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Luxurious Starts, Mellow Mornings:
Savini at Criterion Launches ‘Free-Flowing Weekend Brunch’ for the Perfect Lazy and Luxurious
Acting as the perfect antidote to a busy week, Savini at Criterion in Piccadilly presents
its new weekend brunch. The experience fuses chilled background music and delicious food, creating the
ideal way to start the weekend, shopping in the West End or sightseeing and catching up with loved ones.
At the heart of the new lazy weekend offering is a mouth-watering, classic brunch-style menu devised by
Head Chef Gianluca Pagliari. Served from 12 noon onward, the menu includes a selection of traditional
breakfast dishes and Italian lunch staples presented in individual portions, including hearty tagliatelle
with ragù, eggs cooked in any style, and homemade maccheroncini fresh pasta. An equally delicious
vegetarian menu is also available.
Guests can wash away the fast-paced London life with an upgrade to include free-flowing Prosecco, which is
available from 12 noon onwards for 90 minutes. Those with a particular taste for a Bloody Mary,
Champagne or an Old Fashioned cocktail can additionally purchase these to accompany their brunch.
Savini at Criterion is dedicated to providing a luxurious and relaxing experience. Having long been famed
for Italian fine dining and for its historic setting, ‘Savini at Criterion Free-Flowing Brunch’ is the latest fusion
experience from Piccadilly Circus’s oldest residents.
The free-flowing brunch runs every Saturday and Sunday until 27th August 2017. For more information or
to book, visit www.saviniatcriterion.co.uk or call 020 7930 1459.
When: 12 noon-3pm every Saturday and Sunday
Where: Savini at Criterion, 224 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9HP
Price: £35 per person for the set brunch + £19 for free-flowing prosecco for 1.5 hours. Additional Service
Savini at Criterion
224 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HP
+44 (0)20 7930 1459 or +44 (0)7493 248819
It’s barbecue time, or at least we hope so. We all have our preferences for
things to slap on the grill and my goods of choice are sausages …but
not just any sausages.
A successful sausage is as much about texture as taste. MOR sausages
are ideal for grilling as they use natural casings. That might not seem
significant but it makes a difference to the grilled product. There is
a satisfying tooth-appeal which is so often missing in lesser bangers.
MOR sausages are available in several flavours:
Moroccan Spiced Pork, Cauliflower and Chickpea Sausages have a great
balance of spices and are lovely served with North African side dishes.
Mediterranean Chicken with Sundried Tomato and Basil Chipolatas are
made for those who don’t want red meat or pork, and there are many of
us. Nothing lack-lustre here. These are not a second-class sausage but
rather a little departure from the mundane. The sundried tomato works
Pork, Super Green Veg and Lentil Sausages sounded quite challenging and
they were in fact the first of the range I chose to try. ‘If they can
convince me with these then I’ll be a MOR convert,’ thought I. And I
am! Green vegetables and hearty lentils are spiced with a warming hint
of sweet chilli and they are winners!
Pork, Beetroot and Bramley Apple Sausages were sweet, and great when
served with roast potatoes and stir-fried veggies. Good combination of
Many folks grill steaks and chops and those pink-blush chicken thighs
(don’t do that), but they really are somewhat predictable. MOR sausages
offer flavour and texture and I am quietly impressed by both those
qualities. They add interest to those alfresco meals, which are so
special in our short summer months.
The Swan is a striking hotel in
an equally striking location. Lavenham is a town the likes of which is
often thought extinct. It’s the stuff of historic dramas, with unspoilt
houses and shops; a slice of Harry Potter was filmed here. It surrounds
the visitor with quaint buildings and photo opportunities by the
This hotel (my review here)
sports cosy, four-poster-bedded rooms, cottage-like public spaces,
quiet corners, a bar and a brasserie, but perhaps the jewel in The
Swan’s hospitality crown is the celebrated Gallery Restaurant, which is
said to be one of the finest restaurants in Suffolk, and I can believe
The Gallery offers British fare but with a very Continental standard of
fine dining. Tables are linen-set and well-spaced. There is a high
timbered ceiling and a minstrel’s gallery, exposed brickwork and
fireplace. This restaurant fits so well with the rest of the 15th
Suffolk is blessed with coast and pastures offering the freshest bounty
of the county. The menu at The Gallery changes with the seasons so
there is always an excuse to visit. It’s great value here, too, and
it’s not often I can say that about restaurants in London! One could
consider a dinner and overnight stay at the Swan and spend only a
little more than just a meal in the capital.
Lots of choice and a chance to enjoy British
food at its best at The Gallery. We have a cuisine of which to be proud
and it’s good to find great chefs who appreciate our culinary heritage.
Head Chef Justin Kett showcases this Suffolk fare with skill. Each
plate is a picture, and the menu is constructed in such a way as to
entice with, perhaps, 5 courses.
We ordered Pumpkin Pappardelle Pasta with seeds, honey and parmesan,
along with Brown Crab, as our first courses. The pasta was simple and
delicious, but the crab was a dish over which to linger and to savour.
Great use of the most flavourful brown meat from the local crab.
We were tempted by meat, and the lamb and beef were both first class.
Cooked to pink perfection and beautifully garnished with seasonal
veggies, these plates were tapestries of taste and with perfectly
balanced flavour and texture. The lamb was outstanding. Any meal here
would seem like a celebration.
Desserts were both delicious and imaginative and served with flair. OK, bananas
are not local (although with climate change…), but banana cake with
candied walnuts and whipped custard was deconstructed old-fashioned
comfort food. What a winner! Lemon tart, yoghurt, pistachio and
meringue was a tangy and refreshing take on a favourite classic.
The Gallery does indeed have the advantage of memorable architecture
but it doesn’t depend upon woodwork for its success. It’s the food and
presentation here which will assure many happy returns. To know it is
to love it.
Residents’ Breakfast: 7.00am to 10.00am (Monday to Friday),
8.00am – 10.00am (Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays)
Afternoon Tea: 12.00noon to 5.00pm (Monday to Saturday)
Lunch: 12.00noon to 2.30pm (Monday to Friday from 4th July)
Dinner: 7.00pm to 9.30pm
Sunday Lunch: 12.00noon to 2.30pm
Reservations: 01787 247477 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Gallery Restaurant – The Swan at Lavenham
Suffolk CO10 9QA
I knew where CERU was – it’s just around the corner from
South Kensington Underground Station; but where was The Levant? It’s
historic geographic term referring to a large area in the Eastern
Mediterranean. It entered the English language from the French in the
century and encompasses countries such as Cyprus, Turkey and Lebanon,
CERU is a light and airy contemporary restaurant in this
smart neighbourhood. It has décor accents from the region
covered by the menu,
but there is none of the depressing dark wood so often found in other
restaurants offering food from that area. CERU is just right for its
location and its clientele.
One can understand the temptation to create a ‘themed’ eatery.
Perhaps a shed-load of brass, windows dimmed with coloured glass, heavy
furniture, and a poster of an aged and toothless olive-picker with his
threadbare donkey? Nothing like that here: CERU is a vision of Denmark
meets Turkey and it’s all the better for it.
