Book Review: Good Together

When I ask a friend how they are, they’ll inevitably reply: ‘Busy.’ I’m guilty of it too – it’s a symptom of the modern world. But it only confirms the need for quality time spent with the people you love. The more you do it, the more you understand it’s what really matters – good times with friends and family are the most effective panacea for a busy week/month/year.

Ryan Chetiyawardana, a.k.a. Mr. Lyan

Now that’s a great introduction to a book, isn’t it? Meeting the people who matter most in my life over good food and drink is certainly one of my preferred ways to slow down. I believe that in life we need just a few dear friends, and having a good chat over a relaxing lunch is one of the most uplifting things ever.

Add to that praise such as “King of cocktails” (Todd Selby), “The Heston Blumenthal of cocktails” (The Independent), and “One of the greatest bartenders alive in the world at the moment” (Munchies, Vice.com) and you have caught my attention.

Bottle Daisy

It’s not usual for me to get a book like this in the post, and the concept is not just interesting, but works well. Good Together has one simple recipe at the heart of it: good food, good drink and good company. Ryan Chetiyawardana, a.k.a. Mr Lyan as the one behind celebrated London bars White Lyan and Dandelyan, calls his friends from the culinary world share their favourite recipes. There’s even a collaboration with one of my very favourite people ever, the one and only Signe Johansen. I mean, they had me with cake and cocktails right there! I just loved that.

Ingredients for Bottle Daisy

Ryan, of course takes care of the cocktails. He believes that the worlds of food and drink are in fact, one and the same, although he wants to be clear that his second book is not about food and drink pairings. It’s also not about party planning. The drinks included in Good Together are not in his bars’ menus, not complicated, but delicious and exciting. The recipes are there for inspiration; ingredients are adaptable and/or interchangeable and there are plenty of tips and advice. There is no rulebook for entertaining and no party is the same. The emphasis is on guidance on drinks and dishes that go with a particular mood or occasion. Trial and error are part of learning process, and with that goes experimentation – something this book certainly encourages.

Assembling a Dandelion Mojito

Just to name a few, the menu of cocktails go hand in hand with with recipes by chefs like Nuno Mendes (Chiltern Firehouse), James Lowe (Lyle’s), Nieves Barragán Mohacho (Barrafina), Roca (El Celler de can Roca), Robin Gill (The Dairy), Isaac McHale (The Clove Club), Tien Ho (Whole Foods) and Richard Hart (Tartine). Here is a masterclass in uniting excellent food and drink, where there’s an acknowledgement that good cooking isn’t merely about kitchen skills, but it also includes a sensitivity to the environment, the occasion and most importantly, the people.

Dandelion Mojito

*About the author:

Mr Lyan (aka Ryan Chetiyawardana) is the man behind White Lyan and Dandelyan bars in London. He is celebrated around the world for his inventive cocktail menus and magic way with a shaker. His long list of awards includes being crowned UK Bartender of the Year (twice); White Lyan has been crowned Best New Bar in the World (2014) and Most Creative Bar in London (2016), while Dandelyan has won accolades including World’s Best Cocktail Menu (2016), and Best Place to Drink in Britain (2015).

Author: Ryan Chetiyawardana
Photography: © Kim Lightbody
Format: Hardback, 224 Pages
ISBN: 9780711238978
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Good Together: Drink and feast with Mr Lyan and friends by Ryan Chetiyawardana is published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20.00) is out now.

Good Together was kindly sent by the publisher for review.

All images and recipe extracts are used with permission from the publisher.

*Information about the author is extracted from the press release.

This is not a sponsored post.

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