One of my earliest food memories is a birthday cake my mum made. I was around four years old and it was shaped like an Aussie rules football. From that point onwards, I remember getting to choose a novelty cake from a Women’s Weekly birthday cake book every year. I still have a reprinted copy of that book now.
My first ever creation was inflicted on my dad. It was a Sunday morning and I put slices of apple and onion on toast, topped with melted cheese and hundreds-and-thousands sprinkles. He managed to eat a fair bit, but soon after that he taught me how to make my first proper meal: nachos and tacos. It was simple, unfussy cooking – I used to cook a batch of mince with Old El Paso seasoning sachet and a jar of the sauce too. I would use the same mince in the tacos and over the nachos. Both were served with grated cheese and sour cream, but the nachos had shredded iceberg lettuce. Sadly for my dad, I’d want to have that meal at least once a week for the next few years.
The restaurant I revisit most often is Duck and Rice in Soho. It’s a fairly laid-back joint which my kids love too. We can spread out and order piles of dumplings, noodles and green veg. I used to mainly go there for the roast duck but it’s not my thing anymore. I gave up meat about three years ago and the idea of consuming it now is rather off putting to say the least. I was really wrestling with the idea that an animal had to be killed so that I could eat whatever I felt like; it seemed selfish and the kind of opulence you might see from some insane medieval king. I don’t think my body was agreeing with meat consumption either. Since giving it up, I’ve lost weight, have no digestion issues and feel light and more energetic. Right now, I love trying vegan meat alternatives, like Redefine Meat’s 3D printed steaks, which are mind blowing.
I always start my day with a green juice. My go-to combination is granny smith apples, a whole lemon, spinach, ginger and cucumber. However, when I’m at the bar it’s always a beer. I like cocktails if they’re well made but I’m no connoisseur of spirits. I always like a sake session with my mate Ollie who owns and operates Tengu Sake.
My favoruite restaurant in London is A Wong. Everything on the lunch menu is brilliant. There’s some excellent, inventive dim sum that must be about the best you can get.
For evening drinks Milroy’s of Soho is my go-to. Who doesn’t like a hidden bar, especially when all the cocktails are ace? It’ll always score you top points when you take someone who’s never been – if you can get a table. Just head to the back of the room and push on the bookcase to step inside. I may be getting this slightly wrong, because the drinks are fairly potent, but I usually start with the coconut butter-washed rum cocktail.