Are Your Dishes Instagrammable Enough?

If not, you might need to take them off the menu.

A few days ago, while researching for London based foodie accounts to follow on Instagram, I stumbled upon an article about the most instagrammable restaurants in London, which got me thinking. So, I kept looking for similar articles and realised that there are hundreds of posts about the most instagrammable dishes not only in London but in every country around the world.

So I asked myself, how important could Instagram be for restaurants? And the answer came right out of my everyday life. Every time I go out for brunch, lunch or dinner, I always aim to get good shots of my food – mainly because of the nature of my job. However it’s not just me, it’s pretty much every millennial I know!


According to research by Zizzi, 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram. This suggests that we are not only using the social media network to post what we are eating but also browse where to eat – and that’s why it is important for your food to be instagrammable.

Customers tend to choose restaurants they identify on Instagram whose dishes look pretty, colourful or just delicious. Interior decoration also plays a big part when instagramming from a restaurant.

Feeling like you need to step up your Instagram game? Here are a couple of ideas that will definitely help you!

Aim for high quality pictures

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take a decent food shot. Try taking your pictures during the day so you can utilise the natural light. The more vibrant colours your dish contains, the better the picture looks. Also, try shooting the dish from different angles – close ups work really well with food.

ice cream


Use the filters

Don’t be afraid to use Instagram’s filters to make your pictures pop. There are also other alternatives like vsco or acolourstory that offer more options when it comes to filters and image editing.

Use props

If you are taking a picture of a simple dish or beverage why not spice it up with some props? A flower could work very well next to a coffee mug and some olives would definitely compliment a glass of wine.


Play with different surfaces

The surface on which the dish is placed when taking the image is also very important. Aim for clean and smooth surfaces like marble or for rustic dark wooden ones.

When it comes to your dishes, make sure they are properly styled, with coloured ingredients that will make them look delicious. As they say an image is worth a thousand words - there’s so much you can say through a picture if you just follow the above few simple steps! No need to think of the perfect copy to attract your customers!

Traditional Easter Food From Around The World

Capirotada, Kulich or maybe Påskeøl?

From Russia all the way to Mexico, each nation has its own traditional Easter specialties enjoyed every year on Easter Sunday or during Lent. Why not try something different this year and expand your food horizons?

Pashka, Russia

Its name is derived from the Russian word for “Easter” and it contains ingredients that are forbidden during the Great Lent. Tvorog (quark), butter, heavy cream, eggs and nuts are perfectly mixed together to create this pyramid shaped dessert that represent the tomb of Christ. It is usually decorated with religious symbols and specifically the letters X and B (Христосъ Воскресe) meaning “Christ is Risen!”

Capirotada, Mexico

Capirotada is a type of bread pudding served on Good Friday, but can also be eaten during Lent. It is made with toasted bolillo (similar to a French baguette) soaked in syrup, cloves, nuts and fruits. Cheese or milk can also be added to the recipe as well as meat. This dish is extremely symbolic in the Mexican culture – the bread signifies the body of Christ, the syrup His blood and the cloves the nails of the cross.

Kulich, Georgia

Kulich is a type of bread cooked during Easter in several Christian Orthodox Eastern European countries like Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania. Before the Easter Service, people put kulich in baskets and take them to the priest for blessing. Blessed kulich is served for breakfast after the Service and any leftovers can be consumed as dessert after the Easter lunch. Kulich is baked in tall tins and is usually decorated with icing and flowers.

Mämmi, Finland

Mämmi is a traditional Finnish Easter dessert made with water, rye flour, and powdered malted rye. Its taste is aromatic and sweet and is usually eaten cold with cream, milk or sugar – not to mention that it’s rich in trace elements and low in sugar (just 2%). It takes days to prepare this delicious dessert, as it needs to be chilled for 2-3 days before serving.

Påskeøl, Dennmark

An original Easter concept by the Danish, Påskeøl is a type of beer drunk during Easter. It is slightly stronger than regular beer and is the perfect accompaniment to an Easter food feast!

Whether you decide to experiment with one of the above dishes or just stick to hot cross buns, we are wishing you a very Happy Easter full of love and happiness!

An Epicurean Easter in Greece

Lydia's guide to Greek Easter food

Hello again everyone! Since I am spending Easter in Athens, Greece I decided to write another blog about which traditional foods Greeks enjoy on this holiday.

Every Easter Sunday, the whole family comes together. From parents and grandparents to second or third degree cousins everyone gathers around the table to celebrate the special day. They all cook delicious traditional dishes like succulent lamb with potatoes, refreshing Greek salad with feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, onions and kalamata olives, other types of meat like oven baked baby goat and a Greek traditional soup called “Magiritsa” which contains green vegetables and lamb liver. Everyone helps in the preparations of the Easter lamb, drinks lots of wine and most probably talks about politics! Here are some of the most traditional Easter foods you will find in Greece.

Lamb on the spit

Easter Sunday celebrations start early in the morning. The main food is lamb on the spit, which takes around 4 hours to cook. However, its preparation is a much longer process and requires lots of skill. First the lamb needs to be washed inside out and left to dry. Then lemon and salt need to be poured inside and outside the lamb together with pepper and thyme or oregano. After lighting the charcoals, the cook needs to start rotating the lamb fast and once all of the fat melts, rotations should be slower. Once the meat is cooked it is ready for serving, however it is enjoyed best while it is on the spit when everyone pulls out small bites of it. If the weather is nice (which usually is during Easter) everything happens outside, in gardens or courtyards with lots of wine, tsipouro and of course traditional bouzouki music!

Easter eggs

Coloured Easter eggs is a must follow tradition in Greece. People paint the eggs on Thursday before Easter in many colours but primarily in red, because it represents Jesus’ blood.  There are two ways to paint the eggs, either naturally or by using artificial colours. Both processes are really simple: First you boil the eggs (preferably white ones for a more vibrant colour) and then you add the colouring. If you are following the natural painting process, together with the eggs you can boil beetroot, which provides the eggs with the red colour. According to Greek tradition all family members need to “bang” each other’s eggs. Loser of the “game” is the one whose egg gets crushed on both sides first.

 Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

Easter biscuits

If you visit Greece during Easter time you will always find traditional Easter biscuits in every bakery or coffee shop. These are simple vanilla biscuits in the shape of a braid. What makes them special (apart from their shape) is their orange flavour and aroma, which creates the perfect balance together with the hints of vanilla.

Sweet Easter bread

It might sound cheesy or an over-statement but this could be the best bread you will ever have. Similar to hot cross buns, Greek Easter bread is sweet, also in the shape of a braid. It is soft and best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea or coffee. It makes a great breakfast option and the anise flavour gives it a unique taste. The best part is that you can find it in many different flavours like chocolate, chestnut and white chocolate or even with mastiha crème (made of a traditional Greek mastiha a fruit which comes from a tree that only grows in the island of Chios and has a truly unique taste).

 Sweet Easter Bread

Sweet Easter Bread



This is not a very popular Easter food but for those who come from or have visited the island of Crete, it is one of the tastiest treats you can find during Easter time. It is a star shaped shell made of soft dough and filled with a mixture of sweet cheese, sugar, eggs and cinnamon. It is the perfect balance between a sweet and savoury treat and, if you ask me, I could really eat hundreds of them! They are really difficult to make, so if you ever visit Greece, make sure to ask around who makes the best.



After this delicious feast, as you can most probably imagine, everyone is stuffed and just needs to relax. Going home and lying on the bed or sofa is the best option to relax and recover from the large quantity of food consumed. And if there are any left-overs the family might get together again the next day to eat the rest!

An Epicure’s Guide to Greek Food

Lydia’s “all you need to know about Greek food”

Hello everyone! My name is Lydia and I am a proud Epicure. I recently visited Athens, Greece and I would love to share with you my foodie experiences through a guide to must-try, authentic Greek dishes.

Greek Street Food

The first thing you definitely need to try if you visit Athens is “souvlaki”.  Souvlaki is a pita bread wrap with slices of chicken or pork, tomatoes, onions, chips and tzatziki (a sauce made with Greek yogurt, cucumber and garlic).  It’s a delicious meal on the go and healthy too, especially if you drop the chips! Makes a great lunch while taking a break from your visit to the Acropolis.  

 greek souvlaki


The word “pastitsio” derives from the Italian word “pasticcio” but even though its name is Italian, the dish is Greek and is really tasty. It contains several layers of deliciousness and is really worth trying. The first layer is thick pasta tubes, then comes the minced beef cooked in tomato sauce, another layer of pasta and finally béchamel as the top layer. What makes it unique is the combination of tomato sauce and béchamel giving pastitsio a really juicy texture.


Youvetsi is my favourite Greek dish of all. It’s orzo pasta cooked in the oven with tomato sauce and chicken, lamb or beef. It is fairly simple to prepare and it’s bursting with flavour from all the spices used like cinnamon and nutmeg. Youvetsi makes a great Sunday family meal and is best enjoyed with some grated Parmesan sprinkled on top or feta cheese on the side.



Stuffed vegetables (gemista) is the perfect spring dish! Light and flavoursome, it makes a great vegetarian option. Vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, aubergine and courgettes are stuffed with rice, parsley, mint and tomato and are baked in the oven. Can be enjoyed both cold and hot and adding some raisins in the stuffing gives the vegetables just the right amount of sweetness.



