All posts tagged: restaurant

There is no “r” in the month. But what the hell. The Oystermen, Covent Garden.

As you know, I’m an ostreophile. I love a good oyster (and, no, no chewing, just a push up against the roof of the mouth and a swallow, see earlier posts and please God, don’t cook them), so the opening of “The Oystermen” in Covent Garden just the week before our most recent visit to London put this squarely on the “hit list”. The Oystermen is small, like the Smoking Goat (more of that superb place later), located on Henrietta St just beside Covent Garden Market. Small, as in, maybe 20ish covers? but perfectly formed. Simple, fresh, seafood, trendy, bearded owner and chief shucker.  Not only am I a fan of oysters, I love a fresh boiled crab. I can dissect one with alarming alacrity, even if I do say so myself. Keep your boring, expensive lobsters and give me a good old fashioned brown crab.  I was at home the moment we walked in. I started with the oysters, (natch). Half a dozen, 2 of each type (the FWD can’t cope with the texture *rolls eyes* so she passed). Maldon Rock, Blackwater …

This sexy mamma and that Sexy Mamma…

It takes a lot to impress me. This may be because I am old, cynical and jaded, it may be because I have very high standards or perhaps a bit of both, or maybe I’m just picky and difficult, I’ll let others decide. But just occasionally something comes along that surprises and delights and reminds you why it’s good to be alive. And it is. And Sexy Mamma Love Spaghetti is one of those things. Nothing is perfect of course, and I can find a few grumbles  – we were right by the door and it blew open several times and there was sharp wind on that corner, and perhaps, well, no, actually, I’m not even going to bother because this place is absolutely superb and it would be churlish to mention such issues in the scheme of things. SMLS is the third opening in about a 100 yard space in Nottingham’s trendy and bohemian creative quarter, Hockley, by Bosnian chef Edin Gondzic (him of the cool Patisserie, see my earlier blog post ). It …

Edin’s kitchen, all boho and ladies that lunch

How come I haven’t discovered this gem before now? After a wasted morning waiting for someone I was due to interview who didn’t bother to turn up (he and his business shall remain nameless for now as I am not a bitter person) I meandered back through Nottingham’s Bohemian quarter – Hockley – and stumbled upon Edin’s Kitchen. Having heard good things about it, I decided on an opportunistic lunch. Quietly unassuming on the outside, Edin’s Kitchen is one of those hidden gems you stumble across and, once inside, feel as if you’ve just become part of a little secret. Anyone watch “Goodnight Sweetheart”…where the chap walks through a wall and finds himself in wartime London? Well walking into Edin’s felt a bit like walking into a Parisienne back-street cafe that only the locals know, and then feeling properly pleased with yourself. Edin’s is set in a former jeweller’s shop and many of the original features remain – the glass display cabinets, wooden window shutters and even the glass panel at the rear (that now …

Is there a secret lunch club somewhere? Superb Thaymar Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice-cream? what I have discovered is actually, probably, no one. There is a secret cadre of ice-cream eaters that, mid-week, will drive out into the countryside to enjoy a bit of home-cooking, a browse round a farm shop and eat ice-cream. Not just a few people, you understand, but lots of people. In the interests of research, we ventured out mid-week (mid-week you understand…) to the beautiful forests of North Nottinghamshire in order to grab a spot of lunch at a well-known Watermill (more of that later). Lovely sunny day, but still mid-week, you understand… we get to said Watermill and it is packed. Heaving. Every seat and every table is taken, and a table for two has even been erected in the entrance to squeeze a couple more in. Blimey. No chance of a table unless you book well in advance – for a tea-room in rural North Notts. Who are all these people popping out for lunch in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the week? Maybe it …

Can you guess what this is?

Now, I don’t like to use my blog to criticise a place, I know how tough it is to run a restaurant – I would generally not bother to say anything, unless there was some heinous occurrence, bad customer service (for which no excuse) or full on food poisoning (proved of course). So I am going to provide you with an anonymous review. What is the point I hear you ask?  if we don’t know where it is, we can’t avoid it!  I know this, but I didn’t get to avoid it either, and I had looked at Trip Advisor first (I know, I know..). Anyway I am sharing this little blog post with you just for the hell of it. So we went to a gastro-pub, in a neighboring county. Lovely place (well, lovely setting, by a river). The sun was shining, the birds were singing. Not offered the alternative of eating outside with a bar menu, we had been booked into the dining room. Which was quite large, and completely empty. It was …

