishihara neighbourhood. After renovating the first floor of the 40-year-old building, he paired a 1920s table with made-to-order fixtures and vintage wooden floors.
Inside, vinyl and cassettes are played as an espresso machine processing beans from Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters whirrs away and customers chat on the terrace under a bonsai-like cherry tree.
“Serving tasty coffee is a given and all the aromatic notes are important,” says Matsushima. “But, for me, coffee is a means for people to get together.”
Spaghetti con vongole e tartufo
Erba Brusca, Milan
Set on one of Milan’s canals, Erba Brusca is run by American chef Alice Delcourt, whose previous positions include a stint at London’s River Café. A mainstay of her menu is pasta with clams, truffles and wild sorrel. “It’s a variant on mare e monti (sea and mountains) dishes found in Italy,” she says. “Truffles provide an earthy flavour and sorrel has a lemony citrus taste.”
Clams are cooked in olive oil with garlic, lemon rind, parsley, chilli pepper and half a glass of white wine. Before serving, the cooked spaghetti – she uses Pasta Mancini from the Marche – is mixed in the pan then topped with shaved black truffle and sorrel sourced from her restaurant’s vegetable garden.
Since 2014, Singaporean couple Kenneth Seah and Delphine Liau have been welcoming patrons to their Japanese cake-and-homeware shop at the Singapore School of the Arts. “We wanted somewhere accessible but not overcrowded – a sanctuary for a quick getaway,” says Liau of the unorthodox location that is hidden from sight from the main road.
Most of Kki’s regulars have followed the brand from its former berth on Ann Siang Hill. On the shelves, highlights include Tomo ceramic plates from local producer James Teo and minimalist teapots sourced by the couple during their trips to Japan. The use of maple for the interior also makes Kki a warm and homely place to savour a homemade mousse cakes with a Japanese tea.
Gosnells London Mead
Having witnessed the rise of London’s craft-beer scene, Tom Gosnell decided that the time was right to reinvent a long-forgotten tipple: mead. Based in Peckham, Gosnells London Mead is made from Spanish orange-blossom honey, water and yeast.
Currently producing an average of 5,000 bottles a month, the company’s visual identity, label and premises are designed by architect Chris Wong.
Nutrifresco Fish Supplies
Originally a biochemist, Pedro Bastos manages a daily delivery of up to five tonnes of the most sought-after Portuguese seafood to 120 of the country’s top restaurants and hotels. Hailing from a family of fishmongers, Bastos takes pride in bringing the best of the Iberian nation’s seafood to hungry customers.
Why does the industry interest you?
There’s an emotional connection but it’s also a challenge. Fish auctions are like a game of poker. Getting the best seafood to a chef who’ll make a work of art out of it is very exciting.
How many species do you work with?
There are 190 species in Portuguese waters; we work with up to 95 per cent of them, from sardines to the rarities such as trevally and violet shrimp.
What’s so special about Portuguese fish?
The variety is unbelievable. Plus the flavour; the fish have a good diet. We still have an artisanal fleet and when seafood arrives it’s very fresh. I get chefs thanking me, saying, “Pedro, this fish still smells like the ocean.”