Pairings | Restaurant reviews

Two London restaurants you’re going to love

Two London restaurants you’re going to love

It’s rare to find a restaurant that excites almost universal approval but then, like buses, two come along at once. Just before Christmas everyone was raving about the new outpost of Margot Henderson’s Rochelle Canteen at the ICA. This month there’s a general love-in for Parsons in Covent Garden

Timberyard - Edinburgh’s most atmospheric restaurant?

Timberyard - Edinburgh’s most atmospheric restaurant?

One of the main problems restaurants have is consistency. Keeping up the standards not only of the food but decor and service. So could Edinburgh’s Timberyard make an equally good impression as it did when I first went 16 months ago?

The Brackenbury: a rather nice restaurant

The Brackenbury: a rather nice restaurant

My father, a sweet man who was never unpleasant about anyone had a phrase for people or places about which he couldn’t summon up much enthusiasm. "Rather nice."

Why Le Champignon Sauvage is one of the best restaurants in Britain

Why Le Champignon Sauvage is one of the best restaurants in Britain

A return visit to Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham last week underlined why David-Everitt Mathias is considered one of the 10 best chefs in the country according to the latest Good Food Guide.

Does complimentary mean complimentary these days?

Does complimentary mean complimentary these days?

This week has seen the latest spat in the long-running restaurant critic v blogger debate with the Observer's Jay Rayner getting stuck into bloggers and bloggers revealed as asking for freebies in return for a positive review, according to this report in the Indy.

Lurra - the latest London restaurant you need to know about

Lurra - the latest London restaurant you need to know about

With so much of what’s going on on the London dining scene happening east of the City it’s good to find a hip new restaurant opening slap in the middle of the West End

Spring, Somerset House - the return of Skye Gyngell

Spring, Somerset House - the return of Skye Gyngell

No restaurant in London can have been more visited or commented on its first couple of weeks than Spring. Everyone seemingly has been there and has a view - not always complimentary - of the merits of chef Skye Gyngell’s return to London.

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

De Librije, Zwolle - a ‘mini-menu’ that’s an 8 course feast

With Sergio Herman of Oud Sluis announcing he intends to close his restaurant at the end of 2013, Jonnie Boer’s De Librije could be left as the only 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland. So what makes it so special?

Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road: is it really worth 10/10?

Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road: is it really worth 10/10?

I don’t envy Gordon Ramsay - or rather his head chef Clare Smyth - the 10/10 rating they received in this year’s Good Food Guide. It makes people like me think ‘Ha! I wonder if they’re really worth it?’ and book to find out.

Why Sabor is one of the hottest tickets in town

Why Sabor is one of the hottest tickets in town

“Eagerly awaited” is a well worn cliché but but aptly describes the opening of Nieves Barragan Mohacho and Jose Etura’s Sabor. Originally scheduled to launch last autumn it took a further 6 months to finally open its doors a year after they left their previous jobs.

The Colony Grill Room at the Beaumont: pure old-fashioned glamour

The Colony Grill Room at the Beaumont: pure old-fashioned glamour

It has to be said that no-one knows how to do glamour like Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, the founders of the Ivy and the Caprice and, more recently, the Wolseley, the Delaunay and my current favourite, Fischer’s

St Leonards: very cool, very Shoreditch

St Leonards: very cool, very Shoreditch

One of the problems about being a food writer - though I’m not expecting much sympathy from you - is that you’re always chasing the latest new opening. Which means that restaurants you make the effect to go back you feel pretty special about.

Magpie: smart bar food for wine lovers

Magpie: smart bar food for wine lovers

With dozens of restaurants opening every week in London what do you do to stand out from the crowd? The answer, it seems from James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy's recently opened Magpie in Heddon Street, is to pretend you’re a Chinese restaurant and wheel around the menu on a trolley.

CoVino, Venice - a modern enoteca

CoVino, Venice - a modern enoteca

One of the strange things about the restaurant scene in Venice is that the big players are pretty well exactly the same as they were when I last went 10 years ago (yes, way too long!) Only the prices have changed - unfortunately in an upward direction, aggravated by our lamentable exchange rate.

Scully: intrepid eating in St James’s

Scully: intrepid eating in St James’s

Sometimes it pays not to look at the menu of a restaurant you’re thinking of going to. I was nearly discouraged from visiting Scully by the vast list of unfamiliar dishes and ingredients. Did I really want to eat puffed beef tendons or Welsh mutton with black barley and bisbas? I wasn’t sure I did.

Root, Wapping Wharf, Bristol

Root, Wapping Wharf, Bristol

Veg is the new chicken - or so it seems from the overnight reincarnation of Bristol chef Josh Eggleton’s fried chicken shack Chicken Shed into a largely vegetarian restaurant called Root.

