White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller


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The hectic career of Stephen Crane, the chronicler of the undermined self.

Yet every now and again it is worth going upstairs to that soundtracked dove-grey dining room for the full fireworks of the course tasting menu. Scotto is a well-travelled chef, and throughout the menu there are hints to the stamps on his passport: palate-cleansing pine and lemon water that he created after a trip to Scandinavia ; smoky Espelette pepper from the Basque Country sprinkled on the butter to smooth over the steaming loaf of potato sourdough; Japanese yuzu giving a citrus kick to a brilliant dish of red prawn crudo with raspberry and caviar.

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He is also, it seems, a man who likes to play with flavours, pairing rose-cured salmon with foie gras, rhubarb and Bromley apple. And it works. Black cod in caramel miso with perilla-infused oil gives a satisfying umami hit; beef cheek with bone marrow and apple and date puree is both refined and rib-sticking; while pigeon is served with earthy beetroot, purple potato and a hazelnut crumb. Another Scotto invention, fizzy grapes that pop in your mouth to leave your tongue tingling, accompany a tangy Swedish cheese. Needless to say, it might be a push to finish the petits fours.

And then a big-hitting Pinot Noir from Ad Hoc Cruel Mistress in Western Australia , with a touch of spiciness and notes of berries, cherries and even leather from its eight-month fermentation. A multi-course menu that gets better with every dish. And with this new postcode comes a shift in tempo: whilst the original Frog in Hoxton is full of bearded hipsters and drum-and-bass beats, Adam Handling Chelsea is small and intimate, with herringbone parquet floors, open fireplaces and tasteful modern art on the walls. The menu whips through seasonal British delights: scallop ceviche with sour-sweet green tomato and crunchy kohlrabi, dainty butter-poached langoustine tails and soft veal sweetbreads with an absinthe-green pea and morel sauce.

Amongst the puddings, the standout was a plate of white chocolate ice cream , basil and tiny balls of pressed icy cucumber, sprinkled with sorrel granita at the table. It sounds bizarre, but the reality was a unique and mind-bogglingly delicious mix of flavours that doubled up as the perfect palate cleanser. Not for everyone, but Handling has to be applauded for his originality. Belmond have done a very clever thing by bringing in a big-shot name like Handling and a young, unpretentious team to support him.

With its roster of young-gun chef residencies, hugger-mugger wine bar P. Franco has quietly sent ripples — and then waves — through the London food scene since opening in a former Chinese takeaway in Clapton in And now that nod to the Far East has become a deeply reverential bow as they open a third outpost, Peg, deep in outlet-store-land near Hackney Central. While the dishes at P.

Franco and Bright might encompass pasta, Chinese noodles and hearty plates such as Dexter beef and horseradish, at Peg they have kicked off with a menu that pins a flag firmly in Japanese cooking by focusing on yakitori-style grills. The tiny corner space is more wine bar than restaurant , with high stools, tabletops made of recycled yogurt pots and a straightforward choice of dishes to share. The only fish grill is a juicy hunk of wild trout served with the kick of a chilli and blood orange relish.

Low-intervention wines and small producers get top billing here. Wines by the glass have the interesting addition of an orange variety alongside whites, reds and sparkling. But really everyone is here for that all-natural wine, with the staff delivering a steady stream of bottles filled from taps at the back of the room. This is somewhere to come and graze rather than gorge, and to sink a few bottles of biodynamic white from Burgundy. Our brand new London's Best Restaurants newsletter is sent every Friday lunchtime.

Sign up now. Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke are the odd couple of London dining. Clean-cut Boxer, with his rolled-up jeans and Belstaff jacket, could be the fourth member of the Klaxons; Clarke, with his tattoos and braided ginger beard, looks like he just stepped out of a Finnish metal band.

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Orasay, their third major venture together, is another big departure, and not just geographically. This new neighbourhood joint was named after Orosay, the tiny Outer Hebridean island that Boxer has holidayed on with his family since he was a child. Gorgeously textured Isle of Mull diver scallops, served on a shell, are on the umami side of sweet with pureed celeriac and earthy caramelised shiitake cubes.

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The textures and flavours are similarly pleasing in a cleanly flavoured beef and tuna tartare and a rich, crispy-topped brill fillet with a buttery sauce of leeks, purslane and tiny cockles. A Shorthorn rib, shared at the next table, is huge and food-envy-inducing. There are more than 40 wines on the back, with seven on rotation. No gimmicks, no fads — this is a neighbourhood restaurant for grown-ups, and all the better for it. By Toby Skinner.

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Now, the team have brought the hotspot to London, losing Lokanta meaning restaurant from the name and opening as just Yeni meaning, aptly, new on Beak Street in Soho. There are two floors, making the space pretty big in Soho terms. The basic premise is refined Middle Eastern flavours. Things kick off with an amuse bouche — a dumpling, filled with aubergine and served in a rich, burnt orange broth is flavourful and, if anything, makes you hungrier — which is a good thing. Then follows the bread: warm, freshly made sourdough with smoked butter.

So things are already looking good. We tried the baked feta: served with a glazed honey on top that made a satisfying, creme-brulee style crust on a bed of sauteed samphire, and the snow pea salad — the chilli kick and crunch from the apple were brilliantly refreshing next to the rich, creaminess of the cheese.

