Posts Tagged: Restaurants London


12
Aug 13

Pescheria Mattiucci

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I had a bit of a tourist moment on my way to Pescheria Mattiucci. It’s actually situated on one of the most recognizable roads in North London and is slap bang opposite the travel bookshop, made famous by the film, Notting Hill. It’s also next door but one or two from the foodie heaven: Books for Cooks.

Stepping into Pescheria Mattiucci is like being welcomed into a cosy vintage-filled home. It is a family business owned by Luigi Mattiucci, with branches in Naples and Milan, it’s certainly a very unique restaurant in London – unlike no other I’ve visited.

The menu changes daily according to the catch of the day, and all dishes are cooked to authentic recipes mastered by the fisherman’s wives in Southern Italy. All fish used is wild and sustainable, with some caught in Italy, and some from the British Isles.

To start, we tried the Crudo Mediterraneo – otherwise known as the raw fish platter. It simply was a plate of thinly sliced raw fish, all beautifully fresh, serves with olive oil, fresh lemon and orange juice and a little salad. We tried tuna, ricciola, swordfish and prawns. It was really unusual but absolutely delicious and superbly fresh fish, making a really light start to the meal.

We then moved on to try the razor clams with garlic and chilli which were extremely tasty, and I found myself mopping up the delicious juices from my plate.  We also tried the Blue Scottish lobster served grilled with mashed potato. The lobster was absolutely stunning – meltingly soft and tender and fragrant with lemon and orange zest on top, and was served with some great garlicky mash.

Dining at Pescheria Mattiucci is a unique experience set in the heart of Notting Hill and well worth a visit and is an absolute must if you are a fish lover, like me. Dinner for two is around £60-75 including wine.


24
Jul 13

The Lido Cafe

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Brockwell Lido is one of the few original London Lidos which are still running and open to the public. Whilst you might think of going there for a swim, you might not have thought of going there to eat. The Lido Cafe is an award-winning modern British restaurant which is situated overlooking the Lido and is a seriously popular local haunt which is well worth a visit. 

The Lido Cafe runs parallel to the pool and has a large number of poolside outdoor tables which offer an absolutely gorgeous place to sit and enjoy a meal. A friend and I recently visited for a weeknight dinner and were able to sit out and enjoy the sunshine whilst we ate, which was really lovely. There aren’t many places apart from pubs where you can sit out and eat, particularly in London, and the Lido Cafe offers a lovely relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff.

The food, too is great; simple, seasonal and delicious. We started with a really excellent glass of Prosecco Silvola Frizzante, priced at £5.50 per glass. For our starters, I went for half a pint of prawns with roast garlic aioli and lemon which was an absolutely perfect starter for a hot day. My friend chose the whole globe artichoke with dijon vinaigrette which was really, really good too. It is rare to find a whole artichoke served in the UK, and we really enjoyed it. Starters are priced at around £6 each.

For our mains, my friend tried a courgette, stuffed with pine nuts, olives, ricotta and peppers which she thought was excellent. It was a tasty and unusual main and was a really good light choice. I tried their steak, which is supposed to be their best selling dish. It is a 35 day dry aged longhorn sirloin steak and was very good indeed. Mains are priced between £10-£18.50 and all offer excellent cooking and great quality ingredients for the price.

We finished with a delicious cup of coffee and headed off as the sun was setting. If you live nearby, The Lido Cafe is an absolute must visit, and is very strongly recommended for a special visit, too.


18
Jul 13

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons

Les Deux Salons has been running in London’s West end since 2010 and is the third London restaurant set up my Michelin-starred chefs Anthony Demetre and Will Smith.
Styled on a Parisien brasserie, it aims to offer good value quality robust French cooking from the centre of Paris to the centre of London.

I recently popped along with a friend for lunch to try it out for myself. Les Deux Salons is a large and busy restaurant which seems to attract a mix of tourist and business clientele over lunch. Service was loud and bustling when we arrived just after 1pm, but the tables are very nicely spaced apart, meaning my friend and I could have a proper catch up, without being distracted by the conversation on the next table.

We each started with a glass of the superb Gosset Brut Excellence Champagne which was recommended by our waiter. And what a lovely choice it was, too. As we met for lunch, my friend and I decided to opt for two courses each; a starter and a main. To start, I chose the Grilled Cornish sardines which were served simply with capers, lemon, chilli and olive oil. Priced at £5.50, it was a superb starter – really fresh, and light. I loved the fact that the sardines were still really hot when they arrived on the table. My guest opted for the Beetroot and goats cheese salad for £4.50 which was really tasty and a light start to our meal.