Radici - Islington's spicy Italian

Radici - Islington's spicy Italian

It’s already a bone of contention between me and my Islington-based friend T that she has an unfairly large number of good restaurants on her doorstep.

Duddell's, London - is it as good as Hong Kong?

Duddell's, London - is it as good as Hong Kong?

Unless you’re a seasoned jet-setter it’s not often you have the opportunity to compare a restaurant in London with its counterpart in the far east. But having been to the original Duddell's a year ago in Hong Kong I was intrigued to see how they would translate the experience to London

 Jikoni: modern Indian home cooking in the heart of Marylebone

Jikoni: modern Indian home cooking in the heart of Marylebone

What makes you want to go back to a restaurant? It may be because it’s convenient for where you live or work. The food certainly has to be good but I think the most important factor is the warmth of the welcome - whether you feel at home there.

There are bloggers and bloggers . . .

There are bloggers and bloggers . . .

A follow-up to yesterday’s post following a particularly animated discussion on Twitter the main gist of which is that you can’t tar all bloggers with the same brush. Some will grab every freebie going. Some will discriminate and retain their detachment.

The Dairy, Clapham: Smart, casual

The Dairy, Clapham: Smart, casual

I’d heard good things about The Dairy, not least from my son Will (of Hawksmoor*), one of whose favourite restaurants it is, but being south of the river it took me a while to haul myself down there.

Sea Containers at Mondrian: much more fun than it sounds

Sea Containers at Mondrian: much more fun than it sounds

I may have been handicapped by knowing the building previously as an office block but even the name Sea Containers at Mondrian has a corporate ring that makes the heart sink.

Last chance to eat at Ransome’s Dock

Last chance to eat at Ransome’s Dock

Yesterday I had my final meal at Ransome’s Dock in Battersea which has been part of my life - and I suspect that of most wine writers’ - for the past 20 years.

Does The Kitchin deserve a second Michelin star?

Does The Kitchin deserve a second Michelin star?

You can’t help feeling that it’s Tom Kitchin’s misfortune to be in Edinburgh. Not because his isn’t proud of his Scottish roots - he obviously is - but because if he were in France I’m sure he’d have two stars rather than one.

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

Aron's Jewish Delicatessen - Brooklyn comes to Bristol

So it’s not Aaron with two ‘a’s and it’s not a deli but this small, modestly furnished American/Jewish/Hungarian-inspired neighbourhood restaurant is a great addition to the Bristol eating-out scene.

64 degrees, Brighton

64 degrees, Brighton

The mark of a ‘good ‘critic, my dad always used to say, is that you agree with them. This certainly applies in the case of the Guardian’s Marina O’Loughlin whose view of what makes a great meal (good simple food, lack of pretention) I totally sign up to.

 Mampuku, Bordeaux

Mampuku, Bordeaux

My heart usually sinks when I’m recommended an Asian-fusion restaurant in France. It generally means a mishmash of dishes devised by a chef who’s never set foot on the continent.

Sartoria: a smart West End Italian

Sartoria: a smart West End Italian

I’ve always been a fan of Francesco Mazzei’s cooking so when he suddenly left his previous restaurant L’Anima I couldn’t wait for him to pop up somewhere else.

Duck + Rice: posh Chinese in a Soho pub

Duck + Rice: posh Chinese in a Soho pub

It wasn’t easy getting to Duck + Rice. The first time I tried their kitchens were out of action because the extraction system was down ….

Delahunt, Dublin - gorgeous room, classy food

Delahunt, Dublin - gorgeous room, classy food

When I asked Twitter - as you do - where to eat in Dublin I was inundated with replies. There is obviously no shortage of good places to eat in the world’s favourite Irish city.

Mission, Bethnal Green

Mission, Bethnal Green

What is a large palm tree doing growing in the heart of Hackney? Let alone INSIDE a building (a converted warehouse set in a railway arch). Well, it’s the latest outpost of hipster winebar Sager & Wilde, now with a fully-fledged restaurant, Mission.

The Hole in the Wall, Little Wilbraham: not your average country pub

The Hole in the Wall, Little Wilbraham: not your average country pub

The Hole in the Wall at Little Wilbraham near Cambridge sounded like the sort of twee country pub that I hate. Discovering it had a celebrity chef and a tasting menu made it appeal even less but on my visit last week I was bowled over

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

Brasserie Zédel: Paris comes to Piccadilly

If you’re the kind of sad, unreconstructed Francophile (like me) who thinks French food has gone to the dogs head not for Eurostar but the newly opened Brasserie Zédel in London’s West End. Housed in the late and not-much-lamented Atlantic Bar and Grill near Piccadilly Circus, it occupies a huge subterranean space which has been decked out at eye-watering expense in full fin de siècle style.

Never miss a post!

My latest book

Wine Lover's KitchenWine Lover's Kitchen
About FionaAbout FionaEvents and appearancesEvents and appearancesWork with meWork with me
Loading