Food maps

Just discovered (and love) these London food maps from @FoodHood.

Soho is the first

Soho

Shoreditch follows

Shoreditch_digital_sketch_CO3_to_export

then Covent Garden

Covent Garden food

and Hackney

Hackney food

last but not least, Brixton

Brixton food

Waiting now for Greenwich and Blackheath :)

London and five Italian food stereotypes

Looking for the opening date of Eataly food superstore in London (news on the web range from an imminent opening in 2106 to late 2017, in partnership with Selfridges Oxford Str.), I found this interesting piece on the Telegraph, dated June 2015, but still very actual.

Mr. Farinetti, CEO of Eataly, says he got shocked by the Italian food served in many UK restaurants. And I was shocked too. Then I learned the lesson (you never get used – but you can learn) and I started my personal exercise of selection of food and places.

There are some interesting stereotypes in the UK about Italian food – country that with the exception of some recent post-crisis dynamics has not benefited from an Italian mass immigration as it happened in the US 60-70 years ago. For this reason sometime Italian food is just an ordinary imitation, with no real identity, a clumsy tentative to put together some Italian taste without providing real dignity to the meal.

Garlic, for example, is stereotype number one. Yes – garlic is an important ingredient of the Mediterranean diet. But based on the stereotype one we Italians eat garlic everywhere and with every meal. Which is definitely not the case.

Bread and oil is stereotype number two. The habit of soaking pieces of bread in olive oil as a starter is result of some interesting anglosaxon experiment. Not an Italian habit.

Cappuccino is stereotype number three. As I wrote in a prevous post, among Italians it’s taboo to ask for a cappuccino after lunch, or, in general, after breakfast time.

Dolmio is stereotype number four. Dolmio uses a very basic marketing technique (pricing) to convince a not well prepared audience to buy; and is providing the cuisine a disservice (in general, the proliferation of imitation/low cost products in the UK and across Europe is harming Italy’s ability to export).

Carluccio’s is stereotype five. Londoners, Carluccio’s is the quintessence of non-Italian taste. Try something different, instead.

Iconic

Back to London after the Christmas break spent in Sicily & Milan with A&M, we had a dinner yesterday at the Shangri-La Ting Lounge restaurant at the Shard. Food is OK, not so bad – but definitely not something that I will remember forever. Views are stunning instead. Iconic views – as many would say here in London.

Iconic venues are opening all around. Towers. Buildings. Parks. Bridges. It’s the new tendency in London. The last: today Sky Gardens and its three restaurants open at the last floor of the Walkie Talkie.

“Reserve your place at this iconic address” they say. And I hardly try to understand what this really means, and why an address should be iconic. Until I discover that I am not the only one:

Could this usage (of the term iconic) please end in 2015? And with it, could we also see the end of the habit of calling places “public” when they are not? Again, 20 Fenchurch Street, better known as the Walkie Talkie, is at the top of the game: the “Sky Garden” at its summit is “the UK’s tallest public park”, you are told, when you ring its booking line. I don’t think they mean “tallest” – this would mean that the park was exceptionally vertical – but “highest”, meaning a long way off the ground. But then they might have faced rival claims from Snowdonia or the Cairngorms, so they need some linguistic fudge.

That said, we will visit this new iconic venue, next Saturday. And we will test the food and enjoy the views.  Of course I won’t forget to (deeply) think about the inner meaning of the iconic term.