The best food they ate in 2015

Kebabs in Istanbul, sea urchins in County Cork, a shocking lobster pasta in London: top cooks and food novelists share their favourite meals this year

A ++ iya Sofrasi and KadikAPy market, Istanbul

RenA( c) Redzepi
Chef-patron, Noma, Copenhagen

Walking through KadikAPy market in Istanbul you picture dried aubergines hanging from stallings, dried chilli peppers and fresh dA1/ 4rA1/ 4m, and Turkish tea being moved all throughout. You discover street sellers announcing out their catch of the day, maybe a handbag of sardines, turbot from the Black Sea or a kilo of mussels. I was there on the way to A ++ iya, in the heart of this picturesque grocery. A ++ iya to me embodies the perfect restaurant: full of institution but not so worried about innovating, with a generous and welcoming opening. The banquet is a cornucopia of all there is to offer from Anatolia lamb stewed with dehydrated cherries, chopped parsley with vinegar, rice cooked with raisins and fistfuls of entire spices … I would merrily apply myself on an aircraft just to go and have lunch there on a beautiful outpouring daylight.< em>

Pickled herring platter at Russ& Daughters, New York

Yotam Ottolenghi
Chef and food scribe

It was a platter of pickled herring fillets with three sauce alternatives on the side cream, mustard and curry together with schmaltz herring fillets and then matjes herring fillets. In “the centres activities” were pickled onions, roller swabs and a beet and herring salad. I had it for breakfast, around 11 am, and it left a sweetened( albeit fishy) penchant in my opening for the next few days.

I adoration the cafe, which opened last year and is strongly pattern on the long-established accumulate. Sardines, chubs, rugelach, pickles, caskets of matzo, halva sold by the brick, rye food to blow your socks off, Bloody Marys: these are the tones which define New York for me.

IdiazA! bal cheese, Urbia mountains, Spain

Elena Arzak
Chef-patron, Arzak, San SebastiA! n

This spring I made an idiazA! bal cheese with a shepherd in the Urbia mountains in the Basque country. We used natural rennet which the shepherd made from the belly of a latxa lamb. When I went to pick my cheese up this autumn( after the ageing process) it had all the rich true-life aroma of the milk, but you could also feel the environment in which the mother had grazed. I could close my seeings and imagine myself on that windswept mountain top. The point I constituted it heightened the flavour. I ingested it with their own families, either by itself or with walnuts, quince jelly and apple jelly.

Dashi-simmered asparagus, tofu and egg at Koya, London

Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich
Chef-owners, Honey& Co, London

We went to Koya a couple of daylights before it shut and had an amazing goodbye snack. The asparagus and tofu dish was so delicious, we prescribed another for dessert. It had those really fat English asparagus, blanched and chargrilled, with tofu, bonito chips and a dashi broth. It was so nicely balanced and full of flavor. The next day, Itamar went back with our brain chef to eat it all over again. The food in those day of reckoning of Koya appeared very organic, more like dishes Junya[ Yamasaki, the psyche chef] would make at home than ordinary restaurant stuff.

Sea urchins from County Cork

Jacob Kenedy
Chef-patron, Bocca di Lupo, London

From now until February or March, you can get amazing ocean urchins from Ireland. I had my first one last week and it was mindbogglingly good. You can get warm-water ocean ragamuffins, which tend to be bigger and more impressive-looking, all time round, but they are much less intensely flavoured. The Irish ones quarry came from John Chamberlain in Dunmanus Bay, Co Cork have an enclose fishy flavour. Theyre fabulous conjured through pasta or with sushi, but I favor them on their own with simply a tiny squeezing of lemon. You slice them open, clean out the gunky substance, gargle them in sea water and scoop out the eggs with a teaspoon. It stimulates you realise how amazing sort is, and how little we should mess with our food.

Sea-salt ice cream in Dingle, County Kerry

James Jocky Petrie
Group executive growth chef, Gordon Ramsay Group

In Dingle this summer, during a chowder competitor with a lot of Guinness and live music, I tried a sea-salt ice cream at Murphys. It was one of those events that obligates you go, damn, why didnt I think of that? Everyone affection salted caramel, but this is different: just plain ice cream with sea salt. It sounds curious but it actually runs: the sweetness of the carbohydrate poises the salty persona. Its almost savoury but not quite its precisely a sweetened salt. People come from miles around to feed this ice cream.

