At Hutten we strive to be the best: we want to have the best world kitchen. So in daily life we always seek for inspiration. And sometimes we seek it abroad. With a bit of team building and a lot of inspiration in mind, I was given the task of organizing a trip to London. After all I am English and London was my home for many years. So here's what Bas, Peter, Frank and me experienced last weekend in the capital of the United Kingdom.
I wanted to create an edge to the trip, so I used the web app Air BNB and I booked a Yurt. This was a surprise for Bas, Peter and Frank. The Yurt is located in Highgate, a very leafy suburb of London. The Yurt experience was exactly as I imagined, very confrontable. Standing outside drinking coffee in the good weather was very nice, you could also say, we got to know one another very well.
Lunch, lunch and more lunch
Day one we went into central London, we visited Pret à Manger, Costa, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. We lunched in Pret, where we took some sandwiches and quinoa pots, juices and cakes. We tried each others food, nice simple lunch food, fresh, well balanced. Perfect for a lunch for four hungry travelers. We visited Fortnum and Mason, a concept called 'Coffee, nuts and chocolate', Wasabi, Muriel's Kitchen, Joe and the Juice and Herman ze German. After that we went into an English pub and enjoyed a pint of Real Ale, stood in the sunshine and just watched the world go by.
In the evening we made our way to 'Taste London'. It follows the same format as 'Taste Amsterdam' but has much more focus on food and drinks. We started with a micro brewed pint of Hoppy beer, this got us in the mood. After that it was single malts from Balvenie. Frank and Peter tasted Cider for the first time. Mojito's, Indian pale ale beer, alcoholic ice tea from Harry Brampton's, we drank so much… We ate Thai scotch eggs from Roux at Parliament Square, pork buns from Gordon Ramseys boat restaurant The Narrow. The highlight of the trip was the stand from Jamie Oliver. His stand was the busiest and the most interesting and after tasting his dishes certainly the best food of the whole show.
Ottolenghi for breakfast
Friday morning we woke up to beautiful sunshine. We drank coffee in the garden to ease the hangover, before we departed for Spitalfields financial district. We had breakfast at Ottolenghi, a very cool original concept, a healthy food display with cakes and salads. We sat down in a very nice setting and enjoyed a breakfast. Myself and Bas had shashuka, which is a spiced baked egg dish with charcoal grilled bread, the dish was perfect. Frank had smoked salmon and scrambled egg and Peter had the homemade lime muesli. It was absolutely perfect, exactly as you would expect from Ottolenghi.
Jamie in the evening
For lunch we walked around Harrods and inspected the food courts, an array of hams and foods from around the world, whiskeys for three thousand euros, fine wines. In the afternoon we walked around Soho, we looked at Nando's, Pizza Express, Wasabi again, Bar Italia, Café Nero and many independent food concepts. We walked to Covent Garden, where we looked at menus, we enjoyed an opera singer and drank a bottle of wine. In the evening we visited Jamie Oliver's new restaurant Baracoa in St Paul's. This was based on our experience of the previous night. The whole restaurant is based on the magnificent views of St Paul's cathedral, the main theme is BBQ and high quality meats and vegetables.The restaurant is above a Jamie's butchers shop which sells quality meat. They sell all the cuts and breeds from the restaurant menu.
London is a vibrant trendy place, fast moving, not the for faint hearted. It has changed significantly since my time. The food is certainly been simplified, they have ended the obsession with molecular food and moved to very simple dishes, executed very well. High quality beef, lamb and pork, grilled simply and served with the best sauces and vegetable. I am very comfortable with this change, its allows the ingredients to speak for themselves and pure food is celebrated.