Spinach pie (spanakopita), cheese pie (tiropita) or zucchini pie (kolokithopita), in Greece you can find any kind of sweet or savoury pie possible. If you try a homemade pie, the filo pastry will most probably be handmade which makes quite a difference in its taste. There are several stores in central Athens where you can try homemade pies, offering from simple flavours like plain cheese to more complicated ones like chicken and pepper.

 spinach pie

Gliko tou Koutaliou

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss out on the traditional gliko tou koutaliou (spoon sweets). They are similar to sweet preserves but the fruits are kept whole and not mashed. From grape and prune to almond and tomato there are numerous options for you to choose from to satisfy your taste buds.

 greek spoon sweet

Traditional Greek Spirits

If you are looking to accompany your meal with a traditional drink, try “ouzo”, an anise flavour alcoholic beverage mixed with water and ice. If you would like to go for something stronger, try “raki” also known as “tsikoudia”, a Cretan grape-based pomace brandy similar to grappa, which contains 40%–65% alcohol by volume.

These are just some of the most traditional Greek dishes worth trying. If you are lucky enough and get to visit one of the Greek islands, don’t miss out on the fresh seafood, fruit, vegetables and local specialties.

How to Use Snapchat to Promote Your Restaurant

Epicure's Snapchat Marketing Cheatsheet for Restaurants

Most London restaurants still haven’t figured out Facebook marketing… let alone Twitter. So the thought of Snapchat becoming the next ‘must-do’ restaurant marketing platform is probably fairly daunting.

 snapchat for restaurant marketing

If you’re below the age of 25 you’re probably on Snapchat – using its filters to give your selfies that extra bit of impetus. If you’re 30 or above, unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably have heard something about Snapchat (probably because of its recent IPO) and are in the process of incorporating daily use of it into your work, life – and possibly child – balance. Either way, Snapchat has come across your radar and you know that it is becoming a viable competitor to the Facebook-Instagram axis of power. But how can you ultilise this unique social media platform to market your restaurant?

Don’t worry Epicures, we have you covered!

Snapchat is the place to show who you really are

On all social networks you have the chance to show off wonderful, professional pictures and content you think will work best and will attract new customers. With Snapchat things are different since what your audience expects to see is what lies behind the scenes – content that would normally not be posted elsewhere. Be spontaneous, share unique moments and don’t try to impress. Is the chef dancing in the kitchen? It’s the perfect opportunity to snap and share the story with your followers.

Geofilters - Make sure your restaurant’s location is visible on Snapchat

Snapchat offers lots of features that will give your business exposure to over 150 million users daily. By adding a geofilter on Snapchat – an overlay to each snap mentioning the location where it was taken – you give your followers the opportunity to mention your business on their image. Assuming one of your customers posts an image of a waffle while having brunch at your restaurant, if the geofilter is available, the name and location of your business will automatically appear on the screen and all their followers will find out about your business – for free. What’s even more exciting about the geofilter is that you can have it designed anyway you like. It is customisable and you can add any kind of sketches or emojis. All you need to do to create the geofilter is use Snapchat’s map tool and pin the location of your restaurant! 

 How to promote your restaurant using Snapchat

Use Snapchat to share exclusive news

Planning an exclusive discount, an event or you just have an announcement to make? Use Snapchat to reach out to your audience. Lure people to your Snapchat profile by informing them through your other social networks that it’s the go-to platform for your most exciting updates. Say, for instance, you are launching your new Spring menu – you can post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that on a specific date and time you will be announcing details of the dishes and a one-off special offer. Then, when the time comes, inundate Snapchat with pics of your dishes and/or your chefs cooking them along with – perhaps – a promotion like first table booked mentioning ‘snapchat’ gets a free welcome drink. While you’re at it, why not package your content in a branded Spring geofilter?

Use Snapchat Live Stories to reach out to your customers

Snapchat’s Live Stories lets users who are in the same event or location post their snaps on the same community narrative. Is your restaurant taking part in a foodie festival? Live stories is a great way to reach out to your customers, let them know which stall you are at and what great treats you have for them to taste!  Is a big London event happening near your restaurant or bar – like the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race? Use Live Stories to invite Snapchatters in for a drink!

So are you ready to tell the personal story of your business with exclusive content on the social media platform that might just knock Facebook of its pedestal? Then jump onto Snapchat, tell Live Stories, and – crucially – get a super cool geofilter… and watch the selfies in your restaurant’s branding - along with some new customers - come pouring in!

An Epicurean Valentine

Epicure Digital Marketing Shows London How to 'Romance'

Happy Valentine’s Day! One of those happy days in the marketing calendar where content seems to write itself – or does it? Here at Epicure we’ve written before on the pitfalls of relying on clichés to make you restaurant attractive at peak holiday times, so this year, we’re going to share some examples of how our clients could help you celebrate this day of Love – or help you make any day of the year romantic.

1) Make the perfect French chocolate tarte, courtesy of Bel Canto Head Chef Gilles Martin.

Hazelnut Short-crust pastry to make 1 x 220mm tart


  • 95g flour
  • 70g melted butter
  • 35g icing sugar
  • 35g finely powdered hazelnuts
  • 1tsp salt
  • 30g egg yolks
  • 3g baking powder


  • Mix the flour, icing sugar, hazelnut powder, salt, and baking powder (the dry ingredients) in a bowl.
  • Add the melted butter and the egg yolks and mix with a hand whisk or mixer.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 220mm cake tin and smooth the mixture with a spoon, making sure to get it evenly distributed. The layer should be about 3mm thick.
  • Pop in the oven and bake at 180◦c for 10 minutes.
  • Take out and leave in the fridge to cool and set.

Chocolate ganache


  • 70g whipping cream
  • 12g butter
  • 17g honey
  • 90g of 66% dark chocolate, broken into small pieces


  • Warm the cream and the honey in a pan.
  • Pour this over the chocolate and the butter.
  • Mix it all together gently with a spatula until the chocolate and the butter melt.
  • Pour this mixture over the fully-cooled base and pop back in the fridge to set


2) Treat your loved one to a romantic cooking class with InspiringChefs.

If you want to do something special and romantic, but don’t feel like leaving the house – InspiringChefs might be perfect for you! Plan a cooking date at your house and have the chef come to YOU to teach you and your loved one some of their favourite recipes.

3) Toast your Valentine with a glass of Sustainable fizz.

Preferably a glass of Limney Estate Brut from the Davenport vineyard in East Sussex. This premium sparkling wine is made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and won silver in the 2016 Decanter Awards. And, for a day like today, surely only an award-winner will do?

4) Try a Valentine's Day dinner off the menu at Chriskitch.

Everyone likes a nice surprise, and nice surprises abound at Chriskitch thanks to their collaboration with client EatOfftheMenu. Chef and Owner Chris Honor’s secret dish of choice is slowly braised beef with fresh pasta, a dish connected to his childhood memories and early passion for food “My secret dish embodies this passion – a simple combination of ingredients. It needs a true craftsman to bring out the best flavour. It's a complicated combination of cookery techniques and methods and flavours, presented in a very easy fashion.” You can enjoy the dish on its own or as part of a lovely set menu. Find out more here.

5) Say “I Love You” with a bespoke pizza.

Pizza chain Basilico’s customise feature means you can create virtually any pizza you like for the one you love. Are they a meat lover? Cover their pizza with every salumi on the menu! Chilli fan? Choose from chilli flakes, spicy chilli sausage, and even fresh chillies! Vegetarian? Vegan? Gluten-Free? There is something for everyone. Head over to their blog for some combination inspiration.

6) Book a romantic staycation in a Suite full of Eastern promise.

The Mayflower Collection’s trio of hotels offer a number of beautifully-decorated Suites, each of which give you a taste of East-Meets-West. Try the teal-tinged opulence of the Ottoman Suite at Twenty Nevern Square, the clean white lines of the Mayflower’s Luxury four-poster suite, or the dramatic black-and-gold scheme of the New Linden’s Honeymoon Suite.

7) Say Cheers to healthy relationships with Zayane’s low-sugar cocktails.

The hardest part of being in a relationship can often be avoiding bad habits. We don’t know about you, but at Epicure, all of our perfect dates involve eating. Cosy nights in with takeaway, lavish eight-course tasting menus, a great brunch – not necessarily conducive to a trim waistline. Thankfully, our newest client, Zayane, have just introduced a fabulous range of low-sugar cocktails – and they taste so good, you won’t even realise.

Our favourites are:

The Zayane

Iced Green Tea scented with Jasmine & Mint, Orange Blossom and Sparkling White Wine

Ginger Elixir

Gin, Ginger, Lemon juice and Honey

No. 5

Vodka, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Lemon, Ginger, Apple juice

Starting 2017 with a Bang

Epicure Digital Marketing Says 'Hello' to A New Year

We’ve hit the ground running in 2017 and January has been a busy month indeed. We have new clients, new talent, and some exciting new projects afoot, so we thought we would use this week to let you know a little more about them.

New member of the team – Account Executive, Mohsan

Most exciting of all – we have a new Epicure on board! This month we welcomed our new account Executive, Mohsan. With a BA in Politics from Queen Mary and a Masters in Political Economy from King’s College London, Mohsan brings with him a questioning mind and a strong set of beliefs. Along with political philosophy, he is passionate about MMA, and spends his spare time learning Arabic and sharing his lessons on YouTube.

 Epicure Digital Marketing's Newest Account Executive

Soul Makossa with InspiringChefs and EatOffTheMenu

At the end of last month, two of our clients collaborated on a spectacular celebration of Cameroonian food and culture. New addition EatOffTheMenu and old favourite InspiringChefs hosted an evening of laughter, learning, and – most importantly – food! InspiringChefs founder Carine was in charge of the kitchen, whipping up a secret eight-course tasting menu full of traditional Cameroonian dishes from her childhood, updated with a modern twist! Alex, the brain behind EatOfftheMenu, was front of house, mingling and making sure everyone enjoyed themselves. And it worked! We can’t speak for anyone else, but we Epicures did not leave till midnight!

