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Top five London foodies

By Gail Tolley
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© Nathan James Page

1. The bread-maker

Tim lavishes his sourdough starter with the sort of attention most people reserve for their first-born. Each morning he bounces out of bed and peers into the bowl of bubbling beige gloop, measuring the amount it rises and falls with the scientific rigour of Walter White in his meth lab. Tim has only one thing in mind: the pursuit of the perfect homemade loaf, and he will stop at nothing until he gets it. He's bought books, signed up for a class, even joined an amateur bakers' forum. Tim's no fun at parties. Or anywhere else.

2. The queuer

Julian believes that no restaurant is worth visiting unless you've queued at least two hours for a table. If Julian sees a queue, he'll join it. Once he stood in Lexington Street in the rain for an hour-and-a-half believing that with each step he was getting closer to a mythical bao pop-up, only to eventually find that he was queuing for a baffling art installation in a public toilet.

© Nathan James Page

3. The clean eater

Diane likes to eat clean. She also likes to tell people about it. On Monday, up goes a picture on Facebook of a chia seed pudding with goji berries; on Tuesday it's courgetti and kale pesto; Wednesday: matcha soy lattes; Thursday: oh, you really don't care at this point. No one does. Besides, you're not sure you believe Diane's diet is as strict as her social media propaganda is making out: last Saturday you saw someone closely matching her description stumbling out of Burger King. There's no kale in a Whopper, Diane.

4. The home cook extraordinaire

Sometimes it seems that the primary reason for Sue's existence is to remind you that you are not a proper adult. You might be 32, have a pension and be able to keep a yukka plant alive for more than a month but one visit to Sue's house and you feel like a useless teenager. You see, Sue can cook. And we're not talking spag bol here. 'I'll just rustle something up,' she'll say, and 20 minutes later out comes an asparagus and pomegranate creation that Ottolenghi would be happy to put his name to. You emerge from Sue's with a full belly and in a fug of insecurity not experienced since the Year 10 school disco.

5. The Instagrammer

Bob is skinny as a rake, but you wouldn't guess it looking at his Instagram feed. It's filled with the most delicious-looking food you've ever seen: eggs hollandaise with oozing orange yolks (fistbump emoji), lush green salads sprinkled with edible flowers (praise hands emoji), plump doughnuts with pink icing (heart eyes emoji). But while we can see that Bob's snapped these dishes, what we're secretly wondering is: has he ever actually eaten any of them? Cue: shocked face emoji.

By Gail Tolley, who is one chia seed pudding away from a Whopper.

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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