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Mostly Food & Travel Journal

Eneko at One Aldwych

The Garden House Restaurant, Beaverbrook

Trolley in the Lobby - Bar at One Aldwych

The Garden House – a stay with friends

Castle Hotel Windsor

Mainz – arrive by River

Risotto! Risotto! by Valentina Harris

Taruzake – cedar difference

Savini of Milan – at home in London

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill, Windsor

Bali – more than a beach

Travels in Germany with MS Jane Austen

The Hague’s fashion souvenirs

Recipe: Banana Bread

Jamavar comes to Mayfair

Luton Hoo to Stay

Castle Hotel Windsor Afternoon Tea - Sofitel Sensory Storytelling

Givenchy and Hepburn at Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

The Homemade Curing Kits from Ross and Ross

Montigo in Batam Indonesia

The Montague Hotel – best après-skiing in London

Heidelberg - Elegant and Sweet

Champagne Taittinger at Luton Hoo

Parlay Ultra Black Rum

Castles and Clans with The Majestic Line

The Swan at the Globe

Hotel TerraVina Dining

Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour

Donna Margherita

The Talbot to Stay

Umami Kelp and Wasabi – an introduction

Balmer Lawn – New Forest Stay

The Talbot for fine dining

Balans Soho Society – Seven Dials

Anise Bar at Devonshire Square

Keats Brownie Recipe

Olive Tree - Southampton

Salsa Verde from Olive Tree Southampton

Patty and Bun – Old Compton Street

Rafute

Canela Café at Seven Dials

Beresford’s at Balmer Lawn for a touch of Thai

The Meat Co, Westfield, Shepherds Bush

Hotel TerraVina for Bed and Breakfast

CAU Kingston

Remelluri Organic Winery

Mele e Pere for Vermouth with a Master

Hanger SW6

Markopoulo recommendations

Mele e Pere – a steak in Soho

Brunch Counter – Vauxhall Arches

Romulo Café London

Stuzzico in London’s village

OXBO for Saturday Brunch

Forman’s Restaurant

Le Garrick – Steak with je ne sais quoi

Talli Joe

Domaine Papagiannakos Winery

Cream Tea Cruise from MBNA Thames Clippers

Gillray’s at County Hall

Maribor – wines, gastronomy, bikes and hikes

Benares for dinner

Sake Cups – or perhaps a glass

Kurobuta Marble Arch for Sunday Brunch

Forty Dean Street

The Mayfair Chippy

Bó Drake

The Balcon, London

Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte

Arabica Bar and Kitchen – Borough Market

Lotus – Charing Cross Road

Cinnamon Collection Masterclasses

Patara – Berners Street

Sindhu by Atul Kochhar

Langkawi – more than beaches

Reims - Tasteful Souvenirs

Rennes – living with history

Rennes

Bayeux – A stitch in time


 
 
 
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Honest Grapes Fizz

Fizzical Education - Around Europe in 8 Sparkling Wines

Honest Grapes offer fun, educational and delicious events and this one will be memorable. If you want to learn more about sparkling wines then don’t miss this evening.

Get Fizzical and join Honest Grapes for an effervescent marathon around Europe in 8 sparkling wines!

Treat your taste buds with a tasting of fizz from France, England, Italy, Spain and Germany hosted by their fine-wine guru Claire McKinney and winemaker from Herbert Hall, Nick Hall.

You have a guarantee of a fantastic evening of “Fizzical Education”, exploring differences and making comparisons between production methods and styles.

Upon Arrival

Honest Grapes Spain - Quim Vila Babot Cava Brut Nature

Champagne Method

England - Herbert Hall Brut
France - Frerejean Frères Premier Cru Brut

Rosé Sparkling

England - Herbert Hall Brut Rose
Italy - Bellavista Franciacorta Rose

Varietal Sparkling

Germany - Clemens Busch Spatburgunder Sekt
France - Frerejean Frères Blanc de Blanc

Sweet Sparkling

Italy - Castello di Neive Moscato d'Asti

4th April 2017 from 6:30pm-8:30pm
Dress code: plimsolls not necessary

Venue: Oliver Sweeney
10 Henrietta Street
Covent Garden
London
WC2E 8PS

By ticket only – book in advance:
Learn more and make your booking for this sparkling evening here

food and travel reviews
 

Eneko at One Aldwych

EnekoOne Aldwych is a smart and celebrated hotel and, as its name suggests, occupies the front near-side corner of that sweeping crescent called Aldwych. Eneko is its latest restaurant, taking the basement place of Axis, which I had always enjoyed.