The first event of a new monthly collaboration between these two exciting clients, keep your eyes peeled for news about what’s happening next!

Interviewed Cynthia Conran for Amvigo Elite

Towards the end of 2016, we began to diversify the work we do for digital concierge client Amvigo Elite, providing editorial content on the new sectors of Style and Entertainment. Last week this reached exciting new heights as Fran had the privilege of interviewing designer Cynthia Conran about her beautiful collection AnyEveryWear. We can’t tell you much – you will have to keep an eye out for the piece – but what we can tell you is that her clothes are designed for all women to wear, and feel wonderful in, that they are created with love in Tulum, Mexico, and that they are made of beautiful, natural materials…

New client website for Mount Sinai

New year, new clients – and one of our first for 2017 is the Mount Sinai Center for Rehabilitative Medicine. One of the most prestigious hospitals in New York City, their Rehabilitation Department has been up and running since 1910, and we will be capturing this story in the new website we are building them – stay tuned for updates!

 Mount Sinai Hospital In New York City

New client – Zayane

And last, but by no means least, our second new client of 2017 is the wonderful Zayane! Serving delicious modern Moroccan food in Notting Hill, we are looking forward to sharing their story with you – starting next week! So head over to their website and keep an eye out for their blog.

Want to find out what else we’ve been up to? Why not like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram @epicuredigitalmarketing?

Have a Sweet Christmas - Festive Desserts from Around the World

Some of Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Christmas Sweets from Around the Globe!

Not everyone likes mince pies. Shocking, but true. I remember looking after a couple of kids in Germany during my brief stint as an Au Pair, and both of them being positively horrified at my beloved Christmas confection. This is what makes Christmas such an important holiday, and its food so emotive – it is tied up with how we grew up. Really clever restaurant marketing – like really clever food - taps into this well of emotion and uses it to connect with people. So, this week we are celebrating London’s multiculturalism by discovering mince pie equivalents around the world.

 Christmas Sweets

Argentina, Spain, Peru, Puerto Rico = Turrón

This delicious nougat-esque dessert is a Christmas favourite throughout Spain and Latin America. Made of honey, sugar, egg white and almonds, it can be formed into almost any shape, comes in a number of different consistencies and be filled with any other ingredients – from dried fruit to puffed rice – as long as the core ingredients are always ther. The oldest surviving recipe can be found in a Manual de Mujeres (“Women’s Manual”) from the 16th century, this ancient festive treat takes its name from the Latin word torrere meaning “to toast”.

 Turròn is a Christmas Sweet from Spain and Latin America

Denmark = Æbleskiver

 Hipster delight waiting to happen – these are essentially round spheres of pancake-y goodness, normally served with jam and covered in icing sugar. Made from a mix of buttermilk, wheat flour, eggs, sugar, and salt, they are formed in an oiled pan composed of little half-spheres where they are tweaked with a long skewer halfway through to form their distinctive shape. Sort of like a sweet, globe-shaped Yorkshire pudding. Originally served with the apple slices from which they get their name, nowadays they come with gløgg – Scandinavian mulled wine – which I’m sure we’ll all agree is way better.

France, Canada = Bûche de Noël

Based on the pagan tradition of the Yule log, these are delicious sponge cakes, rolled up and iced to look like a log, and you can read all about them Here

Germany = Stollen

This traditional German delicacy is essentially a sweet bread filled with dried fruit, nuts, and spices, slathered in melted butter and rolled in icing sugar as soon as it comes out of the oven, which sometimes has a marzipan rope in the middle. Beloved across the country, it is particularly popular in Dresden which has been holding a “Stollenfest” at their annual Christmas Striezelmarkt (“Striezel” was an old word for Stollen) since the 15th century.

 Tasty Stollen for Christmas

India = Allahabadi Cake

It may not be a country-wide tradition, but Christmas is indeed celebrated in some parts of the India subcontinent. One of those is Hindustan in the northwest, where the Christian population prepare Allahbadi Cake for Christmastide. This traditional Indian rum and fruit cake is made with maida, eggs, clarified butter, sugar, petha, marmalade, nuts, ginger, and fennel and gets its name from the north Indian city of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago = Christmas Black Cake

Looking for Christmas cake with a kick? Then you should head to the Caribbean where rum cake is the traditional holiday dessert. Developed from traditional English favourites – like figgy pudding – in Jamaican black cake, dried fruit is soaked in rum for many months, before being added to a caramelised sugar and water mix. The result is a light but boozy black cake which – if not consumed responsibly – may well get you seasonally sozzled.


The Philippines = Puto Bumbong

Sticky purple rice anyone? It may sound a little odd, but this Filipino dessert is a Christmas favourite. Made with a special type of glutinous rice, called pirurutong, this pudding has a distinctive purple hue. The rice is soaked in saltwater, dried overnight, and then poured into a bamboo tube called a bumbong. This is then steamed until the steam rises from the tube before being served with a type of rice cake called bibinka, topped with butter, shredded coconut, and brown sugar. 

Portugal = Bolo Rei

Literally “King Cake” this Portuguese cake is enjoyed during the 12 Days of Christmas, between December 25th and Epiphany. Although the recipe was originally from France (where the Galette des Rois is also a popular dessert celebrating the Three Kings) it found its way to Portugal in the 19th century. With a large hole in the middle, it is designed to resemble a crown and is covered with ‘jewels’ of crystallised and dried fruit. The dough itself is soft, white and filled with raisins, nuts and fruit and has one hidden dried fava bean. Whoever ends up with the bean has to buy the bolo rei the following year.

Scandinavia = Gingerbread

Probably one of the oldest desserts around, gingerbread was first introduced to Sweden by German immigrants in the 13th century. It can now be found all over the world in many different forms – from soft like a cake to crunchy like a biscuit, but it is particularly prevalent in Scandinavia. In essence, gingerbread is any baked good flavoured with ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon and sweetened with honey, sugar, or molasses. Believed to ease indigestion by Swedish nuns in the 1400s, it now has fewer medicinal uses, except for those of an emotional kind. Scandinavian gingerbread is most popular in its thin, brittle biscuit form, known as pepparkakor (Swedish), pepperkaker (Norwegian), piparkokur (Icelandic), piparkakut (Finnish) and…brunkager (Denmark being a little bit different there).

 Tasty Gingerbread for Christmas

Wherever you are from, Christmas desserts seem to have a few things in common – they are sweet, warming, and comforting, just like Christmas should be. So, whatever you eat this Christmas, may it be delicious.

Merry Christmas!

Your Ultimate London Christmas Drinking Guide

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Yuletide Drinking Spots

Any pub can heat some wine and put up a bit of tinsel, but transforming your gin joint into a winter wonderland or coming up with fresh, festive takes on a cocktail? That takes real skill. This week we have rounded up the most creative Christmas offerings from some of London’s best bars and cosiest pubs for the ultimate Yuletide drinking experience.

If you are on the search for some Christmas magic with your eggnog, you will be spoilt for choice this year. Bars across the city have been taking festive decorating to a new, immersive level, becoming ideal examples of what we covered in our last blog. It was hard to choose but we have managed to narrow it down to our top three.

1)      Scottish Winter Terrace at the Rib Room

This Knightsbridge restaurant has transformed its terrace bar into a Caledonian haven, complete with a forest of pine branches, tartan blankets and (what else) whisky flights curated by William Grant & Son. There will be live music on Fridays and Saturdays, Scottish-inspired bar snacks, and Christmassy whiskey cocktails such as the delightful Cinnamon Sour (12-year Glenfiddich, sloe gin, pomegranate liqueur, sage syrup, Angostura bitters). Open until January 25th, you be hard-pressed to find a better place to sing Auld Lang Syne to welcome in the New Year.

 Scotch Whisky

2)      Hot Gin Terrace, Rosewood London

Holborn Hotel Rosewood London have paired up with Sipsmith gin this winter in a celebration of the beverage which has been warming Londoners for centuries. Inspired by the frost fairs of the 1700s, when the frozen Thames would become a winter playground – Rosewood have launched a menu of historical hot toddies. Including the delectable Hot Winter Julep (with peppermint tea and crème de cacao) and the Hot Mulled Sloe (sloe gin and warm apple juice) this is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas like a true Londoner.

3)      Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Terrace, Sartoria

From London to the Italian Alps, this Savile Row favourite has created a festive experience inspired by Italy’s favourite ski resort in the Dolomites. Pairing up with Campari (who else), Sartoria’s Libare bar is offering a number of festive twists on Italian classics, including a range of seasonal Negronis.


Christmas Pubs

But a truly British Christmas would not be complete without a trip to a cosy pub and London is chock-full of them. For the ultimate festive experience, opt for one with an open fire and homey seating – need a little help knowing where to start? Give one of these a try.

1)      The Antelope – Tooting

A local favourite, The Antelope may attract a younger crowd, but it still has some of that old London feel. Featuring wood panelling, stained glass windows, mismatched comfy chairs and the requisite fireplace, this is the perfect pub in which to while away a wintery afternoon.

2)      The George Inn – London Bridge

This historic venue is the only pub to be owned by the National Trust. London’s oldest surviving coach house, it is tucked down an alley way by London Bridge, but is beautifully signposted with its name arching over the alley’s entrance in gold. This 17th-century watering hole still has its original beams and gallery and is worth a visit in its own right – after all, it is basically a historical location!

