In 1875 Phileas Fogg, the main character of the famous Jules Vern book Around the World in 80 Days, accepted a bet of £20,000 to travel, as the title says, around the world in 80 days.
When I was dreaming of my own adventure I knew I wouldn’t have 80 days, but with modern day transport maybe I could do it in 30. And no one was offering me £20,000 as a reward, however perhaps I could attempt the journey my way — as a culinary expedition — on a $20,000 budget.
After weeks of planning and training (or a few Google searches) I hopped a plane to jet off to my first stop. 24-hours of flying later I landed in London, ready to go!
After taking in a few sights, my first stop was in Camden Market for breakfast at the Cereal Killer Cafe.
Cereal Killer Cafe, the UK’s first specialty cereal cafe, is obsessed with everything cereal. They sell over 120 different types of cereal from around the world with 30 different varieties of milk and 20 different toppings! It was definitely a sweet way to start the day.
From there it only seemed appropriate I visit the place where the challenge took place in the original book — The Reform Club — to toast the start of my adventure.
But I am on a schedule so I soon headed to Hackney for lunch.
Foxlow was a hot local tip for hearty comfort food at a budget price. Their signature dish — a waffled croissant topped with fried chicken, an egg and sausage gravy — may be far from fine dining but it certainly hit the spot!
Then it’s onto a train for me and off south to Poole.
Only the second day of my adventure and I’m getting back into the kitchen at Rick Stein at Sandbanks, where they’ve agreed to let me get behind the pass in exchange for a lunch.
My adrenaline was pumping and my fingers were singed after a huge lunch service but I certainly earned my meal — a pre-service taste of the steamed hake special, and a beautiful seafood platter. It may be a while until I have another meal like this one while I’m traveling!
In the back streets of Bournemouth I pop in to visit Conker Spirit, Dorset’s first gin distillery. Set in an old laundry, Rupert Holloway founded Conker to create a quality gin in an urban setting.
The blend of 10 different botanicals, including signature Dorset ingredients, was developed and refined in Rupert’s kitchen and they make for a floral and very drinkable gin.
My last stop in the UK is Dorset Charcuterie, located on the Bere Farm in the South West of England. Local producer Lee Morton sources free-range, wild and traditional breeds directly from small farms within the Purbecks.
England was a great way to begin, but now I’m off to Dubai to soak up some desert heat. I hope you can join me!
Watch Episode 2 of Around the World with Manu in Australia this Sunday, 16 October 2016 on channel 7TWO.
GET THE EPISODE 1 RECIPES:
- Venison & Pork Chorizo Sausage
- Chorizo with Grand Veneur Sauce
- Steamed Hake with Cannellini Beans & Olive Oil Mayonnaise
- Herring with Potatoes Tomato Sauce