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Robbie de Santos
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Eating South Eastern Sicily
I've fallen in love with Sicily. Well, the tiny corner of it where I spent a week in May. Sicily is a big island and you'd be crazy to spread yourself too thin covering its vast, diverse geography- from Palermo in the North West to Etna and Catania in the E...

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My Neighbours the Dumplings, Lower Clapton Road
My Neighbours the Dumplings is the second of two interesting small-scale new openings on Lower Clapton Road. It's fascinating to observe which restaurants thrive and dive on this strip of road. More than half the new food and drink businesses that have open...

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Le Merlin, Lower Clapton Road
At the end of February I wrote about the closure of a couple of gentrified Clapton restaurants and suggested a couple more might close. And sure enough, they did. The lovely Jackdaw Jazz Cafe shut its doors in April, the wine-cum-furniture shop (yeah...) Re...

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P Franco, Lower Clapton Road, E5
The first post-gentrification closures are starting to roll in. Maeve's Kitchen up by Clapton Pond closed it's doors over Christmas, and the Plough on Homerton High Street - one of my favourite bars in the area (but clearly not frequented enough) - shut its...

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Hackney's best new restaurants 2015
Hackney's dining scene just keeps growing and developing, showing only the slightest signs of slowing down. While in 2013 and 2014 the pace of change felt astonishing and exhausting, by now it feels that this is how Hackney's going to be for a while. That q...

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Berber & Q, Shuk Shuk, The Good Egg, Black Axe Mangal - new Middle Eastern restaurants in Hackney
Middle Eastern food had its big moment
in British culture about a decade ago when Ottolenghi hit the scene
and brought his generous, zingy, lavish Levantine food to the masses
in his London cafe-restaurant-delis and through his eponymous debutcookbook . Soo...

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Uchi Hackney, Clarence Road, Clapton
I've not been blown away by many of the new openings in Clapton recently. Some seem to shove their 'concept' down your throat a bit too much, showing off the chefiness and forgetting that there are only so many people who won't baulk at pretentious, try har...

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Jackdaw jazz cafe, Lower Clapton Road, Hackney
New openings are trickling through in Clapton, not quite as fast as in 2013 or 2014, but still steadily. The new openings are a mixed bag, with some really blowing me away ( like the wonderful Brooksby's Walk ) and others leaving me cold as they try too har...

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Affordable Marseille and Cassis restaurant tips
To  bouillabaise  or to not bouillabaise, that is the question. Or was certainly my question when planning a trip to Marseille and Cassis. Bouillabaise is a 'must do' according to many blogs and guidebooks - the signature dish of the area. But boy is it pri...

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Top eats in Kreuzberg and Neukoelln, Berlin
When I lived in Berlin from 2005 to 2006, it was not the place for exciting, high quality food. Eating out was cheap and cheerful - there were heaps of generic "national cuisine" restaurants which did watered down versions of curry or noodles, and it kept u...
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