Everything you need to know about eating well this spring

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Everything you need to know about eating well this spring

Bread, coffee, restaurants and Michelin stars

Louisa Walters is Features Editor at the Jewish News and specialises in food and travel writing


Wembley has never been what you might call ‘on the map’ for dining and a trip to the footie, a concert or even the new Troubadour theatre brings to mind hot dogs, burgers or going hungry. Not any more. Atul Kochar, who has gone from being the one to watch on the Indian dining scene to being the one to beat (two Michelin stars and counting), has opened a large, bright, boldly-decorated 120-cover restaurant in the newly developed Wembley Park Boulevard right on the corner of Wembley Way. Masalchi means spice master and with a focus on street food it certainly celebrates spice! I prefer mine on the milder side and there was plenty to keep me happy, including aloo papdi chaat, grilled lamb chops, beetroot & pine nut croquettes and a deliciously squidgy peshwari naan. I was also brave enough to hot things up a little with smoked aubergine chokha and chicken 65 and chicken hyderabadi biryani, balanced out by a creamy dhal. ‘Atul’s Favourite Martini’ with vodka, and passion fruit chutney is now also mine. www.masalchi.co.uk


Here’s a find which is so cute and fab I almost don’t want to share! Korto is a breakfast/ brunch/ lunch café in Muswell Hill (in Alexandra Park Road, which is not the ‘main’ bit so it’s easy to keep secret!). Those of you who watched the Motherland series on BBC2 might recognise it as the place where the mums (and one dad) used to meet up every day after school drop off. Chef Paul and city finance expert Russell combined their skills to open this bright, rustic neighbourhood cafe in 2018 serving great coffee and  fresh Mediterranean food with lots of vegan , veggie and gluten-free options. Even though it is only open until 3pm there’s also a good choice of wines and beers. I had a superb shakshuka laden with crumbly feta but had major food envy when my friend’s buttermilk chicken with squash caponata arrived. She was nice enough to share the phenomenal sweet potato fries. There are lots of eggy dishes on the breakfast menu, plus porridge and great waffles. www.korto.co.uk


Korto is also home to Fireheart Coffee, a seasonal coffee roasting subscription service founded in April 2020 by Paul, Russell and Thomas, a coffee aficionado who they met at the London Coffee Festival. ‘In season’ fresh coffee is hand-roasted on site in a magnificent machine built in Israel (“The finest piece of coffee-related tech on the market,” according to Thomas) and posted direct to coffee drinkers so they can create barista-style coffee at home. Naturally this superb coffee is also served in the café, Fireheart runs a coffee activity once a month giving coffee drinkers the chance to roast and package up their own coffee. It’s a great experience and really informative. Did you know that coffee beans are green before they are roasted, or that they have seasons, just like fruit and veg, or even that they are graded a bit like wine in terms of sweetness and acidity? Me neither! www.fireheartcoffee.com


Miznon, Eyal Shani’s Israeli restaurant group which fills its fluffy pita with the flavours of the city it is in, is planning to open a London restaurant. Best known in Europe for its first Paris restaurant, Shani’s MO is “to take whole cities and translate them into one pita. So, in this case, to take Paris’ energies, its groove, its longings, its limitations, its beauty and its food, and express all of that in one pita.” He did it in New York, too, there creating the ‘folded cheeseburger’. I’m excited to see what the flavours of London will be.


If you’ve got too much to do for Seder there’s one job you can pass to the kids. Kisharon has put together a children’s charoset recipe box which contains ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and Kiddush wine and includes a new Kosher for Pesach dish to use – just add grated or chopped apple. It’s packed by the students at the Kisharon College who built on their counting and weighing skills by measuring out all the ingredients and packed the gifts themselves. There’s a recipe card with details on the story behind charoset and kids can read it out at the seder to teach the adults a thing or two! The kit is £10 from Equal, Kisharon Gift & Homeware Store, 818 Finchley Road, Temple Fortune, London NW11 6XL


Over lockdown we all discovered the joy of ordering in and subscription services saw a massive uptake in registrations. Essential luxury might be an oxymoron but good bread falls into that category and to have it delivered to the doorstep every week is the ultimate. French-born Emily Caron launched Good In Bread in June 2020 to share her passion for freshly baked goods and true to French form the loaves are delivered by bicycle across London. Good In Bread specialises in superior sourdough that claims to be ‘better’ for you and easier to digest than other varieties. It’s certainly not better for my waistline as it’s extremely hard to stop at one slice. A third larger than standard store-bought equivalents., the loaves are baked in north west London and then sliced to post through a standard letterbox or delivered unsliced in a loaf-sized parcel. The Hearty Loaf, which is made from soaked overnight oats is nutritious and decadent, while the seeded Eat Pray Loaf is full of Omega 3s. The simple white sourdough is pure joy, and beautiful buttery brioche rolls and large chewy bagels are worth trying too. Get your subscription lined up now to get a loaf delivered as soon as Pesach goes out! www.wearegoodinbread.com

When I booked into a zero-waste restaurant, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, says Angie Jacobs. I thought it would be all potato peel soup, hoppy ale and swinging your pants, but Warehouse in Covent Garden (in a converted fruit and veg warehouse) is far from the hippy gig I imagined. It is sophisticated without being stuffy, bright and comfortable and the food is incredible, put together by cheerful chefs who you can watch from your table. Some of the menu was a little challenging for my meagre vocabulary, but the waiting staff were only too happy to talk us through the menu, sharing that the chefs were so creative and innovative that they also had to have lessons on the oft-changing menu. Happily, my appetite and thirst are better than my vocabulary and we worked our way through every course. From superb cocktails and deep-fried pumpkin skins with ricotta hemp, to cured mackerel infused with pine broth, brill with seaweed and sea leeks, to chocolate tart with the most divine Heilala vanilla ice cream, every mouthful was enjoyed and there was zero waste from us too. www.warehouselondon.com

The Marylebone Food Festival runs from 26 April to 1 May and features a magnificent line-up of in-restaurant events including masterclasses, supper clubs, tastings and special festival menus celebrating Marylebone’s lively and eclectic dining and drinking scene. There will be live music and txakoli at Lurra, wine tasting workshops at 28-50, Vinoteca and The Italians; a meet-the-chef masterclass at The Montagu Kitchen; supper clubs at Home Marylebone and The Royal Oak, tasting menus from Nobu and Michelin-starred Trishna and a number of tasting tours. A highlight will be an East London themed menu developed by Cubitt House director Ben Tish. www.marylebonefoodfestival.com


Who doesn’t enjoy eating tapas al fresco on a warm summer night? says Brigit Grant. Or on a spring night with the doors ajar? Now add tuna tataki with a crispy radish salad or spiced burnt cauliflower with tahini and toasted pistachio to that image and picture yourself eating these taste-laden dishes on Leeming Road WD6. Borehamwood is an unlikely location for a great tapas restaurant, but that’s what caterer Kushan Marthelis has brought to the neighbourhood with his increasingly popular Cacao Bean Restaurant and Café. A seasonal revamp of the midweek tapas menu has added dishes such as potato tempered with coriander and crispy onion and a tantalising spinach & chickpea coconut curry and the wines to accompany, which are explained as they are poured. So with your applewood smoked BBQ short ribs and strawberry Eton mess you’ll acquire sommelier expertise. The tapas menu is available Tuesday – Thursday evenings, but you’ll need to book as Leeming Road is fast becoming the new Mayfair for astute diners. www.cacaobeanrestaurant.co.uk

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