I’ve never bought into the dry January/detox thing – what a rubbish time to do it! I had a boss a few years ago, a lovely guy called Roger, and he always did dry February instead, on the basis that January is miserable enough already without the bleak prospect of lentils and no booze. It’s something that’s kind of stuck with me, and in that spirit ( albeit in early Feb) me and Ian headed off to Dip & Flip in Brixton, home of meat, gravy and other lovely things.
Suvlaki is a little Athenian grill on Soho’s Bateman Street, run by Athenians (always helps) who manage to create a warm, friendly atmosphere while keeping it all casual. And completely delicious. It’s been open since July last year, and I’d had my eye on it for a while but hadn’t quite got round to it, saturated as the Soho eating out market is, and given my propensity to go for the same thing every bloody day – must stop this.
I’m going through a serious rib phase… I never used to like them as thought they were always chewy and stringy, with hardly any meat, just bone and fat. Since being educated by the Foxlow shortrib a while back, I seem to be ordering them more and more, and was very happy to be invited to Boneyard to feast on some of theirs.
Silk Road is an unassuming place on Camberwell Church Street, with more of a café vibe than that of a restaurant. Having heard reports of hour-long waits mid-week we booked as it was a Saturday, and good job as the place was absolutely packed. Good sign!
It’s only three months old but is already doing a roaring trade among stiff competition, and their success is growing. Whaam Banh Mi is on the Piccadilly side of Soho on Great Windmill Street, and aims to bring fresh, punchy Vietnamese street food to the lunchtime masses.
The revamped Albany on Great Portland Street is definitely a pub of two halves. The street level bar is all newly decked out in blues and greys with huge chandeliers, and has a relaxing vibe with lots of after-work types enjoying one of the rotating guest beers on offer.
You’re probably aware, along with the rest of the world, that celebrated chef Mark Hix has turned a disused tram shed (from 1905 don’t you know) into a chicken and steak restaurant in Shoreditch. You may or may not also be aware that there is a Damien Hirst formaldehyde-encased cow standing on a huge pillar in the centre of the room, with a large cock perched on its back. It’s definitely a novel way to stand out.
First things first – these are perhaps the worst food photos on the internet. I’m not sure what happened – it was fairly dark, I was on my third (delicious) yuzu margarita and I was rushing due to the usual time pressure when you have two hungry friends chomping at the bit whilst staring at a table of delicious delicacies… but still, my apologies.
When I realised a few months back that I had 10 days holiday to use up between January and April, winter sun was the obvious answer. But where to go? Where is hot in March? Turns out the best options are Dubai (doesn’t really appeal), Egypt (lovely but been before) and The Gambia… Well, why not?After fielding my mum’s concerns about Ebola (they haven’t had any cases at all) we went for it, not really knowing what to expect. After a quick eyeball scan on arrival at Banjul airport, on we went to our hotel. Continue reading There is no Ebola in The Gambia!→
I must have walked past Le Garrick about 700 times (literally – twice a day for a year give or take) and finally got round to visiting this week with my fiancé’s family. It’s a gorgeous, atmospheric place with a lovely story – it’s been running for 25 years, but was taken over 8 years ago by the manager Dominika and Frenchman Charles who was previously a regular. Charles sent the head chef Rocco to SW France to train with none other than his mum, so on the menu you’ll find nothing but hearty, traditional French fare direct from Toulouse.
There are a few tables at ground level but most of the restaurant is down a spiral staircase into the cellar, where there are various nooks and crannies to settle into. We were seated quickly and served by various friendly, lively French staff.
I started with the Escargots de Bourgogne – snails to you and me. They were delicious – not at all chewy or slimy, but swimming in butter, salty and very garlicky, just how I like.. well, pretty much anything. There was soft, chewy, crusty baguette to soak up all the juice, which was almost as good as the meat itself, and more butter to put on the bread. Heaven. I also tasted the moules marinière (more garlic, also herby and winey, big and tender) and pâté, which had a nice strong meaty flavour and chunky texture.
I tackled the Coquelet (whole baby chicken) for the main, and while it was cooked so it was lovely and moist with a flavoursome tomato sauce, the portion was huge. I also tried the Confit de Canard, lovely duck confit with a heart bean stew – gorgeous flavours and again, a huge portion.
Dinner came to about £30 per head for 2/3 generous courses, so great value for the West End, and they finished off with a complimentary digestif of a prune liqueur – perhaps not the particular spirit that I’d choose again (!) but a nice touch, and I’d highly recommend the whole experience.