 Can't beat a mulled cider... 

3)      Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Fleet Street

Another one of London’s historical pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is also one of its oldest, dating back to the 16th century. A favourite with the likes of Dickens, Tennyson and Conan Doyle, it too boasts an open fire and is deceptively large.

And – just in case you are still thirsty – there’s more! We have barely mentioned mulled wine or hot chocolate, without which no Christmas is completely, so here is a final quick guide of where to head for the very best examples of each.

Mulled wine and Cider

Bavarian Brewhouse

  • Opt for proper German Glühwein or winter apple Schnapps, served by a ‘Santa Fräulein’…

Santa Baby!

  • With singalong Christmas songs and a 1950s American living room setting, you can get both red AND white mulled wine at this pop-up!

Southbank Christmas market

  • London’s answer to the Weinachtsmarkt, do your Christmas shopping and your Christmas drinking at the same time on London’s lovely South bank.
 Mulled Wine

Christmas cocktails

Spaniards Inn – Festive Bliss

  • Chambord, spice syrup and Prosecco

The Lodge, Clapham – King’s Tipple

  • Hot apple juice, King’s Ginger Liqueur, dark rum and fresh mint

Dalloway Terrace – Bourbon Brittle

  • Old Spot-infused Makers Mark, praline vodka, and hot chocolate


Hot chocolate

Fortnum and Mason - Chocolossus

  • Go for dark or milk chocolate and add giant raspberry, vanilla, or salted caramel marshmallows
 Hot Chocolate


  • Head to St. James’s Market and ask for a shot of orange and grappa syrup in your Venezuelan bitter hot chocolate with cinnamon-infused milk

Rabot 1745

  • Borough Market’s “cacao-concept-restaurant” does hot chocolate to die for. Get yours infused with nutmeg, gingerbread, or even a shot of rum!

Cheers to Christmas drinking! Get in touch over Facebook or Twitter and let us know where and what you will be sipping this Yuletide, or tag us in your Christmas drinking pictures on Instagram @epicuredigitalmarketing. 

Tips to Avoid a Cliché Christmas

The keys to avoiding clichés in your Christmas marketing are simple: creativity and content.

Aim to capture the imagination and generate content, and always be sure that your marketing links up with what you are doing in the restaurant itself. The cardinal rule? Do not compromise your restaurant’s identity just for the sake of accommodating Christmas. Quite apart from anything else, it looks lazy and lacklustre. Instead, take the basic ingredients of “Christmas-ness” and exercise your creativity to see how you can make them work for you.

 Christmas with Epicure Digital Marketing

The Ingredients


Basics = Joyful, Fun, Vibrant, Comfortable, Family-orientated.

Christmas, and the run-up to Christmas, is all about feeling. Once you have passed the age of Santa and toys, for most of your customers the festive season begins to be about a general sense of warmth and wellbeing. The key to achieving prime seasonal success? Tap into those feelings and try to replicate them in your restaurant. This can be achieved by something as simple as having Christmassy accessories for your staff – to keep the tone light, and silly – or by running special family offers and deals for groups, to emphasise the conviviality of the season. 


Basics = Turkey, Cranberries, Roast vegetables, Spices, Wine

Here is where you can really have some fun. Does your restaurant cook a specific cuisine? Rather than opt for a standard Roast Turkey dinner, why not interpret Christmas through that cuisine? If your cuisine comes from a country which celebrates Christmas, then it can be as simple as highlighting and capitalising on the Christmas foods we do not normally eat in the UK. For example, our client Bel Canto is serving salmon, boeuf en croûte and the traditional French bûche de Noël. All delicious, all authentic French customs, but not what we Brits tend to do!

Last year, our client Chakra took it in the opposite direction, and interpreted Christmas food in their own unique, Indian way. There was Turkey curry with ginger, roasted masala potatoes, and roast butternut squash Galouti.

Take the ingredients of Christmas and make them work for you.

 Christmas with Chakra


Basics = Snow, Christmas Trees, Red and Green, Gifts, Fairy Lights

The other festive trappings can also be used to your advantage. Use them in your visual marketing, in the décor of your restaurants, even in the way you present your food – if you want to get really creative! Just try to think laterally – how can you represent snow, gifts, Christmas trees in a way which is clever but clear?

 Christmas with Epicure Digital Marketing

The Marketing

Email Marketing

Why not borrow from other Christmas traditions here and entice your customers by offering them Christmas “gifts”? Try a “12 Days of Christmas Approach” offering a different deal or extra over twelve of your quieter days in the run up to the 25th. This could be anything from a free glass of wine to a one-off chance to try a special Christmassy dish. Whatever approach you take, use Email Marketing to remind people to make the most of the Christmas season by trying out your unique offering.

Social Media

Stick to those Christmas basics and keep it FUN! Christmas is a chance to be jolly, so make the most of this, even if you are traditionally a more serious enterprise. Pose Nativity scenes with your staff for Instagram, Snapchat them singing their favourite Christmas songs, engage your followers on Facebook and Twitter by discussing favourite Christmas traditions, and make everyone’s mouth water by sharing high quality pictures of your food.


Blogs are where people can come to find out more information about what it is you are doing, and it is a real opportunity for you to show off the full extent of your restaurant’s creativity. Talk about the inspiration behind your Christmas menu, why you are serving what you are serving, discuss Christmas stories and traditions, and share fun Christmas recipes with your readers.

 Epicures love Christmas spaghetti

Christmas Packages

Perhaps a more banal element of Christmas marketing, parties and corporate events could be your bread and butter this season, so make sure they are all perfect and ready to go. The ideal Christmas package will be well thought-out, clear and easy to understand, good value for money, and come at a range of different price points.

Need help marketing your restaurant this Christmas? Get in touch HERE to see how we could help. 

Final Push for Sober October - London's Dry Scene

Anyone been brave enough to do Sober October?

To those who are giving it a go – we salute you. In a culture where drinking is so closely interlinked with socialising, going booze-free can be tricky, so we will be talking about our three favourite places to go for a dry night to give you a boost for the final week and a half.

Redemption Bar – The vegan joint

In 2016 the trend is health. With a proliferation of health-food bloggers, fitness YouTubers, kale and avocado prophets, juice, chia seeds, and yoga, veganism has become the next “It” diet. But it isn’t all about looking good. Whatever claims may be brought against Generation Y, young people today are more interested than ever in sustainable living and animal welfare. Redemption Bar is the perfect symbol of this.

Created by Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, this vegan restaurant has been winning awards left, right, and centre since its inception and serves up vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free food…with an alcohol-free bar. Bearing the motto “spoil yourself without spoiling yourself” – it’s all far less punishing that it sounds!

What to drink

  • Apple mock-jito – “Muddled apple pressé, fresh mint and lime, served over ice and topped with soda”
  • Lettuce Spray – “A Japanese-inspired refreshing cocktail of iceberg lettuce, lime, cucumber, wasabi and aloe vera”

  • Flu Fighters – “A fiery combination of ginger, chilli, aloe vera, coconut water, orange, lemon, and lime juice, with apple and elderflower cordial”

The Connaught Bar at The Connaught – The extravagant classic

And going alcohol-free doesn’t mean restricting yourself to gluten-free restaurants and trendy hole-in-the-wall bars, you can also enjoy a luxury booze-less tipple at one of London’s finest hotels. The Connaught in Mayfair is the sort of hotel which has its own fleet of chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz, so you can be sure to encounter luxury on every level. Its fabulous bar features an “Innocence” menu of intriguing mocktails, full of flavour and character.

What to drink

  • Queen’s Garden – “Cucumber and fennel seed water, organic apple juice, fresh lime juice, caster sugar”
  • The Silky Way – “Milk Oolong tea infusion, pear nectar, date syrup, fresh lime juice”

  • Citrus Vibe – “Fresh orange juice, spiced calamansi sherbet, almond syrup, ginger beer”
 Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel in London

Dandelyan at the Mondrian Hotel – The botanical bar

This award-winning bar is presided over by an award-winning bartender. Bar impresario Ryan Chetiyawardana has created a cool and colourful space at the Mondrian hotel, with beautiful views of the Thames and a fascinating bar menu called “Hunter, Gatherer, Shaman and Explorer” which is inspired by human’s interaction with plants and the botanical wilds of the British countryside. In this vein, it makes sense that Dandelyan’s Boozeless menu features one of the coolest products around at the moment: Seedlip. This remarkable beverage is an alcohol-free drink distilled like gin (in a copper still), made with the botanicals used in gin… which tastes like gin – but isn’t! Dandelyan have been championing Seedlip since the beginning, so why not try substituting it for gin or order an exciting and exotic “Wild Thing”?

What to drink

  • Wild thing – “Seedlip, ylang ylang, Dandelyan herbal tonic”
  • Peaches and Split Cream – “Whey syrup, peach shrub, ginger and soda”
  • Apple Sourz-less – “Apple, Dandelyan capillaire, Rye and acid”
 Sober October Luxury Cocktails

So head out and treat yourself to a little vegan goodness, sophisticated luxury, or botanical innovation and keep going! Only 12 days more.

What do you like to drink when you’re not drinking? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know!

Anyone for Tea? A Stroke of British Marketing Genius.

Invigorate Your Restaurant's Marketing with Tea

It is pre-Christmas season and post-Summer – the time when marketing inspiration could grind to a halt. Are you feeling stuck? Looking for fun new ideas to reinvigorate your restaurant and give your marketing some fuel? Then we think it might be time for tea.