Lamb kAPfte at Sultanahmet KAPftecisi, Istanbul

Karam Sethi
Chef-patron, Gymkhana, Trishna, London

I went to Istanbul for the first time this year and feed at a home called Sultanahmet KAPftecisi. After visiting the Blue Mosque nearby, we ensure the big queue outside and decided to find out what was going on. They specialise in lamb kAPftes grilled very simply over charcoal-grey and served with eat, stewed breezies and their room chilli glue. We ordered one and culminated up having six. Its tough to find something so succulent and juicy and flavourful. I think its down to the quality and fat content of the flesh, and that they provide them hot off the grill, so you can still savour the charcoal-gray. Theyve mastered the recipe over times and years. Its the eventual kebab.

Yuzu ramen at Afuri, Tokyo. Illustration: Nick Shepherd

Yuzu ramen at Afuri, Tokyo

Brett Redman
Chef-owner, The Richmond, Elliots, Jidori, London

On a research visit to Tokyo at the start of the year, I had a yuzu shio-ramen at a target announced Afuri in the basement of a shopping centre in Roppongi Hills. Im not an aficionado but it was the best ramen Ive ever had. They make it with chicken capital, which builds it much lighter than the rich, milky tonkotsu ramen were used to in London. The additive of fresh yuzu is ingenious: the ferocity and smell of yuzu peel bangs all the practice through the stocks. It left my chief spinning: how do you get so much better aroma into this bowl?

Khao chae at Lai Rod, Bangkok

Fuchsia Dunlop
Food columnist

I was going to recommend a meal at the Dragon Well Manor restaurant in Hangzhou every time I go there its the best banquet of the year but then I had something totally amazing today in Bangkok. I was in Thailand for the first time and the nutrient blogger The Skinny Bib recommended I go to an old-school Thai restaurant called Lai Rod. The standout from quite a long lunch was a dish called khao chae: grains of rice in iced liquid with bloom petals, perfumed with candle smoke. It was served with a platter of deep-fried savors light-green chilli thrust with pork, fish floss flavoured with coconut, caramelised beef and some salted radish with a little egg yolk and beautifully cut bits of green mango, cucumber and a crunchy yellow spring with a remarkable appreciation. The combining of the sweetened, salty and umami feelings from the enjoys and the smoky, perfumed rice soup was a revelation.

Grilled shrimps at Sa Foradada, Mallorca

Tomos Parry
Head chef, Kitty Fishers, London

I went to this fantastic cliffside restaurant the summer months. The whole suffer is pretty special: you park your gondola, hop over a fencing( which stands closed to keep wild donkeys in) and saunter for half an hour through arenas with fig trees and goats. The trek is worthwhile for the meat and the view youre seeming out over the inlet where they catch most of your dinner. I specially liked the shrimp, cooked very simply over a grill with grove from the trees around the restaurant. A heap of the knowledge in grilling lies in restraint, and these shrimp were barely cooked, so you can still delicacy the sea without being overpowered by the wood.

Grilled shrimps at Sa Foradada, Mallorca. Illustration: Nick Shepherd

Unpasteurised ointment from Ottinge Court Farm, Kent

Stephen Harris
Chef-patron, The Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent

Im somewhat obsessed with dairy cause and this year Ive started buying unpasteurised ointment from Ottinge Court Farm near Folkestone. We hadnt been able to get it at the restaurants sector for about five years because the testing is necessary in order to unpasteurised milk has become prohibitively expensive for most farms. The difference is just incredible. The pasteurisation process mops out all the interesting things. In this, I can savor a indicate of buds and a rosewater colour. Theres a slight dung-y feeling, which some people find offputting but I really like. You know it has come from a moo-cow as to report to a goat or a sheep, because it reeks a bit like when you get near cows. Ive been trying it out with a very warm chocolate mousse and a tiny bit of salt and thats perhaps the best thing Ive savoured all year.

Iio Jozos fujisu vinegar, Japan

James Lowe
Head cook, Lyles, London

In February I saw Iio Jozo, a vinegar-maker outside Kyoto which has been growing rice vinegar for 120 years. They supervise all the parts of the process themselves: they brew their own sake and have local farmers proliferating the organic rice for them. One circumstance they do is obtain the purpose lees the fermented rice left over after filtering and pile it into big wooden barrels to age for up to 10 years. It starts out as a white-hot, pure-looking adhesive but by year ten its pitch-black like treacle. The vinegar he makes from it is incredible. He gave me a litre bottle and, at first, I tried to use it sparingly, but I purposed up putting it on lots of things at the restaurant. It was extended within a week.