The chairs and tables, stools and benches are of light wood
and attractive. I now covet a brace of those aforementioned high stools. Yes,
there are decorative nods to CERU’s culinary offerings but they are
kept to an appropriate minimum of kilim banquette cushions, a rather exotic wooden
door, and some gilded mirrors – this is London, after all, not the back
streets of Istanbul.
We settled in our booth-for-two conveniently under a shelf
full of CERU’s bespoke beer - CERU 3-Grain Pale Ale, which was light
and with citrus notes. There are cocktails here too and they are a reasonable
price, but those who don’t want alcohol should try Turkish Apple Tea which is
quite remarkable. It doesn’t have much colour but it has full-on apple
flavour. It can also be served spiked with rum, but try it neat first: it could,
perhaps, convert you to a more sober future …perhaps!
We started our meal with Pancar which sounded intriguing. It’s
roasted beetroot, yoghurt, garlic and crushed pistachio. It’s a vibrant
deep purple-red dip to be scooped with wedges of flatbread. I am, truth to
tell, not normally a huge lover of beetroot, which I find has a tendency to be a
bit earthy. Pancar retains all the sweetness of that root vegetable but
without the aftertaste. Don’t miss this one, it’s unique and delicious.
We chose main dishes to share and they didn’t disappoint in
either flavour, texture or presentation. Merguez Chicken isn’t a
marriage of poultry and spiced sausages but rather some succulent meat with a crunchy
coating of the seasonings used in those celebrated North African sausages. The
corn-fed chicken was served atop a heap of green lentil and mint salad, and must
be a signature dish here.
Lamb Shoulder is another dish that will assure a return to
CERU for anyone, well, apart from a vegetarian! This meat was tender.
Yes, so tender that one could cut it with a spoon. The secret must be the
marinade and the 5 hours of slow roasting. Order this lamb with Orez CERU, which is
flavourful Arabic-scented fried rice with crispy onions and sultanas.
But save room for dessert. Flavours of Baklava isn’t
actually a syrup-soaked pastry but rather all those spices that one
would expect in one of those traditional little sweets: cardamom in ice cream
with a nut brittle and burnt honey caramel. The ice cream was outstanding but
elevated still more by its garnishes.
Chocolate lovers will appreciate the Turkish coffee cup,
complete with lid, filled with dark chocolate mousse, sour cherry and
garnished with bright green crushed pistachio nuts. This was a real adult
pleasure and a perfect end to this Levantine culinary adventure.
CERU is as far from a kebab house as one would want to go,
and in my case that would be a considerable distance. Its design is
thoughtful and fresh, and the menu reflects dishes from the Eastern Med, but
without being slavishly bound to traditions. We will return to sample some of those
cocktails, and perhaps Brunch, too.
7-9 Bute Street
written a book about Indian restaurants but they were all in London. I
review Indian restaurants almost every month but I have never reviewed
one outside the UK hub of Indian food – our capital city.
But here I was in a traditional English seaside town and a long way
from home, and invited to an Indian restaurant. Was this menu going to
be watered down? Perhaps a rather old-fashioned ‘curry house’
selection? Was this going to be the last refuge of the iconic red-flock
wallpaper and a tapestry of the Taj Mahal? Those above worries, had I
really had them, would have been unfounded. Sea Spice is a credit to
its culinary genre.
This is a smart restaurant and the sea couldn’t be much closer. The
wide Aldeburgh shingle beach is literally across the road. The decor
here is cultured Indian colonial, with soft lighting to complement dark
wood. Plenty of seating for small groups as well as couples makes Sea
Spice not only a venue for holidaymakers but also a regular haunt for
locals who will likely appreciate the quality of food here.
Head Chef Pratap Singh Rawat has a grounding in the best Indian cuisine
and in some of London’s best restaurants. He has worked at Mayfair’s
celebrated Chor Bizarre as well as Tamarind and Benares, both of which
have been awarded Michelin Stars. The pedigree of this chef is beyond
Spice manager Anupam Seth is justifiably proud of his domain and indeed
of the chef who is making Sea Spice a ‘destination’ restaurant. Service
here is swift and coordinated and as good as one would hope. It’s a
well-presented and professionally-run small-town establishment with
big-city polish and standards.
But the food will likely be the reason for your visit. Sea Spice takes
advantage of Aldeburgh’s fantastic location on the Suffolk coast. Fish
is showcased here along with fresh local organic vegetables and craft
We started with Crispy Coated Okra. This is one of my favourites and
ideal as a canape with drinks while perusing the menu. It is crunchy
and spicy, and a dish which I have never been able to perfect at home.
I’ll be asking Chef for the recipe and preparation details.
Masala Dosa was my companion’s starter, although in India it’s often
found as a breakfast item. It’s a substantial plate but a delicious
example of this dramatic-looking item. A dosa is a light and crispy
fermented rice flour crêpe and is served with a potato stuffing
seasoned with fenugreek and curry leaves. Garnishes were a brace of
vibrant fresh chutneys which add so much to the dosa experience.
I enjoyed my starter of Jhinga Dakshini –
tiger prawns in crunchy chickpea flour were simple and flavourful and
gave a nod to the sea just outside, although I suspect these prawns
came from more exotic climes. The chickpea flour gives not only texture
but flavour to ingredients which it coats, and it also adds a pleasing
colour when a little turmeric is included.
Goat Bhuna was my guest’s main course and this proved to be a robust
gravy dish slowly cooked with tomato and ginger. The sauce was the star
of this bhuna and would have been a joy on its own with a side of
Free Range Butter Chicken intrigued me. It’s a standard in most Indian
restaurants but quality can be patchy. Yes, it’s a popular dish but Sea
Spice elevated butter chicken by offering the meat on the bone rather
than in chunks. This results in more succulent chicken and a more
flavourful dish. Another bread-dipping bowlful. This with some Tadka
Daal – yellow lentils, garlic and fresh coriander – and some rice
completed this truly comforting meal.
Gulab Jamun was my guest’s dessert, chosen from a selection of
traditional sweets. This was perfect when paired with well-flavoured
Masala Chai – tea with a house blend of well-balanced warming spices. A
cosy cuppa to end a delightfully unexpected meal by the sea. I can
recommend Sea Spice. It’s worth the trip!
Tuesday to Sunday:
12 noon till 3pm for lunch
5.30pm till 10pm for dinner
The White Lion Hotel
Market Cross Place
Paternoster Square is a striking corner of
the City and owned by the Mitsubishi Estate Company. It is, however,
quintessentially English with its location on the left-hand side of the
mighty St Paul’s Cathedral. The cathedral is one of the most famous and
most recognisable sights of London. Its dome has dominated the skyline
for 300 years. At more than one hundred metres high, it was the tallest
building in London from the time it was built in 1710 until 1967. The
dome is among the highest in the world.
Pater noster is Latin for “Our Father”, the opening of the Lord’s
Prayer. The Square lies near the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest part
of the City of London. The area takes its name from Paternoster Row,
centre of the London publishing trade which was devastated, along with
swathes of the capital, by aerial bombardment in The Blitz during World
War II. It is now the home of the London Stock Exchange which relocated
there from Threadneedle Street in 2004. It is also the location of
investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch.
The Happenstance bar and restaurant is on that square, with an open
space in front allowing for alfresco dining when the weather permits.
Those balmy evenings have office workers enjoying cocktails in this
striking neighbourhood, with views of St Paul’s.
