squaremeal.co.uk | 7
utumn is always a bumper time for restaurant
launches and the 35 most notable newcomers
reviewed in our new openings pages (pp.46-66)
show that the scene is in the rudest of health.
In fact, a recent study showed that Brits spend
a whopping 25% of their income on eating out.
Throw in lengthy waiting lists for tables the moment
booking lines go live at the likes of Sexy Fish, and it's easy
to see why operators from abroad must think that a site in
London is a licence to print money. In this issue alone, we have
reviews of Smith Wollensky and Hotel Chantelle (p.62), both
from the USA; Estiatorio Milos (p.60), which arrives by way
of the US, Greece and Canada; and Casa Cruz, from a Buenos Aires-based restaurateur (p.56).
But gone are the days when we would unquestioningly accept these imports with gratitude;
we Londoners are now the most sophisticated diners in the world. The summertime op of
Le Chabanais proved that to prosper here, operators from overseas need to o er something
that we can't produce ourselves. Indeed, as Calabria native Francesco Mazzei points out in our
interview ahead of the relaunch of Sartoria (p.68), the best Italian food in London now is being
cooked by British chefs such as Jacob Kenedy at Vico (p.58), while Kent-born Allan Pickett is a
dab hand at turning out comme il faut French food at Piquet (p.60).
And speaking of French food, even Parisian chefs now admit that London is the restaurant
capital of Europe (p.76). Whether it's the brothers behind Les 110 de Taillevent, opening as we go
to press, or the husband-and-wife team behind Frenchie, due in January, if you want to eat the
best French food London is the place to do it. Bon appétit.
Amy Grier is a freelance
food and lifestyle
journalist whose work
has appeared in Time
Out, Women's Health,
Stylist, Sunday Times Travel and Waitrose
Kitchen. She can be found tweeting
@amygrier, and in her spare time
endeavours to � nd new ways to make
the nickname 'A.A. Grier' stick.
Favourite winter market? Maltby Street.
Ultimate Christmassy spot in London? By the
giant Christmas tree next to the ice rink at
Somerset House, cheeks red from skating.
Best way to bulk up for colder months?
Cheese, and lots of it.
Will writes about beer,
food and travel for
the Financial Times,
Daily Telegraph and
Washington Post. He contributes a monthly
beer column to the Independent Magazine,
and is editor of beer app Craft Beer London
and creator of beer week London Beer City.
Favourite winter market? Brockley Market
is my favourite in all seasons.
Ultimate Christmassy spot in London? The
Royal Oak in Borough: cosy, old-fashioned
and great beers.
Best way to bulk up? Eat lots of cassoulet.
Julie Sheppard is a
food, drink and travel
writer for publications
including the Sunday
Times, Time Out and
Waitrose Food Illustrated. As contributing
editor to Square Meal she scours the wine
world for brilliant bottles and also likes
a decent cup of tea (with cake, if you insist).
Favourite winter market? Birmingham (my
home town) hosts the biggest German
Christmas market in the country.
Ultimate Christmassy spot in London? Carols
at St Martins in the Field, then a stroll up
Regent Street at night under the twinkly
Best way to bulk up? Stew! Preferably beef,
and with big fat dumplings.
PUBLISHERS Mark de Wesselow, Simon White EDITORIAL Tel: 020 7840 6295
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A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations. We believe our facts are correct at the time of going to press, although inevitably information changes,
which means care must be exercised. Reviews are subjective. Neither Monomax Ltd nor its agents or employees can accept liability for omissions or
inaccuracies. No material can be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher. © Monomax Ltd October 2015. ISSN 977-1369264-01-3-46
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Welcome to Square Meal
Ben McCormack, editor
restaurants � food
rancesco Mazzei's name is known to
thousands of people who will never
eat in his restaurants but have tasted
his food nonetheless. Not because
they've made a recipe from one of his
cookbooks (his rst, Mezzogiorno, isn't
out until next month) or dined at L'Anima,
the bluechip City Italian where he was chef
patron until earlier this year. Nor is it because
they're looking forward to his arrival at
Sartoria, the Savile Row restaurant owned
by D�D London that Mazzei is set to revive
when it reopens in November.
No, they know Mazzei's name because
it's there on the menu at Pizza Express, right
above the Calabrese pizza that he created
for the omnipresent chain six years ago,
introducing the British high street to what has
now become the most famous ingredient
of his native Calabria: the spicy, spreadable
sausage called 'nduja.
