Samuel Muston

Samuel Muston is deputy editor & food editor of The Independent Magazine. He also writes a weekly food column

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Missing a trick: Chillies are about so much more than heat
The purveyors of fancy cakes and posh deli food have created an “exclusive” new Battenberg cake
Tickled pink: ordering rosé no longer means getting an alcoholic Ribena

Samuel Muston: Rosé is increasingly popular - here's how to get the best from pink plonk

Jason Phillips can remember a time when he could scarcely give away tickets for the annual rosé party he throws at the restaurant he manages in central London. "When we started eight years ago, our customers would say to me, 'but Jason, rosé is not really a serious wine, is it?'" Last Tuesday, Franco's St James's held the party to launch this year's 65-strong rosé list – it attracted 250 paying guests.

Guest spot: the design is based on ‘a friend’s apartment’

Room Service: Ace Hotel, London - it’s a home from home for hipsters with cash

The lobby of the Ace Hotel is humming with life and it’s only 5pm. The long, library-style table – commissioned for the space from Terence Conran’s Benchmark – is crowded with people drinking Square Mile coffee and tapping away on Mac laptops. There is a photo booth in one corner. In another, is the place where guests can arrange to borrow custom-made fixie bikes.

Meat treat: some of the delights on offer at Hill & Szrok in London

Samuel Muston: Dinner at my butchers with a glass of wine? I'm all for it

It is 7.30pm and I am sitting at a marble-topped table in Hill & Szrok, a newly opened joint on Broadway Market in east London, with a quickly reducing plate of steak and stew in front of me. This is something of a first for me, because, to the best of my knowledge, I have never eaten dinner in a butcher's shop.

Samuel Muston: Shared tables make fellow diners too close for comfort

Raw awkwardness garnished with a touch of hastily summoned nonchalance. That is how I would describe the look running across the faces of the people in front of us in the queue as the maître d' of a busy no-reservations restaurant asks the question: "Would you mind sitting on a shared table?" An enquiry that is quickly followed up with: "It will probably speed up the wait by quite a bit."

Drink up: 10 best gins

From Spanish Mediterranean flavours to complex wild berry tastes culled from the Black Forest of Germany, this selection of spirits should serve everyone from young hipster to gentleman’s club fogey

Some restaurants discriminate on the basis of looks when choosing their staff just as much as some fashion houses do

Samuel Muston: Waiting staff don't need to be as hot as the dishes they serve

The Nuclear Security Summit, which was held on Tuesday, is, as you might guess, a serious affair. Fifty-three heads of government and half the world's diplomatic corps were holed up in The Hague to discuss an agenda that featured words such as "terrorism", "nuclear bombs" and also (possibly) "doom".

How the wine bar finally got cool again: No Sade, no Moondance, no shoulderpads...

Wine bars used to occupy the same cultural space as the Ford Capri and the tie-clip. But trendy establishments have begun to proliferate like Starbucks, says Samuel Muston

Pay phone: no more waiting for harried waiters with the Flypay app

Samuel Muston: A meal without the awkward wave-at-the-waiter game thanks to FlyPay app

This week I walked into the Islington branch of Wahaca, a chain of Mexican restaurants in the capital, ordered some food, ate it, and walked out again without asking for a bill. It was easy, it felt good, and it was so much quicker than waving down that harried-looking young waiter. I would, in fact, recommend you try it yourselves some time.

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