We speak with journalist Marta Fernández Guadaño, that just arrived from her holidays in London, on recent discoveries of the capital of England.
Marta Fernández Guadaño just wrote a few months ago, “Reinventores” (Conecta/2012). Her first book on gastronomic management offering an analysis on the process of transformation of Spanish cuisine from a gastroeconomy point of view. Marta began her journey studying Business Management, but her career has always been dedicated to business journalism, environmental and, in recent years, gastronomic journalism. From April 1st 2011, she works as a freelance journalist in various media specializing in gastronomy and dedicated to what she likes best: writing. On July the 30th of 2011, she launched the web portal Gastroeconomy.
It’s not the first visit London. What is the reason for this last trip?
Some friends were going on holidays there for a few days in August and they asked me if I wanted to join them some of the days because one of their goals was to see several restaurants. So I decided to join and planned an agenda of several places to visit, including The Fat Duck (in Bray, less than an hour from London), Viajante, Lima London or Pollen Street Social. It is my fifth time inLondon.
The Fat Duck, a great gastronomic experience
The Fat Duck has been the most important gastronomic event of the trip to London. An amazing experience, I think only comparable to elBulli. Surprise, creativity, magic, great products, fun and a spectacular service very interactive and close to the customer. You learn a lot of stuff sitting there eating for nearly six hours. It is a luxury to visit Heston Blumethal’s restaurant, that one year was named world’s number one restaurant, ahead of el Bulli, but it’s a luxury well worth.
The best of British cuisine
I think we should distinguish between British cuisine and the cuisine offered in the UK, especially in London. First, the traditional British food can be found in many pubs or in more contemporary places as Diner by Heston Blumenthal (Mandarin Oriental Hotel). Moreover, London offers a wide range of cuisine, diverse and fun. You never cease to discover new venues; it is a very interesting city from a gastronomic point of view where you can find all kinds of business formulas in different formats and also modern reissues of British cuisine. That’s why the best thing is the plurality and eclecticism of London.
I think one should visit Pollen Street Social for being a modern proposal with competitive prices; make a route around Soho to discover new trends; have an Afternoon Tea in one of the spaces of Fortnum & Mason; pay a visit so some Food Hall from a department store to see the organic products consumption trends and, of course, a visit to the interesting Borough Market, a hundred percent gastronomic market.
I think the trend are ‘casual’ venues (with bare tables, for example), with affordable deals for less than about 40-50 pounds, often with the option to eat at the bar, open non stop, sometimes without a reservation option and the combination of a menu (sometimes changing almost daily) with set-meals with dishes inspired by haute cuisine, but at good rates.
And, of course, Spanish cuisine is very fashionable: there are many “tapas” restaurants created by Spaniards which are full, and I am positive that there are business opportunities for some Spanish chefs to open there more or less informal venues as a second label from the parent company in Spain, with the “tapas” or other formats as the main offer.
I was looking for hotels in London, I wanted something special, not very big, centrally located and reasonably priced. After much searching, I remembered that Derby had a hotel there and it was a good choice. It has a perfect location to get around the city center, it’s nice, very welcoming and with a very friendly service (most of it also speaks Spanish). I was very comfortable.
One must always go back to London because there are always many things left to see and discover. Marta Fernández Guadaño