THOROUGHLY MODERN MAN: Street food at Lanes of London, Mayfair

Street food is a big deal on the capital’s foodie horizon, as vans selling hotdogs, burgers, and other artisanal efforts have been popping up across London in recent years. Lanes of London have decided to launch their own interpretation of street food, with the pleasing twist of having these “small dishes” represent the many international cuisines present in London’s culinary landscape. Among the six my intrepid companion and I sampled (yes, we felt greedy), we had Indian, Persian, Asian fusion and the good old US of A represented on plates, and many were delicious. Highlight of the meal were the beef brisket sliders with roasted bone marrow and horseradish cream – be prepared to order another round, they were that succulent and flavourful. The sliders are pictured above with the sweet smoky duck hash and fried egg, which also hit some delightful flavour notes, although tested the definition of ‘street food’ – it is served in a hot skillet, which I for one would be unwilling to carry around, regardless of how delicious its contents. The salad of green papaya, chilli, pork, prawns and peanuts, as well as being an alliterative pleasure to say, was a culinary pleasure to eat, and a textural pleasure to crunch. In fact it looks so appetising as it arrives that unfortunately we cannot offer any photos of that particular dish. Our apologies, dear reader. Other arrivals at our table included the token vegetable dish of salt-baked pumpkin with goat’s cheese and black quinoa, lamb koftas paired suitably with smoked aubergine, and a particularly well-balanced samosa chat, both in terms of its spicing, and how it perched atop chickpeas, mint chutney and yoghurt, finished with an artful sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. The relationship of powerful flavours in the latter in particular was well-marshalled by the kitchen, and served up beautifully.

As we had dined so greedily, we thought it only right to order dessert in matching style. Although I would have considered it blasphemy to think that anything might top the sliders, “home made jammie dodgers” did. The home baked shortbread was crumbling and buttery, the strawberry jam’s sweetness cut with just enough homemade strawberry liqueur, with fresh strawberries & cream included, because why not. Our second dessert (all this, of course, we do to inform you on as much of the menu as possible) was a chocolate torte with clotted cream ice cream, which was rich and glossy with an absolute guarantee of a nap 40 minutes after finishing. Although William Sitwell might rant against the rectangular black board on which the torte arrives, even he would struggle to find much wrong with the taste. As is often the case with hotel restaurants, the atmosphere was not buzzing, but that’s what interesting friends are for. The food arriving at your table, however, may well leave you silently admiring it.

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Written by a Thoroughly Modern Man, James Bomford.

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