A delicious celebration of the history, design and evolution of the world’s favourite piece of paper: the menu
In the must-anticipated companion volume to his first book, The Art of the Restauranteur, restaurant critic Nicholas Lander rejoices in the history, design and evolution of the world’s favourite piece of paper: the menu.
On the Menu is a stunning collection of menus, from those at the cutting edge of contemporary culinary innovation, like El Bulli and Noma, to those that are relics from another time: a 1970s menu from L’Escargot at a time when all main courses cost less than one pound; the last menu from The French House Dining Room before Fergus Henderson departed for St John; a Christmas feast of zoo animals served during the Siege of Paris in 1870; and three of the world’s original restaurant menus—now hanging proudly in London’s Le Gavroche.
Throughout, Lander examines the principles of menu design and layout; the different rules that govern separate menus for breakfast, afternoon tea and dessert; the evolution of wine and cocktail lists; and how menus can act as records of the past.
He takes us behind the scenes at Babbo, Mario Batali’s famous New York restaurant, as the staff are briefed on the evening’s menu, and he reveals insights from interviews with Michael Anthony, Heston Blumenthal, Massimo Bottura, René Redzepi, Ruth Rogers and many more of the most renowned, contemporary chefs of our time, who explain how they decide what to serve and what inspires them to create and design their menus. These are truly pages to drool over.
Nicholas Lander views menus from a highly unusual perspective as the only restaurant critic to have owned and run one of London’s most successful restaurants.
He established L’Escargot in Soho in the 1980s when he was among the first British restauranteurs to write his menus in English and to change them according to the seasons.
For the past twenty-seven years he has reviewed restaurants and menus from around the world in his role as restaurant critic for the Financial Times. His first book, The Art of the Restauranteur (2012), profiled twenty of the world’s best restauranteurs and was named a Book of the Year by The Economist.