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. Eneko was conceived in the Basque Country and its food showcases regional produce, cuisine and culinary concepts in the most delicious and contemporary fashion.

Basque cuisine includes grilled meat, fish and bean dishes, and pintxos, which are Basque tapas found in bars along the alleyways of San Sebastian. But there is wine, too, such as the excellent and young txakoli. It’s a sparkling, crisp white wine with hints of tart green apples. It’s often presented as an aperitif and can be marvellously paired with not only the aforementioned pintxos but also white fish and light pork dishes. It’s always served young and vibrant. Until the 1980s, txakoli was a rustic home-made wine and in danger of dying out but now that some varieties of txakoli have achieved Denominación de Origen certification (like the French AOC) this wine has become more popular. The all-Spanish wine list includes wines exclusive to Eneko at One Aldwych, and some of them come from Eneko’s own vineyards! There are surely few restaurants in London who can boast that!

Eneko The lead team at Eneko have been trained by Eneko Atxa, from whom the restaurant takes its name. We didn’t meet the chefs on our visit but the front-of-house staff acted as first-class ambassadors for those in the kitchen. Born and bred in the Basque region, Eneko is evidently proud of the food of his home and he has adapted traditional dishes to suit London. Head Chef Edurne Martín Delgado has worked closely with Eneko Atxa since 2006 and has been responsible for much of the menu, which is well-balanced and even whimsical.

Yes, this is a basement restaurant but it successfully contrives to be spacious and well-proportioned with artful use of natural materials such as stone and wood. Eneko isn’t flashy with accents of gaudy bling, but rather it exudes a charm and a crafted cosy elegance.

Eneko But it’s likely one would visit Eneko for the food rather than a discussion on interior design. I started the meal with a glass of the aforementioned txakoli to accompany the Txerri Boda Pork Festival - chorizo on milk bread, glazed sweetbread, suckling pig tempura. A porcine fiesta that started with the serving dish, which was a wooden box, the lid of which was a carved pig’s head. Theatrical and amusing, this casket held a delicious array of savoury bites. This must be a signature starter.

Traditional Talo was my guest’s choice. This was crispy corn talo (a flatbread) with heritage tomatoes and fresh herbs and served as a brilliant spring garden. It’s true that we first eat with our eyes and this was dazzling but also a delightful dish to eat …with one’s mouth.

Basque-style hake in tempura was my companion’s main dish. This came garnished with confit of vegetables, red pepper sauce and parsley emulsion. It was a simple presentation and no worse for it. The delicate white fish was cooked to succulent perfection in its coat of batter. Nothing fussy. Nothing elaborate but just a good solid and confident plate.

My main dish was seared duck breast, julienne of king oyster mushrooms and pickled red onion. Yes, granted, this was a somewhat more elaborate preparation but the culinary frills did nothing to mask a great piece of duck which needed nothing other than the soon-to-become-famous mashed potatoes – don’t miss these!

Strawberry sorbet and rose marshmallow was our shared dessert. It would seem to have been a lightish dinner but we were stuffed with delicate flavours and lots of good cooking and I wouldn’t have given anyone a thank-you for a steamed pud. This fruity creation was pink and beautiful with a marshmallow as soft as a cloud and just a suspicion of roses. This would have been a most romantic end to a meal, but we’ve been married for almost three decades.

Eneko There are few restaurants of this quality that I have enjoyed so much. It has a relaxed ambiance, a great location but it’s the food and wine that will assure a loyal following. Eneko didn’t disappoint.