Pasta al forno at La Cantinetta, Barolo, Italy

Sam Harris
Chef-patron, Zucca, London

Ive been eating at La Cantinetta since I started going to Piedmont 15 years ago its a simple little trattoria run by two brothers but it was the first time Id had this recipe. They passed it as a special and it was amazing a perfect baked pasta. Pasta al forno is basically lasagne, though the woman acting us insisted “theres a difference”. This one was quite house and didnt downfall all over the plate, which is a good thought. There were loads of layers we weighed about 15 and a exceedingly scant quantity of bA( c) chamel and flesh ragu, but exactly the right amount. The flavouring was bang on, it was really crisp on the top. Ive had millions of lasagnes over the years, but this blew my head off.

Ochazuke at Ishikawa, Tokyo

Isaac McHale
Head cook, the Clove Club, London

Ochazuke is a dish of rice, a few chips to spray on top seaweed, toasted happenings, salmon eggs, shiso, whatever you have with light-green tea or dashi swarmed over it, a Japanese late-night fridge buffet. The fresh rice, the cornerstone of a Japanese meal, was a revealing. It was sweet-scented, exactly chewy, almost al dente and represented me certainly pay attention to the rice for the rest of our excursion. Ive been reading about ochazuke in Japanese Cook: A Simple-minded Art for 18 years and dreaming of a Scottish version, with Assam tea and pheasant broth over barley. To be served one in one of the best eateries in Japan, stirred my nerve sing.

Porcini in Tuscany

Ruth Rogers
Chef and co-founder, the River CafA( c ), London

The family, around 20 of us, go to Tuscany every summer, near Monte Amiata. This time we were there when the first porcini were found. Our gardener accompanied them for us as a astound, then I roasted them whole with a little bit of garlic and thyme, 2 hours when he was picked. We gave them in the oven for a long time, almost an hour, then gobble them with nothing else on the plate. It was the define as much as the flavour; all of us being there together, the exhilaration of them arriving. It was late August, so it felt like a farewell to summertime and the beginning of autumn.

Lobster pasta at Hedone, London

Nathan Outlaw
Chef-patron, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, Port Isaac, Cornwall

A lot of beings told me Hedone was good, but the lobster pasta was the best event Ive ever chews in England, and Ive devour a lot of meat in England. It wasnt so much the prepare as the ingredients. They kill all their seafood fresh to prescribe and that makes all the difference. You dont get a menu. If “youre asking” Mikael[ Jonsson] for one, he says hell cast it, but never does. But from what I can meet he took the coral from the lobster and set it into the bisque, which was somewhat aerated. The pasta was just a flat expanse, almost like lasagna, and cooked perfectly. Its refreshing to watch a cook lodging to his firearms and cooking best available grow he can find. The British eatery situation is much newer than in France or Spain or Italy, and I dont think weve scratched the surface of whats possible in our countries, with our own ingredients.

Sushi at Masa, New York

HA( c) lA” ne Darroze
Chef cuisiniA” re, HA( c) lA” ne Darroze at the Connaught, London

I was in New York with my cooks to cook a special dinner and we went to Masa. Its not the type of neighbourhood you can go every day its really expensive but it was an experience. You eat at the bar, and they oblige everything A la minute, right in front of you. The best circumstance was a piece where the chef took a kind of grey layer of the tuna not the the meat itself and wove it over a piece of rice into a piece of sushi. The rice was a little heated. It was so surprising: very smooth to gobble but then the smell of the tuna was like an detonation in the mouth. Just incredible.

Sushi at Masa, New York. Illustration: Nick Shepherd

Pizza at Mission Chinese, New York

Lee Tiernan
Chef-owner, Black Axe Mangal, London

I was fright about opening our new restaurant, and Danny Bowien invited me over to invest a few days at Mission Chinese in New York. I ever find calm around Danny. He has a lot on his layer but he merely deals with it. The best concept I ingest was a cheese and tomato pizza with mapo tofu on top, cooked in their grove oven. The base is made to a Tartine bread recipe, then the tofu is just rolled around on top. Its quite peculiar to have a cheese and tomato DOP pizza on a Chinese eatery menu, but goods-for-nothing going to stop those guys doing what they miss. I think about that pizza every day. I wish I was ingesting it right now, in fact.

