The Best Food & Drink Of 2015

Our team has sat down, over a bottle of Rasteau – the last of our stash brought back from a couple of days in France at the beginning of last year – and fought it out over our favourite dishes and drinks of 2015. We’ve been lucky to eat in some incredible restaurants – some new, some established, one in the backyard of a pub on an island off the coast of Florida, one in the back streets of Tarifa in Spain. We’ve had a great year of indulgence, and this is our short-ish list of our favourites. In no particular order.


Fried Bao with Horlicks Ice Cream | Bao London, UK |

We don’t queue for food. But we’ve queued three times for Bao’s incredible menu this year. And that pretty much says it all. All of the fluffy buns are fantastic, and we always have to have the scallop. The peanut milk is another must. Just eat the entire damn menu. |



Jamón Ibérico | El Lola, Bar de Tapas y Flamenco, Tarifa , Spain |

We love the Costa de la Luz, and especially the surfer dude town of Tarifa. But we’re yet to find a truly great restaurant there. However, if you’re in the need for a beer and jamón fix, El Lola is the perfect pit-stop. Slivers of deep red meat jewelled with white fat, this is the best quality jamón that money can buy – it’s not cheap, but my goodness, it’s worth it. (The rather lovely chaps in their frilly Flamenco aprons are also a draw).
| Calle Guzmán el Bueno, 5 |


Craft London.jpg

Clay-Baked Duck | Craft London, Greenwich, London, UK |

No doubt one of 2015’s most Instagrammed dishes (guilty as charged), Stevie Parle’s signature dish is, actually, one of a number of great dishes on his imaginative menu at Craft. The super-sexy Tom Dixon-designed space actually ends up playing second fiddle to Parle’s ingenuity. The duck, though, thanks to its drama and interaction, is the most memorable of all: you’re given a little hammer to crack the duck’s clay ‘skin’, and as the layers of hay and cabbage are peeled back, a scented steam wafts over the table. There were just two of us eating, so we took home an enormous doggie bag which fed us for a couple of days.

| |


Smoking Goat

Fish Sauce Chicken Wings | Smoking Goat, London, UK |

We’re expecting this dish to show up on a lot of 2015 lists, but there’s good reason for this: it’s bloody delicious. Smoking Goat is another no reservations joint – don’t get us started – but we showed up at midday and walked straight in. The chicken wings are dangerous: salty, sweet, crispy, pungent, they demand at least a couple of beers to wash them down. And at least one second helping.
| |



Churros | Casa Aranda, Málaga, Spain |

We spent an unexpected night away in Málaga over Christmas. The city, with its twinkling lights and bustling streets filled with families eating and drinking, was so beguiling, we decided to stay the night. Often overlooked – merely as a gateway to the Costa del Sol, thanks to its busy airport – the city itself is actually packed with great galleries (including a pop-up Pompidou Centre), Roman and Moorish ruins and tapas joints. We’d trawled the city on the night of our stay, drinking beer and cheap glasses of fabulous wine, and eating tapa. A truly memorable night. The next morning, we were in need of carb-y sustenance but, as is Málaga’s way, nothing was open before 10am. Apart from Casa Aranda, which we stumbled across. Packed with Spanish people, the café serves coffee, hot chocolate, churros (freshly-cooked to order), shots of brandy and pan con tomate. The place clearly hasn’t changed since it opened in the 1930s. Grab a seat outside, order one of everything, and watch the waiters as they shout orders at each other and run back and forth, chatting to the leathery-faced locals, topping up coffee and carrying enormous trays of light, fluffy churros.

| Casa Aranda, Herrería del Rey, 3, Málaga |


Beef shin.jpg

Beef Shin Macaroni | At home | Inspired by Hawksmoor

There’s a collection of fine cooks working from Resource towers, and some of the best dishes we’ve eaten this year have been cooked by our contributors – admittedly, some are trained, award-winning chefs. This recipe, taken from the excellent Hawksmoor At Home cookery book, was turned gluten-free by Lisa, but did not lack for that one bit. It took hours to create, but was worth every minute of effort.