Opening times
Monday to Saturday: Lunch noon – 2.30pm. Dinner 5pm – 11pm
Sunday: Lunch noon – 3.30pm. Dinner 6pm – 10pm

Brunch
Saturday: 11.30am - 3pm
Sunday: 11.30am - 3.30pm

Phone: 020 7300 0300
eneko@onealdwych.com

Eneko at One Aldwych
London
WC2B 4BZ

Visit Eneko here

food and travel reviews

The Garden House Restaurant

beaverbrook This truly is a ‘garden’ house with the intimate character of a cosy cottage. (Read more about the Garden House here.) It’s part of the Beaverbrook Estate and the smaller of two hotels, the other being the lavish and imposing main house which was once the home of Lord Beaverbrook, one of the most influential men of the last century. There are only 11 bedrooms in The Garden House so guests have the best of personal service from friendly and attentive staff, and that care and attention to detail extends to the restaurant which is already gaining a reputation for quality.

The restaurant is charmingly furnished and contemporary but with accents of heritage and deceptively easy design. This offers a relaxed and unstuffy ambiance which encourages the guest to linger. Some of those guests are local, and they might well be regulars even though it’s been just a few months since The Garden House Restaurant opened its doors.

Head Chef Kaz Suzuki was born in Japan and moved to New Zealand at the age of 14. Cooking was his passion and he has worked as an international private chef as well as for established restaurants. He brings a unique flair to the Garden House Restaurant where he offers fresh and seasonal ingredients in both classic and innovative dishes.

Yes, those ingredients couldn’t be fresher and some have remarkably low air miles. In fact no miles of any description as they are harvested from the adjoining Kitchen Garden which blossoms in abundance just outside the back door. The menu changes with the availability of the best produce and it’s always evolving.

beaverbrook Head Chef Suzuki has created a menu that combines traditional British dishes along with Italian classics. The bill of fare is well-balanced and tempting and one visit will likely not be enough. There will always be something new and one runs the risk, without frequent visits, that the chicken Milanese one had one’s eye on for the next dinner might not be on …but then there might be the chop, which is just as delicious.

The wine list here is quite exceptional for a relatively small restaurant. It’s remarkable that The Garden House Restaurant can offer such fine wines by the glass – but there is a secret: the Coravin! This is a gadget which allows the sommelier, in this case Euan McColm, to keep the cork in the bottle until the last drop of wine has been enjoyed.

If wine is in contact with air the wine will soon oxidise and lose its character and freshness. So how does one get the wine out of the bottle? Coravin is a new needle-through-the-cork system that enables you to siphon wine out of bottles without spoiling what’s left. Once the needle is pushed through the cork, a trigger is pulled to introduce argon gas through the needle at a pressure of 24 pounds per square inch. When the bottle is pressurised, wine can be poured through the spout. The remaining wine never comes in contact with oxygen, and the cork reseals itself in just a few minutes. Thus diners at The Garden House Restaurant have the opportunity of trying some outstanding wines by the glass.

beaverbrook We ordered Sardinian Flatbread made with olive oil and rosemary. Apparently this is a really popular nibble at The Garden House Restaurant and it’s easy to see why. Pane carasau is sometimes called “piano paper” or carta di musica, referring to its paper-thinness. This isn’t easy to make as it’s a process of rolling thin and baking until the bread puffs up and then cutting it in two and giving it another quick bake. Don’t miss this savoury treat.

My first course was Rabbit Ragu and Pappardelle with Chorizo, Vine Tomatoes and Olives. Rabbit should be a more popular meat than it is. Perhaps it’s a combination of Watership Down, Walt Disney and myxomatosis which has put paid to our love for bunny in a culinary sense. It’s a mild meat and shown to great advantage in this dish.

Gnoccillini of Goats Cheese and Pumpkin with Date Purée, Pistachio and Sage was my guest’s choice and he was well-pleased with these. The date added sweetness to the tangy cheese. A twist on an Italian classic.

