From Singaporean hawker food in New York and Sweden’s largest organic supermarket to woodfire-grilled offerings and a new batch of Aussie gin, we survey the food world’s most delectable developments.
Sweden is good and ready for a decent farm-to-basket shop and it’s unsurprising that Paradiset has put down roots in the bohemian neighbourhood of Södermalm, Stockholm. It’s here that Henrik Strinning and Johannes Cullberg have opened Sweden’s largest organic supermarket. Staff are well versed in which farms supply the milk (Blåklint, south of the capital, is one of the dairies) and the story behind Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bars (beans harvested by Ghanians on decent wages). In the vegetable aisles, colourful carrots, strawberries and beetroots sit alongside French artichokes and Thai tamarind.
“You don’t need a PhD in chemistry to understand the labels; there’s nothing bad in our products,” says Strinning. His and Cullberg’s mission is noble but not modest: they aim to open three shops per year across the country over the next two years.
Three top Paradiset products:
Light pale ale with fruity notes by Pang Pang, a microbrewery in the Stockholm suburb Hökarängen.
Bars by Amsterdam chocolate maker Tony’s Chocoloney come in cherry or meringue flavours.
Sourdough loaf by Saltå Kvarn, a flour mill and bakery in Järna, just outside Stockholm.
Claus Meyer, co-founder of Noma, is taking on New York. Not content with opening a fine-dining restaurant in Bolivia, setting up a series of Danish bakeries that grind their own flour or selling his own product lines and cookbooks, he is overseeing the line-up of food pavilions in Grand Central Station from spring 2016.
Is the Grand Central project part of an intentional career shift?
Not at all. I had plenty going on in my life but I had a special invitation and my family were very keen to live in New York for a couple of years.
What will be on offer?
A fine-dining restaurant, a deli, a café, an open-faced-sandwich outlet, a bar serving Nordic spirits and a beer and food hall.
Where will the food be from?
We’re identifying farmers and suppliers at the moment; this will be at the heart of it. Less than 2 per cent of ingredients will be imported. We’ve installed a big bakery behind the station walls and are inviting Copenhagen Roaster so we can roast the coffee ourselves.
How do you keep on top of your projects?
I have learnt to delegate. I like to embark on new adventures with good people around me. I realise I’m not the best-qualified person to do everything I want to do so I find the people who are.
Despite being in the West Village, Chomp Chomp has a casual Lower East Side feel. It serves what it calls “Singaporean hawker food” and you’ll do well to order one of chef Simpson Wong’s sharing plates: the cereal-crusted prawns and slow-cooked lamb shank are winners. Wash it down with a Tiger beer or a cocktail while admiring the antique wooden doors that were salvaged from a Chinese temple.
Strengthened with aluminium oxide, Figgjo’s porcelain is crafted to withstand high temperatures and the most demanding aspects of cooking. From its factory outside Stavanger, the Norwegian company supplies high-quality, impeccably designed pieces for professional kitchens. Customers can choose to have the trays, plates and cups glazed with the brand’s signature Skygge pattern to add a dash of colour to the sleek Nordic lines.
Much like the timber furnishings of Firedoor’s interiors, the restaurant’s menu is simple and focused. Both the space and the food centre on a woodfire grill, which has drawn crowds since the business launched in May. Driven by chef Lennox Hastie, offerings revolve around seasonal produce. Diners can expect turnips, cauliflower and parsnips roasted alongside Angus beef ribs dry-aged for 150 days.
Hastie says the key to his dishes is the wood, the smoky embers of which are changed to match each meal. “There are layers of complexity to grilling and the flavour from the wood is a big factor. It depends on the age of the tree and where it grew; you’d be surprised how much the flavour can vary.”
Australian chef Bill Granger continues to expand his successful restaurant empire with a third London location just north of King’s Cross St Pancras. Over the years Granger has created a name for himself with zesty, health-conscious cuisine that pairs farm-fresh produce with original flavour combinations. His legacy looks set to be cemented with this bright and buoyant all-day dining space that’s perfectly situated for a pre- or post-commute bite.
Keen readers may recognise the label on this Yarra Valley tipple but the navy-strength batch of Four Pillars gin is a new addition to the Australian distiller’s output. Bottled this March, the clear elixir and just-so branding belie a complex botanical medley of finger limes, pine needles and a fleeting hint of turmeric. Steady how you go though: it’s stern stuff at nearly 60 per cent alcohol by volume.
Earlier this year barbecue maestro David Neinstein moved in to a second location, Barque Butcher Bar, a few doors down from his flagship Barque Smokehouse in Toronto’s Roncesvalles Avenue. The new outpost sells fine cuts by day and drinks by night. “The idea is to share knowledge about how to smoke meat and barbecue,” says Neinstein.
There’s a cabinet filled with herbs and spices to make your own rubs while meats sourced from nearby farms are vacuum-packed and displayed in refrigerators. In the evening bar stools are dragged out and wooden slabs are put on fridge tops to form a bar. There is wine, beer and saké to wash down plates of chorizo ribs, corn nuts and venison tartare.
It may seem an adventurous pairing but José Pizarro’s flesh anchovies and blue cheese match each other in depth of flavour. Coupled with grilled lettuce, the dish has an unmistakable zing. The moreish creation is a light lunch option for the hungry hordes who are sure to converge on the chef’s new outpost in Broadgate Circle in London.
Joining tapas bar José and the more formal Pizarro, José Pizarro’s third Spanish restaurant in the capital draws on the chef’s experience in everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to Brindisa delicatessen. “My cuisine is simple but simple does not mean easy,” he says. “When I enjoy cooking, my customers enjoy it too.”