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Everyone loves a double act.

Siegfried & Roy, Del & Rodney, John & Gregg, neither partner is inferior, both are improved by one another.  This year, we’re seeing a rise in the number of concepts catering for simple luxury and there’s a bubble coming to the top in the form of the ultimate partnership.. welcome back HAM & CHEESE. 


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I’m a menu and concept developer, living in Brighton and working with the UK’s top restaurant brands. I’m in London most days and this blog is about news, drink and food trends from the bar and restaurant industry and my daily exploration around the City. Say ‘Hello’.

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London is suddenly awash with simple luxury concepts.  Smaller menus and drinks lists, batch cocktails, smaller footprints with lower fit-out costs and less ingredients with better provenance are the order of the day. 


At the lower end, we’re seeing lots of super-authentic noodles.  The high end reaches up to Russian operator Goodman’s new offer ‘Beast’ – Norwegian red king crab and steak dished up on communal tables for £75 a head, taking its Burger & Lobster concept up a notch.  And in the middle ground, ham and cheese offers are proliferating, this time freed from the tyranny of the pizza base. You’ll see it everywhere from Whole Foods in Piccadilly to the North Eastern fringes of Hackney.


There are a whole host of excellent reference points.  Champagne + Fromage tucked away in Covent Garden and Brixton Village is matching cheese and charcuterie with a full list of grower champagnes, amidst rustic French styling heavy on reclaimed furniture.  Antidote just off Carnaby St is similar, albeit with the addition of a limited menu of small plates upstairs.  Meat and cheese are available individually by the 30g, or platter.

Long time Soho operator Fernandez & Wells on Lexington Street sport a small selection of grilled cheese sandwiches, Pulgas – small Spanish brioche buns and Raclette together with gorgeous boards of freshly sliced cured meats and cheeses.  No kitchen team here, everything is done by the front of house team on the back bar while you watch.  It’s a similar deal in Sager & Wilde in Hackney, the eponymous wine bar, where high quality products supplement the hipster’s wine experience. And this is an important nuance because in the 2nd wave wine bar breakout that we’re witnessing across the capital, food plays an equally important role.  The beauty of the cheese and charcuterie angle is that a high quality offer can accompany the booze, without the burden of an upscale kitchen team and the risk of losing focus.  L’Entrepot in Dalston Lane is also worth the pilgrimage where the platters supplement a larger menu in a huge Brooklyn-inspired neighbourhood hangout.


Kappacasein in Maltby St (and Borough Mkt) is currently enjoying the reputation for providing the worlds best grilled cheese sandwich.  The Americans might have something to say about that.  Ember Yard in Soho have taken things up a level with a wide range of artisan boards in the bar alongside their over-charcoal mains.  La Cave a Fromage have three shops in South Kensington, Brighton and Notting Hill were you can eat in and enjoy a variety of well-sourced platters with wine. Finally, head for murder mile in Clapton to find excellent newcomer Verden

Further afield, nine strong Italian chain Dok Dall’ava offer a glimpse of a branded ham & cheese future under the banner of  “Simply Luxury Food”.  Situated in northern Italian cities and ski resorts, the chain features ham and cheese on 75% of the dishes, a limited range of pasta’s, ham carving lessons and ham, as art, all around the venues