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ow that our website covers 11,500 restaurants

throughout the UK, it's rather lost in the mists

of time that Square Meal is so called because it

began as a restaurant guide to the Square Mile.

At that time, 1990, anything with an EC postcode

was neglected by nearly every restaurant critic

- a situation that's barely imaginable now.

As we go to press, the re-opened Broadgate Circle is set to

become a destination not only for the City, but all of London,

as top Spanish chef José Pizarro opens his third restaurant

in the capital and Michelin-starred Yauatcha its second -

alongside a host of other highly polished operators (p.52).

In Square Meal's 25 years of life, the axis of eating out has shifted ever-further east: not just

to the City, but to the creative hotbeds of Shoreditch, Dalston and their neighbours. Nowhere

is this more visible than in the vital street food and pop-up scene. Happily, many successful

pop-ups do become permanent; turn to our Asian restaurant feature (p.56) to discover

some of the most vibrant places to visit this spring, whether in a car park or complete with

a roof. Our Best New Restaurant, Kurobuta (p.40), is a shining example of a pop-up gone

permanent - albeit one located in Chelsea, not Clapton.

And here we are in 2015 with something else unimaginable in 1990: London is now the

destination where the most celebrated French restaurants want to launch, including aboutto-open

hotspot Le Chabanais (see Restaurant News, p.10). This city has well and truly stolen

Paris's crown as the eating-out capital of Europe - if not the world: something that has been

well worth Square Meal's 25-year wait.



Victoria Stewart is a

freelance food and

travel writer living in

London, whose work

has appeared in the Evening Standard,

Foodism, Escapism and Unmapped, among

others. She is also the blogger behind

See Asian Invasion, p.56.

Favourite spring ingredient? Radishes -

preferably dipped in lemony mayonnaise.

Top spot for alfresco dining/drinking? The pub

garden of Notting Hill's Windsor Castle.

All time best box-set? I still enjoy watching

Black Books and Green Wing!



Richard Woodard has

been writing about

wine and spirits since

2000. He is a regular

contributor to a wide range of drinks

magazines and websites, and is currently

launching, a new

website devoted to Scotch whisky.

See Strictly Spicy, p.84.

Favourite spring ingredient? Asparagus and

chicory. The latter is irresistible in a salad

with pear and Roquefort.

Top spot for alfresco dining/drinking? Swan

Bar at the Globe Theatre on Bankside.

All time best box-set? The West Wing (a

marathon) and Phoenix Nights (a sprint).


Katie Wyartt is a

Sussex-based freelance

editor with more than

15 years' experience in

the fashion and luxury

goods sectors. She has contributed to

publications such as Esquire, Times Luxx

and Brummell; clients have included

Gra� Diamonds and Moët & Chandon.

See Luxury Special, p.127.

Favourite spring ingredient? Broad beans,

samphire - and Easter eggs, of course!

Top spot for alfresco dining/drinking?

Anywhere overlooking the South Downs.

All time best box-set? I think Better Call Saul

is, dare I say it, better than Breaking Bad.

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 April 2015. ISSN 977-1369264-01-3-43

For reviews of 11,500 bars and restaurants all your events:


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Welcome to Square Meal

Ben McCormack, editor

restaurants � food

2 | | 3

to London. What prompted a move to a

country that most of the world still thought

of as serving some of the worst food in

Europe? 'I just wanted to see something else,'

Pizarro says. 'The great thing about being a

chef is that, if you have the technique, you

can work anywhere in the world. A friend told

me there weren't many Spanish chefs in the

UK and that there was a gap in the market. So

I said, "I'll be with you in a month".'

Pizarro took a job as a sous chef at Gaudi in

Clerkenwell, at that time the most innovative

Spanish restaurant in London. But while

innovation may have been the name of the

game in Spain, in the UK, attitudes to Spanish

food were still shaped by holidays on the

Costas. Pizarro has been on a mission to

change that perception ever since.


osé Pizarro talks about the

importance of other people more

than any chef I have ever met. He has

open kitchens because he thinks it's

important that his customers can see

their food being prepared by people

who enjoy their work. And he's about to open

a new restaurant in the City so he can allow

his trusted team of chefs to take on new

challenges - 'otherwise I will lose them'.

