Heather’s Food & Drink Hot List

When it comes to food and drink, it’s fair to say SL’s managing lifestyle editor Heather Steele knows her way around the UK restaurant scene – and a kitchen. From her favourite new openings to the cookbooks she can’t get enough of at home, here are the food and drink buys she’s loving this month…
By Heather Steele /

THE DRINKS LAUNCH: St John Bag-in-a-Box

London institution St John has created a collection of bag-in-a-box wines – just in time for those summer BBQs. For years, the team has sold its own-label wine from the restaurant’s own vineyard in the south of France, with the belief that house wine shouldn’t merely be the cheapest bottle on the list. The new bag-in-a-box selection includes the team’s light and fresh Côtes de Thau rosé, its robust and much-loved cabernet syrah and a summery, aromatic Côtes de Thau blanc. Each box contains the equivalent of four bottles and will last for three months.

Visit StJohnRestaurant.com

THE APP: Delli

Always on the hunt for something new to try? Delli is a new marketplace and community platform designed for food lovers, created by Depop creator Simon Beckerman. Much like Depop, Delli employs a ‘drop’ model, which sees exclusive produce from food makers across the UK featured on the app for a limited period. The idea is it will grow to become a platform where up-and-coming cooks and producers can sell their wares and grow their customer base. When I gave it a whirl, I got my hands on a hot sauce from Two Hot Asians and a pandan sando from Lil Wong Bakes.

Visit Apps.Apple.com

THE DELIVERY: The Umbrella Project

The brilliant Umbrella Project is run by the team behind famed east London bars The Sun Tavern and Discount Suit Company. The bar is in a scarcely touched 19th-century atelier on a cobbled street and is a testing ground for cutting-edge cocktails that may or may not go forward to be served at its bigger sister bars. Now these impressive, ground-breaking cocktails are available to order for home delivery. I love the Banana Daiquiri made with east London rum Cabby’s, Banane De Brasil, and the team’s own Forever Lime cordial; and The East 8 Hold Up made with Victory vodka, Hotel Starlino aperitivo, Forever Lime and a homemade passion fruit, pineapple syrup and pink grapefruit cordial.

Visit TheUmbrellaProject.co.uk

THE SUBSCRIPTION: Citizens of Soil

Citizens of Soil is a new company selling bags of excellent single-estate extra virgin olive oil from Greece. Small-batch produced and packed with polyphenols (healthy micronutrients found in plants), this minimal-intervention olive oil comes fresh from the 2021 harvest and is packed with flavour. Starter packs include a signature filled glass bottle with a spout and an extra pouch of oil. When you've used that up, re-order another recyclable 500ml pouch – or set up a monthly subscription. Each order comes with a seasonal recipe card and free shipping.

Visit CitizensOfSoil.com

THE SUMMER SIP: Adriatico Amaretto Roasted

Taking its name from the Adriatic coast, where the brand grows its almonds, Adriatico Amaretto is one of the only amarettos made from real almonds. There are two flavours available: Bianco – made with white almonds and blended with vanilla – and my choice, Adriatico Roasted which features toasted almonds blended with cinnamon, cocoa, coffee and a pinch of sea salt from the salt flats next to the Adriatic Sea. A versatile liqueur, this summery drink is best enjoyed in an amaretto sour (one of my favourite cocktails) topped up with ginger beer to make a mule, or simply neat over ice – perfect if you’re entertaining on a warm evening.

Visit AmarettoAdriatico.com

THE RESTAURANT: Laurel’s on the Roof

Laurel’s on the Roof has launched at the top of Mondrian Shoreditch, one of the capital’s most exciting new hotels. Inspired by 1970s Hollywood and the legacy of Laurel Canyon in LA, Laurel’s is open all day and serves California-inspired dishes such as sea bream tacos with pickled red cabbage, chipotle mayonnaise and beer battered fish; a Malibu shrimp cocktail; and crowd pleasers such as half a dozen Jersey oysters and cobb salad. Served in 70s-inspired glassware, cocktails include frozen spicy margaritas and Japanese garibaldis with Campari, yuzu, grapefruit and lime, which can be sipped in relaxed rattan chairs with views across Shoreditch’s skyline. We recommend making a night of it and booking one of the hotel’s sleek bedrooms, followed by an OTO massage in the chic basement spa.

Visit SBE.com

THE CAFFEINE FIX: Half-Speed

Extract Coffee Roasters has been serving coffee to Bristolians for 15 years – and won Best All-Round Specialty Coffee Roaster at this year’s London Coffee Festival. Of its ethically produced blends – which are available to order online – I love Half-Speed, which offers a full hit of coffee, but a lower dose of caffeine. Ideal for those who love a second pot of coffee in the morning, this low-caffeine blend has creamy notes of cashew and sweet nectarine. A medium roast coffee, it works well as both an espresso or in a cafetiere.

Visit ExtractCoffee.co.uk

THE COOKBOOK: Meat-Free Mexican by Thomasina Miers

I love making tacos at home, so this new veg-focused book from Wahaca founder Tommi Miers jumped out at me when it was published last month. Featuring plenty of seasonal vegetables, earthy pulses and bold herbs, the collection of recipes is simple enough to cook every day and impressive enough to cook for feasts for friends. The dish I’ve cooked the most is the blistered green bean tacos with tomato pico and toasted almonds. I’ve got my eye on the pineapple tarte tartin next time I have people over for dinner.

Visit Waterstones.com

THE BREAKFAST TREAT: Good In Bread

Fresh bread delivery company Good In Bread was a lockdown saviour for some. Now it has launched a bagel subscription service, making weekly deliveries of sourdough ‘loaf cuffs’ to postcodes in and around London (£8 for six). Customers can choose to mix and match classic plain bagels with sesame, poppy seed or cinnamon raisin flavours, all of which can be popped in the freezer. The best thing about them is their chew factor, thanks to the way they’re boiled before being baked in the oven. My favourite combo is a sesame bagel topped with butter and Marmite.

Visit WeAreGoodInBread.com

THE PICNIC ESSENTIAL: Vinca Wine 

Vinca is a new brand that serves its organic wine from Sicily in 100% recyclable cans. Although they’re designed to be portable, I’ve been splitting them between two tumblers on those evenings when I just fancy a small glass with dinner. The 187ml cans are delivered straight to doorsteps with free, carbon-offset delivery and come as a juicy red (my pick of the trio, using d’avola and frappato grapes), a white and a pale rosé. Best of all, you can order a variety pack to try them all.

Visit VincaWine.com

THE SNACK: Torres Fried Egg Crisps

It’s no secret I love crisps – and this new fried egg flavour from heritage Barcelona brand Torres (most famous for its truffle variety) is definitely a conversation starter. But they’re not just a novelty: they genuinely capture the rich savoury flavour of a freshly fried egg and taste absolutely delicious. Ideal as part of a tapas spread at home or as a fun addition to a picnic at the beach, these are definitely going to be the snack I whip out to impress and surprise people this summer.

Visit Souschef.co.uk

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