Ravenous Pig

Old Fashioned | Ravenous Pig, Orlando, Florida |

Did we plan our East Coast road trip around food and drink stop-offs? Of course we did. Did I manage to orchestrate a designated driver in order to indulge in three Ravenous Pig Old Fashioneds one after the other? Damn right I did. Rendered high-quality bacon fat flavours top-shelf bourbon in this clever, quirky take on an already-great cocktail.

| |



Porra de Naranja | Arte de Cozina, Antequera, Málaga, Spain |

We took a three-hour detour to make a pilgrimage for a singular dish. Sam Clark of Moro – one of our favourite London restaurants – had highlighted the porra in The Guardian’s excellent food round-up of 2015. The porra – a type of gazpacho, native to this region, just north of Málaga – was unnervingly smooth, with a poky, bitter hit of local olive oil, a good fistful of salt and with an aromatic sweetness, thanks to the unusual addition of orange. Definitely one of our favourite dishes – and meals – of 2015.

| |


Sportsman slip sole

Slip Sole | The Sportsman, Kent, UK |

Another standout meal of 2015, despite two of us being full of cold. We were worried that Stephen Harris’s deft handling of flavours and local produce would be wasted on our blocked sinuses, but we can still recall the flavours and details of each and every dish. The slip sole was a favourite, thanks to its brave simplicity. Harris had nowhere to hide with this grilled piece of fish, with just the addition of seaweed butter to add a hint of seaside. Perfection. |



Almond & Chocolate Croissant | Cité Europe Shopping Mall, Calais, France |

Sad, isn’t it, that on a three-day trip to France, the culinary highlight was this – admittedly epic – freshly-baked croissant. We’d arrived early from the Eurostar, and headed straight back to the bakery (near FNAC, but not the chain bakery called La Croissanterie, FYI) near the huge Carrefour where we’d eaten this buttery, sweet, flaky nugget once before. The croissants were just being pulled from the oven and the interior sliver of dark, almost salty chocolate and gooey almond were still warm. The pastry, which left our fingers slick with butter, was light and the almonds on top had been toasted golden from the heat of the oven. That a packet of chips on Calais harbour and a homemade chicken sandwich made with rotisserie chicken from a supermarket were our other stand-out dishes on our French trip show that regional French cooking needs a kick up the derrière.

| 1001 Boulevard du Kent, Coquelles, Calais, France |


Bone broth

Bone Broth | Roost, Margate, Kent, UK |

It appears that the majority of our favourite dishes of 2015 are simple affairs that celebrate the ingredients, rather than trying to impress with bells and whistles. The bone broth at Roost, in Margate, is a case in point: to combat wastage and to make use of all of the animals they’re using, the bones are cooked down into a soul-warming broth. The addition of seaweed (the restaurant is next door to acclaimed seaweed emporium Haeckels and is right on Margate’s magnificent seafront) gives a funky, brine-y flavour. Proven to cure any hangover. We’re telling you.

| |


Edition beer

Tropicale Wheat Beer | The Miami Edition, Miami, USA |

The most expensive hotel stay we’ve ever had, resulted – thankfully – in two stand-out food and drink moments, this being the first. Brewed exclusively for the hotel by the Miami Brewing Company, this wheat-y beer has – bear with us on this – notes of coconut and mango, lending it a tropical edge perfect for its environment. We’re not sure if the tipple would work as well sipped on a rainy summer’s day in England, but it hits the spot here on Miami Beach. Design-wise, we love Eric Chase Anderson‘s illustrations for the beer and the bar that bears its name. |


