What we ate in May

Read our weekly food trends update to discover right-now ingredients, fun foodie events, Instagramable restaurant dishes, exciting street eats and exactly what you should be eating to stay ahead.


plantation rumPineapple rum

This week, we dipped our toes into the world of pineapple rum, a drink popular in Dickensian times when, allegedly, it was reserved for folk of distinction. We're pleased to report in the year 2016 it's available for all to enjoy. It's made by infusing regular rum with both the fruit and skin of the tropical fruit, giving it a punchy, distinct flavour. This modern day version – the flamboyantly-named Plantation pineapple Stiggin's Fancy – is a collaboration between cocktail connoisseurs Alexandre Gabriel and David Wondrich. Ice and lots of fresh lime are mandatory serving partners. 

 

Courgette flowersCourgette flowers

Beautiful courgette flowers tend to come into season in June, but we've seen them popping up on menus already – and we're not complaining. We first spotted them on a trip to Lausanne this week, when we enjoyed them stuffed with pike in a creamy crayfish sauce at the Chateau d'Ouchy. We saw them again later in the week stuffed with cheese and deep-fried on the tapas menu at Salt Yard's pop-up at Pergola on the Roof. The season is short, so if you happen to see these vibrant beauties, make sure you snap them up post haste!

 

Fruity salads

Secreted away on an Oxford Street roof is The Gardening Society, a space where London restaurants The Dairy, B.O.B's Lobster and Shotgun have set up shop for the summer. Our standout dish of the night was a creative salad from barbecue specialists Shotgun that featured tomato with a sprinkling of dried raspberry powder for a fruity kick. Could this be the salad seasoning of the summer? Watch this space... 

 

 

Maca caramel sundae

A giant ice cream sundae that's healthy to boot – is it too good to be true? This towering frozen treat features on the entirely plant-based menu at the just opened Farmacy in Notting Hill. Chunks of vegan brownie and seasonal fruit are nestled into vanilla ‘nice cream’, then doused in chocolate sauce. The highlight of the dish was the caramel infused with maca – a nutrient-dense Peruvian plant thought to boost energy. On the drinks menu, the 'syringe shots’ offer a riff on the medicinal theme – we tried the 'OMG' with flaxseed oil, cannabis oil and grapefruit. OMG, indeed.
 

Second Shot coffee

Good coffee is always worth remarking on, cafés are two-a-penny but a great cup is still hard to find. Opening on Saturday 21st on Bethnal Green Road is Second Shot coffee, an independent with a mission to change lives one latte at a time. The café trains, supports and employs homeless people on a full-time basis, providing valuable work experience along with a wage. The start-up is the brainchild of Julius Ibrahim who has foodie credentials as an ex-chef at award-winning Bleecker St Burger, while the coffee is sourced by Emilio Rodriguez who was head of coffee for Gather & Gather. The cup we tried was excellent and expertly served - we’d recommend a slice of carrot cake, too.
 

‘Bowls'

Instagram is awash with #powerbowls and #buddhabowls, filled with all sorts of enticing and nourishing ingredients – and now the phenomenon is making its way onto restaurant menus, too. At organic eatery The Garden in Hale, near Manchester, ‘bowls’ get an entire section of the menu to themselves, ranging from the buckwheat-based Goodness Bowl to the vibrant Lean Green Bowl (pictured). Optional toppings include vegan brazil nut cheese and matcha-marinated salmon, proving that healthy fare can still be packed with exciting new flavours. We’re bowled over!

 

 

Black pudding scotch egg

There seems to be something of a black pudding bandwagon at the moment. We’re jumping right on board – and judging from the sprawling queue at Broadway Market for these incredibly Instagrammable scotch eggs, everyone else is too. The sausagemeat casing has been upgraded with rich black pudding and deep-fried to a crispy finish, hiding a perfectly soft yolk. We'll take a dozen.

 

 

Tapas at Morito

Fans of the ever-popular Moro might like to try its new sister restaurant, Morito, which opened this week. Although tiny in size, the dishes are big on flavour - we loved the quail eggs with cumin and salt, and the aubergine and walnut dip. The tapas menu boasts vibrant Spanish and North African flavours served in an informal, first-come-first-served setting. Our advice? Turn up early - we don't see the hordes of hungry diners disappearing any time soon.

 

Prawn mayo hot dog

Sweden meets America in this hybrid dish, sampled in Gothenburg this week. Not your average banger in a bun, it's a meaty treat topped with creamy prawn mayonnaise and served with tomato pesto mash and crispy fried onions, with a splurge of mustard on the side for good measure. If it makes it over to British shores, we reckon it’s set to be the hotdog of the summer.

 

 

Canned negroni

Just when we thought cocktail presentation couldn’t get any quirkier, Notch handed us a ring pull can full of negroni. Just opened, this industrial playground-themed bar is set up on a rooftop overlooking Oxford Street. At the launch party this week we enjoyed summery cocktails served in cans and jars and Japanese street bites from Fudo Shack, including short rib bao buns and sashimi 'pizza'. As a result, we can guarantee one thing – come summer, we’ll be popping, pulling and pouring to our heart’s content.

 

   
Hot cookie dough

We’re no strangers to super indulgent desserts, but this warm, squidgy bake really takes the biscuit (dough). Create your own by taking a standard cookie dough recipe and halving the chocolate – it melts when cooked, so you don't need as much to get that hot-out-of-the-oven experience. Our top tip? Use a cast iron pan for best results and top with cold ice cream to contrast with the oozy, gooey and delicious cookie dough.

 

 

Watermelon sashimi

Sashimi generally consists of fish, not fruit, but this week we sampled a watermelon sashimi, served with black radish, tofu and black bean sauce. The chefs carve the melon into 'logs' resembling the shape of a tuna, before slicing and soaking in a tangy soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin marinade. Described as ‘genuinely inauthentic’, Kojawan is a space-style new izakaya (a kind of Japanese pub serving food that’s perfect paired with beer and sake). It’s cross-cultural menu brings together the best of Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese cuisines, serving up an eclectic mix of dishes in a playfully futuristic setting.

 

Missed the last food diary? Find out what we ate last month, or visit our 12 month compilation to get fully up to speed... 

What we ate in April
One year of food trends

 

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