I seem to have fingers in various pies of late, doing pretty varied jobs for a range of food based businesses. One of my favourites in the last couple of years has been the Gelato Festival, held in Old Spitalfields Market and part of a Europe-wide tour, where participants compete to win the championship.
A new find on Soho’s Frith Street, Adam Simmonds’ The Test Kitchen is a lovely little haven of calm and quality slick but friendly service, gorgeous food and the happy satisfaction of watching it all come together.
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.
This post is long overdue, and I was going to say that after Christmas when you’ve been scoffing non-stop for a month (and well into January) it’s nice to have something fresh and light that’s still packed with flavour while not being remotely salad-like. But actually there’s no excuse or reason needed for a bit of ceviche, and Senor Ceviche has some of the best.
It’s fairly obvious to anyone with eyes that there’s no shortage of burger joints around town, particularly in areas like Soho where the concentration of eateries is congested to say the least. I’ll be honest and admit I would never order a burger on a mixed menu, mainly as I’ve had so many that are rubbish, one in particular springs to mind, from a stand at the fireworks display in Brockwell Park last year. Dry, overdone patty, bland, not-so-fresh bread and that’s all there was to it. I know trading to thousands out of a box in a park when it’s 2 degrees constitutes extenuating circumstances, but plenty of others manage it excellently.
I love Dishoom. I practically work above the newest outpost and waited patiently for what felt like years for it to open. During the soft launch period I was SWAMPED with work (sod’s law) and never made it down there for 50% off before the mobs arrived each day – I’m very temperamental with queuing for a table, even if it is for lush, juicy Indian treats.
The interestingly named Smack Lobster Roll is the little sister of Burger & Lobster, opened in 2011 by the Goodman Group and one of the front runners of the (almost) single-concept restaurant. Smack, nestled on the Chinatown end of Dean Street, is sans burger and has a nice little menu of five rolls and four salads, with a chowder side option, all lobster based.
It’s not often I respond to an email with a shrill screech, leaping up and scrabbling around in my overstuffed handbag for my diary in order to get a particular date in as quickly as possible before the offer dissipates into thin air. Yet this was the response to the invitation from the lovely Alexandra at Zomato to come along to Pizza Pilgrims in Soho to test out the contenders for October’s Pizza of the Month, with lots of other lovely bloggers. I’ve been a fan of Pizza Pilgrims for ages, brothers James and Thom Elliot make proper Naples-style pizzas with chewy bases and masses of topping – far preferable to the thinner Roman-style in my opinion.
Having just returned from a fabulous trip eating and drinking my way around Italy, I was delighted to be invited by Vapiano to try their fresh, made-to-order Italian in Soho with my friend Adam on an otherwise boring Tuesday evening.
Meat. It’s all about meat. Not life (well, sometimes) but in this unassuming basement on the Piccadilly side of Soho it is most definitely all about meat. I remember when Blacklock launched early this year, to a flurry of social media activity from the most respected food bloggers and Instagram stars. Although the hype has died down (a bit, not completely) they’re still always busy and for good reason. I’ve been a few times and this is a kind of mash-up of the various visits.