Zero George

Tres Leches Cake | Zero George, Charleston, South Carolina, USA |

Chef Vinson Petrillo served up one of our most memorable meals of 2015. We had a long list of Charleston restaurants to visit during our stay in the city (excuse the ‘f’ word, but the city is true foodie destination), but it was Petrillo’s menu that kept drawing us back. Served from a tiny kitchen (above) within the lobby area of this stunning hotel, there were two dishes served that we cannot stop thinking about: the tarpon cheeks (an enormous fish that we fed off the Florida Keys later on in our trip) and the tres leches cake, the lightest, airiest most delicious sliver of cake – we don’t really eat cake – we’ve ever eaten, that was – thankfully – forced upon us by our waiter, who knew the menu inside out.

| |



Pork and Prunes | Piquet, London, UK |

This was just one of the many dishes we loved at Allan Pickett’s new restaurant just off Oxford Street. Using classic French techniques and Kentish produce, Pickett turns out dish after dish after dish of big flavours and great depth. We’d taken the folks out for dinner – self-proclaimed lovers of ‘simple fayre’ – and they, too, loved each and every dish we (over) ordered. Great cooking, warm and knowledgeable staff, fair pricing, tasty. Our kind of restaurant. We just wish it was just around the corner from our office. The kind of local joint that you’d eat in at least once a week.

| |


Kerridge parfait

Duck Liver Parfait | Hand & Flowers, Marlow, UK |

It’s hard to choose a singular dish in a meal of stand-out dishes – even the breakfast the next morning was one of our favourite dishes of the year. We’d booked a table at Tom Kerridge’s pub (albeit a two-Michelin-starred pub) the year before and had almost forgotten about our booking, such was the extended wait. But my goodness, it was worth it. Again – and there’s a theme developing here – this is simple cooking with big, gutsy flavours and technique for the sake of showcasing those flavours, rather than just showboating. Steak and chips was flawless and perfectly cooked. A pork dish with rhubarb cleverly contrasted textures and flavours, but without ever marring the tastiness of it. The souffle for pudding was incredible, as was Kerridge’s take on a custard slice. Good value, great staff, bloody tasty food. Straight into our top five restaurant list. |


The Grey

Improved Whisky Cocktail | The Grey, Savannah, Georgia, USA |

Spiked with absinthe, this modern take on a classic whisky cocktail was one of our favourite drinks of the year. Better still, we drank it before eating in Mashama Bailey’s incredible dining room in downtown Savannah. The modern Southern menu makes this restaurant, gloriously designed in an old Greyhound bus terminal, one of the South’s hottest tickets. Buzzing and with the kind of welcome you hope for in this part of the States. A must-visit.

| |

Goods Shed

Scallops with Chowder | Rafael’s at The Goods Shed, Canterbury, Kent, UK |

Markets like The Goods Shed should be on every street corner in Kent, celebrating the raft of amazing, locally-grown produce. If you’re on the high-speed train from St Pancras to Margate, you’ll spot diners in the pretty-much-always-packed restaurant tucking into Rafael Lopez’s earthy, honest, simple cooking. Produce is intensively seasonal and local, and that is reflected in the mouth-thumping flavours. This is scallop dish was sweet with the flesh of the crustacean, as well as the new-season leeks in a broth pricked with crunchy black pepper.

| |


Pilsener Urquell

A Pint of Tankovna Pilsner Urquell | Duck+Rice, Soho, London, UK |

Whilst the restaurant won’t be getting a second visit, we keep finding ourselves sat in Duck+Rice’s window bar looking out on Berwick Street market, one of our favourite London streets. Delivered weekly from the Czech Republic in huge tanks, this clear, crisp unpasteurised lager is impeccably well cared for. With only one week’s shelf life once opened, this is as pure a beer as you’ll taste. |



The Burger | NoMad Bar, NoMad Hotel, NYC, USA |

We were kind of burgered out in 2015, so only ate select patties. The best of the few we tasted was, by far and away, The NoMad Bar’s. As you’d expect. Served pink – no, they don’t ask you how you like it, it’s served exactly as it should be – it’s a simple combination of firm, perfectly-cooked meat (but also with a softness that’s a good riff on a fast-food joint burger, and that’s thanks to its 25% fat content), melted cheddar, pickled onion and the NoMad’s own take on a burger sauce. We love this place: it’s so very, very New York. Great service, loud and raucous, delicious food. Boxes well and truly ticked.|