This emphasis on the human aspect of

cooking is Œtting for a chef most famous for

the shareable nature of his food. 'The most

important thing in life is to spend quality time

together,' Pizarro says, 'and there is nothing

better for that than being around food.'

Pizarro was born in 1971 in Talaván, a small

village in Extremadura in western Spain, a

region the chef makes sound like some sort of

earthly paradise. 'We have almost everything

in Extremadura. There is so much land,

and the vegetables are incredible. We have

amazing lamb and game. There are very good

restaurants and this year the city of Cáceres

has been named Spain's gastronomy capital.'

But this isn't the usual story of a chef who

started cooking because he was inspired by

the abundance of produce growing around

him. True, Pizarro's dad was a farmer and it

was young José's job to help him on the farm,

but the kitchen was the undisputed domain

of his mother and grandmother.

It was not until he was training to become

a dental technician that he began to cook. 'I

did very well in my studies and while I was

looking for a job, I started doing a cookery

course - and I loved it. A chef from Fonda San

Juan restaurant in Cáceres asked if I'd like to

do some work for him. I never went back to

being a dental technician.'

Moving to London

It was a move to Madrid that gave Pizarro

his big break, working for Julio Reoyo at

Mesón Doña Filo. 'I went to a hotel restaurant

because I needed to know big numbers -

how to serve 1,000 people in one day. And

Julio Reoyo was a very good mentor. He

taught me so much and introduced me to so

many people, people like Ferran Adrià and

Juan Mari Arzak.'

Spain in the late 1990s was emerging as a

gastronomic force to be reckoned with - and

yet in 1998, Pizarro upped sticks and moved Olé After wowing

Bermondsey with

his innovative

Spanish cuisine,

José Pizarro is

now set to take

the City by storm.

The chef reveals all

about his new

agship launch




Clockwise from left: a dish of milk-fed leg of Castilian lamb; woodpanelled

Pizarro on Bermondsey Street; José prepares tapas


2 |

restaurants � bars | 3

bars � drink

Ping! New food o�er alert! Over

the coming weeks, if you choose

to join a restaurant queue in, let's

say, Soho, Shoreditch or Chelsea,

you're in with a chance of being

transported to Japan, China,

Taiwan or South Korea. Actually, there's a

high probability that you could also ‚nd

yourself in Thailand, Vietnam or Malaysia,

too, with stop-o�s in Spain and India.

Urgent feasting

If you're a Londoner with your wits about

you and eyes on the restaurant scene, you'll

know that this city is chock-a-block with new

restaurants conjuring up heady combinations

of food inspired by the southern and eastern

parts of Asia. If you're an eater on the move,

you'll have struck o� Kimchinary's Korean

There's a new and exciting breed of restaurant taking over the capital's streets,

adding a touch of the west to cuisines from the east, and introducing London's

diners to a whole raft of unfamiliar �avours and ingredients WORDS VICTORIA STEWART


burritos, Hanoi Kitchen's banh mis and some

of Busan BBQ's burgers from your must-try

list when you last visited Street Feast.

Of course, if you're a TwEATer you'll

have got wind of the fact that the Young

British Foodie-award-winning street food

team @bao_london has just opened its

own restaurant, Bao, on Lexington Street

in Soho, with backing from Michelin-starred

chef Karam Sethi.

Not tried Taiwanese-style xiao long bao

yet? Then dip into Bó Drake on Greek Street,

which opened in February, serving baos,

kimchee quesadillas and other eastern

Asian/Mexican dishes. Then

there's Judy Joo's Amerikorean

fare at Jinjuu in Kingly Street, or

Wagyu beef sliders and sweet

potato and soba-ko fries at

Kurobuta on the King's Road.

And since we're naming

restaurants to visit ASAP, has





Above: summer rolls from Hanoi Kitchen. Opposite page, from left to right: tonkotsu

ramen at Bone Daddies, and its Kensington branch; Som Saa chef Andy Oliver; a Thai

barbecue feast from Smoking Goat; the Bao team and one of their Taiwanese buns


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