LITTLE BLACK BOOK
GREG Malouf has taken over from fellow Australian Skye Gyngell as head chef at London’s Petersham Nurseries Cafe. He is also the author of several food and travel books. More: petershamnurseries.co.uk. Best breakfast spot: The souk in Amman, Jordan: falafel, ful madamas, pickled minced chillies in olive oil, balila, (hummus with warm chickpeas) and just-baked Arabic bread. Most memorable food experience on the road: I had an extraordinary breakfast at Ali Bey’s kebab shop in Gaziantep in southeast Turkey. Simple fare — liver and offal kebabs — shared with taxi drivers and construction workers at 6am. Standout afternoon tea: The afternoon tea buffet at the Gazebo Lounge at the Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul, where you can munch on up-market gozleme and pistachio baklava as you gaze at the Bosphorus. Favourite street food: For this Lebanese boy it has to be shawarma: grilled chicken with toum (a pungent lemon-garlic mayonnaise), hot chillies and salad stuffed into warm Arabic bread. Best enjoyed in Lebanon (or anywhere else in the Middle East). Inviting culinary destination: The fantastic tapas bar Barrafina in Soho, London. The tapas are some of the best I’ve tasted and there’s a great buzz. I’ve been dreaming of its grilled quail with aioli and amazing blood sausage. Favourite shopping haunt: E. Dehillerin in Paris is one of the world’s best kitchenware shops. I bought a set of stainless steellined copper pots here about 20 years ago and have used them almost every day since. Inspirational travel narrative: I always go back to Paula Wolfert’s Mediterranean Cooking. Although she’s best known for her books on Moroccan cooking, I particularly love this book, which explores the food of the countries that fringe the Mediterranean Sea, from North Africa to Spain, France, Italy and Greece. It draws on her experience of the region and features home-style recipes. Distinctive hotel: London’s gorgeous Haymarket Hotel, with a quirky townhouse vibe, is in a brilliant central location, yet it’s peaceful enough for a great night’s sleep. Most memorable travel experience: While researching our book Saraban, [writing partner] Lucy [Malouf] and I took a midnight boat trip across the Persian Gulf, with a full moon overhead and tiny smuggling boats whizzing all around. It was a moment that really captured the spirit of our adventures in Iran.