The autumn equinox is but two days old when I find myself in a short-sleeve top cycling along the Regent’s Canal west London-bound. My destination? Acklam Village, on Portobello Road. More than my two feet pedalling me forward, what drives me towards this street food heaven is a Proustian madeleine: a long-held desire to sink my teeth into a well-cooked Cuban sandwich again.

The waterway is teeming with sun-seekers, willing to soak up the last drop of warmth this surprising, still-lingering summer has gifted us. It is like watching bees and butterflies feasting on late flowers in back…