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New Restaurant Brings Israeli Flavors to London's Chinatown

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While politics in the Middle East have been boiling over these past few months, the food of this region has stormed the tastebuds and hearts of Londoners, whisking them off to sunnier climes.  While places like Arabica in Borough Market and Wormwood in Notting Hill are toying with the food of the Levant and North Africa, it is Palomar, which has brought a taste of modern Jerusalem to Chinatown, which most gloriously showcases this latest trend.

Chef Tomer Amedi believes London has so eagerly embraced Palomar because his flavors are to the point yet elegantly layered, evoking strong emotions and a family heritage. This is food from the heart and beguilingly delicious.  The Jerusalem soft polenta laden with truffle oil, shards of Parmesan, and mushroom ragout is the stuff of foodie dreams. Raw oysters with a dab of harissa were creamy and spicy and briney.

Sitting in the lively dining room, plate after plate of aromatic goodness placed in front of you, you can almost imagine you’ll go outside to be greeted by palm trees and a warm breeze, not the dreary London cityscape. It’s magical.

Sally Hurst is a London-based chef and contributor to travelandleisure.com

Photo courtesy of Sally Hurst

New London Hot Spot: Hixter Bankside

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London culinary institution, Chef Mark Hix, has opened his first restaurant south of the Thames River, just a stones throw from the Tate Modern and Borough Market. At Hixter Bankside he’s once again working with the formula that proved so popular at his East London restaurant Tramshed, focusing on succulent whole roast chickens and Flinstones-sized beef cuts to share.

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Must-Try Autumn Dishes Around the World

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As autumn descends around the globe and the light grows softer, there is a hush. Tourists have gone home and children are back in school, but as seasoned travelers know, fall is one of the best times to travel under the radar and experience cultures a little more intimately. Part of the charm of the season is the earthy, hearty ingredients and specialties gracing local markets. Here are just a few to savor.

Crayfish in Stockholm: Swedes celebrate the end of summer with crayfish parties, orkräftskiva, at their summer cottages, donning silly paper hats, singing songs, and drinking lots of Aquavit while eating the heavily dilled crustaceans. Don’t have a Swedish idyl of your own? Try Sturehof restaurant in Stockholm for a taste of this joyous tradition.

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London's Peruvian Food Craze

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Scallops, Chia Seeds, Tumbo Passion.

The list of Peruvian restaurants in London seems to grow longer each month as Chotto Matte, Ceviche, Andina, Coya, and Lima (the first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star) are playing with ancient culinary traditions and introducing them to eager foodies. While each spot decidedly offers their own style, it's the blend of Japanese and Peruvian techniques and flavors, called Nikkei cuisine, that offers some of the most innovative, exciting dishes I’ve tasted.

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London Hot Spot: Chiltern Firehouse

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The crab donuts at the Chiltern Firehouse in Londonare already the stuff of legend. Just two months old, hotelier Andre Balazs's first venture outside of the United States has celebrities like Bono, Prince Harry, Chloe Sevigny, and Gordon Ramsey bumping elbows, while mere mortals desperately try to snag a reservation in what is a cleverly repurposed Victorian-gothic red brick fire brigade building in London’s tony Marylebone neighborhood.

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London's Donut du Jour

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With spring's warm winds coaxing the buds on the trees to blossom, a Sunday morning visit to Columbia Road Flower Market in East London couldn't be more apropos. While many go to soak up the atmosphere and buy a cheap armful of flowers, this Sunday morning riot for the senses has just added a foodie destination that's not to be missed. Among the cries of the cockney flower hawkers, a narrow yellow door offers a little piece of France by way of Mississipi. Chef Brad McDonald and his charming wife Molly, currently at the helm of the Southern American restaurant, The Lockhart in Marleybone, are selling Beignet-style donuts brimming with a variety of creamy flavors. Best to follow them on Twitter @1235donutsto find out what flavors will delight your tastebuds that week and what time that yellow door opens. The line forms quickly and only a limited number of perfect sugary treats are on offer each Sunday!

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Avenue Restaurant Brings American Flare to London Food Scene

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With Christie's auction house right around the corner and the Queen’s palace not too far away, Avenue restaurant on the posh St. James Street in the heart of Mayfair, has re-launched, bringing a distinctive Manhattan power-dining scene to London. Everything from the Prohibition era cocktails to the wine list to the menu to the portion sizes to the friendly service is done with a nod to England’s former colony across the pond. This trend toward all things American is not new in London. Every other opening recently has been some variety of burger shack, hot dog stand, or BBQ joint, but Avenue offers a more upscale take on Americana. You get two cornmeal crusted soft shell crabs for a starter and they’re crispy and lovely with the spicy mayo sauce that accompanies them. Meanwhile, the very large lobster macaroni and cheese is positively packed full of lobster meat and the aromas wafting from the “pig” loaf at the next table made me swoon. With reasonable prices and many more items on the list I’d like to try, Avenue made this American girl feel very much at home. 

Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane

Photo Courtesy of D&D London

Is London the Next Foodie Mecca? Chef Jason Atherton of Berners Tavern Tells All

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Berners Tavern, under the direction of much-celebrated chef Jason Atherton, is the most glamorous (and hard-to-get) reservation in London these days. Atherton is known for his fresh approach to traditional British cuisine, while steadfastly using only the very best ingredients. Now he’s showing the world just how fantastic British food can be, opening nothing less than a mini-restaurant empire that extends from London to Dubai to Shanghai to Singapore to Hong Kong. 

Celebrity sightings abound at this, Atherton’s latest London opening. Housed in the Edition Hoteljust North of Oxford Street, it is jaw-droppingly beautiful, the walls crammed with artwork, framed by ornate plasterwork that seems to ooze off the walls. It’s a bit like sitting inside a Faberge egg.

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London's Street Food Heads Indoors at Hawker House Market

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Street food culture continues to reign supreme in London, but what's a girl to do to get her foodie fix during the long, wet winter months that plague The Big Smoke? Why, move the street festival indoors, of course! And that's exactly what the guys behind Street Feast have done by setting up camp in an old factory in East London. Modelled on the traditional hawker markets of Singapore, Hawker House (38-50 Pritchard’s Road, London) will provide music, booze and fantastic food every Friday and Saturday night through March 22nd. Traders hail from the who’s who roster of the city’s street food legends and will be feeding the crowds dishes like crispy wood oven pizza, pork belly steamed buns, fish tacos, octopus curry, and authentic BBQ. And it gets better! While nibbling on your taco you can boogie across the space to pick your poison at one of four bars. So why not get out of the rain and join in one of the great foodie parties London offers?

Entry to Hawker House is free before 7pm, and £3 at the door after 7pm. Find out more here.

Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane

Photo courtesy of The Gaztronome

London Chef Bobby Chinn Brings Vietnamese Flavors to Soho

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Chef Bobby Chinn is shaking things up at his new restaurant, House of Ho, in London’s SOHO. He’s bringing the bright flavors of Vietnamese street food inside and giving them a  twist by adding unexpected ingredients like truffle oil to his ceviche and caramel sauce to his monkfish. Chinn roams through his sexy new space, greeting diners and serving drinks alongside his knowledgeable staff, a practice not often done in these parts.

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