Holborn, History and Tapas

Holborn is not our usual haunt, but, for reasons I won’t bore you with you, we spent a week (with a hiatus in the middle) in this part of London for the first time. It is a fabulous area, particularly if you are a fan of legal history or Charles Dickens – each corner, each building, every nook, cranny, street-name and Church evokes our legal history, Fleet Street casts its long shadow of journalism and print making (visit St Brides Church and be amazed). A stroll down to the River through the Inns of Court, Blackfriars, Chancery, from the Knights Templar to the Pickwick Papers, legal and literary history is all around you. What isn’t all around you, unless you look very hard are too many amazing restaurants (I am ready to be corrected here, of course). Random restaurant picking generally goes two ways for me – “what a wonderful find, aren’t we lucky!” or “Christ, what a waste of money, only ate it because I was starving”. Somehow both are more satisfying than spending …

Get this. Padella – handmade, delicious & affordable pasta – yep, affordable London

If I had a set of drums, I’d do a drumroll before starting this post, or possibly a trumpet fanfare, if I had one of them. Probably fortunately, I don’t have either. Why the excitement? Affordable (yes, properly, really, genuinely, affordable), delicious, authentic, handmade pasta in Southwark. Padella is situated just at the entrance of Borough Market, it doesn’t take bookings but is open all day, so if, like us, you pitch up outside peak hours, you don’t have long to wait (10 mins in our case).There is an open kitchen, and bench seating by the window and at the counter, with some tables to the rear. We sat at the window, all the better to watch the world go by, and it certainly does.. The menu is gratifyingly limited, with a handful of starters and main courses and just 3 desserts. The portions are perfectly judged, I am fed up with being served so much food that I have to leave half of it, or avoid a starter and sweet simply to make room …

Last Minute Mexican

Convent Garden was heaving on a warm Friday evening. We couldn’t get in to our restaurant of choice as events during the week had meant a change in our schedules and we couldn’t get things back on track, so we headed out early to Convent Garden, in the hope we could bag a pre-Theatre meal without a booking. The Daughter was having a teenage thing, didn’t want “Asian” and this seemed to encompass most of the world from India to Japan,  we didn’t want Fish and Chips, or Modern European or indeed French, so as 6.30 approached the chances of a decent place having space became more remote. “How about Mexican?” – I had a moment of inspiration “that’s not Asian” (I was on the ball here you see). Deal done, we started off with a google walking map on the phone to find Cantina Laredo. Not your usual Mexican themed restaurant, aspiring to more of a “fine dining” vibe and an emphasis on Modern Mexican cuisine and the art of the Tequila. We got …

Meatballs or….meatballs?

We ate at this quirky little cafe and deli on the High Road in Beeston recently. Odin’s table is a new venture by a couple, one Swedish, one English who previously worked in IT. It had only been open a week when we stopped by, so still very much finding its feet. Having lived in Finland for several years, I was keen to try out a bit of Scandinavian food as (apart from Ikea…) there aren’t many opportunities to do so locally. The couple make all their own cakes and bread and meatballs. I love meatballs – and these were particularly delicious – and they were pretty much the only hot item on the menu. You could have the option of a bowl of 5 or 10 hot meatballs with Lingonberry or cold meatballs with bread or a beetroot salad, or an option for bread with Swedish Cheese, and then they had a range of Scandinavia cakes and bakes (and some vegan sausage options). I think you might say it is a fairly paired down …

Butcher’s Steakhouse and Bar, Long Eaton, yep, Long Eaton

I’ve got nothing against Long Eaton, let me just say. I even have family there or thereabouts, but I would, I’m afraid, never, never have considered it a foodie destination. Until now. Butcher’s is a pretty upmarket steak house & cocktail bar, located in a fabulously renovated (presumably Victorian?) warehouse on a rather insalubrious back street in Long Eaton opposite a partly demolished former something or other. Although, the bright side of the location is that there is on-road parking and a pay & display a stone’s throw from the venue….and anyway once inside the distressed wood and industrial chic interior you can’t see out of the windows . We arrived at half 12 on a Saturday lunch and we were the only customers there, and remained so for nearly an hour until another table of 3 turned up.  I really, really, hope this was an aberration and not typical for a Saturday lunch (although they were full with 120 covers for the evening and so I guess that helps make up for it). The …