Fran Weeks, Wednesday May 25, 2016
A saintly start
Our amazing tour started off very saintly at Ethos Foods, a meat-free, pay by weight restaurant. I personally had never encountered a pay by weight restaurant concept but it seemed a brilliant idea, like a healthy pick ‘n’ mix! I imagine it must reduce food wastage too. We enjoyed tasters of popular menu items including Black Bean Brownies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Bombs, whilst chatting to owner Jessica Kruger about her story.
Stop two was a little more indulgent and saw us enjoying a glass of red wine as we entered Spanish ham heaven at Enrique Tomas. We learnt about the provenance, the flavours and the subtle differences between various slices of Jamón. It’s safe to say we were all impressed by the knowledge and passion of the staff who took the time to answer our questions and explain all about what goes into traditional Spanish Jamón.
Another amazing discovery on the DB tour was Yorica Moments, which claims to be London’s first allergen-free restaurant and serves treats made from entirely natural ingredients. This place looked like a delicious ice cream parlour but the surprise was it actually offered a range of ice creams, biscuits, shakes and sweets, all created without dairy, gluten, nuts and egg. We were full of questions – how could they create delicious creamy treats without dairy or cones without gluten? The friendly team answered everything (it involves coconut!) and offered us samples of each fabulous flavour. Whether you have allergies or not I’d recommend Yorica Moments for a sweet treat fix.
The tour then took another naughty but very nice turn when we paid a visit to Crosstown Doughnut and Coffee Bar. These doughnuts were an absolute work of art, a joy to gaze at through the glass and a sheer pleasure to eat! They were about as far away from your average jam doughnut as you could get, with flavours including Crème Brule, Coffee Custard, Dulce de Leche and Sea Salt Caramel Banana. I don’t think I can go back to regular doughnuts after sampling these – they were a pure decadent delight!
Impressive cakes and beautiful brownies
We also made a quick stop at Cutter & Squidge to pick up a delicious gluten free brownie and see some fantastic cakes. We were all in awe of the cakes on display, I was particularly spellbound by an incredible looking Eton Mess cake and snapped a photo of it on the counter.
Chops and cocktails to conclude the tour
Our tour finished at Blacklock Soho, a basement restaurant that was once a brothel. We tucked into a platter of seared meat chops, plus cocktails from a vintage-style trolley cart. This place had a fantastic atmosphere with my kind of music playing (that’s 80s, if you’re interested) and plenty of food. It was fair to say we were very full by this point but still enjoyed our meat and sweet potato side dishes. I’d definitely like to go back soon.
An unforgettable afternoon
I still don’t know how we packed so much into one afternoon, we learnt a lot and sampled an incredible variety of foods. From the sweet to the savoury, the vegan to the carnivorous – we tucked into it all on the DB tour. It was also wonderful to chat to the staff and owners in each location, we all loved hearing their stories, inspiration and passionate views. I was left feeling very lucky for the afternoon’s experiences (as well as very full!). A huge thanks to our super star boss Karen Fewell, who organised the whole thing and kept it a secret too.