Alice Hancock

Alice Hancock covers energy and climate policy in Brussels for the Financial Times.

Can Kyrgyzstan’s nomads survive?

On the day I arrive in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, it’s almost impossible to see the mountains that loom behind the city because of the smog. By the late morning, they have started to appear. Second-hand cars from around the world jam the four-lane highways that make up the city’s post-Soviet grid. Left-hand-drive cars (the correct

The hidden charms of Montenegro

The first thing you should know about Montenegro is that it is wildly more dramatic than you might imagine. It would be frankly rude not to pull up on its precarious mountain roads and gawp. In summer the Adriatic shines; in autumn the mountains compete with New England for glorious, rich colours. The second thing

How to eat frites the Belgian way

Many things about Belgium are impenetrably mysterious to the incoming foreigner: the commune system, which language to use, how to politely eat moules. But few are as cryptic as the menu of sauces that accompany Belgian frites. Ketchup, tartare, barbecue and mayonnaise seem fine. But what is Samourai? Andalouse? Mega?  Unlike many great Belgian things

The joy of food on sticks

What makes a kebab a kebab and why do we like eating things on sticks? That is the important question I have been mulling as we hit the steamy barbecue season. The debate was inspired not by kebabs, in fact, but by yakitori, the typically refined Japanese version of kebabs that essentially involve cooking every

The finest pasta in London

Why was it that when lockdown haunted our doors we all rushed out to buy pasta? Dry wheat in a bag in a funny shape. Cheap, yes, and ridiculously easy to cook. And, if the supermarket cheddar didn’t run out, very good with cheese. But still, pasta. Shouldn’t we have thought of something more inventive?

The capital’s best pies

It seemed a bit rough – and very American – when in 2006 That 70s show actor Wilmer Valderrama described (then) teen girlfriend Mandy Moore’s efforts in bed as good but not ‘like warm apple pie’. Yet on an austere January evening on the other side of the Atlantic, I do wonder if nothing can really

How to spend 48 hours in Rome

Contrary to the title of this article, do not spend 48 hours in Rome on your first attempt. Unless you have legs of steel, high levels of determination and a desire for non-stop sightseeing. The two pivots about which the city’s history turns – the Vatican and the Roman Forum – are best taken a

The wine bars every Londoner should know about

A funny thing happened in lockdown. Bars shut but they seeded a growing crop of bottle shops that, since freedom has been declared have either turned back into, or become, bars in their own right. And now that we can, there is pure pleasure in twisting bottles around in the light, mulling labels and wine

The BBQ meat box: our pick of the best deliveries

The great British summer is upon us. And, since few of us are venturing abroad, now might be the time to enjoy this season’s round of ‘makeaway’ boxes and bring something special to those long overdue barbecues. Upgrading the supermarket burger and sausage shop to fancy charcoal-griddled kebab part prepared by a catering professional has never been

Should Marmite get back in its jar?

The reopening of pubs is not only good for those of us that have been gasping for a pint. It’s also great news for Marmite. Supermarkets were running low on the sticky brown condiment last month because of yeast shortages while breweries lowered production during the pandemic. During the first national lockdown last year, Marmite had to

Why vaccinated Israel is worth a visit

Have you been watching Shtisel during lockdown? Or maybe you are just one of the hundreds (thousands?) of us eyeing vaccination rates and realising the obvious candidate for this year’s summer holiday green list: Israel. Land of mountains, sea, multiple religions, ancient and knotty history, and copious amounts of houmous. Whether the 8,550 square mile

The best restaurants in Chelsea

Chelsea is a rarefied end of town. The old streets behind Cheyne Walk and around the Physic Garden are some of London’s most charming, while the King’s Road has for a long time been known as the place to be seen. When it comes to restaurants, cheap eats are fewer and further between than other

The best restaurants in Brixton

Brixton offers one of London’s most exciting and eclectic food scenes. The main hub of restaurants is to be found in Brixton Village and Market Row, but there are plenty of other great places to try further afield. Here’s a guide to the best of them… In the Village Mamalan (Getty) Salon Brixton If Salon

The best restaurants in Islington

Islington sprawls. Strung out along Upper Street and the many streets off it, it boasts the best variety of restaurants outside Zone 1 (I am happy to be challenged on this). To secure a table at a decent Upper Street eatery on a Friday night, will require booking ahead or a willingness to queue. Things