Archive For September 2016

Massucco Wines

Massucco Wines

For many years Loris Massucco has been working hard, supported by the experience of several generations of family wine makers, to create his new, innovative wines. All over the world, wine producers are constantly competing when it comes to promoting and selling their wines, and what makes the difference all too often is price, at…

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Ichiryu Hakata Udon House

Ichiryu Hakata Udon House

Ichiryu Hakata Udon House is from the same stable that brings you Japan Centre and the chain of Japanese restaurants, Shoryu. Ichiryu is a well-placed eatery on New Oxford Street, and even after just a couple of months it’s enjoying a loyal following of office workers, shoppers, and I hear it’s been discovered by a…

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The Swan at the Globe

The Swan at the Globe

The Swan Bar and Restaurant is part of Shakespeare’s Globe, overlooking the River Thames. I think it’s one of the best views of the river and St Paul’s, which rises majestically over the waterfront buildings. This neighbourhood is called Bankside and in the days of Elizabeth I it was a place for dubious entertainment. Its…

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Den Udon at Kings Cross

Den Udon at Kings Cross

[This venue is now closed] Japanese food is becoming more popular. There have long been very smart Japanese restaurants in London and they have been serving the most delicious and most intricate dishes to customers who appreciate refined cuisine. Now there is a veritable rash of more reasonably priced Japanese noodle restaurants, but there are…

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Perfection in Imperfection

Perfection in Imperfection

I first met Chef Janice Wong at her deliciously unique dessert bar in Singapore in the early hours. It’s called, unsurprisingly, 2am: dessertbar. It’s a showcase for this talented lady and offers a flavour of this, her literary debut. Janice looks even younger than her young years but she has packed a lot into less…

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La Mancha – Chiswick

La Mancha – Chiswick

[This venue is now closed] The name La Mancha will be familiar to all in West London and many from further afield. It was a veritable culinary institution in Putney but it’s found a new home, and to my mind a better one. La Mancha is, in fact, a history-rich region of central Spain, south…

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Bird of Smithfield

Bird of Smithfield

Sounds like a family butchers which might have been trading for a brace of centuries. It is, in fact, a newish restaurant but right next to Smithfield Market, which has a much longer history. Smithfield Market or, more officially, London Central Markets, is the largest wholesale meat market in the UK and one of the…

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Benares for dinner

Benares for dinner

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. Named after India’s holy city, Benares, this restaurant offers only hints of its ethnicity in…

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Canela Café at Seven Dials

Canela Café at Seven Dials

Yes, if you look for them, there really are seven dials and they are affixed to a column at the intersection. A blue plaque commemorates the spot where Beatles manager Brian Epstein had his music management company, NEMS – North End Music Stores. The plaque was officially unveiled in 2010 by the late Cilla Black….

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Sunday Brunch – Kurobuta Marble Arch

Sunday Brunch – Kurobuta Marble Arch

I confess, I had no idea what to expect. Yes, it was going to be Japanese. But a Sunday Brunch Buffet? How was that going to work? In my admittedly somewhat limited experience, Japanese food comes in two varieties: first – casual noodles; second – etiquette-riddled kaiseki cuisine. So how would a Sunday brunch buffet…

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Salsa Verde from Olive Tree Southampton

Salsa Verde from Olive Tree Southampton

This is a small independent restaurant with a remarkable Head Chef, Todd Higgs. He has daily specials using ‘fresh off the boat’ seafood. See the review here. And here is their recipe for Salsa Verde! Salsa Verde is a labour of love: all the herbs must be chopped by hand to achieve the best texture….

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Bunny Chow Soho

Bunny Chow Soho

The name might not entice the uninitiated across the threshold, that’s true. One might suspect that it’s only salad on offer: well, that’s chow for rabbits, isn’t it? But on the other hand it could be a menu of dishes made out of bunnies with perhaps an associated gift shop selling rabbitty memorabilia such as…

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Bó Drake – Greek Street

Bó Drake – Greek Street

It’s a part of Soho that has been the haunt of those seeking dubious nocturnal delights down the centuries, but also those associated with the arts and literature. Greek Street, running from Shaftesbury Avenue to Soho Square, might take its name from the Greek Church (later St. Mary’s) built in 1677. The church was on…

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Donna Margherita

Donna Margherita

This classic Italian restaurant is on Lavender Hill. The street’s name comes from the lavender that was once grown in market gardens around here. After the opening of Clapham Junction station just up the road in 1863 the surrounding area was built up with terraces of cheap housing for the workers who moved there from…

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The Talbot to Stay

The Talbot to Stay

Visitors to London are tempted to stay just in the city. There is plenty to see and do, so why roam? It’s the same for us Londoners – we tend to stay in town, but there is more to England than that and it’s on our doorstep. You must visit The Talbot. Ripley is a…

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Umami Kelp and Wasabi – an introduction

Umami Kelp and Wasabi – an introduction

London’s Icetank Studio was the venue for an informative and friendly seminar on Umami hosted by the Japanese Culinary Academy UK and supported by JETRO London (Japan External Trade Organisation). It showcased some of the exhibitors from the Japan Pavilion at this year’s Speciality Food Fair and they gave demonstrations to illustrate the significance of…

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Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour

Opium Cocktail and Dim Sum Parlour

London’s Chinatown is broadly found between Shaftesbury Avenue to the north and Lisle Street to the south. It’s not far from Leicester Square and Theatreland. It’s a neighbourhood with a long history stretching back to the Great Fire of 1666 in which much of London was destroyed. In 1677 Lord Gerrard, the owner of the…

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The Talbot for fine dining

The Talbot for fine dining

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. There is a brass plate bearing Nelson’s name on one of the…

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Balans Soho Society – Seven Dials

Balans Soho Society – Seven Dials

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. Yes, lots of visits to other branches but this was the first time…

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Anise Bar at Devonshire Square

Anise Bar at Devonshire Square

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. Between…

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