2015 in Review: Favourites and Trends.

Yee Gan: So, everyone, as 2015 comes to a close, what was the year like for you as far as food and drink goes? You know I like my fine dining but I was actually a little disappointed by the new entries in the Michelin guide for London. Although there were a few new finds like Casamia in Bristol and Treby Arms near Plymouth, I found the best fine dining food in the Greater London area to be old favourites like Hedone in Chiswick, Kitchen Table on Charlotte Street and The Latymer in Bagshot. How did you all find this year?

Andrew: For me, 2015 centered around travel and new experiences. I loved spending the day at The Pass and finishing off the visit with a spectacular dinner (that we helped prep!) and I had some absolutely dazzling Sichuan food at 89 Degrees Wonderful House in Vancouver.

Sanj: One of the best meals I had in 2015 was also on a trip – though not quite as far away as Vancouver! A contender for my new favourite restaurant in Edinburgh though is Ondine, a must-visit for seafood lovers and really excellent service. Back in London, I enjoyed a memorable food coma-inducing feed at The Fat Bear, a Southern American residency in the City. It gave me my first taste of chicken fried steak, a dish making an appearance on menus around the capital this year, and both as calorific and delicious as it sounds!

Grant: Like Yee Gan, I’m definitely a huge lover of fine dining, and in London, Kitchen Table is definitely at the top of my list, but I had an amazing meal at Lyle’s in Shoreditch (it just got its first Michelin Star). Although the best fine dining meal I had this year was in Paris at L’Arpege where the chef is passionate about using vegetables to make fantastic food. The other two restaurants in London that really stand out for me are Sager + Wilde Restaurant in Bethnal Green with their amazing selection of California wines and new head chef Seb Myer and Noble Rot, the new restaurant/wine bar by the people who make the magazine by the same name.

Vicky: I’ve been so lucky this year with travelling, so ‘sadly’ my highlights this year hark from afar.  I fell in love with restaurants without menus at Saturne (Paris), Mina (Bilbao) and Bouyourou (Mikuni).  While a schlep to Japan for the weekend is unlikely, I would highly recommend Bilbao for the last week of August during Aste Nagusia– the heady mix of local culture, an international fireworks competition, pinxo and the fantastic Mina made for a great escape from London. Closer to home, I’m think CoBa really stood out for me this year and I’m still dreaming about their simple yet fantastic Vietnamese food.

Jules: I’m more the comfort food type and I also have a brain like a hamster. I’m barely able to look back a few weeks at a time. My first impulse was to say: the best meal I had was recently in Germany where I had spaghetti with Parmesan and truffle at the Trattoria Del Corso in Brandenburg. Trying very hard to remember great meals for 2015 in between moving from New York to London was rather difficult. In the end I decided to stick to my first impulse. Other than that I would say the pulled pork in Brisket Town in Williamsburg, Brooklyn was delicious! And I would suggest a trip to Oxfork in Oxford, as it has the best breakfast menu ever. And the best breakfast.

Isabel: Wow you guys are giving me some excellent ideas! My food highlights of the years travels were all fish related – from the catch of the day at Easter Island to the amazing delights of Japan – particularly Isari juachiban. At home in London I was particularly impressed with a couple of burger places new to me – Bleecker Street and Big Fernand are now vying for my first place and I will be making a few return visits to help me decide. As for the best brunch, it would have been The Landmark; however Christmas Day brunch in Singapore at the Pan Pacific made it into 2015 just under the wire and the seafood on its own was enough to catapult it to my top brunch in 2015.

Daniel: Guys, 2015 has sounded like a pretty incredible year for the Boozy Bunch! So many places to try for 2016, I’m salivating at the thought of it already. I was lucky enough to join some of the Bunch at these places too and completely agree with everything they have said, especially Isabel’s top brunch at the Pan Pacific, Singapore. For me, my favourite places to eat were the ones that were associated with great food, great friends and generally great experiences. A particular highlight was to pop up to Duck and Waffle at 3am for some late night snacks with friends, as well as my Xmas jaunt to Singapore to sample some incredible Dim Sum at Din Tai Fung. As for boozy brunches, I was really surprised by Villandry St James – possibly the best value for money brunch that I had in the year (at £40 with unlimited champagne, brunch items and pastry platters, it went down a treat). Of course, I can’t mention 2015 with my pre-theatre meals – the stand out winner here for quality of food, service and ambience all before 19:30 is Flesh and Buns, perfect for Japanese food before I enjoyed an amazing evening with Madame Butterfly at the Royal Opera House.

Yee Gan: Thanks, everyone. I’ve just added quite a few places to my must try in 2016 list from reading this thread. Hope you readers have enjoyed sharing in our review of 2015. Do you have any highlights that we didn’t mention? Please do feel free to share them in the comments below.

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