Hairy Bikers After Hours

Known for their good-humoured blend of cookery and travelogue, television presenters Dave Myers and Simon ‘Si’ King talk to Imogen Lepere about their own top culinary pit stops

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What sort of food did you eat as a child?

Dave: I was raised on honest home cooking: casseroles, hot pots, shepherd’s pie. I can still smell mum’s scones now. Si: My dad was in the Merchant Navy and he’d bring back exotic things from his travels like star anise and lemongrass, which mum would infuse into jellies. It was quite out-there for our little pit village.

Where did you last go on holiday; what was the food like?

Dave: I recently went to St Petersburg and Moscow with my wife. We had a lovely swan’s liver pâté at White Rabbit. Cococo in St Petersburg serves great modern Russian food like Siberian cod with dill sauce, barley risotto and beef tartare. Si: Italy. The stand-out meal was at Salumeria Roscioli in Rome. It’s a gourmet grocery store with a few tables and a top wine list. As soon as you walk in you see about 12 types of charcuterie.

Where in Britain has the best natural larder?

Dave: Cumbria has amazing farmlands which produce Cumberland sausages but it also has the coast, where you can find Morecombe Bay shrimps and salt marsh lamb. Si: I would say Northumberland. The oysters and lobster around Lindisfarne are incredible and there are some great specialities like Steve Ramshaw’s Kobe beef and Carroll’s heritage potatoes.

What’s the best city in the world for restaurants?

Dave: Bangkok. I love the seafood at Lord Jim’s and Auntie Vie’s street-food stall. She does crab omelettes on a coal-fired wok. Si: It has to be Sydney. The standard is so high and the food community is so creative. The sushi at Tetsuya’s is fabulous and Hartsyard in Newtown serves very innovative and honest plates. You can’t beat the bread at Flour and Stone bakery.

Which chefs have had the biggest influence on you?

Dave: Keith Floyd. He made it OK to be a bloke who liked cooking. Si: For me, it’s Rick Stein. I always refer to his expertise for shellfish.

What’s your favourite ingredient and how do you use it?

Dave: Olive oil. It’s worth spending money on because it can transform a salad or a meze spread and one bottle lasts a while. Si: Salt from the Margaret River in Australia. It has a slight acidity.

Which restaurants are on your hit list to visit for 2018?

Dave: I’ve got my eye on Osteria Francescana in Modena and The Sportsman in Kent. It’s near my house but I can never get a table. Si: Fishheads on Byron Bay in Sydney. It’s meant to be amazing.

What do you think will be the biggest food trend in 2018?

Dave: I think Mexican will increase in popularity, particularly the regional food from near the Guatemalan border and Mexican- Mediterranean fusion cuisine like you find in California. Si: I have to agree with Dave on this one. Mexican with a greater focus on the regional details. Even the flavour of the chillies varies so much depending on where they were grown.

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