Moving on to the main course, my guest tried the spring vegetable risotto (£11.50) as, being a vegetarian, there wasn’t too much choice for her. She really enjoyed it and pronounced it to be perfectly cooked and included lots of lovely vegetables. My choice was the whole lemon sole cooked with a caper and parsley butter (£18) and was really excellent.

We finished with a quick coffee and dashed back to reality. Les Deux Salons is a lovely restaurant for lunch and dinner. The food is fairly simple but delicious brasserie fare cooked extremely well and priced sensibly. The dining room is also beautiful – you feel as though you have just stepped into France for lunch, which for me, really appealed. I’m really looking forward to returning.


19
Jun 13

Caxton Grill, London

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Caxton Grill is a newly opened super-smart restaurant in the St. Ermine’s Hotel in Westminster. Tucked away near St. James’ Park station in London, its entrance is very discreet – so much so it’s almost easy to miss.

The restaurant has been newly refurbished and offers a really cosy, calm and comfortable place to stop for dinner. The menu is short and typically offers traditional grill fare; steaks, roast chicken, venison and fish. Expect to pay £45 for a two course meal with wine.

To start, we shared the crab and the scallops, which were really good, very fresh and presented most attractively.

For our mains, we tried the grilled 35 day aged sirloin steak and the venison loin with some delicious sides including broccoli hollandaise gratin. Both mains were extremely well cooked and we were impressed by the really excellent quality of the meat.

The service at Caxton Grill was really relaxed yet extremely attentive allowing my friend and I a chance to enjoy a much overdue catch up.

Caxton Grill is a great choice for a good value meal, offering well-executed food in really comfortable surroundings in central London.


2
Apr 13

Theo Randall at the Intercontinental Hotel, Park Lane

Theo Randall

Theo Randall

Consistently voted one of London’s finest Italian restaurants, Theo Randall at the Intercontinental Hotel enjoys an excellent reputation and is one of the top foodie destinations in the city. Randall opened his own restaurant in 2006 having previously worked at Chez Panisse in California and obtained a Michelin star whilst working at the River Café in London.

I recently popped along for lunch to see what it was like for myself. Theo Randall occupies its own separate dining room in the hotel, which is accessed from the hotel lobby. It’s slick, modern and very glamorous and a very calm, relaxing place to stop for lunch and catch up with friends or colleagues.

The menu offers plenty of choice – so much so that we had difficulty choosing. As we took our seats, we decided to start with a glass of Prosecco whilst we took a look through the menu. Our waitress brought over a generous selection of hot snacks including little fried pieces of courgette to nibble on.

For our starter, we decided to go for two plates to share. We tried the Mozzarella di Bufula, served with marinated artichokes and peppers, and the scallops to share which were hand dived and the most enormous scallops we’ve ever seen, and probably the most delicious we’ve ever tasted.

Next, was the pasta course, which is of course optional, but we decided to give it a go. We went for the Cappelletti di vitello, stuffed pasta, filled with slow cooked veal and pancetta. The pasta is homemade, and a beautiful golden colour owing to the large number of egg yolks used in the pasta dough. The meat was full of flavour and meltingly tender.

We then moved onto our mains. I chose Turbot with capers and swiss chard. The fish was cooked absolutely perfectly and was an exceptionally good dish. My guest tried the fish stew, which she enjoyed very much indeed. The portions were extremely generous and the fish was of the very best quality.

We could not manage a dessert, which was a great shame, as the choice looked wonderful, so we finished we a good cup of coffee.

Theo Randall did not disappoint. Every dish we tried we thought was utterly delicious, extremely well executed, beautifully presented in lovely surroundings. If you try three or four courses, you should expect to pay around £100 per head. We found that there was plenty of choice and every dish we tried was most enjoyable. Theo Randall deserves every bit of its success, and we look forward to returning already.


14
Mar 13

Boquería

Boquería

Boquería

Voted best cheap eats in London for 2012, Boqueria is a smart, stylish tapas restaurant situated on Acre Lane, which runs between Clapham Common and Brixton tube stations in South London.

It is surprisingly easy to walk past the restaurant front if you don’t know where you are going, as the restaurant front is narrow, with a slick white bar running down the right hand wall. As you arrive, you are lead through to the stylish yet cosy dining room at the back of the building.

Boqueria looks very smart and contemporary, and offers a range of traditional and modern tapas. The inspiration behind the restaurant was the famous Boqueria market in Barcelona, otherwise known as El mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria. The menu offers a wide choice of tapas from the more familiar, to the contemporary, with a very large specials board to choose from too.

On a cold weekday night, Boqueria filled up very quickly. It had a lovely vibrant authentic feel – all the staff were Spanish and you could hear them chatting away. We were welcomed very warmly, and all the staff were exceptionally friendly and passionate about the food on the menu.