Peach | Abbott Farms, South Carolina |

As you cross from North Carolina into South Carolina, a strange combination of road-side stores take over. Selling a heady combination of locally-grown peaches, and a vast array of condiments and pickles made with them, plus fireworks – thanks to them being illegal to buy just over the border in North Carolina. We were actually stopping to go to the loo, but ended up buying the juiciest, tastiest peach (it actually tasted like A PEACH!) we’ve had in years.

| 100 Wilcox Avenue, Gaffney, South Carolina |


suckling pig

Suckling Pig | Los Abanicos, Benahavis, Spain |

A real family favourite, with the Spanish and ex-pats alike, whenever we’re on the Marbella coast, we drive up to the pristine village of Benahavis (the nearby gated community of Zagaleta’s haul of taxes and community fees means the village is jam-packed with incredible amenities and great schools thanks to the mega-rich’s bucks) for Los Abanicos’s suckling pig. Cooked long and slow, the meat disintegrates to the touch, while the crackling is light and almost wafer-like. We have no idea how they do it. Our visit this summer, yet again, didn’t disappoint. Served with a pile of olive oil cooked chips and homemade apple sauce, this is comfort cooking at its best.

| Los Abanicos, Calle Málaga, 17, Benahavis |


Carbonara new

Carbonara Pizza | GB Pizza Co, Margate, Kent, UK |

Let’s ‘fess up straight away: we have a vested interest in GB Pizza – two of our contributors are the owners. But, despite the connections, we can’t deny good food when we put it into our mouths. There’s a raft of great, thin and crispy pizzas on the main menu, using British charcuterie and seasonal produce, but this, their occasionally-appearing special, is one of our favourite pizzas of all time: the carbonara. A creamy béchamel sauce, locally-reared ham, mushrooms and Parmesan.

| |




Cornbread | At home | Inspired by The Lockhart |

Our annual Resource team Thanksgiving dinner was overshadowed by this, our chef’s take on The Lockhart‘s cornbread. They may have added a little extra butter and maybe a little extra honey, but my goodness, it was good.



Creamed Corn with Manchego & Jalapeños | The Matador Room, The Edition Hotel, Miami, USA 

I’m not sure why we weren’t expecting much from Jean-Georges Vonrichten’s restaurant in the Ian Schrager-designed Miami Edition. The starry chef has good form, in over 20 restaurants across the globe. Perhaps that’s it: the sense of cynical roll-out created solely to bring in celebrity diners. If we’re honest, we were expecting over-priced themed fayre with clichéd nods to Latino flavours. Joyfully, we could not have been more wrong. This was one of the highlights of our East Coast tour – and 2015 . The Matador Room’s Latin influences, under the watchful eye of Chef Jeremy Ford, have amalgamated to create a bright, light, clever, appealing, flavour-packed menu. The greeting is warm, the design of the space makes you feel that you’re the player in a theatre round and the knowledge and excitement of the staff is some of the best we’ve experienced this year. We’ve never eaten food like this before – we bloody hate the gimmicky term ‘fusion’, but when it’s a mix of Latin flavours – natural bed fellows – from the Caribbean, South America and Spain, the dishes sing. Creamed corn became one of our US trip favourite dishes, and here Ford has nailed it (eliminating any fear of baby food comparisons). Extra creaminess is helped along by the addition of salty Manchego and the kick of jalapeños. Arroz con pollo is another great dish amongst many, with its shards of crispy chicken skin. This is seriously skilful cooking. |



Mondrian Sea Containers | Civilian

Read Lisa Richards’ review of the Morgans Hotel Group’s new London hostelry, the riverside Mondrian Sea Containers, commissioned for Civilian. Click here.


