My Day on a Plate: London
4.2 min read
As a young lad in 1990, I moved to London to work at Waterside Inn and train under Michel Roux. I lived there for about three years before returning to Australia, but fast forward almost 30 years and I’m still in touch with my old boss who continues to connect me with other award-winning chefs. London has so much to offer in terms of dining experiences, here’s what a typical day looks like when I’m in town.
Finding the best cheese at Borough Market
Markets are always a great food experience when travelling because it’s an insight into local life. They’re filled with activity as shoppers bustle about and you get to be immersed in different sounds and smells.
I love to start my day with a walk around Borough Market in Southwark because it’s London’s oldest food market and has almost everything you could want. There are stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and veg, meat and fish, baked goods and wine, and you’ll find both local British produce and regional specialities from around the globe. One of my favourite market shops here is Neal’s Yard Dairy, a fromagerie that works with about 40 cheesemakers around the UK and Ireland to create the best range of matured cheeses.
A French-ish favourite in Covent Garden
Covent Garden is renowned for being London’s theatre district but it’s also an excellent dining precinct with lots of cafes and eateries. Balthazar, one of my favourite restaurants in New York, has a second brasserie in Covent Garden where they serve a French-inspired menu all day. For lunch you could have the Dover sole meunière with new potatoes, or the lobster spaghetti with blistered tomatoes, confit garlic, piment d’esplette and basil, but I can’t go pass the steak and frîtes.
Eco-friendly fine dining at Core
On my most recent trip to London, Michel Roux put me in touch with chef Clare Smyth and made a reservation for me at her two-Michelin-starred restaurant Core in Notting Hill. I had been wanting to eat here since it opened two years ago as she has an incredible reputation.
From 2012 until 2016 Clare was the Chef Patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay where she became the first and only female chef in the UK to run a restaurant with three Michelin stars. She is also on the judging panel for the Roux Scholarship, a program that gives young chefs in the UK the opportunity to boost their professional development.
Core is a stylish fine-dining restaurant that champions sustainable British produce.
You can choose to do a degustation but for dinner this time I opted to order à la carte. Some of the savoury dishes included ‘potato and roe’ with dulse beurre blanc, herring and trout roe, and duck and red grapes with thyme, honey and timut pepper.
For dessert, I ordered a couple of different plates, such as ‘core apple’ which is caramelised apple in the centre of an apple mousse and dipped in apple jelly, as well as the ‘core-teaser’ which is a take on the Malteser.
My favourite dish of the evening? They were all amazing but if I could only pick one to have again, it would be the lamb, hogget and mutton with celtuce (Chinese lettuce), and black cardamom.