Passo London, a one week pop-up and the impeccable pizza of Nancy Silverton…

Nancy Silverton. Californian, chef, baker, restaurateur, author and, oh yeah, casual pizza legend.

I have a teeny, tiny, giant, supersized girl crush on this funky, talented, smart, warm woman which began with her ‘Chef’s Table’ episode on Netflix and was firmly assured after lunch last Friday at her one-week pop-up in Passo, one of London’s loveliest Italian restaurants just off the Old St roundabout.

Beautifully shaded in a palette of nudes that Bobbi Brown herself would be proud to out her name to, this is a vast dining room but one that feels delightfully intimate thanks to the cosy bar, the varied table sizes, the honeyed caramel décor accents and the warm daylight that streams in through floor to ceiling windows at the back. Staff are friendly & welcoming, happy to chat and eager to ensure your time there is a good one plus there’s a buzz through the space that was apparent as both a gentle murmuring at the start of service and then a fully obvious delivery of all-out good times once every table was full.

Silverton, dough master & all round exceptional culinary talent, was visible during our lunch on the last day of a residency that saw 900+ covers make their way through the restaurant in a week and her touch was apparent in every dish that emerged from the open plan kitchen.

*Sidenote, whilst waiting for my friend to arrive, I may or may not have texted that I could ‘see Nancy on the pass’, thereby forever cementing my place as a total geek on the food landscape in which I live…judge me not dear reader, you too dwell there or you wouldn’t be reading this.

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Steak, curry sauced chips & prawn toast. Japanese food with a twist at the deliciously unpronounceable Shackfuyu…

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Pop-ups. Over recent years they’ve been appearing on the pavements of London as if conjured up by some apron-wearing, whisk-bearing Dumbledore; sprouting on side streets, car parks & market cobblestones, they shower those nearby with all manner of things eye-widening & buzz-generatingly delicious.

One of the more recent ones to emerge, not blinking & sleepy but flinging open its arms & singing a breezy greeting to the bright spring sunlight of Soho, is Shackfuyu. Descendant of the Bone Daddies family (whose soft, cloud like, sticky duck filled buns I’m already well acquainted with), this is a pop-up that, in their words, offers Japanese flavours, global culinary styles, cold beer, strong cocktails & rock’n’roll.

In love yet?

I was, the minute I started hearing about some of the dishes on the small but flawless menu that were inducing gentle hysteria across the napkins, forks & mouths of London’s food obsessed. This absolute need to try a new take on the food of Japan sent J and I down to Old Compton Street one pretty Saturday lunchtime in search of steak, prawns & a green tea dessert whose description alone had me dangerously close to popping with anticipation.

I thank the heavens for J every given day but especially those on which we go out to eat. I casually ask what he thinks looks good on the menu, all the time understanding – as I’m pretty sure he does too – that I know exactly what I want us to try. It’s not that he doesn’t get a say – far from it because I love knowing what sort of food gets other people excited – it’s more that whatever he’d like to try is probably going to end up on top of what I’d like to try. Our tables get crowded, our tummies get full, I can’t deny that I love it and hey, isn’t that what afternoon naps were made for…? Read More

Jumbo pancakes, DIY s’mores & the sweetest upscale ice-cream…this is dessert, LA style.

If you’re going to have breakfast at an LA spot renowned for eye-watering and gut-busting portions, you gotta earn it. That’s what I told myself as I climbed, walked & panted up Runyon Canyon one early Sunday morning.

‘My reward is pancakes…my reward is pancakes…my reward is pancakes.’ This was the mantra I muttered to myself as I clambered over rocks, lunged up steps and tried to avoid any one of a dozen dogs putting me to shame as they bounded gazelle like past me. The only gazelle I resembled at this point was one who could officially be labelled as roadkill. Ironically, if I’d normally put myself through a good, steep hike then all I would want to eat afterwards would be something healthy enough to keep the fitness momentum going, however here, knowing where we headed after, the purpose of this trek, alongside seeing stunning views of the city below, was to burn the calories that would soon be served up to me on a platter dusted with icing sugar…

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