Following on from the Lumina Food Strategy Forum Debrief (read here), we were led by 2 brilliant Lumina hosts around Central London, exploring innovative restaurant concepts and tapping into key trends.
We began with lunch at the Arcade Food Hall, a JKS backed project which takes inspiration from street market culture. Whilst the exterior seems rather inconspicuous, upon entering we found eight vibrant open kitchens, a mezzanine restaurant, and a standalone bar. Each one represents a different worldwide cuisine, from Indonesia to the USA.
To kick things off, the creamy chaat masala wings and paratha bread from Hero, was nothing short of exceptional. The North Indian fast-food kitchen showcases the traditional chatpatta flavours of Delhi, utilising a range of perfectly-balanced spices; hot, sour, sweet, tangy, salty, and smoky. A must-try!
Second on my list was the chicken momos from Tipan Tapan, a 24-hour marinated chicken thigh with toasted soya beans, hog plum, and chilli oil. Developed by Arjun Gurung, Tipan Tapan embraces hearty Nepali street food, serving a wide variety of small plates traditionally eaten before a main meal in Nepal.
Now moving over to Japan, the home of my favourite cuisine, I couldn’t resist the tempura prawn sando with Japanese mayonnaise, topped with sweet, pickled kumquat. Sushi Kamon, developed by the founders of Yashin Sushi, offers fresh, innovative dishes that are a real treat for the tastebuds. The pickled kumquat deserves another special mention, elevating a popular Japanese dish by adding a unique flavour experience.
The Arcade Food Hall provided easy ordering through a QR code, quick table service, and seriously good food.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the Soho area for some exciting, on-trend food spots.
First stop was Buns From Home, founded by Barney Goff during lockdown, who initially baked pastries for friends and delivered them by bike. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, Barney opened the first store in Notting Hill. The epitome of homegrown, their signature cinnamon and cardamon buns have the jellybean seal of approval. Indulgent to say the least!
The other bars and restaurants we visited included:
– Ugly Dumpling, an Asian fusion hotspot with a vision to create the world’s finest ingredient-led dumplings.
– Zahter, a Turkish restaurant that takes dish inspiration from Istanbul’s ethnic heritage and looks to history as a source for ingenious new finds.
– Stripes Amalfi Terrace, located in Brown Hart Gardens in the heart of Mayfair, an Amalfi Coast inspired rooftop serving food and drinks with Wimbledon on a big screen!
– Apricity, a sustainable, zero waste restaurant, with a menu centred around hyper-seasonal, sustainable produce from small-scale farmers and locally foraged ingredients. Not only environmentally minded, Apricity takes a cue from social issues and ensures an 11pm curfew so staff can return home safely.
Many thanks to the Lumina Team for organising such a flavoursome trip, full of real insight for us to take forward with jellybean!