A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
SHANNON BENNETT’S LONDON Shannon Bennett with Scott Murray
(Hardie Grant Books, $49.99)
Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of London. For a city that is huge and can be hard and confusing to tackle, the promise of that song is attractive.
Now Shannon Bennett, the celebrated chef responsible for Vue de Monde in Melbourne, is offering to lead the way in a new book subtitled A Personal Guide to the City’s Best, co-authored with Scott Murray. The emphasis is on fine dining and luxury hotels, but there’s space too for neighbourhood pubs and rooms with a view.
“I can tell you what London food is: warm, earthy and proper,” Bennett says. “Fish and chips are not just fish and chips any more. It is smoked haddock, line-caught off the west coast of Wales, in a crisp beer batter, with chips that are hand-cut from new-season Jersey royals, cooked twice in biodynamic beef fat.”
Among his tips: plan ahead for special meals; the best places are usually booked well in advance. And if you like fine-dining restaurants but want to keep the budget in check, go for lunch; special deals are a London specialty. The authors’ favourites include Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Knightsbridge, The Ledbury in Notting Hill, and Le Gavroche and Pollen Street Social, both in Mayfair.
If the London trip’s still a pipe dream, whet your appetite with some of Bennett’s recipes. Try slow-roasted Yorkshire lamb shoulder, venison wellington with creamed cabbage, quail Scotch eggs or (more, please) treacle tart.