Roast lamb in Segovia, Spain

Nieves BarragA! n
Executive cook, Barrafina, London

When I went to Segovia, 1 hour north of Madrid, I went to JosA( c) MarAa, their own families target where they build the best roasted mixed lamb on the lumber fuel. There were six of us; it was a four-hour lunch. We had two things: the lamb, which entered with roast kidneys, and the suckling animal, with amazing roasted potatoes and grilled peppers on the side. It was dazing: juicy, crisp It sounds fairly English, but the centre of Spain is like this, its exceedingly traditional all cooks. Their oven is big, so beautiful half the dimensions of the Barrafina. I would love to have something like that in London.

Tarte tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France

Shuko Oda
Head chef, Koya Bar, London

We called Lamotte-Beuvron, an hour or two from Paris, where tarte tatin is initially from. We went to the local bakery and bought the tarte tatin there. I dont normally have a sweet tooth but it was absolutely beautiful. It was a nothing-special-but-everything-about-it-was-special type of thing.

Goats curd mousse at Lyles, London

Anissa Helou
Food columnist

Lyles has been my favourite restaurant more or less since it opened, and just a few months ago I took two young Qatari friends for dinner as I wanted them to savour James Lowes cooking. It was a perfect meal, purposing with an amazing goats curd mousse. It was shocking: a little bowl with the mousse on the bottom, covered by an apple granita established with estivale apples and sorrel. The apples werent peeled so the tone was improbably intense but not too sweet. And then there was this beautiful crunchy cracker a very, very thin membrane obliged with apple, carbohydrate and idol anise. The compositions were incredible: peaches-and-cream, icy and then crackly. My pals loved it.

Pizza at Gjusta, Los Angeles

Claire Ptak
Owner, Violet Bakery, London

The thing thats genuinely been on my knowledge is this pizza we had in Los Angeles at Gjusta[ a bakery and cafA( c )]. It was one of the best, most perfectly seasoned, chewy, crunchy, doughy stuffs Ive ever eaten. Ive been reverie about it. Its more like pizza bianca that you get in Rome, but thinner. They make it in big-hearted rectangular expanse pans. Really salty and oily, and stretched out. The one we eat had tomatoes, cherry-red onion, little bits of ricotta, an egg, and merely petroleum and salt. It was transcendent.

Pizza at Gjusta, Los Angeles. Sketch: Nick Shepherd

Grouse from Scotland

Blanche Vaughan
Cook and food novelist

I was standing on a moor in mid-September just when the heather is in bloom and I shot a grouse. I plucked it myself, wrapped it up and took it back on the improve. Its a neat thought is capable of being cook for other people. I made a recipe I learned at the River CafA( c ): you make a bruschetta with rib tomatoes on top, slop in red wine this is why it immerses into the dough, then you brown the bird and rib it on top of the bruschetta so all the juices ooze in.

Burger at the Four Seasons, New York

Fergus Henderson
Co-owner, St John, London

A perfect burger at the Four Seasons bar in the Seagram Building in New York. I had a dry martini, which is a good way to start lunch, and a is a great pleasure pinot noir to clean it down. A real consider. It was a classic burger but its the situate: its a beautiful room, a special place. They have chainmail on the windows, which shimmers. The rail has amazing spikes hanging above it, so everything they dish could be the last event “youve been” gobble or suck before a spike runs you through, which lends a certain twist to the whole thing.

Grilled cauliflower at Hearth, New York

Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley
Cookery scribes

In September we went to Hearth in New York. They offered us a seat at the cooks pass( immediately in front of the kitchen ), where we experienced the most incredible six-course savouring menu right at the core of all the action. The flavour was electric, the food was incredible the grilled cauliflower with sunflower seeds and capers, and grilled beef neck may be particularly memorable and typical of cook Marco Canoras food philosophy. His rustic, home-style cooking endorses seasonal grow , nose-to-tail eating and a squander not, crave not attitude.

Spaghettoni at Ristorante Lido 84, Lake Garda, Italy

Andrea Petrini
Food scribe, the founding fathers of Gelinaz !

