Foraging’s making a big comeback in 2018. The resurgence in ‘wild food’ is partly down to diners’ fascination with food provenance. From farmers’ markets to pick your own fruit to home-delivered locally-sourced fruit and veg boxes such as Farm Direct, Londoners want to know where their food has come from, how many miles it’s travelled to reach them, and who’s grown it.
Mainly for environmental reasons, but also due to a desire to feel a local connection to their food — Londoners like to know their cabbage is from Clapham, their lettuce from Lambeth or their mushrooms are from Muswell Hill. But also that their craft beer was brewed just around the corner.
But it’s also to do with a desire to get back in touch with food. Increasingly people are shunning plastic-wrapped, perfect-looking products on supermarket shelves in favour of something they’ve grown or found themselves.
There are plenty of guides who’ll take you to London’s green spots to find seasonal herbs and other ingredients — John Rensten does regular trips, and his book The Edible City is a comprehensive guide to the city’s wild food.
But if you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, get your mouth to (dog-friendly) Borough pub Great Guns Social, where former Fera at Claridge’s chefs, Michael Thompson and Ollie Downey have joined forces with Fodder co-founders Louise Stapley and Jenny Novitzky for the latest of their super successful pop-ups.
While the menu changes according to availability, we recommend the chicken fat Jersey Royals with wild garlic dumplings, and the pork and smoked eel pie with dirty mash (50% potato, 50% butter — a revelation).
There’s also celeriac, confit yolk, oyster mushrooms and three corner leek; cod poached in seaweed butter and nettles & chocolate for dessert.
Foraged food comes from across London, including oyster mushrooms grown on coffee grounds from a nearby Italian market.
Bar bites start at £2-6, with mains from £9; but we’d suggest splashing out on the £50 tasting menu, which is excellent value for six courses of a mouth-watering wild experience.