My companion followed his gnocchi with Hampshire Partridge served with a traditional accompaniment of Braised Red Cabbage, Red Wine and Thyme and a side of game chips – which should be sold by the bag! We love game in the UK and it’s always good to see it presented so well.

beaverbrook I enjoyed the aforementioned Chicken Milanese as it was indeed on the menu on this occasion. A simple dish but comforting when done correctly. Nothing fussy or over-garnished – this was just right in every regard.

We shared a Slow Baked Cheese Cake with Limoncello Sorbet to finish this memorable meal. Affogato - a coffee-based dessert of ice cream topped or "drowned" with a shot of hot espresso - was also available and that would have been an appropriate end to this Italian/British-inspired dinner; but I am saving that for next time.

Breakfast at The Garden House Restaurant is a treat with lots of options for anyone looking for a decent brekkie: a Proper Bacon Sandwich made with Crispy Streaky Bacon and Campaillou Bread – that’s a bread made with a mix of different flours; a Full English Breakfast of Egg, Bacon, Wild Boar and Apple Sausage and Vine Tomato should be on the wish-list of lovers of British fry-ups. But my guest chose a lighter option of Poached Duck Egg and Avocado served with Bacon Chutney and Hollandaise. He was so taken with the bacon chutney that he has been researching a recipe ever since! This is a winner of a breakfast.

beaverbrook The list continues with Home-Cured Oxfordshire Salmon and Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Haddock and Poached Egg, Boiled Egg and Soldiers, Pancake, Crispy Bacon with Maple Syrup and Caramelised Banana. There is also Egg White Omelette for those folks who only ever indulge in one finger of Kit-Kat.

The Garden House Restaurant is an appropriate partner to the hotel. It deserves to become a destination restaurant in the area. Its food is accessible and delicious, its wines are superb and the staff are friendly and professional. Looking forward to tasting more from this kitchen.

The Garden House Restaurant
The Garden House
Beaverbrook
Reigate Road
Leatherhead
Surrey KT22 8QX


Phone: +44 (0)1372 227670
Email: info@beaverbrook.co.uk

Visit The Garden House here


food and travel reviews

Risotto! Risotto!

risotto 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.

This lady has been a supporter of Italian wine, produce and cooking for decades. What better ambassador for all things delicious could Italy have than this chef with such impeccable Italian social pedigree? She has cooking credentials gathered almost from the cradle.

Valentina spoke to me about her start in food. “This is 1947 or 48, and in this ruined but beautiful house and on the land around it are living all these refugees from the war. The one person who was allowed to stay was a man called Beppino. He had been a chef before the war, had become detached from his platoon and ended up at La Tambura. From the moment I first set eyes on him at age 10 days he became everything to me. He was in his thirties, and he grew the vegetables, kept the chickens and the rabbits, harvested the grapes and the olives. I followed him like a little shadow! I grew up with this philosophy in my head: ‘Don’t mess with the food!’ long before anyone else.

“Before the war Beppino had been the risotto chef at Savini in the Galleria in Milan, so if he didn’t know about risotto, nobody would. A lot of people in the industry, as a result of my slightly obsessive nature, call me the ‘Risotto Queen’! It is my ‘thing’ and it was all because of those simple afternoons in the kitchen, he standing there taking me through it, making the stock together. It was like getting a masterclass every day that we were there.”

And here it is – the paper representation of a life in risotto. The cover is simple and clean with formal ranks of grains of rice and the bold and simple title, Risotto! Risotto! There are plenty of coloured pictures to tempt one into the kitchen. Once the basic technique of risotto-making is mastered then it’s really down to sourcing the best of ingredients, and success is assured.

Risotto is a classic dish which doesn’t demand costly gadgets or an inclination towards rocket science to prepare. Valentina writes clear recipes to give confidence to the novice and inspiration to the more experienced domestic cook. Yes, perhaps that’s the secret to Valentina’s success as a cookbook author: she learnt her risotto craft from a chef but in a home environment.

Risotto! Risotto! isn’t just a recipe book, though. It’s about the history and evolution of this staple grain. Valentina has the advantage of being able to recount her own family association with rice and that started as far back as 1475, when the Dukes of Milan (yes, that is her family) promoted rice growing!

