Samuel Muston

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

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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.

All rise for sourdough: This healthier loaf is a cut above the rest

Samuel Muston: Give us our daily artisan bread

Last Saturday morning, I ate a bacon sandwich. Now, you might say, "So what? I had two yesterday." Which is all very well, but for me it's an unusual event. A carb-heavy breakfast usually has me lolling back to the land of Nod, but my friend Fifi was cooking the bacon and my hangover was about eight on the Richter scale, so I went with the flow.

Treacle soda bread from The Terrace on London’s Holland Street

Samuel Muston: A flat tyre on a country road... thank goodness for pub grub

I am going to go out on a limb and say that The Ship at Wincle is my favourite pub in the world. Not just because the name sounds like it has emerged blinking from a Beatrix Potter story, either, though, of course, that doesn't hurt. No, it is more than that. The Ship is the very model of a good country pub.

Hat a boy: pupils from Eton arrive at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, for the match against Harrow, July 1928

Lineage lottery: the myth of social mobility

A new book claims that our chances of making a success of life are dependent on what our family accomplished 300 years ago. Like forefather, like son, finds Samuel Muston

Star man: Alain Ducasse has won dozens of Michelin awards over his career

Samuel Muston: Alain Ducasse knows the secrets of culinary alchemy

If I were the super-chef Alain Ducasse's grandmother, I would feel a little silly. At one point, Mrs Ducasse did her best to stifle the culinary ambitions of her young grandchild. He was apt, you see, to criticise her petits pois.

Shiny, happy people: the range of emoticons is now enormous

Emoticons: a :-) :-) thing

They have become so common in online and SMS conversations that we react to a colon-hyphen-parenthesis in the same way as to a human smile, says Samuel Muston

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