London Grilling: A Bit More About Us

A few months ago we had a little chat with the team behind London Living, a blog organised and operated by the team behind East Village – the community neighbourhood surrounding the site of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Here’s some of the Q&A so you can get to know us a little bit more.

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London offers more tasty treats than any other city in the world. We aren’t the only ones who think so. Irish couple Russell James Alford (below left)  and Patrick Hanlon (below right), have a fabulous blog, GastroGays, which explores the plethora of eateries London has to offer, all through the eyes of London newbies…


What inspired you to start blogging about your love of food?

The blog idea evolved from a bucket list of places we both wanted to eat and drink in across Dublin City. We found ourselves frequenting the same places over and over, and somewhat neglecting or under-appreciating the vast amount of eateries on our doorstep. We aimed to eat in 50 places during 2013 that we had never tried before and review them all in a no-frills, to-the-point, accessible tone.

Russell James Alford Patrick Hanlon GastroGays

You’re both from Ireland. What deciding factors helped you make the jump over the pond to London?

London’s always been the dream, for both of us. We felt our ideal jobs would never be based in Dublin. The opportunities, especially professionally, are just so much greater in London, but the desire has always come from deep within our hearts.

A two-week trip to the Olympics last year helped sealed the deal for us, too. We stayed in a flat in Stamford Hill, attended the Games and saw London at its most vibrant and exciting, so it simply sold the dream to us.

What’s the food and drink scene like over here compared to Dublin?

Though we’ve seen a lot in our short six months here so far, we are by no means the definitive guide to the London food scene…just yet!

The biggest difference, thinking of trends between the two capitals, seems to be the popularity of street food across London. We’ve experienced a lot of street stalls and markets and it’s so exciting and tasty, plus it’s an easy and accessible means of trying lots of different tasters of food – especially when supporting a young start-up.

russell james alford wahaca stratford thomasina miers westfield

Where’s your favourite place to eat and drink in London?

Now only one is just mean! The Commercial Tavern on Commercial Street (between Spitalfields and Shoreditch) is our go-to pub. It’s quirky, creative and always a different experience on each visit.

The South Bank Food Market (on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays) is perfect for us, and we gravitate towards it for simple, quick and satisfying food. Though we’re alike, we have very different tastes and sometimes can’t decide on a cuisine to suit us both, so South Bank definitely satisfies that! Eating out should be a treat and appreciated. Just like the idea we set up the blog with, we always remind ourselves to thoroughly enjoy the experience and try to eat something new every time, if possible.

wagamama japanese dublin sushi ramen chef kitchen

If money was no object what would you choose as your final meal?

It’s a beautiful thing that we differ so much in our food tastes, as it really enriches our blog with two different and distinct voices on a topic or feature.

Russell: I’d have to start with moules, something I waited over 20 years to try! My dad had spent every European holiday trying to convince me to have one little taste but I never even humoured the thought, as I had an intense fear of fish. After trying them once, I was hooked for life.

For a main I would have to have a classic Irish fry-up, insisting the only chef to touch the plate is my dad, who makes the meanest ‘brinner’ known to man. It must consist of two sausages, a rasher of bacon, a fried egg, one of each pudding, peas instead of beans and home-made, hand-cut chips. To finish, a tasting plate of the best French patisserie would send me to heaven a happy man!

Patrick: Bruschetta has been a family favourite for years, and each family member has their own twist on it, so I would have to honour that tradition and start with that. As a former vegetarian, I would probably go for a beautifully crafted veggie or fish main, and actually finish on a cold dessert, either affogato or île flottante.

Click through to the London Living website for the full feature with some additional answers and some extended answers to the questions above. It’s beautifully designed and has a fantastic range of features and interviews, from a variety of different aspects and areas of London.

What are your thoughts?

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