The Foodie Issue
To the ends of the Earth
Koks Restaurant, The Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands, 18 tiny isles marooned between Iceland and Norway, were completely under the radar until Poul Ziska opened Koks, the first restaurant in this remote archipelago to ever receive a Michelin star. With space for just 23 diners, this remote log cabin overlooking the North Atlantic Ocean is a hot ticket for intrepid foodies.
The mind-blowing menu introduces outsiders to an uncompromisingly local palate. Almost all the ingredients on the 17-course tasting menu are foraged, reared, or grown locally: succulent lobsters and briny sea urchins, seaweed and marine algae that thrive in the exceptionally salty waters; wild sorrel, dulse and angelica that flourish on the craggy green hills.
Age-old preservation techniques — fermenting, curing, smoking, pickling — are used to create beautifully plated dishes that taste intensely of earth and sea: reindeer lichen with mushroom emulsion, pickled elderberries and wind-dried lamb; cod tartar with whey, cucumber and wild herbs; nasturtium and sour rhubarb compote. Poul Ziska is more than a pioneer of the New Nordic Kitchen; he is exploring a whole new culinary terrain.
Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye
When Eddie and Shirley Spear opened this far-flung inn on the Scottish island of Skye in 1984, they had zero experience of running a restaurant. With equal measures grit, passion and talent, they have transformed a crofter’s cottage on Skye’s windswept north-west tip into one of Scotland’s most revered restaurants.
The culinary ethos is based upon fresh, seasonal produce, with most ingredients sourced from a 20-mile radius. Head chef Scott Davies is on first name terms with every one of his suppliers. From the beer-crusted bread with heather-smoked butter to the roast milk chocolate with whisky, smoked praline, and malt and barley ice cream, dish after dish epitomises the outstanding quality and variety of Scotland’s natural bounty.
Seafood is fresh and abundant (try the Dunvegan crab with salt baked turnip and smoked almonds in a roasted crustacean sauce, or herring ice cream with fermented cucumber and Arbroath smokie) and game is a seasonal treat (loin of Highland venison in onion ash with charred beetroot, salt-baked celeriac and reindeer moss is divine.)
At the rustic Kitchen Table, which seats 8, you can watch the chefs in action. Or take a seat on the shore of Loch Dunvegan. Skye wool blankets are handed out by cheery staff on chilly nights. After dinner, retire to one of the six bedrooms next door, where the atmosphere is as honest and unpretentious as the food.
Go chop. When you’re hungry in Ghana, you don’t go eat — you go chop. For most locals that means rotisserie chicken smeared in black chili sauce, caramelised plantain with ginger and chili, and grilled tilapia fish scoffed at street food joints. But Accra, Africa’s capital of cool, has some sophisticated dining options, if you know where to look. Those in the know head straight for Santoku. Japanese for “innovation and experimentation”, this sensational Asian fusion restaurant was conceived by the visionary owners, who have set out to transform the food-and-art scene of the city. The entire team behind Santoku is carefully curated, and the space itself was created by the team behind Dishoom and Nobu in London.
Both the food and design are a brilliant blend of Africa and Asia. Interior designer Hubert de Givenchy (the nephew of his fashion designer namesake) has kitted out the bar and restaurant in eclectic materials sourced everywhere from Italy to Zimbabwe. The sensational Asian fusion menu ranges from black cod with den miso to grilled cassava fish with green chili honey. Behind the endless sushi counter, a line-up of masterful chefs from three continents assemble delicate morsels of spicy tuna sushi with tempura flakes, amberjack tataki with nori pesto and crispy sweet potato, and dainty bowls of spicy edamame.
You won’t find akpeteshie (home-brewed liquor distilled from palm wine or sugar cane) at the bar. But there’s an excellent selection of sake and cocktails. Our favourite? Gari Kira Kira, sake with fresh ginger, lime and sugar syrup, topped with champagne.