Haute Living lets you in on London’s latest food trend
For the last few years, London’s restaurant scene has revolved around ‘pop ups’ (these roving restaurants popped up all across the capital from Balham to Belize Park). Fast forward to 2014 and it’s not so much about pop ups per se, as it is about unusual dining options.
Case in point? We are only three months into the New Year but already Bethnal Green has given us a cat cafe. Yes you read right: at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium – aka Britain’s first cat cafe – in east London, the main attraction isn’t the artisan coffee or scrumptious cakes, but cats. Eleven of them to be precise: take a bow Biscuit, Petra, Loki, Carbonelle, Indiana, Mue, Donnie, Wookie, Romeo, Artemis and Adamska.
For £5 the cafe’s owner, Lauren Pears, allows customers to enjoy the company of the cats. It’s a business model that is proving ridiculously popular: the venue – whose decor includes climbing steps for the cats – received 7,000 bookings in the first 24 hours!
Meanwhile over in Brixton – one of the capital’s trendiest dining destinations – a new restaurant has opened inside the local prison.
Called The Clink, the quirky eatery specialises in serving courses – including pollock braised in white wine and poached saddle of venison – that have been prepared by the prison inmates. The Clink can comfortably seat 100 diners and aims to provide prisoners with skills so that they are able to secure jobs more easily upon their release.
But if you think that either of the aforementioned sound strange, then look out for La Polenteria – a new arrival on Old Compton Street.
For centuries, polenta (a cornmeal grain) was considered a poor man’s food in Italy. Fast forward to 2014 and it’s the star of the show at this bijoux (there’s only 20 covers) Soho restaurant.
Regardless of whether you visit for breakfast, lunch, dinner or even dessert, expect a polenta themed menu. Clearly the owners are passionate about polenta and given that this Italian staple is gluten-free, high in fibre and protein, low in fat and full of vitamins A and C, perhaps it’s time we gave this grain a chance too?
However in a city where restaurants open and close with the speed of a camera shutter, it remains to be seen whether Londoners will develop a sustained appetite for these alternative eateries …