Is it correct to say “fusion” again? These restaurants in London show a new way of mixing the cuisines of the world
“Fusion is a term that has lost its meaning,” celebrity French chef Cyril Lignac wrote to me from Paris, describing the concept of his Mayfair Bar des Pres outpost with its marked Japanese and French credentials.
His sentiments about the since-fallen out of favor 1990s restaurant buzzword are not new to the culinary world, and far from isolated: Washington DC-based chef Tim Ma of the Franco- Asian Kyirisan, now closed, used to educate its staff. to never, under any circumstances, refer to their food as fusion; Daikaya’s leader, Katsuya Fukushima, once said that he preferred to describe his creations as “freestyle…much like the way jazz musicians can get together and jam”; and Washington food writer Jessica Sidman compared the term to the F-word of the food world.
While it’s true that, as Alberto Grandi, a food historian and professor at the University of Parma, explains, the most authentic type of Parmesan cheese is now found only in Wisconsin, than pasta carbonara were invented by American soldiers during World War II and that there is no such thing as an entrance outside of France, anyone hoping to carefully catalog cuisines within national borders – and their mixture – should give up. “All food is fusion in a city like London,” said the co-founder of Angelina, a Japanese-Italian restaurant in Dalston.
Although categorizing any food as fusion is dated, there are a host of new restaurants in London that are ditching the now-old-fashioned 90s approach in favor of a creative and thoughtful new take on the F-word.
The days of dishes such as ramen burgers, Thai red curry risotto and Brussels sprout sushi are long gone. Instead, these radical new menus subtly reference established traditions, drawing inspiration from existing recipes and niche ingredients while testing the limits of culinary creativity – and the results are both surprising and exquisite.
Since I have the best interests of our readers at heart, I’ve taken on the Herculean task of trying several for you, so you can make your own informed – and delicious – choices. Here is what I found.