For mains, the vine leaves are roasted and filled with springy, salty halloumi, chickpeas and labneh, making for a much lighter supper than you might expect in a Turkish restaurant. The stand out, though, is the roasted beef ribs — pulled, melt-in-the-mouth beef with a deep, meaty flavour sitting on a hunk of sourdough that has become gloriously soggy with the juices. We were told on arrival that Civan Er had selected three wines from the extensive list that matched the menu we were choosing from brilliantly, one Italian white wine, an orange wine and a Greek red wine.

We opted for the white Ribolla Gialla Stocco Italian: it was soft, floral and dry. The real extravagance arrives by the bucketload on the plate. It turns out that the other dishes are pretty wonderful, too — starting with the sharing bites: a mouthful of oozing Welsh rarebit is topped with pickled onions take our advice: if there are two of you, double up ; ham and pig-jowl croquettes are packed with flavour and complemented by piccalilli; and the bread with soft-whipped whey butter is a simple crowd-pleaser.

It would be remiss for you not to order the beef for main, but other highlights include cod with fennel and artichoke and Iberico presa pork with leek and apple. Along with the potatoes, a side dish of broccoli and smoked yogurt is a real winner. This mini Mayfair joint is still top dollar, and these days you might even be able to snap up a table.

Plus, it has some of the most genuinely friendly service in the business. And here he has liberally spread purple velvet and gold, intricate embossed details, smoked mirrors and more prancing peacocks than Paris Fashion Week. Well, the chef is Tony Fleming, who came here from Angler at South Place Hotel, where he won a Michelin star for his impeccable seafood, preaching mainly to an expense-account congregation.

And puddings are inventive takes on reassuring Brit classics, such as rhubarb and custard with ginger-spiked crumbs, and apple mille-feuille with brown-butter ice cream. Make time for a drink at the bar before heading up to your table. The team have delved deep into the cocktail almanacs for some recipes, and made their own mead for the Diligence, which is mixed with Marsala. In the restaurant, there's a strong list with several half bottles and Coravin wines by the glass. And, of course, that Champagne trolley. Ever-so-slightly ridiculous but fun and quite a grand-occasion place — though the set lunch is a rather good deal.

By Rick Jordan. Arboreal connoisseurs will doubtless be able to sniff the air and identify English oak or cedar. Lemon sole can be insipid, but here is a humdinger, flaky and sticky and fresh, accompanied by a simple bowl of smoked potatoes. There are some unusual but memorable combinations such as a bowl of cockles in chicken-liver sauce, and meaty oysters fire-roasted with seaweed — another highlight is spider crab, cabbage and fennel, the liquoricy notes riffing well against the crab meat.


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And toast the chef with a salty-fresh laverbread Martini, made from Welsh seaweed. Brat is no upstart but an accomplished, full-bodied restaurant in the newly resurgent Shoreditch. You may spot faces such as Henry Holland here, but keep your eyes on the turbot. Read about more of our favourite restaurants in Shoreditch. The look here is retro, perhaps harking back to the s when Soho was known for its Italian hangouts now sadly just a handful remain, including Bar Italia and I Camisa on Old Compton Street.

Walk past the shelves stacked with colourful bottles of liqueurs and settle in at the Formica counter to watch head-scarved chef Masha Rener and her team at work in the open kitchen.

A self-taught cook, she sold her agriturismo business in Umbria to come and lead the new venture in London. And London is all the luckier for it. Kick off with antipasti of prosciutto from Parma not too wafer thin so it has a bit of bite , fat little aubergine polpette with sticky tomato sauce, and radicchio and puntarelle salad with anchovy dressing. The pasta is handmade in the deli every day as it has been since and push-biked over to the restaurant.

Try to order at least two pasta dishes, even between two, as they are excellent. Finish up with crumbly cannoli stuffed with ricotta and dipped in pistachio nibs, and lemon sorbet topped with a peppy shot of limoncello. All-Italian aperitivi are mixed up in the little cocktail bar downstairs: Americanos and Negronis come in chunky glass tumblers, the Italicus Sour gin, bergamot liqueur and nettle syrup in a delicately stemmed Martini glass. Modelled on Barcelona 's classic Cal Pep, Barrafina created classic tapas- gooey ham croquetas, salt-cod fritters, pan con tomate - like nowhere else, winning a Michelin star in the process and helping set the trend for informal, no-reservations places with serious kitchen clout.

Sabor takes its DNA straight from the home country, adding Andalucian tiles to original wooden flooring: on the ground-floor level is the open kitchen, long restaurant counter and standalone bar, with a sweeping, iron-railed staircase leading to the asador upstairs, which has long communal tables and Hades-like grill. It's all so authentically Hispanic that at 10pm there were two five-year-olds still up eating with their families. Ah, the food.

Nieves has gathered recipes from all around Spain , Castile to Galicia , and downstairs plates include popcorn-like baby squid and prawns with fried quail egg, rabbit dumplings, meltingly soft Iberican ham, and a just-set tortilla of Jerusalem artichoke and jamon. The croquetas with black trumpet and truffles are crispy grenades of oozing savouriness. There's a resident fishmonger with all sorts of scales. Upstairs in the asador is Nieves' pride-and-joy grill and larger plates for expansive evenings or Sunday lunch.

White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller
White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller White Crane: The Road to Success of a Spiritual Traveller

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