The Lumina team are no stranger to a food tour, well versed as they are with the hottest new concepts in town. But this time they wanted to mix things up a bit and treat the Food Strategy Forum members to a tour around not Soho, but Angel and not one, but three meals! Had I had known I perhaps would have opted for an elasticated waist but that frankly is my only complaint.

We started off at Sessions which is a mini food hall offering street food brands a stepping-stone into bricks and mortar and opened only this year. Currently they are hosting Tiger and Rabbit modern Korean, Big Has Mediterranean, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen West African and, for breakfast, Norman’s classic British. The informal setting worked well and the food was great, lots of big flavours and a touch of heat. The tofu was surprisingly special as was the Halloumi and sausages – a great way to start our tour.

We then headed to Kipferl for some authentic Austrian cuisine. Without ski boots on it was strange to eat Austrian food but the cakes and biscuits were delicious. It focuses on treat missions and has a dedicated Austrian following, and some standout wines selected by the founder. With everything baked on the premises using authentic Austrian ingredients for those Austrians in search of a taste of home you can’t go wrong and if you can’t make it there you can always order a delivery.

What a find. This Indian veggie/vegan concept is driven by its founder’s vision of ‘enlightened eating’ to eat well and give back to the community and the planet. For every meal bought it provides a child in need with a hot meal, they use a range of ingenious meat alternatives to create both healthy and indulgent Indian dishes which have to be tried to be believed. With a meditation and yoga space above the contemporary restaurant, guests can unwind and then enjoy a wonderful meal knowing they are doing both themselves and the world some good. We enjoyed some truly excellent food (probably far too much considering this was no. two of three eating stops!).

We made a quick stop at this high-end deli, patisserie and restaurant to wonder at the fabulous cakes in the window and hear about this celeb chef founded chain (of 7) which started in 2002 offering take away, eat in and delivery. Situated across the road from the Almeida Theatre it is a popular pre-theatre favourite, offering communal style seating and high quality sharing platters.

Then it was on to Valderrama’s, a South American themed sport bar named after a Columbian footballer (if they say so!) which offers ‘Around the Cluck’ fried chicken concept from James Cochran (as an outsourced kitchen). Sadly it was too early for it to be open so we didn’t get to sample the margaritas, Beavertown beer or fried chicken but it is certainly one to circle back to at some point.

Our final eating stop, Noci, is a neighbourhood Italian with a contemporary slightly Scandi vibe. The menu is inspired by head chef Louis Korovilas’ travels around Italy and the veal & pork Genovese ragu with Monk’s Head cheese and paccheri is not to be missed!! Sadly, the owner has experience first-hand of the staffing crisis having employed over 200 waiting staff since March! The service was however great and the food wonderful. Definitely one to visit if you are in the neighbourhood.

Homeboy Bar
This cool bar offering live music, cocktails and ‘modern Irish hospitality’ offered a range of classic and elevated cocktails (even one in a dog shaped ceramic tankard!). Despite it being only late afternoon, we all had a tipple which was delicious. Certainly, a place for a fun night out with some excellent whiskey (with an ‘e’, the Irish type) cocktails.

Brewhouse & Kitchen
The microbrewery operator offers not only brewery experiences and whisky and beer pairing but also an extensive menu featuring beer inspired dishes. It has grown to 20 sites across the UK offering an all-day proposition and on-site brewing. Sadly, I only had time for a swift glass of wine and a farewell to the gang before heading home.

Well done to the team at Lumina on a great tour – next time I’ll know to go for an elasticated waistband!