Meatopia 2014 – London, UK

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Meatopia returned to London for the second time this weekend, this time spread over 2 days, allowing double the dishes and calming down the obscene queues from last year. For those who aren’t aware of what Meatopia is, here’s a quick spiel – it was founded by one of my food heroes, Josh Ozersky, a writer, author, editor and general meat fiend based in New York, approximately a decade ago. Having followed his work through magazines like Vice and Esquire, as well as his own channel Ozersky.tv, I am delighted that his events have now become a fixture in London.

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Byron Hamburgers – The Real Shady preview

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Just a quick review. I managed to snag a ticket to a preview of Byron’s latest special – if you  are a burger fan and haven’t signed up to the ‘Burger Club’ yet, I suggest you go do that now. Now they have chef and burger fanatic Fred Smith (of Admiral Codrington fame) creating for them, the specials are usually pretty cool.

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Duck and Waffle

Heron Tower was completed in 2011, and dominates the Bishopsgate skyline along with St Mary’s Axe, aka The Gherkin. After gawking at the AMAZING fish tank in the lobby for a few minutes, we snuck into the small entrance to the side and shot up to the 40th floor (2 above the swanky Sushi Samba) in the outward facing glass lift, so fast our ears popped repeatedly.

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Chilango

I used to work in a pretty culinary-forsaken corner of London called Holloway. Apart from the few excellent – and cheap – Turkish restaurants and bakeries, it was a sea of scary looking greasy spoon caffs. Because of this (and the generally grotty feeling after eating kebabs and greasy gozleme every day) I often found myself trekking down to Upper Street in Angel for something different.

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Pitt Cue Co.

Just 15 years ago, I would have declared Brits the kings of queuing. I remember waiting for a bus to school in the morning, and a good 50 strong single file of commuters quietly snaking down the road. Nowadays, it’s more like a rugby scrum trying to board, God have mercy on people trying to disembark. In the past few years, queuing has gone through a renaissance, thanks to trendy no reservations restaurants luring hipsters in like 2-4-1 skinny jeans.

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Viet Grill

What a miserable day it is. It was raining when I went to bed, raining when I woke up and was still raining when it got to lunch time. Normally in these circumstances, it would mean a trip up to the staff canteen for a bland sandwich / miniscule “subsidised” [insert protein] and [insert carb] dish. The breakfasts they serve are great, but the lunches are so depressing.

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St John Bread & Wine

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As is almost universal for everyone in London as we enter December, 95% of my calendar inevitably gives way to a slew of Christmas lunches with various teams and clients. It is for this very reason that I have been a bit quiet on the review front for the past week – it’s hard to rate restaurants when everything is pre-ordered and pre-paid for, no idea what we’ve ordered or what has been paid.

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City Càphê

Rave reviews for City Càphê populate pretty much every restaurant listings website there is. Not so many years ago, to get a steaming bowl of pho you had to go to Kingsland Road – home of London’s most famous collection of Vietnamese restaurants. It seems now though, that the rest of the city is starting to realise how brilliant a cuisine it is, with restaurants popping up all over the place. If you have never tried Vietnamese food, think Chinese food but with less oil, stacks of herbs, and a French influence.

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Scarlet Dot

Only time for a quick lunch today, so somewhere nearby was required. The trend with most of the restaurants in Spitalfields Market is during weekday lunchtimes, a market-style stall is set up just ouside serving takeaway lunches around the £5-£7 range, usually peddling a couple of compacted versions of dishes served in the restaurant. Today, Scarlet Dot – I had no idea the ‘Dot’ was noteworthy until seeing it on Urbanspoon – caught my attention.

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