As any London-based gourmand knows, the capital offers an amazing range of eating options, which can at times be over-whelming or even obscured by numerous steak houses and burger bars. Apps like Urban Spoon and Yelp are great for listing nearby eateries but have a tendency to swamp you with choices when you hit Zone One, with no real indication of quality. Wouldn’t a guiding hand be great?
Enter author and journalist Charmain Ponnuthurai, (author of Midnight Feasts and alumni of London recipe vault Books for Cooks (a Portobello Road institution started by Two Fat Ladies’ Clarissa Dickson Wright)) who lives and loves London life like any passionate resident or savvy visitor should, and has released a new application on the iPhone – London on a Plate, designed to make the great city a lot more intimate, memorable and accessible.
Rather than cataloguing every eating option the city have to offer, London on a Plate offers an advertising-free curated list and embraces every aspect of food culture – from taste, quality and service to recommendations for a handsome dinner party, including what to wear by the best British designers (although literally nothing in my wardrobe is in there so take their recommendations with a pinch of salt!).
Ah if you don’t live in London (so people can’t stand the place) London on a Plate also accesses London’s most acclaimed kitchens to source one hundred specially-commissioned recipes from elite chefs including John Torode, Fergus Henderson and Tom Aikens, which cannot be found anywhere else.
There are lots of cool images of fashion and furniture thrown in as well as a unique images of the city that are updated on a regular basis, making the app fun to casually browse. The app was launched at £3.99 but is on sale for 59p at the moment in the App Store. A percentage of each app sale is also donated to London food charity Fareshare.
Seeing a man chow down on his cheese and herb pizza and take out his BlackBerry to use Twitter might be about to become normality after details of a new unique restaurant review website emerged.
TwitReview, which begins with a private beta launch in March before a full public unveiling later, spins on the idea that up-to-date restaurant reviews are indeed the best reviews. Out of date reviews are the scourge of any keen restaurant goer and they may, of course, lead to someone innocently picking the curry when they really, really shouldn’t have.
The service requires users to tweet reviews with an OWLi – a code unique to a particular participating restaurant or café – and a TwitReview hashtag. After the review has been filed, users can search on the website for recent reviews of the eatery – or, if you’re the head chef, check up on what people really think of your mussels.
One of TwitReview’s more redeeming features is its multimedia possibilities. Similar to how the every day man can indulge in a bit of citizen journalism via amateur photos and videos, Joe Bloggs will now be able to partake in citizen restaurant reviewing – meaning pictures and videos can accompany the text. And with strong multimedia functionality, the mind wanders with regards to other avenues TwitReview could explore. Retail reviews, or live music reviews, could be possibilities.
Its obvious drawback however – and one shared with most Twitter activities in general – is the 140 character limit. How are you supposed to wax lyrical about that sirloin steak in such a tight word limit? It’s a conundrum we’ll only really be able to work out when the service fully launches to the public later this year, but the signs are looking good for TwitReview. Bon Appetite, they say.
Are you a Come Dine With Me fan? Do you love hosting dinners? I always think I can do better and tell everyone how I would make the dish more delicious. Take the hassle out of hosting with the Come Dine With app as it offers menu options and a Hardys wine which complement your choice of dish.
The Come Dine With Me app will please fans of the show as it provides sophisticated three course meal suggestions and it will give you a shopping list to ensure you have all the ingredients. Perhaps you need a wine to go with a cheese dish? The app can pair the dish you make with a Hardys wine to go with it so you can be a wine connoisseur for the night. For a bit of fun, the app provides some quotes from Dave Lamb, narrator of Come Dine With Me so you really feel part of the show. Once the dinner is over, guests can score your meal so you experience everything the hosts go through. Available on the iTunes store from £1.79.
There are times when you cannot get to the supermarket and the cupboard looks a bit dire. To help the busy consumer, Canned Food UK and celeb chef, James Martin provide the u.can cook app with free recipes using canned foods. The app has over 80 quick recipes for you to search from, including some videos from James Martin himself. For the adventurous among you, there is a random recipe generator. The app aims to highlight the versatility, nutrition and convenience of canned foods. You can choose a recipe based on what you have in the kitchen and you can even see all the nutritional information. Canned food does not need to be unhealthy. Why not have some canned fruit? Available now in iTunes here.
Two very different cooking apps. So do they whet your app-etite?