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At boom saloon, we’re incredibly privileged to collaborate with a community of hundreds of talented creatives all around the world, stretching from Ecuador to Egypt, China to Canada, Austria to Angola. Our strong relations have afforded us a wealth of insider insights into the best places to visit, eat and stay, all around the world. Now, we want to share this information with you as we work with our community to map the world and share their best recommendations of how to enjoy destinations both near and far. Our version of a city guide, delivered interactively and in real time – curated for all to enjoy and presented as a savable Google Map for our members to save and bookmark a wealth of future adventures.
Good food is everywhere, that’s no secret – but the trouble, often, is finding it. Incredible restaurants using the finest ingredients and the best techniques to create truly brilliant dishes are hiding in every city big and small, just waiting to be discovered.
I’m the author of 3 cookbooks: ‘Salad Feasts,’ ‘Tin Can Magic’ and ‘Lazy Baking.’ In 2018 I founded Elliott’s, a community that celebrates simple cooking and life in the kitchen. My work is inspired by the produce, colours, textures and rituals that each season brings. The Elliott’s Studio, a green-fronted tenement building on Sciennes Road in Edinburgh, is an extension of my home and where I cook, write and teach. From 2018-June 2023 I ran the Elliott’s Cafe, cooking a weekly changing menu alongside really good coffee and wine. Running my own restaurant for five years means I have a huge admiration for those in the hospitality sector and the people providing the very best experiences. Maintaining quality in a restaurant is an artform; to enjoy some of the best I know, stop by my selection of top spots.
Just off East London’s trendy Arnold Circus is the door to Rochelle Canteen. Push the buzzer and you’ll pass through the peaceful gardens into a white-walled hidden oasis. This converted bike shed, off the side of a Victorian school, was created by Margot Henderson [OBE] and Melanie Arnold. It is responsible for some of the best in simple, seasonal British cooking. Order anything that comes with aioli; always get the side salad and chips; always, always order pudding.
Whilst on the theme of canteens, this one – on the prestigious Chulalongkorn University campus – is one of the most informal but most delicious eateries in central Bangkok. I studied here for a year and my mind was blown daily at how fresh and tasty the food was. In-the-know tourists are welcome to visit the canteen; just avoid the main lunch rush! Order the whole fried fish with yum mamuang – a sour, spicy mango salad. Ask the students for their recommendations, too; they’ll be delighted to practise their English with you, and you’ll soon discover the deep-rooted Thai love of food.
It’s worth working your way through the crowds at the incredibly loud and busy Piccadilly Circus to get into this underground 1930’s Parisian bistro. Head here for the prix fixe lunch – exceptional value at £19.75 for three courses. The starter is shredded carrots in a heavenly mustardy dressing, main is steak and chips and pudding is usually a mini chocolate tart.
This is my absolute favourite restaurant in all of London, and what feels like one of the last remaining independents in central Soho. Founder Clare Lattin has the most effortless style and a relaxed, organic aesthetic that’s been a huge inspiration for my work at Elliott’s. Sit up at the bar if you can and ask about the bottles of natural wine that are open that day. Order as much food as you can – everything will be incredibly delicious. I’d die happy if my last supper was here!
Just up the road from Ducksoup is Koya, a beautifully minimalist yet cosy noodle bar specialising in chewy udon and dashi stocks. They have additional sites in the city and on Broadway Market these days, but a spot at this original location, sat up at the bar, overlooking the chefs cooking your lunch, is the best place to be. Their ‘saba’ dish is my favourite – hot udon noodles in a hot broth with mackerel and green leaves. Make sure to order a couple of sides, including the pickles.
06_Kim’s Mini Meals
This family-run spot next to Edinburgh University does delicious home-cooked Korean meals. They don’t take bookings so it’s worth getting there early when they open, before the queue builds. I always order the Kimchi Jiggae: a warming stew that always sorts me out if I feel I need a reset. You really do feel like you’re in someone’s living room in this unique location.
07_The Kinneuchar Inn
Along the beautiful East Neuk of Fife is Kinneuchar Inn, a 17th Century pub run by chef James Ferguson and his partner Alethea Palmer. James used to work at Rochelle Canteen [see above] and does what I would call ‘proper cooking.’ For example, steak and chips with béarnaise sauce using aged beef from the nearby Balcaskie estate. They also make their own charcuterie which is really fantastic. Kinneuchar really is worth the drive for special occasions.
Set along the Regents Canal, Towpath is my happy, happy place. It’s the creation of two incredible women – chef Laura Jackson and food writer Lori De Mori, who runs front of house. Exposed to the elements, Towpath is only open from early Spring through to late Autumn. The cheese toastie with quince jelly has a cult following of its own, but you should go as much as you can in the opening months to try Laura’s seasonally changing dishes, including her beetroot borani, Turkish eggs and slow-cooked lamb.
This Thai grill is a seriously exciting place to go for dinner. Expect hot, sour, explosive flavours coming from dishes cooked in claypots over the open fire grill. The laap sausage is a must, as is the pork and crab glass noodle dish. The cocktails are just as vibrant, so order a couple of those, too!
The Edinburgh branch of Mother India is consistently delicious, but it’s the cosy decor of the Glasgow branch and its special view out to The Kelvingrove Museum that does it for me. The food here is smaller-plate, tapas-style, so go with a big group of mates and order everything.
For me, Rosie Healey’s cooking is some of the best you’ll find in Scotland. With Ottolenghi, Padella and Quo Vadis on her CV, she does simple Mediterranean with exquisite vibrancy and seems to know exactly what I want to eat. Start with a couple of gildas, order pasta and salad for main and always double up on pudding.
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