This is a
light and airy space with accents of fur, which seems quite Nordic and
probably appropriate for most of the English summer! There is ample
standing area near the bar, and seating for couples and groups. There
is a beautiful room which could be for private dining, and another for
The food menu is varied and eclectic, and appealing to the demographic
of the City. Scotch Egg with chorizo and a garnish of smoked paprika
mayonnaise was my guest’s starter and he reluctantly offered me a bite.
That was an indication that this was a worthy choice. The egg was
perfectly prepared with a still-runny yolk encased in a crust of
well-seasoned meat. On the face of it this is a simple presentation but
it so often misses the culinary mark. Happenstance did it deliciously
Broad Bean and Ricotta on Toast with lemon and mint was a seasonal
treat. Fresh broad beans are sweet and tender when young and this was a
joy of a preparation, and one doesn’t have to be a vegetarian to
appreciate the texture and taste. Having said that, I think the dish
could be elevated with a little garnish of prosciutto. It’s given me an
idea for a smart dinner-party canape.
Pie with cheddar potato crust, and a side order of tenderstem broccoli
with a garnish of almonds was my main course. This was an attractive
dish with a king prawn prominently balanced on top. It was a piping-hot
traditional potato-topped pie, and comfort food to gladden the heart of
any work-weary stockbroker.
Sirloin Steak Sandwich with horseradish, mayonnaise and truffle oil
dressing was perhaps the star of the meal. Yes, just a sarnie but a
great one, and particularly when partnered with the Roman Fries
generously flavoured by parmesan, truffle and rosemary. That truffle
was evident before it even reached the table: that enticing aroma
wafted anticipation which was not disappointed.
Lemon Tart with crème fraîche was a light finish to the
meal, but there was a surprise in the guise of Mr Black Cold Pressed
Coffee Liqueur. This was a striking night-cap and superior to most
other coffee-based after-dinner drinks. It’s not too sweet but
convincingly tasting of real coffee.
Happenstance is evidently a casual restaurant and bar but it’s smart
and appropriate for its location and clientele. The menu isn’t long but
it doesn’t need to be. It would be an ideal spot for an after-work
drink accompanied by a selection of starters or a pot of those
OK, I confess, I had never visited Suffolk. I
discovered a strikingly beautiful county with coast, pasture,
chocolate-box villages and historic towns. I discovered Woodbridge!
The Crown Hotel (review to follow shortly) houses its eponymous 2 AA
Rosette restaurant, which is recommended in the Michelin Guide. It’s
found at the top of The Thoroughfare which is the town’s high street,
in what is quite an anonymous building. Its exterior hides
contemporary, cool design with international quality and local charm.
The food here is as good as you will find in any capital city.
Head Chef Darran Hazelton is wedded to fresh local produce. Not just
for the sake of it: it’s just that there is truly so much here to
excite any professional cook or discerning diner. There is seafood from
that aforementioned coast, and some of the best meat in the UK comes
courtesy of local farms. There are the best of ingredients at The Crown
and the dishes offer both traditional plates along with innovation.
is a 16th century building but the restaurant is bright and fresh.
Windows which look out over the bustling street are etched with
silhouettes of local historic buildings – and the town is blessed in
that regard. Tables are well-spaced and cater for couples or larger
parties. Staff are knowledgeable and discreetly attentive, and the food
will likely guarantee a return.
Suffolk grows asparagus but it has a relatively short season, making it
a delicious local treat. If you are lucky enough to be visiting The
Crown in those short spring months then you might find asparagus and
cheddar quiche as a starter or served with a poached egg as a main
Cromer is a seaside town in East Anglia and it’s famed for its crab, so
I ordered Potted Cromer crab with tarragon mayo, avocado and pink
grapefruit, along with sourdough, as my starter. That bread was topped
with flavourful brown crab meat which is, in my opinion at least, the
most delicious part of the crustacean. An attractive presentation of
salad leaves and Kilner jar.
smoked eel, bacon, apple and ginger dressing with lemon crème
fraîche was my guest’s starter. These fillets of eel were pale in
colour but had a marked and balanced smoky taste. They were moist and
marvellously paired with the bacon.
Adnams is a local brewery and their beer is a key ingredient in The
Crown’s Dry Hop battered fish, served with rosemary fries, crushed peas
and tartare sauce. This must surely be the most classic of British
dishes, and therefore unmissable here.
That fish dish did appeal to me, but brill was also on the menu and I
had never tried that. Poached fillets of brill, tomato consommé,
samphire, crayfish ravioli and cockles was a picture of vibrant
vegetables and pearly-white fish. This should be a signature dish, and
it showcased local produce served with flair. A winner!
My guest’s main course was Guinea Fowl supreme, wild garlic and spring
vegetable with pearl barley risotto, wild mushrooms and truffle. A
great presentation of this game bird and the garlic added another
dimension. This is another vegetable with a short season and it was
savoured by the diner who pronounced the dish to be memorable.
The dessert menu offered twists on British favourites along with classy
innovations. For those who enjoy a nod towards traditional then they
will want to try Adnams sourdough treacle tart with a scattering of
almond streusel, served with mascarpone ice cream. That local brewery
has a hand in dessert too!
My guest ordered poached local rhubarb, yoghurt pannacotta, citrus
Chantilly and ginger crumble. Rhubarb crumble is indeed traditional but
this version was somewhat deconstructed and the garnishes elevated this
pud to smart restaurant fare.
Chocolate delice with rum-soaked oranges, chocolate crumb, and orange
marmalade ice cream was my choice. This was a substantial and sweet
finish to a first-class meal. It was sophisticated, rich from the
chocolate truffle, with refreshing tang from the fruit. The last bite
of dinner was just as satisfying as the first. The Crown Restaurant
didn’t put a foot wrong.
Breakfast: Monday to Friday 7am - 10am. Saturday and Sunday 8am - 10am
Lunch: 12 noon to 2:30pm daily
Afternoon tea (must be booked in advance): 2.30pm - 6pm daily
Dinner: Sunday - Thursday 6pm to 9pm, Friday and Saturday 6pm - 9.30pm
The Crown Restaurant
Suffolk IP12 1AD
Located near Covent Garden in the heart of London's West End, Eneko at One
Aldwych is one of this writer’s favourite eateries. It is a
delightfully stylish restaurant and wine bar from the acclaimed Basque
Chef Eneko Atxa.
This basement space takes advantage of a 2-storey ceiling at one end
which offers diners in that area a view of the tops of trees and sky
through the original ornate glass door at street level. Stairs are clad
with copper, walls with grey stone and tables are of light wood with
hardwood embellishments. Eneko designers have used natural materials
and simple lines.
It’s a relaxed and informal setting for a Sunday Brunch from Chef
Edurne who has been instrumental in creating the menu and is in charge
of the London kitchen. Most of the dishes here won’t be familiar to the
untutored so, for the first Brunch at least, order the tasting menu.
We started with an aperitif. Golden Mary is a unique and fresh-tasting
twist on a classic Bloody Mary but this one has a striking summer-gold
colour rather than the expected red. It’s still made with vodka as in
the original but Eneko uses spiced vodka. The regular tomato juice is
replaced by golden tomato juice; a stick of celery is swapped for
celery foam, which has a much more pronounced flavour than the fresh
vegetable. The cocktail looks more delicate than a Bloody Mary and is
served in a Martini glass. A refined touch.
chose the Basque Cobbler which is a striking fruity wine punch. This is
port-wine red and garnished with slices of kumquat and a bunch of mint.
