The Style Council Recommends: Comfort Food
Mussels at Freemans. Photograph courtesy of Freemans
Where to eat the best indulgent gourmet dishes, as chosen by the world’s most stylish men.
It’s all well and good hotfooting it around the world’s Michelin-starred restaurants, daintily inhaling asparagus foam with a conch shell clamped to your ear, but sometimes (read: often) every man just wants to hunker down with food that’s simple, salty and delicious. This is particularly true as winter closes in – which is why we thought it a good time to gather comfort food recommendations from the exceptionally well-travelled ranks of the MR PORTER Style Council. Scroll down to find out where the world’s most stylish head to fend off the cold, gourmet style.
Ramen at Rokurinsha. Photographs by City Foodsters
Japan’s buzzing capital city has its fair share of edible delights at both the high and low ends of the culinary spectrum. But when it comes to finding a truly warming, spirit-lifting meal, there are few serious contenders to a hot bowlful of noodles, or ramen, as it is locally (and internationally) known. For a ramen experience that is quintessentially Tokyo, head to the Tokyo JR line station, which has its own “Ramen-dori”, or Ramen Street, each stall of which represents a different style of this beloved national dish. Rokurinsha, a spot recommended by tech mogul and Instagram co-founder Mr Kevin Systrom, specialises in tsukumen, a type of ramen in which an extra-salty broth is served separately to the noodles, the idea being you dip the latter in the former. For optimum enjoyment, Mr Systrom suggests sprinkling your tsukumen liberally with dried yuzu powder – an only-in-Japan condiment which will lend the dish an aromatic, citrusy tang.
Mac ‘n’ cheese at Spuntino. Photographs courtesy of Spuntino
With its diner-style bar-and-stool setup and flavour-packed US-inspired menu, London’s Spuntino is a place that allows its guests to focus their attention on eating the delicious morsels in front of them (they don’t have a telephone there – that would be too much of a distraction). Plates here are small, but fulfilling, from the mini burgers to the mac ‘n’ cheese – one of London’s best, in our humble opinion. Actor and Style Council member Mr Nathan Stewart-Jarret, meanwhile, is fond of the desserts. “The main attraction is the caramel and liquorice ice cream served with pineapple – inspired,” he says.
FREEMANS, LOWER EAST SIDE, NEW YORK
Skillet eggs at Freemans. Photographs courtesy of Freemans
The brainchild of Mr Taavo Somer (also the man behind clothing line Freemans Sporting Club), Freemans is a Lower East Side institution where you’ll find something delicious to eat any time of the day. Soaking up the atmosphere of its warm, rustic-industrial interior, guests can choose from heart-warming classics such as shepherd’s pie, a five-cheese macaroni (as in Spuntino, almost a tourist destination in itself) and fashion photographer Mr Matt Albiani’s favourite, roast chicken. For serious comfort though, we recommend the grilled clawhammer sausage stew – few dishes come heartier.
YARDBIRD SOUTHERN TABLE & BAR, MIAMI
Chicken ‘n’ Waffles at Yardbird. Photographs courtesy of Yardbird
If you can just put on some imaginary blinkers insofar as calories are concerned, this excellent contemporary soul food restaurant in Miami more than delivers the goods, comfort-wise. The Chicago Bulls’ all-star guard Mr Dwyane Wade is particularly effusive about its ability to serve up classic dishes with a twist, examples of this approach being the biscuit and smoked brisket (served with house-made pickles) and its Swine Burger 2.0 – a brisket, rib and chuck patty topped with pork belly and “’Merican cheese.” Mr Wade’s favourites include “the fried chicken and waffles, as well as the meatloaf”. Just wait a few hours before you head to the beach, OK?
SANT AMBROEUS WEST VILLAGE, NEW YORK
Pappardelle con coda alla vaccinara (oxtail stew) at Sant Ambroeus. Photographs courtesy of Sant Ambroeus
Talk to an Italian and they’ll remind you that they invented the Western alphabet, modern plumbing and urban infrastructure. But it’s probably also true that they invented the concept of comfort food – or at least it feels like that way when you head to a place like this home-spun West Village eatery. Come here when nothing but the classics will do – the spaghetti alla bolognese is particularly good. The cotoletta alla Milanese, on the other hand, has been dubbed no less than “perfection” by Mr Matthew Moneypenny, the New York entrepreneur behind one of the style world’s biggest photographic agencies, Trunk Archive.