Highlights from this week in London. Read about everything from architecture to food and delve a little deeper into London's culture.


Issue 10

We are dishing out praise for a favourite sushi restaurant, and adulate the iconic Balfron Tower.

Atariya – Serious Sushi – Japanese for Delicious!

Atariya, my local sushi eatery has now become something of a pilgrimage for North Londoners like myself.

Located on Fairfax Road, Swiss Cottage you could be forgiven for passing Atariya’s unassuming white frontage without paying too much attention to the melange of Japanese culinary delights that await you within.

On one occasion when a woman visiting with her parents was told there was no availability we watched helplessly from the window as she began sobbing violently outside. As her salty tears began streaming down her face I was tucking into my beef fillet tataki and I could only wonder what was going on in her parents minds as they tried to comfort her.

What is it about Atariya that makes certain people cry? Atariya is distinguished from other sushi restaurants not for the freshness of ingredients, although when savouring a delectable plate of sashimi one cannot help but feel as though one is taking a bite out of salmon that has just been airlifted from the sea and placed delicately onto your plate. Nor is it the culinary wizardry of the chefs that construct the dishes, although upon further inspection of my omelette sashimi it remains to be seen how one can simply conjure up a stone cold miniature omelette of such angular proportions.

No, it is neither of these two factors. Rather, what sets the food in Atariya apart from the good but not great sushi restaurants is the diligence and the beguiling attention to detail by which the food is prepared. To give an example, the crab meat and avocado salad is decorated with a threads of saffron which not only adds aesthetic appeal with the fiery red saffron by beautifully juxtaposing the avocado but actually adds an enticing and complex sea side flavour to the dish.

At its very best the dishes in Atariya are of an exemplary standard and at the very least they will still make you crave more food. Quite frankly I can’t understand what all the fuss is about with Nobu, I would pick Atariya every time.

Balfron the Bold

Diverse, intelligent discourse about Brutalism seems to be coming thick and fast.
As one of the guardians of Balfron Tower's future (one which was previously very uncertain), we welcome the change of pace.

‘It feels like there’s something in the air,’ says National Trust’s London creative director Joseph Watson, who says the organisation has noticed a sea-change in attitudes, particularly among urban audiences, as it begins to think more seriously about post-war architecture itself. Perhaps one factor for the change in attitudes, he says, is that with the passage of time brutalist architecture can now be viewed more objectively by those who didn’t live through its failures.

Elain Harwood has just published a fine, scholarly but accessible book, Space, Hope, and Brutalism: English Architecture, 1945-1975 (The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art).

You may probably have already seen or collected one of our current favourites, "Brutal London".
This is a collection of five paper cut-out models representing London’s brutalist architecture from 1960s and 70s released by design studio Zupagrafika. Scattered around the districts of Camden, Southwark and Tower Hamlet, the “raw concrete (paper) tour begins with iconic tower blocks (Balfron Tower and Space House), leads through council estates doomed to demolition (Robin Hood Gardens and Aylesbury Estate) and concludes with a classic prefab panel block (Ledbury Estate).”

Balfron the Beautiful

Graphic Designer Robert Shaw has created a self-initiated series of posters out of his love for architecture.

‘Magnificent’ and ‘Modern’ show some of his favourite buildings. The Magnificent set features the buildings he was in awe of when visiting the great northern cities, such as Manchester Town Hall by Alfred Waterhouse. The Modern set highlights heroic architecture from post-war Britain including Ernö Goldfinger’s concrete cliff-face in Poplar – Balfron Tower (the younger sister of Trellick Tower).

Born near Huddersfield and raised in Manchester, Robert studied at Lanchester Polytechnic in Coventry (chosen primarily because of The Specials). He then worked in London before founding multi-disciplinary design studio Northbank, along with Maria Bez and Simon Cryer.

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