 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

These days you see Afternoon Tea everywhere - from cute cafés to the world’s finest hotels. Thanks to the global popularity of the Great British Bake Off, cake, tea, and all things British have never been more in vogue – except perhaps at Afternoon Tea’s inception in the 1840s. Legend has it that Anna Maria, 7th Duchess of Bedford, would get peckish in the late afternoon (she called it “that sinking feeling”) and call for tea and a snack to enjoy in her bedroom. She began inviting friends, high society got wind of it and voilà! A British tradition was born. 

 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing
 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

Over the years it has been somewhat democratised, but Afternoon Tea has still retained that air of luxury – it is an indulgence, a treat, and herein lies some of its power. Who does not enjoy the opportunity to eat and drink well (and often fairly inexpensively) while feeling just a little fancy?

 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

The formula for afternoon tea is simple: finger sandwiches, scones, pastries, and a pot of tea (it must be a pot). This is where the genius comes in – working within such limiting parameters can push your culinary creativity to its limits. Over the last year, I have enjoyed a delectable, magic-forest-inspired tea at The Glade at sketch, a Jungle Book-themed tea at Taj 51 and a tea-based cocktail, bunny-eared tea at the Playboy Club in Mayfair. Each featured the core components of Afternoon Tea, and each took the strict framework of pastries and finger sandwiches and played with it to astounding success.

 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing
 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

So, why bother with Afternoon Tea at your restaurant? Well it is relatively cheap to produce, it is hugely popular with guests, and it is a breeding ground for creativity and quirkiness. Got an Italian restaurant? Replace the finger sandwiches with pizzette and bruschetta, feature some regional Italian pastries, perhaps a mini Tiramisu, add a glass of Prosecco and there you go! A quirky, delicious, Italian Afternoon Tea. Run a Japanese restaurant in the UK? The Japanese already have a tea-based culture so let those cultures mingle – where High Tea meets Tea Ceremony, great things will happen.

 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

Want to do a little research? Here are our top Afternoon Teas to Try.


The ultimate, traditional Afternoon Tea. This classic offering even won “Best Traditional Afternoon Tea” at this year’s Afternoon Tea Awards.


An Afternoon Tea – with a Moroccan Twist! Featuring the intriguing Zaalouk & Mechouia on toast, pistachio macarons and served with traditional mint tea.

One Aldwych

One that the kids will love as much as the adults, this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tea includes decadent golden eggs, blueberry brioche and playful flavoured candy floss!

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction

Based in The Halkin hotel, this Michelin-starred restaurant is offering a Basque-inspired Afternoon Tea for something truly unusual.

 Afternoon Tea with Epicure Digital Marketing

Are you an Afternoon Tea fan? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter to let us know your thoughts – what kind of Afternoon Tea would you like to see? Also, tag us in your Afternoon Tea Instagram pictures @epicuredigitalmarketing and we will share them!

Gimmick or Genius? The Rise of the Food Fad

Epicures Liv and Francesca Explore London's Food Trends

With the advent of social media platforms like Instagram, food has been given a whole new lease of life. Food bloggers have become prolific and thousands of people are 'gramming their meals every day. Because this platform is essentially entirely visual, food photos are edited and staged to within an inch of their lives in order to make them as aesthetically-pleasing as possible. This preoccupation with pretty edibles has given rise to a multitude of “food fads”. Enter visual delights like galaxy donuts, cronuts, and - possibly most exciting - the freakshake. But are these fads mere gimmicks or is there something more to them? This weekend, Client Manager Fran and I took to the streets of London to find out.

 London Food Trends

Heading to Brick Lane, we began the day with a breakfast of rainbow bagels. Originally the brainchild of New Yorker Scot Rossillo, this fad takes bread to a whole new colourful level. A normal bagel in flavour and texture, the only real difference is its vibrant rainbow nature. A cheap novelty? We didn't think so - in fact, although the taste remained the same, the sheer child-like joy of eating something so colourful made the whole experience wonderful.

 Rainbow Bagel

Rainbow Bagels

Due to the massive popularity of the original, the rainbow bagel has made its way across the pond to Brick Lane's Beigel shop, where you can buy one for a mere 50p. This multi-coloured gimmick has spread over to several other, otherwise-normal food areas, from fairy bread to rainbow coffee. Photos of kaleidoscopic grilled cheeses are currently running amok across Instagram, as people attempt to make their everyday meals more visually stimulating.

 Rainbow Bagel


The next stop on our foodie adventure was Soft Serve Society to jump on the matcha train - another food-stuff that has taken the internet by storm. Matcha is a Chinese green tea powder, traditionally used in Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies. These days it is also used for dyeing and flavouring foods. Given the plentiful health benefits of matcha- such as being high in antioxidants and helping to burn calories- many health enthusiasts have appropriated it for healthy treat foods.

Admittedly, we may not have had it in its most wholesome form... as an ice cream swirled together with vanilla, covered in strawberry crunch, and topped with the world's largest marshmallow, but it did give us a chance to see what the hype was about. It was certainly very visually impressive, with a cloud of mallow perched atop a beautifully-swirled green and white ice cream, but I must say we were somewhat underwhelmed with the taste of it. Perhaps matcha is the new marmite.



Two stops into our day of gluttony we thought it best to walk to our next, and undoubtedly most ambitious, stop. Cue Maxwell's Bar and Grill in Covent Garden for the aforementioned freakshake. This food marvel was originally a product of Australians Anna and Gina Petridis and has been rapidly spreading across the continent - and now to several areas of Britain - with Maxwell's being the first to jump on the bandwagon. Described by many as “Instagram-worthy”, the pair wanted to create a dessert that customers felt they just had to take a photo of before eating it. Mission accomplished. The one we had was salted caramel and was essentially a mountain of cream, caramel, and sugar, topped with a doughnut and yet more marshmallows - an apparent theme of the day.

 Freakshake at Maxwell's Bar and Grill

The day finished with the onset of food comas, and a growing understanding of the appeal of food fads. The transmission, and thus popularity, of these fantastic culinary spectacles has been made possible by the rise of media platforms such as Instagram. Through it people can create identities for themselves and even, in the case of food bloggers and “’grammers”, forge a career. However, as these become more popular professions it is no longer enough to create really good-tasting, well-balanced dishes. People need to come up with ways to beat the crowds and catch the attention of their target audience. Thus flavour appears to be giving way to aesthetic as the most important factor when it comes to food marketing.

 Softserve Society


Does this then mean that there is no longer a need to focus on the taste of a dish? Is it such that, as long as it is striking to look at, all other elements of the experience are irrelevant? Well, no. For those who truly love food it is unlikely that they'll be fooled into liking something merely because it's pretty. Nonetheless there is evidence that our enjoyment of food is influenced by more than just taste. A multitude of studies have been carried out over the years, proving that altering the appearance of foods can completely change how people experience the flavour of them.

One such test was performed by taking white wine and adding a flavourless red food colouring to it. Subjects reported experiencing flavours associated with red wines, such as merlots and cabernets, despite the fact that the flavour of the original wine had been left unaltered. Eating is a whole body experience, combining all the senses, and so, while these aforementioned food fads are designed primarily to be visual spectacles this does not mean that taste has to go completely out of the window. 

 Epicure Loves White and Red Wine

Food fads are, at the most basic level, a tool for driving popularity, in the form of gaining Instagram traffic. The more visually-striking a foodstuff is, the more likes and follows one can get. Through recreating, or even starting, these popular fads, restaurants can appeal to, and market themselves to, a wider demographic. However, on a subtler level, the extremity of the visual can enhance the whole eating experience, making foods not only look, but also taste, more new and exciting.

Get the Picture - An Epicure's Guide to Instagram

Instagram Like an Epicure

Whether you love it, hate it, are thoroughly confused by it, or have never even heard of it…trust us, you need to be on Instagram.

 Restaurant Marketing on Instagram

With new social media platforms appearing every month, there can be a strong temptation to ignore the new arrivals and focus on the networks you already understand. Unfortunately, if Instagram is not currently in your roster, we are here to tell you it should be. Fortunately, we are also here to ease the transition. As Instagram newbies ourselves, Epicure has been swotting up on Instagram best practice – as well as figuring out what works for us – and this week we will be sharing our new-found wisdom.

The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Moreover, we remember 80% of what we see but only 20% of what we read. These two facts combined show very clearly why Instagram is a marketing tool brands cannot afford to ignore. That and the fact that Instagram has half a billion users every month, of course.

The secret to its popularity lies in its simplicity – all you need is a good eye and a set of opposable thumbs – and a good eye is not to be underestimated. Steve Jobs understood one key idea when it came to making computers something people wanted in their homes: people like things to look good. Instagram is where people come to work out – and judge – the visual identity of a business and decide whether they like the look of your business.

 Restaurant Marketing on Instagram

Of course, it is a little more complicated than whether or not you post beautiful pictures. Anyone who has just got to grips with Instagram no doubt threw up their hands in despair at the recent introduction of Instagram Stories. A direct threat to rival app Snapchat, the new feature (which allows users to post videos and photos which disappear after 24 hours) marks a new step in digital marketing, one which is less stylised, if not less visual. What Snapchat did, which Instagram had previously been lacking, was allow people a peek behind the scenes, into the lives of the people they followed, in a more raw and authentic way. Whereas in Instagram you create a visual archive, Snapchat merely offers a brief glimpse - think snap-shots rather than photoshoots. Now with Instagram introducing Stories… you can do both!