After seven years cooking southern Italian food in the City,
chef Francesco Mazzei's aim is to bring the best food from
all over his native Italy to his new home on Savile Row
WORDS BEN MCCORMACK
"In Calabria they call me 'King 'Nduja',"
Mazzei laughs. "They treat me like a superstar:
every time I go home I'm on Rai TV. That pizza
has gone all around the world and the guys
who make the 'nduja do very well from it, it
gives jobs to 30 or 40 families. It's the best
compliment, not necessarily for a chef, but
for a person, when you do something good
and you really get something back which is
not money, it's not material - it's love and
respect. I think there is nothing better in life."
This pride in the best Italian ingredients
will continue at Sartoria. "The thing we keep
forgetting is how great, how simple, but at
the same time how sophisticated Italian
cuisine is. Italians don't complicate their lives
by putting things on the plate to look pretty.
We concentrate more on the ingredients.
We get crazy about ingredients, travelling
miles and miles to nd the right tomato or
the right extra virgin olive oil."
While Mazzei made his name introducing
the ingredients of southern Italy to British
palates, the menu at Sartoria will oer food
from all over the country. "We'll do a nice
risotto, we'll do the best tortelli, we'll do the
best Milanese. I want people to come back
for that Milanese. They're going to trust
Sartoria and me for the quality of ingredients
rather than the presentation. We'll do the
best food that Italy can oer."
Part of that oering will be breakfast. "When
you think about Italian breakfasts, you think
there's not much around, which is not true.
If you go to southern Italy, you've got all this
Spanish and Moorish inuence: it's a bit like
a Turkish breakfast. I'm doing a dish of 'nduja
and three dierent eggs, which is called
'eggs purgatorio'. It's quite spicy. It's a dish my
grandmother used to have after she'd been
working in the garden for a few hours and
she needed some proper food."
There'll also be 'The Italian Job', basically a
take on a full English with Italian ingredients,
as well as pastries and cold meats. And
of course, no Italian breakfast is complete
"ITALIANS DON'T COMPLICATE THEIR LIVES BY PUTTING THINGS
ON THE PLATE TO LOOK PRETTY OR TO LOOK AMAZING. WE
CONCENTRATE MORE ON THE INGREDIENTS"
Mazzei's beef tartare
above PHOTOS: LYDIA EVANS, YUKI SUGUIRA
restaurants � food
squaremeal.co.uk | 77
76 | squaremeal.co.uk
ocktail hour in Café Royal,
Piccadilly. Sitting opposite me
are two of the three Gardinier
brothers, Laurent and Thierry,
the French Corbin and King fresh
o the Eurostar to oversee the
opening of Les 110 de Taillevent in the capital;
their rst foray onto British soil.
It's fair to say they've got form. The
Gardinier family have owned two Michelinstarred
Le Taillevent, one of the most iconic
restaurants in Paris, since 2011, opening a
brasserie across the road the following year -
the rst Les 110 de Taillevent, named for the
remarkable number of wines available to buy
by the glass, as well as the bottle.
The celebrated London opening on 21
October signals more than just a hefty boost
to the West End's wine economy, sited as it is
on Cavendish Square, close to Oxford Circus.
The arrival of two Gardiniers (middle brother
Stéphane looks after other family ventures)
marks a sea change in the global food scene,
with London further cementing its position
as the gastronomic capital of Europe.
"When you are looking for a big foodie city
in Europe the obvious answer is London,"
says youngest Gardinier sibling Laurent,
explaining why they chose our city, despite
the age-old culinary rivalry. "Let's stop this
stupid war and competition between London
and Paris. There are great chefs and great
restaurants on both sides. We [the French]
don't have anything to teach the English.
There is room for us here in London." A bistro
serving 110 of the best wines in the world by
the glass? Damn right there's room.
The brothers go on to tell me that 110
will have its own cellar, just as their French
venues do, but this one will also carry a host
of British wines, as well as unique bottles
from other world regions not found in their
establishments in Paris.
"It's about taking inspiration from the
country you nd yourself in. We will do the
same with the food - modern interpretations
of classic French dishes, with British seasonal
produce," explains Thierry. "In London, we
will also be open for breakfast, pairing the
dishes on the menu with a selection of hot
and cold beverages. Paris doesn't really have
a breakfast scene, but here it's huge, so it's a
good opportunity to try something di erent."
There are a few reasons why so many French
restaurateurs, bar owners and chefs are
nding such success this side of the channel:
one being emerging di erences between
diners and the establishments they frequent.
There's a food revolution afoot: as leading French restaurateurs come and set
up shop on this side of the channel, Square Meal investigates how London has
managed to take the crown as the gastronomic capital of Europe WORDS AMY GRIER
"WHEN YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A BIG FOODIE CITY
IN EUROPE THE OBVIOUS ANSWER IS LONDON"
Angus beef �llet with
baby gem lettuce at Céleste