The chefs’ secret ingredient: Monica Brown

©Charlie Bibby

Blumenthal’s tasting menu had the same emotional effect on Brown as a Puccini opera

Els Casals

Fonda Sala and Els Casals, Catalonia, Spain

A glass of cava, a plate of salami with green peppers and the sunset made for an unforgettable aperitif

The simple wooden interior of Kirazu

Kirazu, Antidote, London

With just 25 seats at his restaurant, Yuya Kikuchi fulfils the roles of chef and dishwasher

La Ruota dining room view

La Ruota, Moneglia, Italy

The restaurant overlooks Moneglia far below, its beach, the calm sea … The vista only improves when the stars come out

Joseph’s bakery and adjacent bistro
©Gregor Graf

Bauer, Joseph and Clementine in Vienna

A chic bakery with a bistro attached: is this the Viennese café of the future?

Scott’s in Mayfair

Scott’s, London and Union Square Café, New York

‘Restaurateurs have opened up parts of numerous cities where other retailers feared to tread’

The terrace at La Vague d’Or, St Tropez;
©Christophe Duranti

La Vague d’Or, Saint Tropez

‘The menu introduces some very high notes, as well as introducing curious eaters to unusual ingredients’

Chefs busy at The Palomar
©Helen Cathcart

The Palomar, London

‘Alongside the mezze there is Persian stew, Moroccan-style bream and mussels cooked to a Kurdish recipe’

Deqin county in Diqing prefecture, 35km from the Tibetan border

Finding Shangri-La in Yunnan, China

In the remote reaches of the Himalayas lie a world-class winery and remarkable native foodstuffs

The interiors of Sager + Wilde's

Sager + Wilde, Lyle’s, 8 Hoxton Square, London

‘That night’s unusual main course was Somerset suckling kid, simply prepared on a charcoal grill’

Five restaurants in Florence

‘I collected a plate of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil and olive oil, and enjoyed it with a plastic knife and fork’

Glasgow: Café Gandolfi, Crabshakk, Monachyle Mhor

‘Over our stay it was three firmly established operators who impressed the most’

Ashmolean Dining Room, 1855 Wine Bar, Fallowfields Restaurant and Hotel, Oxford

‘Herring salad and cannelloni stuffed with leeks made an excellent prelude to Cézanne’

Ember Yard, London

‘Glasses of chilled La Guita Manzanilla sherry and a white Rioja transported us to Spain’

Chao Shan Cuisine, New Ubin Seafood, Singapore

‘At Chao Shan, roast suckling pig was the most magnificent lacquered amber’

Penati al Baretto, Juvéniles, Lazare, Paris

‘Too many French chefs see vegetables as second-class – but not 26-year-old Romain Roudeau’

Din Tai Fung, Rui Fu Yuan, Jesse Restaurant, Shanghai

‘Best of all was bean curd topped with hairy crab – a Shanghainese delicacy’

Chiltern Firehouse, London

‘The forecourt, home for many years to fire engines, is now an elegant garden’

Restaurant Mark, Café St Honoré , The Scran & Scallie, Edinburgh

‘Too many of those wonderful ingredients ended up in French or Italian kitchens. Not today’

The Boss, Duddell’s, Hong Kong

‘I became aware that it takes more than scurrying waiters to generate a good night out’


Nicholas LanderNicholas Lander writes a weekly restaurant column for the FT Weekend edition

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