All posts filed under: London


Padella Pasta at Borough Market: Excellent, Affordable & Handmade

London hasn’t been short of great Neapolitan style and sourdough pizzas in the last 5 years. I love a pizza, but what I never could understand was why nobody had applied the same approach to great handmade pasta. There are restaurants serving very good pasta in London, but mostly at the high end. Pasta takes effort and expertise but isn’t necessarily expensive so that wasn’t making any sense to me. At last someone has opened a pasta restaurant, and it is great. All hail Padella.   Padella – handmade pasta at Borough Market  Padella is from the team behind Trullo, an Italian restaurant and local favourite in Highbury, which has become a destination too for their pasta and fiorentina steaks. I really enjoyed it, but it is a little far from my corner of South London and so I have not made it as much as I would like. Padella, on the other hand is a short hop up the Northern Line, and wedged into Borough Market by the entrance. I say wedged, but what greeted me was a bright stylish …

Beijing Dumpling: Handmade Dumplings in Chinatown

The first time I went to Beijing Dumpling there were no dumplings available that day. I am a little dumpling obsessed and I left disappointed wondering how a dumpling restaurant could have none. It was early days and there must have been some teething problems. My subsequent visits have been a lot more successful, and filled with them. On Lisle St in Chinatown, you will first notice Beijing Dumpling when you see the chefs making dumplings fresh in the window. Small careful xiao long bao filled with a flick and finished with a gentle twist. Chefs work from a large lump of dough and a bowl of meat and produce stacks of bamboo baskets filled with dumplings ready for steaming.  The menu is large with lots of Cantonese dishes and hot pot. I have heard that the beef ho fun is very good, but I always max out on the dumplings getting a mix of Xiao Long Bao and the Seafood Supreme Dumpling, always with a pot of tea. The Xiao Long Bao are small and come in …


Asma Khan’s Darjeeling Express at The Sun & 13 Cantons

You have only got 11 days in which you can sample the food I am about to tell you about, so pay close attention, and then book it swiftly. Asma Khan’s food at the Sun & 13 Cantons is some of the best Indian food in London right now, and you have to try it. I have been twice and I will go again before it closes. Twice more if I can. When Asma moved to London in 1991 from Calcutta, she didn’t know how to cook. She was trained in law, but she missed the food and went back to her ancestral kitchens to learn the royal Mughlai and Nawabi school of cuisine from her father’s side, and the food of Calcutta from her mother’s side (and where she was born and raised). It wasn’t long before Asma started serving her food from her popular supper club at home in Kensington. For the past year she has been in residence at The Sun and 13 Cantons. If you follow me on social media you will have seen …

Tata Eatery Pop Up Brunch at the Newman Arms

TĀ TĀ Eatery: Pop Up All Day Brunch with an Asian Accent

On my last trip to Japan after a gorgeous meal in a lovely neighbourhood restaurant, I spoke with the chef about the food and his inspiration. We had had some wonderful dishes, a particularly sublime sandwich of sliced lotus root sandwiching minced chicken and fried in a marinade / sauce of soy, sake and mirin and wonderful rice. He told me that the most expensive thing in his restaurant was the rice, as it was the most important thing. Painstakingly sourced and executed with care and precision the little bowls of rice served there were bowls of perky joy soothed with all sorts of gorgeousness like that lotus root sandwich. TĀ TĀ Eatery want you to think about rice too. TĀ TĀ Eatery centre their food on their rice, both as a vessel for eating and in congee. From Zijun Meng and Ana Goncalves, both former chefs at one of my favourite restaurants (that is sadly no more) Viajante, and the Chiltern Firehouse after.  They are a street food favourite at Druid St Market where the serve …

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The Bloodshot Supper Club at The Dairy, London

London food is on fire. We have great markets, lots of street food, some of the worlds best fine dining, terrific mid range restaurants, ace cheap eats and superb international food, especially Asian. So many restaurants are opening, on a scale that compares with New York in recent years. I travel a lot, and I love it, but I always love to come home. Travel makes it better, and makes me appreciate London even more. I spoke about London recently with Rick Bayless on The Feed Podcast, and was delighted to share my views on what makes the London food scene so brilliant at the moment, with reference to our vibrant markets (the episode of The Feed podcast that I spoke on is here). The Dairy A very good example of the new energy in London is Robin and Sarah Gill. The effect that they have had on the London food scene in less than 3 years is remarkable. Last year, two of their restaurants were in the Good Food Guide Top 50, and Robin …


Shackfuyu in Residence at the Bone Daddies Bermondsey Kitchen

Shackfuyu ticks a few boxes: great food, fantastic playlist, secret basement bar and a great drinks list (hello sake). From the team behind Bone Daddies, one of my favourite London ramen bars, Shackfuyu are serving Japanese soul food including eclectic and full flavoured fusion dishes like mentaiko mac and cheese and have been for the last (??) 6 months. Shackfuyu do great things with their wood oven, sukiyaki style wagyu picanha, roast fish, and a wonderful hot stone rice with sesame, chilli & beef which I have burned myself on more than once. Worth it every time, enthusiasm often triumphs sense when there is good food in front of me. Instagram loves the Kinako French Toast with Soft Serve Ice Cream, but I can’t look past the Prawn Toast as Okonomiyaki, which is exactly as it says, a round prawn toast topped as an okonomiyaki is with Japanese mayo, brown sauce and shaved dried bonito flakes. Did I mention the Korean Chicken Wings?   Unfortunately, Shackfuyu also ticks another box at the moment: closed. Just temporarily while they refurbish the …


