London undoubtedly produces some of the most inventive cookery in the UK—but what about the rest of the country? These culinary hotspots could be giving the capital a run for its money
The British Isles may be small in size, but within them lives a world of vibrant cultures that are introducing diverse flavours into the nation’s food scene. With each year that passes, pioneering chefs are bringing increasingly innovative taste experiences to the table. Although London is often perceived as the definitive mecca for foodies, there appears to be some strong contenders sprouting in other parts of the nation. Explore these UK foodie hotspots—you won’t regret it.
This inner city district in Manchester—which once fell victim to the slump of the cotton industry—has gradually risen in popularity amongst foodies. Opportunistic entrepreneurs have seen the potential of the area and have set up shop. Now, the abandoned mills have been rejuvenated and given new purpose, with artisanal coffee shops, indie cafes and trendy restaurants popping up all over the place. Some locals are referring to it as the ‘new Northern Quarter’, but we have a feeling that the eclectic medley of local eateries will help to cultivate this area’s very own style.
Look out for…
While the exact opening date is yet to be confirmed, an excitable buzz is revolving around Michael Clay’s new venture in the Ice Plant building. Rumoured to be open for business sometime in September, the anticipated restaurant, Elnecot, promises to serve up fresh and sustainable produce. Aptly named after the Old English term ‘ana cots’—translated roughly as ‘rural village’—the restaurant’s team will seek to pay homage to the roots of the area through their seasonal menu.
Brighton has always had a mind of its own; in fashion, in lifestyle and especially in food. Rather than following the fads churned out by the capital, Brightonians move to their own beat. It isn’t just the Palace Pier and new i360 observation deck that are drawing the crowds, but also the increasingly dynamic restaurant scene. If you look past the tourist-focussed fish and chip stalls, you’ll notice a refined culinary community, offering freshly caught wonders of the sea along with other delectable dishes. Brighton now accommodates a huge population of accomplished chefs, both legendary and those simply starting out. From modern Indian and traditional Scandinavian to Asian fusion, there isn’t much you won’t find here.
Look out for…
Since its launch at the end of July, culinary enthusiasts have been twittering about Michael Bremner’s new restaurant Murmur in Brighton—and for good reason. The name is taken from the term for a large flock of starlings, the likes of which can be spotted from Brighton’s shores. The Great British Menu star first captained the award-winning 64 Degrees, and has now proved his dynamism with this new beachfront eatery. Bremner’s new endeavour has been designed with a more casual atmosphere in mind, focusing on healthy and nutritious plates that don’t skimp on flavour.
Look out London, there’s a new kid on the block. For some time now, Edinburgh’s food scene has been expanding with eager chefs flocking to the area to share their love for daring flavour combinations. Scotland’s gastronomic scene offers far more than haggis and deep-fried Mars bars; this area has diversified with Edinburgh at the forefront of the revolution. Michelin-starred restaurants are plentiful here: including 21212, Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin’s The Kitchin, just to name a few. For less formal dining, the weekly markets across Stockbridge and Leith offer freshly made breads, vegetables and piping hot street food.
Look out for…
Renowned culinary establishment, The Ivy, that first bloomed in London’s Covent Garden is now making its way to Edinburgh. It seeks to satisfy famished diners from early autumn, residing in the prestigious St Andrew Square. The all-day modern British brasserie will deliver a sophisticated menu, involving signature dishes along with some new contemporary additions. Relax in the establishment’s Parisian-style outdoor terrace for a more intimate ambience.
Seek refuge away from the bustle and bright lights of the city and visit the ancient market town of Ludlow. Don’t let the quaint charm of this village fool you, though; Ludlow takes its food and drink very seriously. Traditional butchers, artisanal bakeries and farm shops line the high street, each emphasising their pride in locally grown ingredients. Numerous gastro pubs and bistros provide their take on British classics. Wash them down with ales from the local brewery.
Look out for…
Each year in September, crowds flock to Ludlow to celebrate the eagerly anticipated Ludlow Food Festival. With 180 exhibitors, there’s plenty to get excited about: from barista experiences to blacksmith workshops. This momentous experience is perfect for food fanatics; the plethora of market stalls offering home-baked treats will leave you spoilt for choice. The lively entertainment and picturesque setting make it an unbeatable day out—no wonder it was voted the best food festival in the Midlands this year. •