Mondrian Sea Containers bar


IMG_0482 IMG_0474 IMG_0476 IMG_0409 IMG_0413

Best Bits: New York City

Brooklyn Bridge New York city travel guide
Three members of the Resource team headed to Manhattan this Christmas and were hosted by our New York correspondent, Liz Hatton. With an itinerary spanning 10 pages and with a list of restaurants on our hitlist so long it would have meant at least a month in the city, click here to read just a few of our highlights before the full reviews go live.

Haeckels: Made Of Margate | Civilian

Haeckels Dom Bridges

Lisa Richards, Resource’s editorial director, meets Dom Bridges of seaweed brand Haeckels.

Read the full interview on Civilian.

Duddell’s, Hong Kong | Hong Kong Hype

The Ilse Crawford interior is ravishing. And the terrace, above Shanghai Tang, is a Hong Kong CBD hot spot. But what’s up with the kitchen at Duddell’s? Read the full review for Civilian here.

Duddells Hong Kong Ilse Crawford

Hong Kong City Guide

Lisa Richards takes an Upper Class flight to Hong to celebrate 20 years of Virgin Atlantic flying to the soaring city. In her piece for Civilian, she seeks out the next big neighbourhood. Read the full article here.

HK1 HK2 HK3 Hong Kong city skyline HK6 HK7

The Goring, London


From its Russell Sage interiors to – ahem – certain well known wedding guests, The Goring is less of a hotel, more of a London institution. Lisa Richards heads for high tea and checks in for an overnight stay to see if it is, in fact, any good

Read more:

Why I Love The Butlers At Claridge’s


Lisa Richards has a London hotel crush on her own personal Jeeves, in Mayfair’s Art Deco haven of fabulousness.

Read more:

Rosewood Hotel London


A grand property that had become virtually invisible in its own neighbourhood has been transformed at huge cost into the Rosewood London, and what should be one of the capital’s hottest hotels. But, as Lisa Richards explains, some of its ghosts still linger

Read more:

Less A Massage, More A Cure…

Rohan Quarry Day

Lisa Richards was looking for more than a fancy spa treatment, she was looking for an end to relentless back pain. Rohan Quarry Day, Christina Ong’s personal physician, had the solution.

Read more:

The Fear Factor // Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear course

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class, Flying Without Fear

Resource’s editor, Lisa Richards, confidently takes to the skies thanks to the expert help of Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear team.

“Something had to be done… My fear was becoming impossible to hide and the planning for wonderful trips harder to enjoy. And now, as I read back through this intro, written before attending Virgin Atlantic’s Flying Without Fear course, I find it pathetic: pathetic that I didn’t do something sooner and ridiculous that in just one day I not only faced a fear but crushed it.”

Read Lisa’s full piece for Civilan Global here.

The MiMo Masterpiece: Fontainebleau



Lisa Richards, editor of Resource, reviews Miami’s architectural behemoth Fontainebleau for Civilian. Read it here.

“If you create a stage and it is grand, everyone who enters will play their part.” How times change. While downtown there is an air of sophistication – almost – in the pool culture of the Delano, Setai and the Soho Beach Club Hotel, here at Fontainebleau it’s jock meets Eurotrash.


Serving An Ace


London’s openings continue apace, with Resource office’s most excitedly anticipated being the first UK outpost of Ace Hotel. Why have we worked ourselves into such a frenzy about yet another design hotel in London? For us, Ace Hotels have defined an era of hotel design: an eclectic, perfectly executed mix of urban graphics and art with vintage and bespoke products, usually with the city’s hottest chef sweating it out in the kitchen.

The London branch will be no different. Located at 100 Shoreditch High Street and opening this September, the new hotel will fuse together UK craftsmanship with contemporary haute-design. Those residing in its 265 rooms will be able to slip under covers exclusively designed for the hotel by APC and partake in culinary excellence from the founders of East London favourite Bistrotheque.