This must surely be the Basque equivalent of Spanish Sangria. It’s
light, delicious and refreshing.
The aforementioned Tasting Menu for the Weekend Brunch is £50 per
person and gives a thorough overview of the Basque-inspired fare here.
Traditional Talo – crispy corn talo or tortilla with heritage tomatoes
and accents of basil emulsion – is a signature dish and it’s on the a
la carte menu, too. It’s strikingly beautiful and vibrant with colour
from both tomatoes and edible flowers, and all served on individual
The second Tasting Menu dish was Cerdito Caliente, “Hot Hog”, which was
a simple dish but actually my favourite from this bill of fare. A
Basque muffin is the vehicle for this outstanding savoury treat. Thin
slices of Iberico ham top mushroom duxelle and both fill the bread bun,
which is very much like what Americans might call an English Muffin and
what we in England call …a muffin! It’s a white bread, as opposed to
the sweet muffins we find in coffee shops.
Yolks Tempura is intriguing and perhaps the classiest comfort food for
which one could ever hope. A whole egg yolk seems to be deep-fried with
a crunchy coating. One breaks through this to allow the still-liquid
yellow yolk to bathe creamy potatoes and tangy confit vegetables. This
is a masterful presentation but one which will raise a smile from any
lover of imaginative food. Yes, imaginative but still nestled within
the realms of familiar comfort.
Then the main courses arrived. Txuleta is Basque-style prime rib of
beef and served with a crisp spring onion salad. Those onions were mild
and well-textured – a perfectly balanced platter when served with
chips. But Monkfish garnished with specks of garlic, chilli and parsley
was the main-course winner. The flesh of the fish was perfectly cooked
and opaque. The spices were subtle, presenting a fish which was still
Torrija was created by Alice Serafini, the Pastry Chef at Eneko, and
ended this substantial Brunch. This is a Basque vanilla bread-like cake
with a caramel top crust and soaked in a sweet custard. This was
partnered with a caramel crumble ice cream and it was a perfect finish
to this meal, which displayed both tradition and innovation. If you are
looking for a meal which is considerably different but not at all
challenging then don’t miss Eneko at One Aldwych.
Both afternoon tea and The Criterion are icons. The first
is quintessentially British and the second a long-standing London
destination for fine food, and one which has been frequented by the
great and the good for around a century and a half.
Thomas Verity, a British architect, won a competition to build The
Criterion; work began in the summer of 1871 and was completed in 1873.
The Portuguese marble walls and gold mosaic ceiling along with
sumptuous embellishments remain, to remind us of a time before
plasterboard and plastic.
The last 150 years have seen many changes in London, this city having
been through so much. Londoners endured the WWII Blitz when The
Criterion was pulled into service, with its deep underground theatre
being used as a secret safe-house for BBC radio. And keeping with the
entertainment theme, recently the restaurant was used as the backdrop
for the epic Hollywood production of “Batman - The Dark Knight”.
Downton Abbey also visited, and I hear that many a diner asks to sit at
Lady Edith’s table.
In December 2015 the Gatto family, owner of the famous and historic
Savini Restaurant in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, dating
back to 1867, reopened the London restaurant with the name of Savini at
Criterion. The a la carte menu is distinctly Italian, as one would hope
and expect, but the restaurant also presents afternoons filled with
more-British fare. Afternoon Tea in various forms …but with Italian
Teatime is an event and one which can be tailored to the appetite of the tea
sipper. Cream Tea is perhaps the simplest but it’s traditional and
popular not only here but in Devon and Cornwall, home of the celebrated
clotted cream, the essential accompaniment. Cream tea at Savini is
generous with 3 scones (it’s often only 2 elsewhere), jams, clotted
cream and the restaurant’s celebrated biscuits. It’s very competitively
priced and a great opportunity to enjoy Savini in casual mode.
Afternoon Tea is the classic version with the 3-tier stand laden with
both sweet and savoury treats. There are the previously-mentioned
scones with their sweet garnishes, along with savoury offerings, and
that’s where the first of the Italian influences comes into play. There
are finger sandwiches but one might find bruschetta, panino al latte
with burrata cheese, and vegetarian caponata.
But the guest’s gaze will likely have fixed on the top plate – an
assortment of homemade mini cakes. There is more Italian good taste
here and it wasn’t wasted on this visitor. Those miniature delights
included marvellously crafted tiramisu which is a signature dessert
here, but the most memorable cake for me was the rum baba. Save space
for this one. Great patisserie at Savini.
It’s unlikely that anyone other than an in-training rugby player could
eat every scrap of this teatime spread but if they are still peckish by
the end then staff will be happy to provide more. I am sure that is a
rare request! It must be part of that so-renowned Italian hospitality!
Going out for afternoon tea is often a celebratory event. Many a birthday or
anniversary has been enjoyed around the tea table, but what a great
graduation event this would be. Afternoon tea is trending! Savini At
Criterion offers Champagne or Martini Afternoon Tea for those who want
to make the occasion even more special. Nothing speaks
‘congratulations’ louder than the pop of a cork heralding the arrival
of a chilled glass of fizz. Or come here for a little pampering with no
excuse at all.
But teatime is always enjoyed with a nice cup of tea, although I note
that coffee can be had here too! The tea menu is creditable, with both
green and black teas.
Savini At Criterion has a central location, making this an ideal venue
for both tourist and local alike. They offer outstanding Italian food
but they have also embraced British culinary institutions, and those
teatime offerings are at a reasonable price. Success is
assured with this afternoon delight.
Savini At Criterion is open every day from 8am to midnight
Savini At Criterion
is a book the size of several bricks. That’s not surprising as it
introduces 365 leading British chefs’ main course recipes. Each recipe
is presented with beautiful pictures on quality paper, and this
considerable tome is encased in a gift sleeve.
The ChariTable Bookings Signature Dish is a recipe book with 365 dishes
– one for each day of the year – from chefs who are familiar and
respected. They are lending their support to a group that raises money
for charity in unique and delicious fashion. One supports these
charities simply by booking dinner at a reputable restaurant of your
choice through their site. Yes, it’s that easy.
ChariTable Bookings’ free philanthropic restaurant-booking platform
sells the ChariTable Bookings Signature Dish recipe book, which is a
fundraiser to support thousands of UK registered charities, from local
projects to worldwide endeavours. For every book purchased, ChariTable
Bookings will make a donation of £5 to the charity you choose
from a list of 7,655 amazing causes.
At £40.00, the ChariTable Bookings Signature Dish recipe book is
a 754-page, 3.6kg hardback book, so it’s substantial. Yes, it’s huge
but it will likely spend more time in the kitchen than on the coffee
table. There are delightful recipes here that will entice the practised
home cook and encourage the novice. There is something for every skill
level and for every taste. There are European classics along with Asian
spice, and all are accessible and delicious.
Do I have some favourite recipes here? Well, in fact, lots. I love
Indian food so Lamb Shank by talented chef Alfred Prasad is at the top
of my list. For classic European I love this recipe for Lemon and Herb
Spaghetti by Pip McCormack. Jeremy Pang’s Steamed Wontons offer a taste
of China in your own home. My pick of the book is Richard Corrigan’s
Royal Fish Pie.