The key to doing both bits well is to act like a real person. Young people have become better than ever at ignoring traditional ads…so stop trying to sell to them, and simply engage with them! Use Stories to allow your audience a glimpse of the funny, silly, unedited side of your business and, if you don’t have one… perhaps you’re doing it wrong!

Top Instagram Tips

1. Do your research 

Before you start posting, get to know the app a little. Find accounts similar to yours and see what they are doing. Take a look at some of your target audience and get a feel for what they like.

 2. Hashtags

Here is where all that research you did will come in handy! Find out which hashtags are popular for your industry (a good app which can help you is TagsForLikes) and use them. There are pros and cons to using very popular hashtags – on the one hand it gets you in front of thousands of people, on the other your content risks drowning amongst all the other posts out there using that tag. Best thing to do is use a combination of both – use some less popular, more specific tags, and some more popular and generic ones. And never use tags which have nothing to do with your post. Big no-no. Also consider coming up with a hashtag for your brand and making the most of trending hashtags like #ThrowbackThursday.

3. Collaborate

In the words of Vanilla Ice – Stop, Collaborate and Listen. Actually, that’s pretty sound advice for social media as a whole. Find out who people are listening to –  brand influencers like bloggers and popular accounts – and collaborate with them! Let them take over your account for a day or initiate some sort of shared project. Equally important – collaborate with your audience! Comment on their pictures to start a conversation and re-share great posts, turning your customers into brand ambassadors.

4. Think visually 

Instagram is all about the way things look, so have an aesthetic idea in mind before you start. High quality pictures are a MUST. Also, it is worthwhile having a distinctive visual style – picking a specific filter can help with this, as can including other aspects of your branding into images, through logos or colour schemes.

5. Have Fun 

The most important thing of all! Social media may not come naturally to you, but it is designed to be something people enjoy – if you are doing it out of duty, then you’re not really getting into the true spirit of it!


A few of our favourite accounts

1.       A Pair of Dirty Pigs @apairofdirtypigs – Great pictures of food – not super-stylised – a mix of restaurant pictures and food they cook at home. Restaurant food pics come with short review of dish plus price point and mark out of 10. Great concept, easy to get on board with.

 Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

2.       Sauce Communications @saucecomms – A lesson in how to do Instagram marketing…for a marketing agency! Account is all about letting their clients’ work shine. Beautiful pictures, posted regularly.

 Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

3.       Eat About @eatabout – Excellent use of their logo in the top corner of every picture. Great mix of pictures – finished dishes, dishes in progress, chefs, chefs’ homes, and raw ingredients. Every aspect of the business represented visually.

 Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

4.       Londoner on the Go @londoneronthego – Quite simply… just beautiful pictures of food! As well as sweeping pictures of London. High quality but all with the same personal style, as if taken on a phone – feels intimate and authentic.

 Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Instagram Accounts

And while we've got your attention - why not head over to our Instagram account and say hi!

Picnic Perks – How al Fresco Feasting is Good for Your Health

Epicure's resident anthropologist discusses the health benefits of picnicking.

Picnics. Synonymous with British summers, picnics are about so much more than food. An escape from the monotony of urban office life, there are few things more relaxing than sitting in a park, on a sunny day, with a picnic basket and a glass of Pimms. Not only that, but research suggests that picnicking can influence what and how we eat, as well as providing a much-needed boost to our health and wellbeing.   

 Healthy Picnics

Originally a 14th-century pre-hunt tradition picnics, or “pique niques”, were enjoyed only by the wealthier classes. Picnics in their current form, as informal meals enjoyed by everyone, only date back to the mid-19th century, but they have always been out of doors, and this is where one of the picnic’s key benefits comes in.

There are several positives to spending time outdoors. Firstly, soaking up the few rays of sunlight that Britain receives every year increases your levels of vitamin D. Although we Brits are notoriously deficient in it, Vitamin D is essential for boosting the immune system and maintaining good heart activity, as well as helping to prevent bone diseases, and lowering risks of depression and anxiety. Secondly, during times of stress the body releases a hormone known as cortisol. A study carried out in 2015 showed that being in nature and seeing green spaces can actually lower levels of cortisol and lower blood pressure. Basically, there is scientific proof that picnicking chills you out! Most importantly, it has been shown that sitting at a desk to eat lunch can actually decrease levels of happiness- all the more reason to get out there and soak up the summer sun.

 Healthy Picnics

Although picnicking lasts only an afternoon it stimulates a feeling similar to being on holiday, and holidays have been clinically proven to boost your happiness. Experts in the field are unanimous in the idea that holidays are good for you and improve your mood, even if only in the short term. The most restorative holidays are ones where you can relax, exercise, and socialise in a warm climate. Picnicking, while only a short-term activity, seems to imitate many of the features of such a holiday (though describing the British weather as a “warm climate” may be pushing it a bit). Experts have also said that short holidays are just as effective at influencing your mood as long ones, so why would communal outdoor eating not have similar results?

 Healthy Picnics

More than just being an excuse to escape the confines of the indoors, al fresco dining has the added benefit of being the perfect excuse to get together with friends and family. More than 20% of British families only sit down for a meal together once or twice a week, and a similar proportion of the population have their family meals in front of the TV. The original picnic was a social gathering where everyone brought their own wine. Essentially, this first manifestation of a picnic was a meal where all attendants got together and contributed something. Just like sunlight, eating with others in this way can increase levels of happiness. Furthermore, although eating with others can increase food intake by 18%, it actually alters your food choices towards foods that are more nutritious- who said peer pressure was always bad?

 Healthy Picnics

London, despite having a population of over 8.5 million, can be quite a lonely place, and so it is sometimes necessary to make the effort to socialise. Picnics began as social gatherings, events where friends and family members could get together. Research has shown that such occasions can have substantial benefits for mental health. Those who are more talkative and assertive in social situations are more likely to feel positive emotions, and have a lower risk of developing mental diseases. If that wasn't enough, maintaining strong social connections can improve memory functions and the ability to think clearly. Organising get-togethers, such as picnics, can provide the perfect opportunity to reconnect with people you might otherwise rarely see.

 Healthy Picnics

So, does picnicking contribute to feelings of happiness and wellbeing? You betcha! Communal eating increases the quality of food that we eat and the combination of being sociable and enjoying the great outdoors works to prevent a whole array of mental and physical complications. The simple fact of being out in a park, or on the beach, encourages people to exercise more, participating in picnic-typical activities, such as Frisbee or Rounders. The experience alters how we relate to our food in a wholly beneficial way... Just try to avoid doing it in the rain...

Constructing Identity Through Social Media Engagement

Nourish Your Reader's Identity - Get a New Customer

Cultural studies’ criticism of social media – and all media forms – is based on the assumption that what we read, watch and listen to has a profound influence on our understanding of the world and ourselves as individuals. Of particular importance for marketers – in the restaurant sector or otherwise – is the fact that Britain is a capitalist society in which spending money and consuming are among the more significant ways we unconsciously seek to develop our own identities.

Consequently, the role of the restaurant marketer is clear – to provide one’s audience with the content through which individuals can identify, affirm and evolve their identities and, eventually, book a table.

 Coffee Lovers adore Kipferl

As straightforward as the marketer’s brief has become, using social media to create meaningful, identity-influencing engagement is far less simple.

A mainstream view maintained by cultural theorists is that meaning is created in the text, or in our case, the social media content. On face value this is an extremely reasonable assumption, given that any decent content will have a message and, provided it is written in a language understood by the reader, this message would likely be understood.

This textualist approach says that we are socialised through the media and are therefore passive – but conscious – victims to its message.

 Consuming Identity Changing Media

To put this in perspective, if a formidable food critic like Jay Rayner were to tweet a positive review for a new restaurant, a texualist would argue that any conscious engagement with this content would result in the reader viewing the restaurant in question as an attractive place to dine. This reader may even book a table and begin a word-of-mouth campaign that continues Rayner’s praise.

While I do not have the readership figures, it is clear that someone like Rayner wields a lot of power over his audience and that when he – or another restaurant critics – speaks (or tweets), a portion of readers will listen and oblige in one form or another. If this were not at least partially true, traditional restaurant PR would have very little to offer.

And yet, it is clear that many of us can read Rayner’s tweets and have no problem reading them critically – either disagreeing (even if we have no business doing so!) or simply by resisting a message’s logical conclusion of visiting the restaurant for a meal. Therefore, it is not wholly plausible that we are passive, non-critical victims to any media message with which we engage.

 Evolving Identities

The other side of cultural theory suggests that content is not where meaning is created – instead, it is in the recipient of that content – the reader.

This ethnographic approach argues that the words that combine to make one of Rayner’s tweets would offer their reader little – if any – identity-influencing meaning. Instead, it is the reader who superimposes a meaning onto the text, or social media content.

 Semiotics and Marketing

Based on this theory, the reader produces meaning with the text by being the kind of person who pursues interest in restaurant reviews on Twitter. The reader may even identify with Rayner’s no-nonsense, quirky approach to restaurant criticism, or even aspire to become like the man himself.

Perhaps controversially, the ethnographic approach would argue that the reader does not have to ever do anything but intend to engage with Rayner’s criticism for impactful meaning to be produced. That’s right, the reason the tweets cannot produce meaning is because either the reader never actually reads Rayner’s social media content and/or because any reading is done in such a disinterested fashion that the content’s meaning cannot be properly absorbed.

The conclusion of this general theory is that merely by identifying as the kind of person who likes and listens to Jay Rayner allows one to project an idealised identity as a foodie and savant of the London restaurant scene.

