When it comes to seasonality, July brings such an abundance and variety of fruit, veg, meat and fish to the markets that true-blue foodies can be easily spotted by the blissed-out grins on their faces. For all lovers of great food, July is a month for serious eating.
The truest flavour of summer sun is found in berries, and strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries and terrific English cherries are all peaking now. The super-starry chef Marcus Wareing at his eponymous restaurant, Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley, has transformed fresh strawberries into elegant cubes of strawberry jelly and strawberry 'mivi' ice cream and partnered his amazing custard tart with both. The pairing of silky custard and sweet strawberry is sublime.
In the veggie kingdom, Jersey royal potatoes, leeks, sweet peppers, cucumber, courgettes, home-grown tomatoes, fennel and jewel-like green peas are all rising to top form. And, just to put the 'seas' in seasonal, piscatorial pleasures of the moment are John Dory, crab, mackerel, salmon and sardines. Over at Pied a Terre, Michelin- starred chef Shane Osborn has concocted a lunch menu that's a riot of seasonal delights, like duck and foie gras boudin with ragout of duck tenderloins, broad beans, grelot onions lettuce and pea shoots, followed by pan-fried John Dory with octopus, accompanied by fennel salad, new season garlic, and sweet and sour peppers, and finishing with red currant and orange baba with raspberry coulis, raspberry and vanilla chantilly, and champagne sabayon.
At Quo Vadis, Head Chef Philippe Patruno honours the mighty mackerel among dishes like minted pea and broad bean soup, mackerel confit on toast with endive, Strathdon Blue and walnut salad. Crab is high on the list at Quo Vadis's Seafood Platter with oysters, mussels, clams, razor clams, crab, brown shrimp and sea urchin.
Racine's seasonal feast not only features fresh-picked Dorset crab, salmon roe, mayo and toasted pain Poilane, but chef Henry Harris also brings on new season lamb in rump of lamb with haricots vinaigrette, deep-fried artichokes and a piment d'Espelette aoili.
It's hard to avoid the July's bounty, but not every treat is listed on the menu. Here's a toptable insider tip: at Le Bouchon Breton, ask chef Jean-Claude nicely and he will flame with cognac an English cock crab at tableside just for you.