Marianna Hunt

The rise of the open-fire restaurant

Burn the formal white tablecloths and fling open the kitchen doors. The latest craze in restaurant culture is open-fire cooking – where chefs sweat it out over roaring flames in full view of their customers. And the simple, raw nature of this method of food preparation seems to have set diners’ imaginations alight.  ‘Cooking outside

Where to find the best Michelin-starred meals on a budget

Even Michelin-starred chefs, it seems, aren’t immune from the cost-of-living crisis. In a bid to make fine dining more affordable, Jason Atherton has cut prices across the board at Pollen Street Social, his flagship Mayfair restaurant (the three-course set lunch now costs £49.50 – down from £75 – and wines start from £7.50 a glass).

The 10 best wines for a summer barbecue

The days when ‘barbecue’ meant a lukewarm beer, bun and burger are long gone.  We’re putting more effort than ever into our outdoor dining – from whipping up zingy marinades with ingredients you’d barely heard of five years ago to diligently waiting for that perfect halloumi char.  All this extra effort on the food front

How to combine city break and safari in Kenya

Nairobi is blossoming. With its vibrant art world, nascent farm-to-fork restaurant scene and unique hotels, east Africa’s biggest city is increasingly on the radar of international travellers. ‘We’re definitely seeing people wanting to stay longer in Nairobi,’ says Rose Hipwood of the Luxury Safari Company. ‘It’s absolutely a cosmopolitan city now. Rather than flying in

Britain’s best boltholes for under £50 a night

Whether it’s train fares, energy bills or the supermarket shop, prices are rising and belts are tightening. But if you’re desperate to get away from it all, it’s still possible to have a break on a budget – however many people you’re taking with you. From cosy couples’ cabins to beach houses big enough for

How to escape the cold without jet lag

My mum yelped. The kayak bucked back and forth as we both mouthed: ‘Dolphins!’ The pair zigzagged around us while we tried to paddle after them. Afterwards, we were paddling back towards land for a busy afternoon of exploring coffee shops and wine bars when a penguin bobbed its head up from the water. In moments

How to combine a ski holiday with a city break

There’s always part of me that dreads the start of a ski holiday. Not because of the skiing (I adore that), but because of the journey. As a child it meant 16 hours in the middle seat jammed between brother and sister as we argued over who felt most car-sick. Nowadays it means faffy transfers and

The best places to eat in Bristol

Thousands of people have fled London for buzzy, creative Bristol in recent years. Among them: top chefs, bakers, brewers and baristas. ‘There’s a thriving community of young food entrepreneurs, many refugees from the viciously profit-driven London restaurant scene,’ says Xanthe Clay, chef, food writer and Bristolian. ‘They are taking advantage of lower rents and rates to

London’s best bakeries

If anyone knows how to do winter, it’s the Scandinavians. The concept of snuggling up with a steaming mug of something caffeinated and a buttery pastry is at the heart of their culture, from the Danish concept of hygge (cosiness – often involving sugar and carbs) to the Swedish ritual of fika (taking time for

Snow question: Europe’s most reliable ski resorts

It’s every skier’s holiday nightmare. You turn up to the slopes and, instead of fresh white powder, you’re greeted by a mass of sludge slowly liquefying into green-brown mud.  The Alps have had a torrid season, with higher-than-average temperatures and heavy rain forcing many resorts to close, sometimes within weeks of opening. For long stretches

The rise of the high-end curry house

Back in 2000, not one Indian chef in the UK held a Michelin star. For many people, dinner at a curry house meant a formica table, plastic cutlery and warm salad garnishes on Brick Lane.  Two decades later, all that has changed. There are seven Michelin-starred Indian restaurants across London and haute cuisine curry houses

London’s best jazz bars

When jazz music arrived on our shores in 1919, with the first British tour of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, it received a frosty welcome from many. Other performers tried to get the group kicked off theatre bills, and the tour ended abruptly – with the Original Dixielanders being chased to Southampton docks by a lord

The return of the speakeasy

A global pandemic, a booming stock market giving way to painful economic shock, a technological revolution… there are many parallels to be drawn between the 1920s and the 2020s. But if you look very closely, you might find there is another thread linking the two eras: the rise of the speakeasy. These clandestine drinking holes rose to

Welcome to the Seychelles… of Scotland

When Thailand’s tourist board mistakenly used a photo of West Beach on the Isle of Berneray in Scotland to promote the tropical paradise of Kai Bae Beach, it took a British expat with a keen eye to spot the error.  But perhaps the confusion shouldn’t come as a surprise. With ivory dunes tumbling down to turquoise waters

What’s new in New York City

‘It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story,’ said Agatha Christie. More than 60 years later, the Queen of Crime’s words still hold true. The Big Apple is a constantly changing beast: an enigma that, just as you think you’ve cracked it, coils

London’s finest rooftop bars

London has one of the most distinctive skylines on the planet – and what better way to enjoy it than sipping a cool beer or cocktail? As we approach peak summer season, rooftop bars are popping up across the capital. Follow our picks of the top places for great atmosphere and a privileged bird’s eye

The European holiday spots easily reached by train

Imagine a holiday where you don’t need to arrive hours before departure…where there are no expensive taxis to inconvenient out-of-town locations or extra charges for daring to bring a medium-sized suitcase, and where the journey begins on time. All this is well within the realms of possibility – and has been for decades. Train travel

Street parties made simple – from coronation chicken to cured ham

Are fondant fancies passé? Can you make a vegan scotch egg? Does anyone actually like cucumber sandwiches? The announcement that anyone can organise a street party over the Queen’s Jubilee long weekend (2-5 June) has sparked as much debate as excitement, as neighbours start planning menus. It’s been ten years since the Queen’s last Jubilee

Where to eat on the Elizabeth Line

Finally, after more than three years of delays and a couple of ripped up budgets, the Elizabeth Line is set to open this month. This new purple squiggle on the TfL map will mean we can zip from Paddington to Canary Wharf in just 17 minutes (half the current time) and, when the next sections