Robert Appelbaum in The International Literary Quarterly:
What’s all the fuss about? That was my question. To listen to Londoners, in the past twenty years the city had become a world capital of cuisine, its best restaurants on par with the best anywhere, its ethnic restaurants the envy of Europe. Encouraged by the flourishing of farmer’s markets, a new ethic of organic and locally sourced produce and animal products, and an infrastructure of food obsession, featured daily on television, the print media, and the Internet, its food culture was said to be vibrant, innovative, even world-shaking. The Guide Michelin for restaurants has for the first time devoted a whole volume to it, making it only the fourth city to be so documented, after Paris, New York, and San Francisco, and causing not a few outbursts of superbia among the locals.1 Indeed, I have heard well travelled Londoners say they prefer their home town to Paris, which is too much of a museum to their taste. There are no new ideas in Paris, the feeling goes, nothing but the tried and true – steak frites and moules frites and, if you’re lucky, a very old cassoulet. In London, by contrast, just about anywhere you go you are going to be served the next new thing – and very likely by a Frenchman, who has fled his homeland for more fertile kitchens.