ChariTable Bookings Signature Dish is a cookbook over which to drool,
but it’s mostly one to tempt the reader into the kitchen, and then to
be so inspired that they will want to book a table at some of the fine
ChariTable Bookings Signature Dish is the perfect gift for all lovers
of good food, chefs and their restaurants, but also for those who want
to make a difference in people’s lives.
Hawkers Bar and Brasserie – finer dining in Kingston
I live only a short bus ride, or an even shorter train ride,
from Kingston. I am there very often for retail therapy at the Bentalls
Centre. I am a frequent visitor to the large Chinese, Japanese and Korean
supermarket. I enjoy the historic daily fruit and vegetable market. I have, however,
never thought of Kingston as a dinner destination.
There is a new restaurant in a new hotel in Kingston. The
hotel is a conveniently situated Doubletree by Hilton and the restaurant is
called Hawkers Bar and Brasserie. One might speculate on the origins of the name
‘Hawkers’ – perhaps an indication that hunting birds might be on the
menu? The Hawker in question does actually have something to do with flight. It’s
the Australian aviation pioneer Harry Hawker who was the chief test pilot for Sopwith
and was also involved in the design of many of their aircraft. After World War
One he co-founded Hawker Aircraft in Kingston, the firm that would later manufacture the
successful Hurricane fighter plane. The hotel foyer offers mementoes of
the company and its aircraft.
The Brasserie and Bar have a contemporary urban design with
exposed copper pipes and industrial fixtures. The restaurant area is
large but thoughtfully divided to provide a degree of more-separated
conviviality. Soft furnishings add texture and comfort to what would have been a rather
masculine space. There are nods to the 1920s with lights and high ceilings.
There is an open kitchen here with the head chef Darren
Edwards very much to the fore. The menu is well-crafted with classic
British Brasserie fare, and the bar menu is also creditable. Crispy whitebait
is outstanding and the portions of this and the other menu items are
generous. The Artisanal Bread Platter with hummus, chutney, and balsamic olive oil
dip is de rigueur with drinks, and the Mini Lamb Koftas with home-made mint raita
make a marvellous nibble to go with one of the excellent cocktails here.
The Aviator is made with Kingston’s own Beckett’s gin (the
only gin in the world distilled with British juniper and mint - I must
book a visit to the distillery), fresh lemon, Crème de Violette,
Maraschino liqueur and sugar. This is a perfect
pre-dinner cocktail for anyone looking for a sweet
start to the evening. But then there is the memorable Bloody Good Mary.
That really is the name of this potent and spicy version of a classic
cocktail. Russian Standard Vodka, fresh lemon, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, tomato
juice and a dash of a secret sauce combine to present the sipper with a
delicious explosion which was very much to my taste. This must be a signature
I chose Hawkers Puff Pie for my dinner. It’s made with the
meat from an 18-hour slow roasted lamb shoulder, wrapped in puff pastry
and served with a smoked bacon and cabbage parcel, with a rosemary gravy. I
have never tasted lamb with quite so much flavour. I would be a believer if
I had been told that the meat was mutton, which has a much richer taste than most
lamb. This is unmissable. The meat was tender and aromatic. The pastry
surrounding was flaky and cooked to perfection. The cabbage parcel was more of a
partner than a side dish.
My guest enjoyed the Sustainable Blackened Sea Bass with smoked
fennel, mussels, kale and Noilly Pratt sauce. That fennel was quite an
innovation. The smoking removed so much of the metallic aftertaste which I dislike.
The dish was delicious, beautifully presented and one for which to return.
Rhubarb and Champagne Trifle with white chocolate sauce was
my guest’s dessert. This writer was far too full to even contemplate a
pud. I confess I had a delightful spoonful which I shall call research. This
was sweet, tart, refreshing and rich, and served in a cone of a glass
displaying the traditional layers of a classic trifle.
Hawkers Bar and Brasserie has only been open a short time
but it is already the restaurant of choice for many locals as well as
for the hotel guests. Its ambiance is accessible and friendly with a menu which
displays flair and regard for British produce.
Many of us have become interested in wine. Yes, drinking it
and pairing it. Remember the days when we in the UK drank just a few
different wines? It wasn’t that they were so good that they became popular; truth
to tell, it was all we had. Red or white from ‘various countries’. They
were not different bottles from various countries but often bottles made with a
blend of grapes from various countries. Rosé came in the guise of Mateus
Rosé in its distinctive flat bottle. OK, I admit it, I still have a taste for that
retro classic; I guess it’s familiarity.
Things have changed. We are more discerning and we are
interested in not only what’s in the glass but where it came from. If
it’s delicious then we want to learn more, and one might discover that the
crisp sparkling white in our glass actually comes from England! It’s documented that
Christopher Merret used the addition of sugar to a finished wine to create a second
fermentation, 40 years before it was claimed that Benedictine monk Dom
Pérignon had invented the process which came to be called the Champagne method.
Best of England is a young and vibrant company which
publishes English county guides, and now they have tours to offer
visitors from the UK and across the globe. The company has quality at the heart of
both books and tours. They research so you don’t have to, and they offer
well-tailored trips to delight the novice wine buff as well as those with a more
professional wine interest.
An English vineyard tour with Best of England is a tasting
delight. One can opt for a short tour with afternoon tea, which might
sound like something of an oxymoron but what better backdrop for a classic
afternoon tea could there be than a lush vineyard …and a glass or two of
something chilled, sparkling and reviving!
For those who are looking for an intense 3-vineyard
experience then Best of England has a tour to satisfy that want. One
will see how these wines are made, from growing vines to corking and labelling
the final product. Visitors will meet the winemakers and hear their individual
stories, and there will be an opportunity (of course) to sample the wines.
Bolney have been making wine since 1972. Their wines are
well-regarded and can be enjoyed in this family-run winery. The estate
is 39 acres and has a café offering gourmet lunches, as well as
Ridgeview is another family-run vineyard, outside the
picturesque village of Ditchling. It has outstanding views over the
dramatic South Downs Ridge. They produce award-winning sparkling wines using
Rathfinny Wine Estate is found in the Cuckmere Valley and
three miles from the sea. The vineyard is 600 acres and over the past
three years they have planted 72 hectares of vines; by 2020, they will be one
of England’s largest vineyards. All the buildings here have been
constructed with locally sourced materials, using sustainable technologies such as
photovoltaic cells and wastewater recycling. Rathfinny Estate have worked with the
National Trust and the South Downs National Park Authority to open the
‘Rathfinny Trail’ so that visitors can arrive by foot or by bike.
All of these established and thriving wineries show different
philosophies of production and growing, giving an impression of the
progress made in English viticulture over the past decade.
Best of England make wine education fun and accessible,
whether you are novice or professional. They arrange everything for a
stress-free day of tasting in the most delicious fashion. Just turn up
at the railway station and leave the arrangements to this imaginative company.
a kind invitation! A food and wine pairing evening at impressive
Lutyens, off Fleet Street… and Cornish wine! Well, no, not really – the
wine is French and very good too. The maker is Cornish and that,
strangely, might give him some advantages: he has an appreciation of
the British wine palate.
