Clerkenwell Boy: Winner of Best Instagram Feed, Observer Food Awards 2016

Clerkenwell Boy: Winner of Best Instagram Feed, Observer Food Awards 2016

Having just won further recognition as Best Instagram Feed at Observer Food Awards 2016, anonymous Clerkenwell Boy let us in on his restaurant savvy food forecasts and how to cure a hangover.

Clerkenwell Boy is the messiah of London‘s food scene.
What he snaps one evening, you eat the next. With a 150,000-strong
Instagram following, the faceless
food critic has already shot SUITCASE food guides to
Hong Kong
. Having just won further recognition as Best Instagram
Feed at Observer Food Awards 2016, he let us in on his restaurant
savvy food forecasts and how to cure a hangover.

Can you give us any social media tips?

Find your niche. Follow people who inspire you, interact with
others and develop your own style. When taking photos, always try
to shoot in natural daylight – but avoid direct sunlight. When
you’re out, grab a table by the window and never use flash!

What are the current food trends?

There’s a huge trend for regional cuisine and street-food stalls
becoming bricks and mortar restaurants: Hoppers brought Sri Lankan
cuisine in Soho; som saa with its unusual Thai dishes in
and Breddos with their amazing tacos, just down the
road. A lot of super-healthy restaurants have also opened such as

Deliciously Ella
‘s Mae Deli and the
Hemsley + Hemsley
café in Selfridges. There’s also increasing
focus on sustainability and less food waste – it’s something I
really want to promote.

Which chefs are hot right now?

Nuno Mendes of
Taberna do Mercado
Chiltern Firehouse
, James Lowe of Lyles and Andy
Oliver of som saa. Newbies to keep an eye on are all those
shortlisted by the Young British Foodie awards – they’ve got their
finger on the pulse. I’m set to judge its Food Sharing

And which are your favourite restaurants?

on Hackney
, The Barbary in Covent Garden and Quality Chop House on
Farringdon Road.

What about bars?

Zetter Townhouse
– my local.

Brunch spot?

The Good Egg in Stoke
. It serves amazing babka and (unsurprisingly) lots of
egg dishes.

Give us a tip for getting the best out of eating out.

Go early on a Monday night – you’ll get the best service and
many restaurants allow you to bring your own wine without any

And an insider tip for London?

Rochelle Canteen is the go-to for a sunny, al fresco weekday
lunch. Get some wine from Leila’s Shop around the corner, grab some
sunnies and a hat and chill out over amazing food for the rest of
the day.

What’s your favourite country and why?

Australia – that’s where I grew up so I have a lot of friends
and family there. The weather is great so there are plenty of al
fresco dining options. In the evenings, I tend to go for authentic
southeast Asian food (Thai, Malaysian, Vietnamese). But I love
living in the UK too. I’ve been in London for over ten years now
and love the diversity of cuisines here, especially Indian, Sri
Lankan and Middle Eastern food.

Where’s next on your list?

A relaxing weekend in the English countryside. I want to cycle,
explore some local pubs… I’m also hoping to squeeze in a few more
cheeky weekend trips around Europe before heading to Sydney for

Best meal ever?

A meal in the kitchen of a 70-year-old chef on a Tuscan
. We had hand-rolled pici (pasta) tossed in a sauce
made from anchovies, cauliflower puree, saffron and lemon.

And the worst?

It was at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant where I wasn’t
allowed to take off my jacket during our four-hour meal even though
it was unbearably hot.

Can you cook and, if so, what’s your signature dish?

Yes, I love cooking and make a mean pasta. Carbonara is my
favourite, made using ingredients from the local delis around

Is there anything you refuse to eat?

No, I’ll try everything – at least once anyway.

How do you stay so trim?

I have no clue. A fast metabolism, I guess? I should probably
start playing more tennis – which I love – but I’m always

What do you think of the ‘wellness’ trend?

I think as long food tastes good and it’s consumed in moderation
then just go for it. I don’t believe in cutting out entire food
groups or extreme diet fads.

Hangover cure?

Usually a bloody Mary the morning after. Failing that, I drink
lots of water, filtered black coffee and a take couple of

If you could have dinner with three people (dead or alive) who
would they be and why?

Presidents and prime ministers currently at war with each other.
I’d get them sat down together so they can sort shit out.

What’s next for Clerkenwell Boy?

I’m judging the Restaurant Awards and curating content for
Velocity, a brilliant (and free) restaurant booking app. Plus a lot
more travel. I’m also working on #CookForSyria in aid of UNICEF’s
Children of Syria Fund with SUITCASE Magazine and NextGen. As part
of the initiative, top chefs and restaurateurs create dishes
inspired by Syrian cuisine and donate £2 to the charity for each
dish sold. It’s launching in November across the UK and we’re
hoping it will spread worldwide.

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