 How to construct an "Outdoors-y" identity. Show the world you getting back to Nature with your iPhone.

How to construct an "Outdoors-y" identity. Show the world you getting back to Nature with your iPhone.

This is a compelling theory that definitely helps to explain how we use social media content to consolidate our own identities, and yet, it has a serious flaw – this approach completely fails to account for our subconscious minds or deep-seated ideological configurations that the media – including a Rayner tweet – can tap into to impact the identity of consumers.

To understand properly how to create quality social media marketing content that helps one’s audience establish and develop individual identities, we require a prism that accepts that the text does transmit meaning to its reader, though perhaps not always consciously and not always the intended message. Equally, we need to account for what is it about content that allows us to make a bold statement about our identity without engaging with it critically or even at all.

 Idealised identities on social media

The theory that we will use to make sense of this – which informs much of the work we do at Epicure Digital Marketing – is called semiotics. Through semiotics, we will see how social media marketing makes use of a range of cultural objects that act as words in a greater language. Not only do we speak this language fluently, we can make a great deal of sense from it without even thinking.

Epicure Digital Marketing’s analysis of semiotics, identity and social media marketing… Coming soon!

Food Reviews - What's the Point?

Professional Restaurant Critics, Bloggers or Review Sites?

With thousands of restaurants in London alone, choosing where to eat can be a daunting task. When all else fails, you can always turn to food critics – but are they the people to listen to?

When it comes to engaging with culture, I don’t always seem to get it quite right. Many is the time a film has been panned by the critics, only for me to love it upon watching, and more than once have I gone to highly-acclaimed restaurant to leave disappointed. My belief is that only an extremely silly person would believe that there is such a thing as an absolute right or wrong opinion when it comes to consuming things – be it films or food. So what are the critics there for?

 London Restaurant Marketing

The Guardian food writer Jay Rayner believes it is less about the restaurant and more about the review itself – “Some people do use [food reviews] as a guide, but the vast majority read them for vicarious pleasure or displeasure”. I am one of those people. I love nothing more than curling up with the Sunday papers and reading about the fanciest or most fashionable restaurant that week. But food reviewers do much more than that, they give you a way to understand the food and teach you a language you can use to describe it. The critics can tell you why the food is good, what it is about each ingredient which adds something to the dish as a whole. Last week I mentioned that egg added richness to a pizza – a truth I always knew, but hadn’t previously been able to explain. Critics shape what we already think into more coherent, eloquent sentences.

 Food blogger

Critics also have access to new restaurants long before us mere mortals do, and are exposed to food trends and sure-fire successes far earlier on. If you want to understand where food culture is heading, they are the people to follow. If you disagree with one food critic, that is one thing, but if ten highly-respected reviewers agree on a restaurant, it should give you a good idea of its worth. We asked Joanne Gould, the blogger behind Jo Eats London whether she thought food critics were a good gastronomic barometer, “Yes and no. If there is widespread panning or applause then yes, but you will always get people disagreeing. Plus, it is kind of more fun to go make up your own mind”.

 Food blogger

This is where food bloggers come in. These are the halfway point between your Gran and Giles Coren – people who know about food and actively engage with it, but who do not write for a national magazine. They are – for the most part - yet to achieve the semi-celebrity achieved by the critic. Successful food bloggers often start out like anyone else– looking for good places and tasty things to eat – and they form a knowledgeable food community. Blogger Her Favourite Food says she finds most of her new restaurants through other food bloggers, “you build up a relationship with them through following them for a while, so in time you realise you agree with and trust”.  Herein lies the rub however – although they may not have achieved the same levels of fame as the critics, bloggers still wield a considerable amount of influence in the restaurant world. If you are a successful blogger with a good following, restaurants may seek you out, offering you free meals in exchange for good publicity and compromising the review’s reliability.

 London Chef

And so we come to the trickiest reviews of all – Trip Advisor. A restaurant’s best friend or worst nightmare, Trip Advisor has taken a great deal of heat in recent years for not doing enough to prevent fraudulent reviews, spawning the twitter campaign #noreceiptnoreview. The platform is set up so that anyone can say anything they like about the business and reviews will only be taken down if it is very clear that guidelines have been violated (the reviewer is abusive in their post, or never actually went to the restaurant, for example).

 Trip Advisor

So what use, if any, does Trip Advisor have for potential customers? It can be a perfect window into customer service. I don’t mean by reading that Mabel30954893 gave the service 1 star (Mabel30954893 could have had a bad day, perhaps she got caught in the rain or got a flat tyre and took it out on the waiter), but by reading how the management responds. If they respond rudely (or not at all), and you can see that they do so in other reviews, that is a fairly good measure of how much they value their customers.

 London Restaurant Marketing

So, what can we take from all of this? Essentially that Trip Advisor should give you an idea of customer service, food bloggers are helpful insofar as you find one you relate to and trust, and critics are there to entertain, to give you the tools to talk about and understand food, and – at times – to capture and translate the zeitgeist. As Rayner put it, “mine is a writing job not an eating job. Either you like what I write and find it authoritative or you don't. Simple as that.”

Basilico Delivers

Epicure Digital Marketing Reviews London's Gourmet Pizza Brand Basilico

British pizza lovers have become spoilt of late. Whether you are in the mood for a grease-fest or a gourmet feast, delivery options have become so sophisticated that you can get food – even Michelin-starred food - delivered right to your door. But this phenomenon is fairly new – back in the late nineties, takeaway pizza meant a pre-made margarita warmed up in the microwave.

Enter Basilico.

 Basilico London's Gourmet Pizza Delivery

When it first opened in 1998, Basilico was the only wood-fired, high-quality pizza delivery around, and the only pizza delivery company at all to get a red star in the Time Out Eating Out guide. Since then restaurants and food delivery services have caught up with Basilico’s original innovation, which makes one wonder whether the unique selling point of delivering delicious, fresh, wood-fired pizza offers Londoners anything truly special? We decided to try for ourselves.

To get fully to grips with Basilico’s offering, we opted for two new additions (one of which looked very quirky indeed), one classic, and one which catered for the strictest of dietary requirements. Before beginning, we set out our criteria for what makes a great pizza – quality of ingredients, how well cooked everything was, flavour combinations, uniqueness, and – this being classic Roman pizza – how crispy the base was.

 Basilico's Pizza Nera

The Vegetarian

First up, The Vegetarian, which we got vegan-style with lactose-free cheese and a gluten-free base. This comes with roasted aubergine, courgette, red peppers, red onions, fresh tomatoes and basil and earned an immediate thumbs-up from our resident intolerant eater. Despite being gluten-free, the base was crispy and every individual vegetable was perfectly cooked – no mean feat when you consider this was done in a wood-fired oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Vegetarians normally get the short straw when it comes to toppings, so we were pleasantly surprised with the quality and thoughtfulness of Basilico’s veggie offering.

Crispiness – 8/10

Quality of Ingredients – 10/10

How well cooked – 10/10 (onions had bite, aubergine was perfectly soft and not stringy. Spot on)

Flavour Combinations – 10/10 (Use of herbs was particularly successful)

Uniqueness – 8/10 (As vegetarian pizzas go, fairly original)

 The Vegetarian at Basilico

The Capricciosa

Next was our classic choice, The Capricciosa, which came with fresh asparagus, prosciutto crudo, free-range egg, shaved parmesan, and top-quality fior di latte mozzarella. It is said that you cannot go wrong with classic flavour combinations, but that is not always true. If handled inexpertly, what should be classic ends up dull and disappointing. Thankfully, this was not the case here. The asparagus was flavourful and al dente, the ham so thin it was almost melting, and the egg added an excellent richness to the whole thing.

Crispiness – 9/10

Quality of Ingredients – 8/10

How well cooked – 10/10

Flavour Combinations – 9/10 (This would have been a 10 with just a touch more sauce)

Uniqueness – 7/10

 The Capricciosa at Basilico

Pizza Zucca

Having recently enjoyed a pretty fabulous dinner at restaurant “La Zucca” in Venice, I was intrigued by one of Basilico’s new additions - Pizza Zucca. Roasted butternut squash, crispy pancetta, crumbled roasted chorizo, smoked chicken, fior di latte mozzarella… it was like all my favourite things in one. It seemed like fate. And it was certainly the right choice, the butternut squash was sweet, the pancetta salty, the chorizo spicy, the whole thing warming and wonderful and indulgent without feeling even remotely greasy or guilt-inducing.

Crispiness – 9/10

Quality of Ingredients – 10/10 (the chorizo gets a particular A+)

How well cooked – 10/10

Flavour Combinations – 10/10 (If I could give this an 11, I would)

Uniqueness – 9/10

 Zucca Pizza at Basilico

Pizza Nera

Our final choice was the most unusual, Basilico’s new Pizza Nera. The first thing that will strike you is that it is…black. Topped with fresh buffalo mozzarella, roasted yellow peppers, wild boar salami, punto di coltello, sundried tomatoes and rocket, this black dough pizza is certainly a shock to the eye. That said, the dark base made the colourful ingredients seem even more vibrant, and the first bite reassured me there was nothing untoward about the dramatic-looking base. It was one tasty artwork.

Crispiness – 9/10

Quality of Ingredients – 9/10

How well cooked – 9/10

Flavour Combinations – 8/10

Uniqueness – 10/10 (Black pizza? What will they think of next?)

 Pizza Nera at Basilico

So, in a city of gourmet pizza and ever-fancier delivery options, does Basilico hold its own? Absolutely.