Cornishman Mark Hellyar changed careers a few years ago to start
producing wine in Bordeaux. He is from Padstow where his family have
farmed for a couple of hundred years, so he does indeed have a
connection with land and cultivation. Cornishmen have long had a
reputation for being independent and rebellious, and with that genetic
sense of adventure Mark sold the software company he was running in
order to start a new phase of his life. Now the resulting wines are
found at celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants and in the cellars of
Mark Hellyar of Chateau Civrac is a Cornishman in Bordeaux. The wines
are contemporary and made with the British consumer in mind. Mark’s
wines are hand-made in small quantities thus giving the opportunity to
tailor wines for individual and complex character and ever-changing
nuances. There is nothing dull or banal from Chateau Civrac. Mark
wanted to make wines that were different from classic Bordeaux and his
wines have a New World quality about them, with more subtle tannins,
and which perhaps have more in common with those he discovered while
working in California and South Africa.
Civrac has developed a noteworthy Sauvignon Blanc called Wild White
which isn’t a hippy-inspired vintage as the name might suggest. The
‘wild’ element comes from the French Sauvage and Blanc for white – a
little linguistic toying. We tried this and several other outstanding
wines at the Honest Grape food and wine tasting, and everybody was
impressed by Mark’s offerings.
But what are Honest Grapes? It’s actually more of a bunch of who’s
rather than what’s. They are a group of wine enthusiasts, wine
professionals, and friends who have created something of a one-stop
wine site which offers suggestions and invitations to events. They hold
regular pairing dinners and single-variety tastings which will excite
anyone who enjoys good wine, and anyone wanting to learn more.
Honest Grapes supports independent growers, small producers and
importers, allowing their guests to taste wines that they won’t be able
to find easily elsewhere. There are wines for quaffing with Sunday
lunch and others suitable for celebrations and impressing the in-laws;
there might even be a cheeky bottle or two appropriate for an evening
in front of the television enjoying ‘The French Connection’ or ‘Julie
& Julia’. This is a marketplace for interesting bottles,
well-chosen vintages – and delicious diversion.
I am no
wine expert and I am not a chef but I really enjoyed this pairing
evening. Honest Grapes presents events that will appeal to food lovers
who will appreciate learning more about how wines not only accompany
dishes but actually enhance them. But any dinner party is just as much
about those folks sitting around the table as what’s on it. These
evenings are convivial. One might not know the others but everyone has
something in common – love of great food and excellent wine, as
furnished by Lutyens and, in this case, the charming Mark Hellyar (whom
I hope to interview in the near future).
Restaurant review: Eneko opened in London last year and is a sibling of one of the Basque
region’s most celebrated restaurants, Azurmendi, by Eneko Atxa, outside
Bilbao. That has three Michelin stars and is listed on the World’s 50
Best Restaurants... Read More
The Garden House Restaurant, Beaverbrook
Restaurant review: Head Chef Kaz Suzuki was born in Japan and moved to New
Zealand at the age of 14. He
brings a unique flair to the Garden House Restaurant where he offers fresh and
seasonal ingredients in both classic and innovative dishes... Read More
Many a cookbook reviewer will start their article with
statements of impartiality, even-handedness and cool, professional aloofness.
Not me. On this occasion, at least. I am pinning my culinary colours to
Valentina Harris’s gastronomic mast with a degree of unashamed pride... Read More
Trolley in the Lobby - Bar at One Aldwych
Bar review: One Aldwych and its Lobby Bar occupy one of the most
important Edwardian buildings in London. One doesn’t have to have a degree in
architecture to be impressed by this hotel. One might remark that it has a hint
of Paris about it and indeed it does... Read More
Taruzake – cedar difference
Drinks review: There is one variety of sake that has always intrigued me, one with a
very pronounced flavour – of wood. No, not the taste of knotty pine nor
the richness of mahogany (although I have never had a chew of either of
those). Here we are talking cedar... Read More
Savini of Milan – at home in London
Restaurant review: Discerning
diners in Milan and the great and the good from the rest of the world
will know of Savini. It will likely have been the venue for their
international business meetings, smart lunches, family celebrations and
perhaps a marriage proposal or two. It is, in short, a restaurant of
impeccable pedigree and holding the best of culinary credentials... Read More
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, Windsor
Restaurant review: Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill in Windsor couldn’t be better
placed for locals and tourists alike. It can be found in one of the
most beautiful Georgian buildings in Windsor at the Castle Hotel which
is just opposite Sir Christopher Wren’s Windsor Guildhall. It’s just a
few minutes’ walk from Windsor Castle, one of the Queen’s favourite homes... Read More
Recipe: This is
great for using up those quickly-browning bananas. The over-ripe ones
are perfect for this recipe as they are both soft and sweet. Throw in a
handful of nuts or dried fruit if you have them... (opens printable page)Read More
Jamavar comes to Mayfair
Restaurant review: The original Jamavar opened in 2001 at The Leela Palace
Bengaluru in India and was named among the World’s Top 10 Power Dining
Spots by Forbes USA. Over the next few years it expanded to other
internationally acclaimed Leela properties in New Delhi, Chennai, Goa and Mumbai.
Jamavar London is the first overseas branch. The kitchen team is led by Executive Chef Rohit Ghai... Read More
Castle Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea - Sofitel Sensory
Afternoon Tea review: The Castle Hotel has a contemporary take on the usual
3-tier stand. Delicate finger sandwiches and smoked salmon graced the
middle shelf. The ground floor held some rather good scones. These were
generous, flavourful and had a real home-made quality about them... Read More
The Homemade Curing Kits from Ross and Ross
Food Product review: Ross and Ross focus on wedding and event catering, and a
range of Great British foodie gift boxes, launched in 2014. The Homemade Curing
Kit for Salmon is a beautifully presented box which any lover of good food
would appreciate. The kit contains everything you need to make your own smoky,
gin or beetroot-cured salmon at home... Read More
The Montague Hotel – best après-skiing in London
Bar review: Snow is an essential element to create that seasonal mood. Yes, we
can buy a ticket to the Alps but a quicker and more cost-effective
alternative might be a trip to the Montague Hotel’s very own Ski Lodge.
You won’t need a passport to get to Montague Street near the British
Museum... Read More
Parlay Ultra Black Rum
Drinks review: The label uses a strong old gold and black design which
sets well on the inky dark spirit in the tall slim bottle. The artwork is embossed and tactile
and excites the expectation of a taste of something a bit different.
