Tom Parker Bowles & Olly Smith: London’s best buns and summer superstars

This week, Tom falls in ‘pure carnivorous love’ with some perfectly formed buns

By now, all being well, the pub gardens and terraces are open, the tables, pods, capsules and marquees alive to the sound of alfresco eating joy. But there’s still a few weeks until we can venture indoors and the majority of restaurants open their doors once more. So this week, a few places that I’ll continue to order from, even when life is, God willing back to usual once more.

The 15-hour Brisket Bun Box from Smokestak.

First, Smokestak, a London barbecue restaurant so good that even ’cue master Ardie Davis told me it was ‘excellent’. Praise doesn’t come higher than that, and their smoked brisket is the stuff of slow-cooked legend. I’ve even heard Texans agree. Albeit under their breath. It’s sweet, smoky and succulent, with a chewy bark and pale pink smoke ring. The 15-hour Brisket Bun box (£32.50 plus £5.95 delivery, serves four, boxed by smokestak.co.uk) comes with soft milk buns and pickled red chilli. Their Native Breed Pulled Pork box (£27.50) is damned good, too.

I also loved the sublime fried chicken sandwiches from the ever-brilliant Chick N Sours. Instructions are clear and detailed and you even get a playlist to download. Do go for the deep-fry option if you can. It just requires a saucepan and bottle of rapeseed oil. I went for the All In Kit K-Pop and The General (£50 plus £7.95 delivery, serves two to four, chicknsours.co.uk). You get The General Sandwich, with pickles, cheese, kewpie mayo and ‘seaweed crack’ as well as the K-Pop Sandwich, with chilli vinegar and sriracha sour cream and gochujang mayo, plus four sublime hot wings (best buffalo sauce ever), four kung pao wings and four chicken tenders. There’s also watermelon salad, bang bang cucumbers and ginger miso green slaw. The chicken is a revelation, all crisp, crunchy coating and sweet succulent interior, the sides inspired, the flavours big, bold and brilliant.

The General Sandwich by the ‘ever-brilliant’ Chick N Sours

Finally, a special collaboration between Black Axe Mangal (BAM), one of London’s greats, and Bao with the BAM Reuben Bao (£30 plus £5 delivery, serves two, baolondon.com). Offers change monthly, so check the website for details, but I got six yellow bao buns, to be stuffed with brined and cooked ox tongue, a slab of rarebit, sauerkraut, spicy, crispy shallot and dill pickled cucumber. Rich, strident and deeply, unapologetically beefy, it may be a little visceral for some tastes. But I fell in pure carnivorous love.

Drinks: Olly’s summer superstar

Wine styles come and go. Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Prosecco have both enjoyed A-List idolatry, but I’m backing a lesser-known grape from Austria to star this summer. Grüner Veltliner (you say it Grooner Velt-leaner) offers pristine refreshment, great value and plenty of decent own-label options in supermarkets. And if you splash the cash with an independent merchant, your pounds will take you to paradise.

WINE OF THE WEEK MORRISONS THE BEST GRÜNER VELTLINER 2019 (12.5%), £8.25. A surging citrus carnival bringing freshness, exuberance and good-time sunshine.

M&S CLASSICS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2019 (12%), £8.50. Great value for a crisp kitchen table white that ticks every box.

MAJESTIC DEFINITION GRÜNER VELTLINER 2020 (12.50%), £8.99. From a range that hits the highlights, this youthful Grüner is a dazzler.

RAINER WESS GRÜNER VELTLINER 2020 (12.5%), £9.95, thewine society.com. Piercing as a peach at the speed of sound and terrific value.

GRÜNER VELTLINER 2019 HOCHTERRASSEN SALOMON UNDHOF (12%), £13.95, leaand sandeman.co.uk. Stylish with uplifting refreshment and soaring zing.

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