They are a London company, their branches stretching from Crouch End to Lavender Hill, meaning that wherever you live in the city you can enjoy their fabulous pizza. Not so with big international companies like Deliveroo. By picking the restaurants, rather than the customer areas, they leave people like poor old me out in the cold when it comes to gourmet pizza – especially with a vegan in the house! Basilico caters to Londoners, however out on the peripheries they are.

 Basilico's Vegan Pizza

More importantly – the pizza is amazing. They promise to “make the best pizza, not the cheapest or fastest” and this commitment to quality is felt all the way through. Not the cheapest ingredients, the best ingredients, the best way of cooking them, the best way of combining them. This can be seen in the masterful flavour combinations of the Zucca, the artistic flair of the Nera, and the sensitive handling of the vegan Vegetarian. Even if you live surrounded by gourmet pizza joints, Basilico is without a doubt worth your time, because they have taken the time themselves to craft something excellent.

Sorry Deliveroo, I think you and I are through.

What is SEO and Why Do You Need it?

Epicure Digital Marketing Breaks SEO Down

If you run your own business, chances are you are approached on a daily basis by people who have a tool, product, or service that you “desperately” need. One of these is probably SEO. There can be a certain anxiety for business owners when it comes to services like this – you are proud of your business and you want it to succeed, but you are no website expert, and you are not even sure you know what SEO is. Do you really need it? Or is someone simply trying to sell you something?

To help, this week we are demystifying SEO.

 Epicure explains SEO

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and, very basically, means ensuring that your website is high up on a search. Any search engine – let’s say Google – will look through all websites and work out which fit specific search terms. The more relevant a website is to a search, the higher up on the list it will be. Search engines tend to be clever and know how to examine a website’s copy, images, location etc. to determine how relevant it truly is to the search. This is why a Google search for “adorable baby kittens” will turn up pictures of adorable baby kittens, and not a second hand tyre shop trying to attract more visitors.

 Epicure's SEO Kittens

Optimising your website for search engines will mean your website is more likely to be seen - this will attract more visitors, and these visitors can be turned into customers.

SEO – Then and Now

In the past, the way to show that your business was, for example, an Italian restaurant in East London, was to fill your website with the keywords that would be used by the people looking for businesses like yours. This could mean repeating the words “Italian”, “Restaurant” and “London” several times on each page. This also applied to the structure of your page, so instead of labelling your menu page “Menu”, you might label it “Italian Restaurant Menu”.

 SEO Improves Restaurant Marketing

Thankfully things have moved on since those days – and the Google bots have gotten smarter than ever – so smart, indeed, that they can essentially mimic human reading patterns. This means that instead of looking for 18 instances of the word “Italian”, they will instead be scanning for content which genuinely relates to Italian food.

They will also be looking for content which is updated and changed regularly, to make sure that your website is still live. Every time new content is added, Google’s bots have to come back and “crawl” your page again, giving additional weight to your website.

 SEO Improves Restaurant Marketing

Do I really need SEO?

The short answer is yes. Google is the world’s largest marketplace, and to miss out on an opportunity to rank well would be a mistake. However, this does not mean you should jump on board with the first SEO “specialist” who gets in touch – optimal SEO work can be both simpler and wider-reaching than that. Dan Zarrella, the author of The Science of Marketing began his career as an SEO specialist and is keen to point out that SEO is constantly shifting and changing. In actual fact, “you probably don’t need more SEO help. Most businesses would benefit much more from increasing content quantity and quality.”  

 Search Engine Optimisation with Epicure Digital Marketing

How to improve your SEO in 5 easy steps

1. Optimise your copy

This does not mean throwing in keywords left, right, and centre - but it will never hurt to use them. Do you cook authentic Italian food? Then mention it! But back up this assertion with pictures of said food and further elaborations, and always make sure your copy is well-written and clear. If it hard for a human to read (too small, flashing, white writing on light background, full of misspellings and incorrect grammar) then it will be hard for Google to read.

2.  Fool-proof your architecture

This is where an SEO specialist comes in. Find out what keywords apply to you (they may not always be exactly as you would expect) and use them not only in your copy, but in each webpage’s meta data, such as title tags, headers, and meta descriptions.

3. Crosslink

Essentially this means including links to other pages on your website. For example, having a link to your Menu page in the main body of your homepage. The more links you have directing people to important pages, the better their visibility.

4. Get Blogging.

Remember we mentioned updating content? Having a blog on your website is the best and easiest way to have relevant, well-written, frequently-changing content on your site, without having to re-write your copy every couple of months.

5. Backlink 

A blog will also provide quality content to share with people over social media. This is where back-linking comes in. The more inbound links to your website, from whatever source, the higher it will rank. Simple!


SEO algorithms are consistently changing – in 2010 alone, Google made over 500 changes to their algorithm - that’s over one a day! Because of this, SEO can seem like a risky investment, intangible and uncertain, but if you commit to filling your website with relevant, interesting, well-written content – with just the right amount of guidance – it will make all the difference.


Still have some unanswered SEO questions? Get in touch and we would be happy to answer them!

The Meat Myth – Introducing the Vegetarian BBQ.

Eating Deliciously by Dropping the Meat

Summer is coming and in the UK it comes on a tide of sun-cream, unfounded optimism, and…barbecues. In terms of BBQ restaurants, the London-based connoisseur is spoilt for choice. From classy, inventive joints like Shotgun, to Mongolian/Brazilian/Korean BBQs, to even a London Barbecue School, for those who want to become the best griller they can be. However, if you are a vegetarian, the Great British Barbecue can often be a disappointment for more reasons than the weather. So you should probably start preparing yourself for soggy mushrooms, and lacklustre bean burgers until the end of August. Or should you?

 Grilled Fish and Asparagus

A trend has been sweeping the western world and it’s right out of a sci-fi novel: fake meat. And we’re not talking about Quorn burgers or Linda McCartney sausages, we’re talking about cheating chicken, phoney pastrami and fake steak, as juicy and fibrous as the real deal. It may sound strange, but vegetarian butchers are becoming a recognised part of the food scene, from Dutch brand “The Vegetarian Butcher” to American company “Beyond Meat”.

What is fake meat?

These new meat illusions are made from a whole host of different plant proteins. At Beyond Meat ingredients include soy and pea protein isolates, yeast extract, carrot fibre and canola oil, while over at the Vegetarian Butcher their meat alternatives are engineered from chickpeas, lupins, rice, maize, and even certain bacteria. And, unlike their earlier counterparts, these meat analogues claim to mimic the texture of meat as well as the taste. Now, no one who has tried Quorn chicken pieces before can say that they were fooled, but supporters say these new options could trick even the most dedicated carnivore.

Why is the trend on the rise?

So why is this demand for convincing meat alternatives growing? Beyond Meat’s website sets out their four reasons for developing meat-free products: Improving human health, positively impacting climate change, conserving natural resources, and respecting animal welfare. For those passionate about animal rights, vegetarianism may be a no-brainer, and when it comes to global warming, a decrease in industrial farming can only be a good thing, but are these new substitutes actually going to improve our health?

 Cinqo de Mayo tacos made with Beyond Meat "Beef-free Crumble"

Cinqo de Mayo tacos made with Beyond Meat "Beef-free Crumble"

Beyond Meat claims that their products contain “no trans fats, cholesterol, dairy, gluten, or GMOs” and it is true that for non-meat-eaters, meat alternatives can be a valuable source of protein, but many argue that increasing our consumption of processed food can only be detrimental to our health. This is an opinion shared by supper club chef Carine Ottou - foraging fan, local produce lover, and BBQ enthusiast. Planning a vegetarian BBQ? She advocates ditching the fake meat and getting creative with vegetables instead

 Grilled Sweet Corn


Put the whole aubergine, still in its skin, directly onto the coals – as you would if you were making a charred red pepper, for example – and keep turning it. When cooked, remove the skin and purée with lemon, garlic, olive oil and tahini to make smoky baba ganoush. Adds a little Middle Eastern flair to your halloumi burger.


Steam it very lightly first to intensify the sugars and bring up the colour, then cut it into large florets and put it straight on the grill, as you might a steak. (Alternatively, you can cook them in a wire basket, made for BBQs.) Once cooked, mix with a simple vinaigrette of high quality olive oil, lemon, and pepper. The flavour will not be like your normal broccoli, we guarantee.


Cameroonian Carine also recommends bringing a little West African flavour to your British BBQ with some plantain. When you buy it, don’t go for perfectly yellow or totally green, but somewhere in between the two. Peel the skin off and cook directly on the grill. The flavour is delicious and you can eat it with whatever you want, using it as you might a potato.


Put directly on the grill and cook until charred. Remove, chop up and add salad dressing. Serve cold as an unusual, smoky slaw.

Bean Stew

Get your hands on an earthenware pot and cook your bean stew in this, directly on the coals. To amp up the smoky flavour, use woodchips such as oak or hickory along the side of your coals, or wrap a burning charcoal in tinfoil and pop it inside your pot.

Make your own spice blend

Marinating isn’t just for meat, and flavour can be so much more than your shop-bought BBQ sauce. Pick some of your favouring dry spices, mix them, and coat your vegetables in them before grilling.

Nonetheless, our prediction is that Vegetarian Butchers are going to be the next big thing hitting the high street but if sci-fi meat isn’t for you, we suggest you take this summer as an opportunity to be more creative with your barbecuing, whether you’re a vegetarian or not.

Which way would YOU go – inventive use of vegetables or exciting new sci-fi meat replacements? Get in touch on Twitter or Facebook and let us know!