Then there is the story of the name... Read More
Champagne Taittinger at Luton Hoo
Hotel review: Luton Hoo is
arguably one of the finest examples of its genre. A stay laced with dinner and champagne was likely to be memorable, and
indeed it was. Luton Hoo offers several wine dinners every year and
they are understandably popular with regular visitors, those who are
celebrating, and others who are interested in learning more about the
best of wines... Read More
The Swan at the Globe
Restaurant review: The Swan fits perfectly with the area. The small windows
remind one of Dickensian homes, although I suspect this is all much newer. One
mounts the stairs to the contemporary restaurant which at 6pm was filled with
tourists... Read More
Hotel TerraVina Dining
Restaurant review: Hotel TerraVina is a gem. It’s a well-appointed house – well, it seems like someone’s home (read the accommodation review here). A line
of colourful wellies in the hall welcomes the arriving guests. The rooms are
individually designed and the beds... Read More
Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour
Restaurant review: This isn’t a bar for the feeble of limb. It has a staircase more associated with a lighthouse than a drinking hole. The deep red walls
and the perfume of incense sticks combine to present an expectation of
something truly exotic at the top of those stairs... Read More
Restaurant review: Donna Margherita is an Italian restaurant and wood-fired pizzeria, and it launched my restaurant reviewing career a few years back. This was
one of my first review visits and I was taken by its intimate ambiance
as well as its authentic Italian food. But would it be a case of ‘you
can never go back’?... Read More
Umami Kelp and Wasabi – an introduction
Japanese food review: We in the UK find the concept of umami to be somewhat elusive. We need educating in this element of flavour which can be recognised in all
manner of foodstuffs – even those common and definitely not Japanese,
such as Marmite... Read More
The Talbot for fine dining
Restaurant review: The Talbot has history. It’s typical of coaching inns all
over the country and this one, in particular, has a story – well,
probably many. It is said to have provided the venue for assignations between
Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton in 1798... Read More
Balans Soho Society – Seven Dials
Restaurant review: I
have had many a vibrant Brunch at Balans and I am drawn there for the
Eggs in Hell – 2 eggs poached in a tomato chilli sauce with a sprinkle
of parmesan, and Balans potatoes. It should be a signature dish... Read More
Anise Bar at Devonshire Square
Bar review: One
might not have heard of Anise Bar but it’s likely the discerning diner
will have heard of Cinnamon Kitchen by Vivek Singh. Perhaps one might
not have heard of Devonshire Square but everyone has heard of the City
of London. There are associations with India in the very fabric of the
buildings here... Read More
Keats Brownie Recipe
Recipe: Perhaps the best Brownie you will ever eat. This comes
from the popular Keats Restaurant in Romsey... (opens printable page)Read More
Olive Tree Southampton
Restaurant review: This was my first visit to Southampton but finding good
food wasn’t going to be a challenge: I had a
recommendation! A French/Seafood restaurant called Olive Tree, on the popular Oxford Street, had a major refurbishment
last January and now has a new inspired Head Chef called Todd Higgs... Read More
Verde from Olive Tree Southampton
Recipe: By Head Chef
Todd Higgs. Salsa Verde is a labour of love: all the herbs must be chopped by hand to
achieve the best texture. Then simply add the mustard, olive oil and as many
anchovies as suits your taste... Read More
Patty and Bun – Old
Restaurant review: It’s a menu of burgers
but don’t be a food snob: a burger is as good as its meat and the meal
is as good as the burger and its garnishes. Trust me, you need to eat
here, or you do if you are any stripe of burger aficionado... Read More
Rafute - Okinawan braised pork belly
Recipe: Rafute is
flavourful, tender and moreish. It’s a dish popular in Okinawa in the far (very
far) south-west of Japan. It’s traditionally made with two local staples – Awamori,
which is Okinawa’s celebrated spirit, and the island’s brown sugar, which is often
made into candy... Read More
Canela Café at Seven Dials
Restaurant review: Canela Café is small and cosy. Its high ceiling and
Victorian urban windows add character to this eatery. Its paintwork and
marble-top tables and chandelier remind one of such places all over
Europe, but the map on the wall points emphatically to Portugal!... Read More
Beresford’s at Balmer Lawn for a touch of Thai
Recipe: Don’t miss a visit to Beresford’s, and Lobster Lemongrass Lime Leaf Risotto is a must-try. It has all the aromatic flavours of traditional Thai curries but without the heat. There is nothing to overpower the delicate taste of the seafood. If you can’t get to Beresford’s for a while then here is the recipe... Read More
The Meat Co, Westfield, Shepherds Bush
Restaurant review: I
live in West London and I can say with a degree of authority that a
decade ago Shepherds Bush was, on a good day, seedy. But since it
opened in 2008, Westfield shopping centre has transformed the area and
the improvements continue, revitalising a whole neighbourhood... Read More
Restaurant review: People say it’s all about location. That’s probably true, as there is no finer spot than CAU in Kingston on a hot summer evening. Sitting
outside with just a footpath between the diner and the Thames, one can bask in
warm contentment, lifting a glass and the silverware being the only exertions... Read More
Remelluri Organic Winery
Food & Drink review: In the 14th century, a
monastery was built that gave birth to this farm, producing cereal and
wine for the monks - La Granja Nuestra Senora de Remelluri (Our Lady of
Remelluri)... Read More
Mele e Pere for Vermouth with a Master
Food & Drink review: Vermouth has been ubiquitous in and on cocktail bars since
mixed drinks became popular more than a century ago, but many of us have no
idea what it actually is, apart from being the bottle that stands at the back
collecting dust... Read More
Restaurant review: Fulham is
trendy these days, but it wasn’t always such a sought-after address. In
879 Danish invaders had a winter break at Fulham and Hammersmith.
Fulham during the 18th century had a reputation of debauchery,
prostitution and gambling. My grandfather lived in Fulham... Read More
Markopoulo recommendations – Attica’s food, wine and welcome
Travel review: Most travellers to Greece seem to arrive in Athens with a
long journey still ahead. They are looking for small restaurants where the
locals eat, perhaps a secluded beach, no other foreign tourists in sight. Yes,
that must be a small island, and a boat ride away from the mainland. Well, all those elements are nearer than you think... Read More
Mele e Pere – a steak in Soho
Restaurant review: Mele e Pere opened in the heart of Soho in February 2012,
but that neighbourhood dates back centuries. In the
Middle Ages, what is now Soho was known as St Giles Field, land
belonging to the Convent of Abingdon, with its leper hospital. In 1536,
the land was taken by Henry VIII... Read More
Brunch Counter – Vauxhall Arches
Restaurant review: One could easily miss it! Counter
truly is under the arches at Vauxhall station. Its entrance is
understated but don’t pass by. This is worth a visit at any time of
day. It has great character and is something of a Tardis... Read More
Romulo Café London
Restaurant review: This is a leafy corner of the capital. It’s not a neighbourhood of steel and glass. This is the preserve of people who actually live here and
those who choose to visit this end of Kensington High Street to seek out a
little charm and calm. Now there is a new draw... Read More
Stuzzico in London’s village
Restaurant review: Talk about London and it’s likely a conversation about
financial hubs (yes, even now after Brexit), the bustle of Oxford
Street, the draw of Theatreland and the Tower of London will ensue.
