London’s burning…

A bit behind on this, but in the latest issue of KFH Completely London magazine is a feature I shot on three of London’s hottest chefs who aren’t afraid to use flame, smoke and spicy heat to light up their dishes.

A whistle-stop round of portraits featuring Ben Tish of Ember Yard, Scott Hallsworth of Kurobuta, and Tom Sellers of Restaurant Story

Fire in the hold – enjoy!

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Best foot forward

Yiannis (L), Harry (centre), Gerry (R) Demopoulos, directors of Tower London

It’s not every day I get to shoot so close to home for Drapers Magazine. In the current issue, I photographed the father (Harry) and sons (Yiannis and Gerry) team behind Tower London at their latest store in Wood Green.

Recent winners of the 2014 Drapers Footwear & Accessories Awards Independent Retailer of the Year, they proudly showed off their new concept store and explained the secret to their success. Despite heavy competition from the big chains, doom and gloom on the high street and online price slashing, their key has been the resurgence of the independent sector and good old-fashioned personal service.

The family-run business may only be small at the moment, but it’s ambitious and looking to open many more stores over the coming years, with the next one due on Brick Lane in 2015.

Wake up and smell the coffee

Some outtakes from a recent shoot at Lyle’s in Shoreditch for the latest issue of Caffeine.

While the restaurant’s food has been widely praised, Lyle’s also pays a great deal of attention to their coffee. The all-day coffee bar operation starts from 8.00am as a separate yet integral part of the restaurant. It’s a slick and precise affair run by James Low (not the James Lowe behind the kitchen) and features timers, scales and dedicated hot water taps at two specific temperatures for tea and coffee.

Together with familiar Square Mile, Low also features less well known beans such as Koppi and Belleville, which will change regularly alongside the menu and wine list. And his choice of tea is equally discerning, featuring single-estate, small batch leaves from Lalani.

So, if you’ve been tempted to Lyle’s by the restaurant reviews, just don’t forget about the coffee.

The new ‘new thing’

A last minute job last week for Time Out took me down the road on the bus to a residential pocket of North London flanked by Stoke Newington, Highbury and Cannonbury.

In an area not known for it’s destination dining, Primeur is resolutely a neighbourhood restaurant with its quirky no-phone, in-person only bookings policy.

Although it had only been open a couple of weeks, it already had the assured feel of a local favourite. A couple of early walk-ins dropped by on the way home for a glass of wine and couple of plates. The welcoming banter gave them away as regulars already.

After a quiet start, it was anything but by about 8.30pm. It seemed like someone had rung the dinner bell outside – the place was full and the kitchen slammed with orders.

The food is ‘honest’ and seasonal, matched by an ever changing wine list from its extensive cellar. In an interview, chef, David Gingell has described the restaurant ‘like a visit to your grandmother’s house for a great dinner.’

So the ‘new thing’ seems to be just old-fashioned good times.