Ace Hotel, 100 Shoreditch High Street, London



We’re In Miami…

"cool hotel Miami"

From intimate five-star luxury hotels with impeccable service, to brash, brassy behemoths resembling Vegas-on-Sea. From standard-bearing luxury chain hotels, to boutique boltholes with impressive price tags, we’ve scoured Miami looking for the best hotels, shops, restaurants and service. Our city guide is coming soon. In the meantime, read our review of the Townhouse Hotel, a hip hangout for fashion models and A-list wannabes who’d rather splash their cash in the city’s achingly hip bars and boutiques than on a bed for the night. Read Liz Hatton’s review here.

"boutique hotel Miami"

In The Bag // Virgin Atlantic to MIA

The Resource team are off to Florida next week on a press trip covering Miami, St Petersburg and Orlando. After our Virgin Atlantic flight out of Heathrow (where we’re hoping to make the most of the Clubhouse’s superlative facilities – by far our favourite airline lounge in the world), we’ll be fighting the jetlag at The Setai, Four Seasons Miami, the Mandarin Oriental, Fontainebleau and The Townhouse.
As passionate travellers who are still bowled over by the concept of trotting the globe (in the very best of taste, naturally) in the name of discovering beautiful things, people and places, we’ve already created an exhaustive list of must-see, must-eat and must-shop destinations. After poring through endless travel books and websites, we’ve also created a long list of spots for the perfect photographic opportunities – our favourite being a sculpture park made up of upended Airstream trailers between Tampa and Orlando.
One of the stores in which we’ll be parting with our hard-earned is MAKR Carry Goods in Orlando. Functional, beautiful, handcrafted accessories, we can’t stop thinking about this Zip Carryall, created by Jason Gregory, who has grown the brand since 2005.
MAKR, 444 West New England Avenue, No. 102, Winter Park , FL 32789

Dishoom, Covent Garden, London

Lisa Richards heads to Covent Garden for a taste of old-world Bombay, courtesy of the hottest kid on the block, Dishoom: join the queue snaking outside Stringfellow’s for some of best Indian food in the Capital. Read her review in full here.

Top 12 Hotels London // London’s finest

What makes a great hotel? Polished service? High-end amenities? Marble-clad bathrooms? A Michelin-starred eatery in its bowels? Super-cool clientele? Location? Technologically-enhanced rooms?

"London's finest hotels"

From a gastropub-with-rooms serving some of London’s finest fodder, to five-star behemoths with hotels all around the world, Resource and friends round up London’s top 12 properties.
Read our round-up and our full reviews here.

"Blakes hotel, world's first boutique hotel"

Emirates Airlines’ A380//Business Class review

Our review of Emirates Airlines’ business class cabin in the Airbus A380 on the Dubai to Bangkok route is now live. Read it here.

East Meets West // Cay Tre Soho

"Cay Tre vietnamese restaurant London"

“The Soho restaurant is beautiful – as it has to be in this part of town. Low-lit, dark wood, great lighting and sumptuous. It’s just a few doors down from the Groucho club and across the road from Dean Street Townhouse, so it has to be aesthetically pleasing to attract Soho’s media crowd. And that it does. Soho doesn’t care what day of the week it is, so on a Wednesday night in early Spring the place was jammed to the rafters with ironic haircuts, boys (and some girls) in their buttoned-all-the-way-up check shirts, and more pairs of brogues than a branch of Church’s.”

Read our full review of Vietnamese eatery Cay Tre, now open in the heart of Soho.

Four Seasons Canary Wharf, London

Lisa Richards reviews the Four Seasons’ luxurious Docklands outpost.

“Just a few days before, Justin Bieber had been sleeping on this very bed. And we could certainly see why A-listers opt for this place: secure parking down in the bowels of the building, so lying-in-wait Paparazzi and hoards of screaming girls can be avoided; discreet super-professional staff that can point you in the direction of the private lift; the ability to escape by speedboat from the banks of the Thames below…”

Blog at