But London is actually made up of villages which remain far more
charming and welcoming than the thronging thoroughfares... Read More
Saturday Brunch at OXBO
Restaurant review: This isn’t my first visit to OXBO and it won’t be my last. Yes, dear reader, it’s a restaurant in a hotel but it has very individual and quirky charm, and food to appeal to even the pickiest of eaters. Its weekend Brunches and Roasts are becoming celebrated and visitors to London couldn’t find a better location... Read More
Restaurant review: London is moving east. There has been much investment in
an area that already had good transport links. New building for both
housing and commerce has revitalised local economies and indeed
aspirations. H. Forman is best placed to enjoy the benefits of a rising
population that appreciates tastes of the good life... Read More
Le Garrick – Steak with je ne sais quoi
Restaurant review: Le Garrick restaurant and wine bar is conveniently located in the heart of Covent Garden in London’s West End. I am no stranger
here even though this neighbourhood has a wealth of restaurants of
every culinary hue. It’s a timeless treasure and became one of my
favourite restaurants after that very first visit... Read More
Restaurant review: The name had me curious from the start. There is an
explanation, however. Joe is a ‘regular Joe’ indicating a casual
inclusiveness and he could be from anywhere and going anywhere. That
just about sums up London. The restaurant describes the Talli element
thus:... Read More
Domaine Papagiannakos Winery
Winery review: A few years ago one might scoff at the prospect of a visit
to a Greek winery. The memory of old-school Retsina lingers on. That
wine had more in common, to non-Greek taste buds at least, with that in
which one might clean paint brushes. But those days are gone and now
Greek wineries are taken seriously... Read More
Cream Tea Cruise from MBNA Thames Clippers
British travel review: I am a Londoner and I am ashamed to say that I rarely take
advantage of visiting our iconic and internationally-appreciated
historic and cultural sites, unless I just happen to be passing. The Thames is our
ancient thoroughfare... Read More
Gillray’s at County Hall
Restaurant review: As with any building, and as any estate agent worth his
clip-board will tell you, it’s all about location. Gillray’s
must have one of the best, and it’s also housed in an iconic London
landmark... Read More
Maribor – wines, gastronomy, bikes and hikes
Slovenia travel review: Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe. Small it
might be but it has natural beauty, with mountains (Slovenia's highest
mountain, the three-peaked Triglav, is depicted on the national flag),
vine-strewn hills, thick
forests, historic cities and a 46 km long coast on the Adriatic. It is,
in some regards, Europe in microcosm... Read More
Benares for dinner
Restaurant review: Situated in the heart of Mayfair, Benares serves
Michelin-starred modern Indian cuisine and is famed for doing that.
This is fine dining and gives other such restaurants a run for their
culinary money, and that’s restaurants of any gastronomic persuasion... Read More
Sake Cups – or perhaps a glass
Japanese culture review: For those of us who love the delicious complexity of sake,
the vessel from which we drink is often something of an afterthought.
But it shouldn’t be... Read More
Sunday Brunch - Kurobuta Marble Arch
Restaurant review: I confess, I had no idea what to expect. Yes, it was going
to be Japanese. But a Sunday Brunch Buffet? In my admittedly somewhat limited experience, Japanese
food comes in two varieties: first – casual noodles; second –
etiquette-riddled kaiseki cuisine... Read More
Forty Dean Street
Restaurant review: Soho, in general, has been famed for Chinese food, but there are great numbers of decent restaurants of other culinary persuasions these days.
Forty Dean Street is the eponymous restaurant and it is Italian. I mean
the sort of Italian that I remember from my childhood... Read More
The Mayfair Chippy
Restaurant review: Nothing better than traditional
fish and chips. It’s nostalgic comfort food, at least if you are
British. We all have memories of queueing up in a
white-tiled shop with steamy windows, a high counter with glass jars of
pickled gherkins and eggs, bottles of brown vinegar and salt shakers.
For those who hail from beyond these shores that
emporium of fried delights was called ‘the chippy’... Read More
Bó Drake – Greek Street
Restaurant review: Bó Drake has an urban vibe with high stools at the bar, exposed brickwork and metal conduit. And it’s
an impressive bar of around 10 metres with an iroko (African teak) wood
counter. The shelves behind the bar give a hint to the cuisine (as if
the restaurant name had not already)... Read More
The Balcon, London – classic perfection
Restaurant review: This truly memorable restaurant is set on Waterloo Place
on the corner with Pall Mall. This wide thoroughfare is in fact an extension of Regent Street with all its
smart shops. It’s a small area with a host of statues and monuments
that honour heroes and statesmen of the British Empire and various wars... Read More
Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte
Restaurant review: Ask many a dedicated food lover which dishes they crave, what their elected last meal might be, and they will almost universally state that
it has to be unfussy and comforting, something like, say, steak and
chips. Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte is... Read More
Arabica Bar and Kitchen – Borough Market
Restaurant review: Borough has been known for its food markets since as far back as the 11th century. First the stallholders were trading
on old London Bridge, but then in the 13th century they were moved to
what became Borough High Street. A market has been here ever since... Read More
Lotus – Fine Indian Dining
Restaurant review: The Charing Cross Road near Leicester Square Underground Station has not been famed for quality Indian
restaurants. I confess I had never heard of Lotus but I arrived with
high expectations as I had done my homework... Read More
Cinnamon Collection Masterclasses
Restaurant Masterclass review: It seems a bit early for pondering Christmas presents but, trust me, it’s not. If you have a passionate food lover in your near
vicinity you might want to ditch the summer holiday brochures for half
an hour and consider a masterclass... Read More
Patara – Berners
Restaurant review: Oxford Street is one of London’s retail arteries. It’s a ribbon of fashion outlets from the celebrated and
well-established Selfridges to a flourishing number of stalls selling
trashy T-shirts and even more dubious souvenirs. The world of both good
and bad taste can be your oyster... Read More
Sindhu by Atul Kochhar, with Head Chef Gopal Krishnan
Restaurant review: I first met Chef Gopalakrishnan when he was working at a
Michelin-starred restaurant in London; a smart and charismatic
young man who is known by his friends simply as Gopal. He was born in a
small village called Sholingur in Tamil Nadu... Read More
Reims - Tasteful Souvenirs
French travel review: Reims is a beautiful and historic city in the Champagne-Ardenne region
of France. It is only 130 km from Paris with easy
access by train. Excursions to nearby Chalons are a must and there will
be not only the delightfully ubiquitous champagne to taste but also... Read More
Rijsttafel in The Hague
Indonesian Food review: I love The Netherlands and am an unashamed
supporter. It’s an oft-disregarded tourist destination even though it’s
easy to get to from London. Short breaks are more usually taken in
Paris or Berlin. That’s a shame as Dutch cities offer history,
architectural charm and delicious food... Read More
Rennes – second capital of food
(or is it third?)
French travel review: Rennes Market is
considered to be the second- or third-largest in France, depending on whom you
are speaking to... Read More
Restaurant review: Gymkhana is an Indian word which originally referred to a
meeting place. These days it tends to be an equestrian day event put on
by posh pony clubs; but not in this case. Gymkhana in London does fit
into the ‘meeting place’ category... Read More
The Sparkle of Vilmart & Cie
Wine review: The Champagne house Vilmart & Cie was founded in 1890
by Désiré Vilmart and is considered by many an authority
to be perhaps the leading producer of quality Champagne in the region
of Northern France which bears the same name... Read More
Umbria’s Autumn Gastronomy with Valentina Harris
Chef interview: Valentina Harris doesn’t have many free moments
but I cornered her on a return flight from a culinary tour of Umbria. She
is an unashamed supporter of the country of her birth, and conducts
gastronomic adventures to Umbria and other regions... Read More
Hisashi Taoka of Kiku – Fish aficionado
Chef interview: Kiku was first established in Mayfair in 1978 and has gained a
reputation for serving authentic Japanese cuisine. The owners,
Mariko and Hisashi Taoka, are dedicated to presenting the freshest of
food in a calming cocoon of blond wood... Read More
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London Indian chefs, over 100
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