Can't get to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this Tuesday? Don't worry the Big Easy has hit London like a Hurricane!
Here at Grazia we love the American TV hit series House of Cards. Kevin Spacey's southern drawl has truly put us in the mood for some Deep South action and the delicious delicacies from the land of The Mississippi, Spanish moss trees and Voodoo have sprung up in the Land of Hope and Glory. Welcome to New Orleans, UK-style, THE hottest restaurant trend right now.
WHAT IS IT?
Louisiana Creole cuisine above blends French, Spanish and African influences; whilst Cajun Food was created by French-speaking country people. Although similar Cajun cuisine is more rustic and hails from the swamps. Both use locally caught Oysters and Shrimp with a delicious range of Caribbean spices.
WHERE DID IT ALL START?
London, Spring 2013. Two pop-up restaurants Swamp Things above and Sassafras London started hosting Southern Nights in trendy warehouses. Alex Mackenzie, genius behind Swamp Things, says, "After visiting New Orleans on several trips I realised that the cuisine was both exciting and different. I wanted to keep the essence of the food the same but translate it with the use of London ingredients".
TWO OF THE BEST PLACES TO ENJOY NEW ORLEANS FOOD
SWAMP THINGS below, holds cajun nights at The Doll House in London's trendy Hoxton most recently cooking up a storm with a Po'Boy party. Louisiana Platters were to start with Cajun pork rillette, red bean pate and cornbread. Main was of course Po'Boys (For those of you unfamiliar with a Po'Boy its a soft French baguette filled with either breaded shrimp or slow cooked beef) and to end there was Praline Brownies as, "Deep'n'rich as the Bayou".
SASSAFRAS LONDON below, another New Orleans pop-up which started around the same time, recently took over Stamford Works, a former warehouse in Gillett Square, Dalston. Within Stamford Works lies Dalston Pond, a newly refurbished American-inspired eatery which hosted a Gumbo Supper Club. Highlights included Charbroiled Oysters and Tomato Aranca Creole Salad.
Look out for Southern pop-ups from both of the above here.
WHERE TO GET YOUR NEW ORLEANS DRINKS
All you need now is a Louisiana cocktail to go with all this fantastic food. NOLA London in Hoxton has the BEST Sazeracs in town, below. This place really makes you feel like you are in a plantation drawing room with emerald green leather sofas, flickering candles in glass lamps and ceiling fans. You can check out their whole menu of Hurricane cocktails here.
Each of their unique hurricane cocktails comes with a differing cocktail umbrella; for example the Sandy Hurricane above comes with an umbrella that has been blown inside out and the Nuclear Hurricane comes with one that has been completely singed. In honour of the world famous French quarter street party, NOLA are hosting a Mardi Gras night on Tuesday 4th March. In addition to live Funk and Soul music, every attendee receives a complimentary drink on arrival. It's going to be a popular one, so get your tickets here.
By Victoria Grier