Spaghettoni at Ristorante Lido 84, Lake Garda, Italy. Sketch: Nick Shepherd

Its simple virtually provocatively simple-minded. Spaghettoni[ dense spaghetti ], butter and beer yeast. When it comes to the table its virtually monochrome between pure lily-white and thinly brown-ish in colour. The entitlement of the dish may be simple-minded, but of course its not just one butter, but a coalesce of three, and the brew has been spread out and cooked in the oven on a very gentle temperature until it solidifies. You have totally al dente spaghetti, the extremely savoury, milky existence of the butter, the suggestion of the crunchiness of the yeast that lends a dosage of acidity, and a gently insinuating suggestion of caramelisation. Its immediately recognisable consolation meat that likewise pushes the border. Its an instantaneous classic, something I panic the chef, Riccardo Camanini, will have on his shoulders for many years to come. You cannot contribute anything else, because you would destroy the balance, the subtle dialogue among these three major ingredients. And if you take something out, it falls apart. For me, thats the definition of a recipe, or a piece of art. You eat it in three pierces, but it stays with you for a really long time.

Porra de naranja at Arte de Cozina, MA! laga, Spain

Samantha Clark
Chef and co-owner, Moro, Morito, London

We have a house near Granada and we decided to do a detour and move into MA! laga to try a eatery, Arte de Cozina, that one of our cooks had told us about. The standout bowls were porra de naranja and kids sweetbreads. Porras are the precursors to gazpachos but built with fewer ingredients sometimes just bread or dehydrated fava beans, garlic, olive oil and sea. This one was scented with orange. The composition was smooth and creamy, the flavour subtle with orange, a fruity olive oil and perhaps a contact of vinegar. Topped with chopped almonds for crunch and salty jamA3n to balance the sweetness, “its been” nectar.

Adidas nigiri at Sawada, Tokyo

Enrique Olvera
Chef-patron, Pujol, Mexico City

Sawada is a minuscule two-Michelin-star sushi saloon with simply six chairs, where the owner, Koji Sawada, and his wife are the only ones taking care of every aspect of the entire omakase. It was a tuna fish nigiri, but a quite different slouse, between the chutoro( belly country) and the otoro, with so much fat it actually melted in your mouth. It was mentioned by Sawada as the three strings of fat formation an Adidas appearance, like the three paths of the boast firebrand. The stuff that stimulated me the most was to see Sawada doing such an unusual thing but with so much respect for his culture. Innovating from institution, exercising a subtle change or better. You can still do new happenings that honour your roots.

Bonnat Madagascar chocolate forbid

David Williams
The Observer wine novelist

As someone with expensive flavours in wine and whisky( professional mishap) and cheese( just plain greed ), Ive been leery of developing an addiction to classy bean to bar chocolate. The chocolate penny finally ceased with a bar made by French artisans Bonnat from beans sourced in Madagascar. A flare, fruity, beautiful peaches-and-cream style described as the pinot noir of chocolate, it had me expending texts Id typically reserve for wine: offset, quality, and most of all, section( the preference lasted for hours ).

Buttermilk chicken at the Clove Club, London

Thomasina Miers
Wahaca founder, cookery novelist

For my mothers birthday at the end of January we took her to the Clove Club. They blew us away with the meat. We had the buttermilk chicken, consommA( c) and 100 -year-old madeira, and an Orkney scallop and orange dish that was so ignite. Its remarkable how much they stimulate from scratch: the charcuterie, the butter, the eat My mother was blown away. Her sees were glittering like a seven-year-olds at Christmas.

JamA3n from Barcelona

Angela Hartnett
Chef-patron, Murano, Cafe Murano

I bought a jamA3n from Joan La Llar del Pernil, drew it back to London and had a jamA3n defendant in my plot. I invited Nieves[ BarragA! n] and JosA( c)[ Pizzaro] over, and some of my cooks; I speculated Id get everyone round at 2pm and theyd be gone by 8p m, but, of course, everyone was there until two in the morning. Weve since gone back to Barcelona and bought another jamA3n.

Squat lobster from the Firth of Clyde

Ben Reade
Co-founder, Edinburgh Food Studio, Edinburgh

The most luscious circumstance I dine this year was a amaze offering of squat lobsters from a fisherman on the Firth of the Clyde announced Ian Wightman. Id ordered a consignment of langoustines[ for a festival I was cooking at in North Ayrshire] and he gave us these as a bonus. We cooked them up the top of a glen over an oak shoot, with white wine, butter and some nutmeg. They are one of the sweetest, most delicious meats ever, but not many people use them in fact, most fishermen throw them back because theyre so tiny and the government had gruesome shells that cut into your digits when youre opening them. But theyre really worth the hassle, and the less you do when youre cooking them the very best.

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