London restaurant cookbooks

Time Out reviews recipe books from the capital's best restaurants and cafés

The National Cookbook

The National Gallery Company, £25

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With its pillarbox-red cover and high-quality, heavy-gauge paper, this book feels almost as substantial as the National Gallery itself. If you’re wondering what the relationship is between the cookery book and the art gallery, it’s The National Dining Rooms, the acclaimed restaurant located in the National Gallery.

This restaurant, run by Oliver Peyton (whose name appears on the cover), was the winner of a Time Out Eating & Drinking Award for Best British restaurant in 2007. The National Dining Rooms turns out carefully conceived modern British cooking that doesn’t fall into the usual pies and pasties clichés. The recipes in the book are an enticing read. Most were written by the Dining Rooms’ former chef Shaun Gilmore, who tragically died in a motorcycle accident in 2008.

Dishes such as lavender ham, or potted rabbit with perry and prunes flavoured with spices (such as allspice and mace) much-used in medieval times, show the subtlety and artfulness of proper, traditional British cooking. Most of the recipes are short and easily achievable by the average home cook.

The book is divided into four seasonal chapers, with evocative photography by Dan Jones interspersed with full colour pages of paintings from the Gallery. These detail shots show English landscapes or beautifully rendered details of food by artists such as Gauguin, van Gogh or Monet. It may look like a coffee table book, but we think it really belongs in the kitchen.

Susan Low, Time Out London Issue 2015: April 2-8 2009

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