It’s hard to pick one favourite recipe from this charming book. Risotto alla Parmigiana would be on my list for its taste and texture and ‘comfort food’ factor. Risotto al Gorgonzola is another cheese-based dish but it’s an absolute winner and classy too! Valentina offers the very different barley risotto which is hearty and sweet with caramelised onions balanced by a little more cheese. Mushroom risotto is always popular and here it is. Brown Shrimp Risotto is a star and Risotto with Seafood is luxurious and unmissable.

Risotto! Risotto! offers support, anecdotes, practicality and good taste. It is, in short, everything that a good cookbook should be. In these times of belt-tightening this book encourages us to prepare delicious, good value dishes – dishes that will sustain as family meals and impress as dinner-party fare. It’s a book that will likely spend more time in the kitchen than on the book shelf.

Risotto! Risotto!
Author: Valentina Harris
Published by: Absolute Press
Price: £20
ISBN-10: 1472933206
ISBN-13: 978-1472933201

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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

Balmer Lawn lobster 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

Meat co
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

Hotel TerraVina for Bed and Breakfast

TerraVina Hotel review: We are blessed with many fine hotels in the UK. All the 5* chains are well represented in all major cities. But we also have a wealth of boutique and Country House hotels and each is unique and characterful. The New Forest is beautiful and mostly unspoilt and it also has hotels which reflect the area’s style... Read More

CAU Kingston

CAU 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

Remelluri
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

mele vermouth
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

Hanger SW6

Hanger 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

Markopoulo recommendations 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

Mele e Pere 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

Counter Vauxhall
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

Romulo 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

Stuzzico 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

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

Forman’s Restaurant

Forman's Restaurant 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

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

Talli Joe

Talli Joe
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

Domaine Papagiannakos Vineyard
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

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

Gillrays
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

Maribor 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

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

sake cups 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

Kurobuta
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

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

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

Bo 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

Balcon 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

Relais de Venise L'Entrecote
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

Arabica 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

Lotus 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

cinnamon collection masterclass 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 Street

Patara Berners Street
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

Sindhu by Atul Kochhar
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

Langkawi – more than beaches

Langkawi - more than beaches
Malaysia travel review: This tropical gem has a deserved reputation for iconic, palm-fringed beaches, dazzling white sand and sea warm enough to call a bath. Langkawi is an island that charms and intrigues, and its story can be discovered not far from your sun-lounger... Read More

Reims - Tasteful Souvenirs

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

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 – living with history

Rennes history
French travel review: History is everywhere in Rennes but it’s actually considered by thoroughly modern folks to be one of the most liveable cities in France... Read More

Rennes – second capital of food (or is it third?)

Rennes food
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

Gymkhana London

Gymkhana
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

Bayeux – A stitch in time

Bayeux
French travel review: It’s inevitable that the first thing people think of when you mention Bayeux is the tapestry. Though it’s not actually a tapestry but a very fine embroidery. The Bayeux Tapestry is now on permanent display in a bespoke museum in the city of Bayeux in Normandy, France... Read More

Fontenay Abbey

Fontenay Abbey
French travel review: That’s the beauty of barge travel - it relaxes the mind and makes space for civilized exercises such as the pursuit of good food and wine and culture. The Abbey at Fontenay was just a little way away from the canal run and the excursion... Read More

Bound by history, carved in stone - Normandy and England

Caen
French travel review: We share so much. Those Norsemen who pillaged the coast of Britain and settled inland also did the same in France, and indeed in such numbers that a region took their name – Normandy... Read More

La Belle Epoque – 5-star floating through Burgundy

La belle Epoque
French travel review: A barge, even a big one, presents the very real prospect of tight accommodations, iffy facilities... Read More


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Capital Spice - chefs, restaurants and recipes
By Chrissie Walker, foreword by Sanjeev Kapoor.
21 great London Indian chefs, over 100
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Available from bookshops and Amazon.
ISBN: 9781906650728

 
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