“I have the profound belief that urban growing and urban supply benefits the entire community. On the right scale it can change the way we think about where we get our food from and the way in which we grow it,” says Shaun Alpine-Crabtree of The Table.
Since partnering with architects Allies & Morrison eleven years ago, he has sourced and promoted local food such as Bermondsey’s Kappacasein, Little Bread Pedlar, and vegetables from St Mungo’s ‘Putting Down Roots’ project.
Local food is very much “a celebration of what is possible in the city” says this-one time chef of Villandry. He is not alone in his thinking. Across London, there is a growing number of eateries that are championing produce made within the M25.
DO good: eat well. This is the philosophy behind Better Health Artisan Bakery, a social enterprise bakery shop and cafe. Offering artisan sourdough using organic ingredients as well as pastries using seasonal and local produce, it is the perfect detour on your way to Broadway Market from Haggerston or if you simply live in the area. With pizza available on Fridays from 12 noon until sold out and one of the best cinnamon buns that we have every tasted, we are full of praise for this initiative from the Centre for Better Health. You can find the bakery at 13 Stean Street E8 4ED. It is close to Regents Canal and is open Tuesday - Fridays 08.00 - 17.00 and on Saturdays from 08.00 - 16.00.
We love a good bakery, even more so when it is completely free - free that is from gluten, sugar and dairy. So we are full of admiration for Pearl & Grove and their new store on Portobello Road. Naming her shop after her parents - well their nicknames at least, Serena Whitefield started her business in 2013 selling at markets, events and local festivals and offering made-to-offer for celebrations before opening her store this month. We just love the groove range - all flourless and in flavours like earl grey tea, rose and pistachio and dark chocolate and stem ginger. For those of you wanting to go sugar-free as well as gluten-free, then opt for one of the pearl cakes that come in flavours like banana and pomegranate, creamy coconut and blackberry and apple. Open seven days a week. 341 Portobello Road, W10 5SA
WE love an urban garden project. In fact as our site has grown, we have become more and more enthusiastic about how green spaces can be created in our cities. These "in-between" spaces frequently between housing and property development encourage community as well as healthy eating. So you can image our enthusiasm, when we heard about Farmopolis.
Best described as a floating garden on the River Thames in Greenwich, it has been created through the use of tens of thousands of plants from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Clever idea. A part of the Greenwich Peninsula development, the aim is create a green cultural space with a line of events from experiential supper clubs to weekend workshops. It will also include a cafe and a performance space.
The Pennisula is also home to Craft London, Stevie Parle’s new restaurant. With its own kitchen garden designed in partnership with gardener Alys Fowler, this is a restaurant that aspires to be very local. Everything is about the produce from the roasting of coffee, smoking of fish, bee keeping, meat curing, fermentation of vegetables, baking of bread.
Gateway Pavilion, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London SE10 0SQ
ANY story that begins with the line - “one night in a small bar in the middle of Tokyo” is destined to be good, and the story of Jensen’s Gin with its cinematic opening of a stranger, a bar in a foreign city and a bottle of gin is no exception.
To elaborate. It’s the millennium and Jensen’s Gin founder, Christian Jensen finds himself in a bar, lamenting the loss of old-style gin - the stuff of cocktail legend. Much to his surprise, the bartender agrees, before placing on the bar in front of him a bottle of Gordon’s Gin. For gin-lover Jensen, what followed was a revelation. “He pulled out a bottle from the 1960s, and he let me try this next to a bottle from 2000. It was clearly a different type of gin - a different product,” he recalls.
So profound was the experience that Jensen became a regular, sampling the vintage gins collected by Oda-San on his frequent trips to mountain villages across Japan and what he brought at auction. “He not only had Gordon’s but all types of old gin. He was a real connoisseur, a top-end bartender, and very well respected.”
Such was Jensen’s appreciation that when he left Tokyo, Oda-San gifted him a bottle, saying in jest, "take this to London and make some nice gin. I can't find it anymore.”