Paradise Garage – New Kid on the Eastern Block from The Dairy

A quick one for you today! Another London restaurant for your lists, I think this is an essential. Chef Robin Gill of The Dairy, The Manor and The Delicatessen seems to have the midas touch or is that the lardo touch, right now? I say with that with great respect and affection, lardo is one of the most delicious things on the planet, and Robin has the good sense to wrap some around a gorgeous egg. With head chef Simon Woodrow and Robin’s wife Sarah, Robin has created one of my favourite new openings this year, Paradise Garage, in the railway arches near Bethnal Green tube station. They have delivered a menu that is as exciting as it is comforting. I went for lunch recently and it was one of my best lunches this year. So, I just had to let you know. Venison tartare, preserved egg yolk & watercress – a lively and gorgeous dish to start my meal. On top was grated preserved egg yolk, tasting a little like bottarga. Tilley’s farm egg, …


The New Sunday Roast at Bob Bob Ricard

It would be improper of me not to let you know about the new Sunday Roast at Bob Bob Ricard in London. Or to mention Bob Bob Ricard at all, it has been a while. Bob Bob Ricard is a most under rated restaurant. It doesn’t care about trends, the food is classic, and it is very well executed. It is refreshing and it is fun. Even though Bob Bob Ricard is in the heart of Soho, it feels like it could be a grand restaurant from 100 years ago or a very large carriage of a luxury train. When I have visitors in town, we often go. It is famous for being the home of the famous Press for Champagne button. I always allow myself to press it at least once. When you do, your table number lights up above the bar, and a glass of house champagne is delivered to you. Another essential drink for every visit is the rhubarb G&T, bright pink, intensely flavoured and textured with egg white. The cocktails generally …

Review: Barrafina, Adelaide St, London

Barrafina Adelaide St seems to be London’s new favourite restaurant. I can’t bear hype, and I loathe queues, but I love the original Barrafina so I braved it. The queue wasn’t that much a of a drama in the end, you get to have a drink at the counter while you wait. There were 4 of us and we waited about 45 minutes. Which flew by. If you are not in the know, Barrafina is a Spanish tapas bar, the original is on Frith St in Soho, the newest sibling on Adelaide St, between Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square and just up the road from Terroirs (which I love). Diners are seated along a curved counter which circles the kitchen, the room is buzzy and smart.

Meatopia London & Josh Ozersky’s Dirty Steaks

Meatopia rolled into town again last weekend. A US food institution and brainchild of food writer Josh Ozersky, this was their second year in London. Meatopia gathers the best chefs, butchers, artisans, evangelists and burgerati and has them cook over fire – and only fire – for the weekend at Tobacco Dock. Only the best naturally raised and ethically sourced meat is used. Chefs this year came from all over the UK, the US, Singapore & Brazil. Mixed in with all of this was an American Whisky Bar, some pretty raucous live music and dancing. Lots of fun & great food. Here are my highlights and your guide on how to cook Dirty Steaks at home. (Some of) the burgers of Meatopia – Fred Smith’s Dream Burger (made with 60% Welsh wagyu short rib beef and chuck); the MeisterShack Burger from Mark Rosati of Shake Shack; 60 day aged beef burger with American cheese & bacon in a traditional sesame seed bun from Zan Kaufman of Bleecker Burger. Charlie Carroll / Flatiron’s Whole Spit Roast …

Review: The Lockhart, London

January was not a hugely successful month for dining for me. Not that I was on some dry January mission, January, of all months, needs decadence and I will never do that. I ate out a lot and had some good meals, but rarely anything exceptional. Then I went to The Lockhart and had my faith restored. The Lockhart opened last year but not well. So they got a new chef, changed the menu, closed and worked on it before opening again in January. I was meeting two food loving friends for dinner, and booked at the last minute after one friend objected to the original reservation elsewhere. Expectations were high. Very. We sat by the kitchen, a bright vivid space, and watched the chefs gently choreograph our meal. Brad McDonald leads the kitchen, a well respected American chef who now cooks southern food in London. And lucky us. We ordered pretty much everything between us (the menu is not overwhelming and is perfect for this).

Review: House of Ho [Vietnamese, Soho, London]

Bobby Chin is well know for his TV exploits, however, he also owns two very well regarded restaurants in Hanoi & Saigon. Now, a third in London has been added to the list in an impressive double fronted site on Old Compton St in Soho. The official opening day  was January the 6th, although they were operating in soft launch over Christmas. I popped in earlier this week. First impressions are good. The space is vibrant and buzzy and the menu looks promising. We started with cocktails, I had a horny devil simply because I can’t resist chilli anywhere, even in my drinks. With lemongrass vodka, Vietnamese devil’s chilli (floating menacingly on the top of the cocktail) and fresh coconut, it was fresh and sharp with a lovely gentle heat.

Preview: Foxlow, St John St, London

St John St is a busy street, and in a very good way. Home to St John’s restaurant (from Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver), and also wine bar & restaurant Vinoteca (across the road), with Bistro Bruno Loubet (which I have eaten at 3 times but neglected to blog, a huge oversight), and The Zetter Townhouse around the corner (one of my favourite spots for drinks and bar snacks). There are lots more and I could type all day, but my point is, that this isn’t an area that has been crying out for great new restaurants. This hasn’t stopped the Hawksmoor team from taking a stab at it, and given their pedigree (I am a fan of their Hawksmoor steakhouses and bar), I was curious as to what they planned to deliver and how. I knew that this wasn’t going to be another Hawksmoor, but I was expecting it to be quite meaty. And so it was. In a very good way.