Borscht & Bread

Raleigh Addington
Raleigh Addington
editor at Chartwell Speakers

Even when he’s back home from his travels (he’s just rowed across the Atlantic), it seems adventurer Alastair Humphreys can’t keep still. When we met today at the Samovar Cafe in Queensway Market, it was as part of Alastair’s ongoing AtoZ London’s World of Food project, in which he and his friend Tom Kevill-Davies trot across the city and document its vast array of international cuisine using video, photos, podcasts, interviews with the staff and, of course, taste buds. The idea is to choose one country per letter of the alphabet, find an authentic London restaurant to represent it, and send out an open invitation to the world to join them for lunch there on a given day. Today was ‘R’ for Russia. (Apparently they have skipped O and Q for now because they can’t find any restaurants doing food from Oman or Qatar. Can you help?)

In between his gulps of delicious Borscht, Alastair said this reminded him of when he was cycling through Siberia. He was so skint that he would order a bowl of Borscht and make it last longer by continually adding hot water, until it was just a pale pink liquid – this way he would keep being given free bread to go with it. Quite how he found it in him to live like that for 4 years while cycling around the world, I simply don’t know.

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