We started with a glass of cava each, whilst we had a look through the menu. There is plenty of choice, and the staff were very flexible, offering to help pick and choose according to our tastes and requirements. The greatest difficulty we faced was deciding on what to have – we had five dishes to share between two, which was plenty, but for the sake of our waistlines, we had to whittle down our shortlist of around a dozen dishes which had all taken our fancy.

We loved the jamón ibérico de bellota – not just any Serrano ham, as the free range pigs that end up as jamón feast on a diet of acorns. The jamón croquetas were as good as any you’ll find in Spain – having lived there several years ago, just one bite took me back to evenings spent drinking sangria accompanied by rather too many croquetas. We really enjoyed the cochinillo asado (suckling pig), which was sweet and tender and served with a lemon sorbet and sweet potato crisps, and the solomillo: pork tenderloins served with a mushroom sauce.

Tapas are generally priced at around £5-8 per dish. We thought five dishes were sufficient shared between two people. The wine list offers plenty of choice, including excellent cava and sherry. We drank the house cava, which at £4.50 a glass was excellent value, and finished with a delicious glass of Pedro Ximénez sherry at £6.20.

If you are looking for excellent quality, authentic tapas in a smart, vibrant setting, we wholeheartedly recommend Boqueria.


14
Nov 12

Eating out in London – No 67 Restaurant

 

No 67 Restaurant is based in the South London Gallery in Camberwell, South London. It is open throughout the day, and has, more recently, started opening into the evening, enabling visitors to stroll around the gallery and stopping for some food. With the quality of catering on offer in galleries and museums variable at best, I was interested to see what was on offer here.. Although you are able to stroll easily from the galleries into the restaurant, it feels separate and cosy, unlike the canteen feel of so many gallery eateries.

It was early evening when we visited and the lighting was most atmospheric, with bare-bulb lights dangling down over each table providing the only light source. The dining room has a very intimate feel, and the modern, slightly edgy interior feels in keeping with this area of London.

As we took our seats, we were brought the menu and offered a drink right away. The wine list offered a good choice of bottles and we chose the Sauvignon de Touraine by the glass, which was very drinkable. The dinner menu is short, and changes daily. Starters are around £4-6 and mains around £12. Wine starts from around £5 per glass to £25 for a decent bottle. The kitchen opens into the dining room and the smells of cooking wafting out into the dining room were most enticing. Upbeat jazz played softly in the background, punctuated by the clatter from the kitchen all lend themselves to the cosy and warm feeling as we perused the evening menu. As I gazed around the room, I noticed all tables were taken by 8pm, which seemed pretty busy for a wet Wednesday night. With couples chatting and friends giggling, it felt as though everyone was having a good time.

My sister and her boyfriend accompanied me for the evening. Lucy is vegan and I had been rather disorganized and not given the restaurant much notice that she would be coming. In fact, I am embarrassed to admit, I only called them an hour before our reservation. We were very pleased that they had taken the trouble to prepare her a special menu. Not only was there a good choice, but also we took it as a good sign that the kitchen staff are able to be creative and cook from scratch.

To start, I had a very tasty dish of thinly sliced raw pumpkin, topped with a delicious minty yoghurt dressing, which was very well seasoned. Andy had the rarebit, which was very intense and dark, flavoured with Guinness and Worcestershire sauce. It was a little intensely flavoured for me, but much enjoyed by Andy. Lucy had a very thick and gorgeously coloured beetroot and tarragon soup, which she thought was nicely flavoured.

Moving onto the main course, Lucy had a specially created barley risotto, topped with chargrilled aubergines and artichokes. It was very pleasant main and was much more creative than the vegan offering at so many restaurants. For my main, I had a grilled leg of lamb with polenta and braised runner beans. The portion was enormous and quite well executed. I would have liked to have seen the runner beans de-strung, as they were rather tough, although very tasty in a rich and flavoursome tomato sauce. Andy had the braised leg and cured breast of duck with courgettes and mint, which we struggled to find fault with.

Desserts at No 67 were a highlight of the menu. Lucy and Andy chose a chocolate sorbet, served with salted caramel and toasted hazelnuts, which was very good indeed. The sorbet was dark and intense, and lifted with the salty caramel and crunchy nuts. I went for the selection of English cheeses. I only wish I had not been so full, as it included Bragstone, Colston Bassett and Lincolnshire Poacher.

No 67 is a very pleasant place to eat if you live locally or are visiting the area. The food is very good, and the atmoshpere is most enjoyable. Dinner and a gallery visit is a most enjoyable way to spend an evening and is strongly recommended. The restaurant is also to be commended for its flexibility when it comes to catering for guests with specific dietary requirements.

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