All posts tagged: restaurants

Passing through Neal’s Yard? Homeslice Pizza- perfection.

So you know, you just wander around a small bit of London and the history and stories of the town never cease to take you by surprise. I know Seven Dials quite well, but not as well as I thought. I mean, how come I had never actually wandered into Neals Yard and Monty Python’s old gaff? Well with a bit of time to spare before a hair appointment, we popped in for some lunch. The sun was shining, the crowd was mingling and the smell of freshly cooked pizza was just that bit too much to resist. It was ages until dinner, in any event. Homeslice Pizza was buzzing, the place was rammed, queues were out the door, the woodfired oven was on full and the pizza smelled divine. Homeslice is rooted in streetfood, starting as precisely that (as so many do now, and it’s fab) and now has 3 permanent sites in Covent Garden, Fitzrovia and Shoreditch, so not a chain and I think it shows in the sheer quality of the pizza. Do something simply …

The Smoking Goat, Soho

So, here’s another gem, this time in Soho. Nestled between any number of guitar and musical instrument shops that stretch the whole length of Denmark Street is the entirely unassuming Smoking Goat. The ‘Goat describes itself as “Thai Barbecue” but it is as far from the usual fare that this implies as I’ve seen. Moreover, they specialise in using rare-breed British meat. Again, with much owed to Thai street food, (the guys behind this place travelled extensively in the northern regions of Thailand) this amazing food has transitioned perfectly. The Smoking Goat is small with around 20 covers at the front (if you include eating at the bar) and some more space at the rear (10 maybe?). The food is to die for, honestly, the flavours, textures and execution were just fabulous. Like The Oystermen in Covent Garden and, indeed, Rok in Shoreditch, I love the intimacy of these little places, each having a distinctive vibe and located in interesting places and characterful old buildings. I am pretty much done with stuffy formality and reverence when I’m …

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 …

Adam Handling’s Frog in E1

As you may know (check out my blog post from 2015) I have been a fan of the lovely Adam Handling since the evening before the first airing of Masterchef, the Professionals (in which he featured) when I tweeted my view that he looked like a winner (he didn’t win, but still emerged the star of the show). The FWD would almost certainly dispute that I am a fan, and would probably suggest I am more of a rather embarrassing, aging groupie, with an inappropriate crush on a late 20 something year old chef… and this is probably fair.  We first ate Adam’s food at the Caxton and it was amazing even then, and we tried again when he opened the Frog last year but events intervened and we couldn’t make it. However, last week we rocked up to the rather cool The Frog in Spitalfields.  It feels like a pop-up but isn’t. It’s not what you’d necessarily expect  – after the slightly stuffy formality of the Caxton – with it’s graffiti-style logo and scribbled billet doux to Adam (and his food) on the walls. It’s kind …

Sunday Lunch at The “Old Vol”, Caythorpe

Well, well, another great pub. Thinking I am on a bit of a roll here and it must all go horribly wrong before much longer. Still for now, we visited the lovely Old Volunteer in Caythorpe with the FWH for Father’s Day. The pub is set in the pretty village of Caythorpe in the heart of the Nottinghamshire Countryside and within striking distance of some great walks along the Trent. As it was Father’s Day it was extremely busy, inside and out (weather was good) and the service was a masterclass in organisation (with the aid of technology – earpieces for the staff and communications with the kitchen – pretty impressive operation for a village pub). Jo, the landlady greeted every guest individually whilst simultaneously coordinating the food and the staff as well as noticing any slip in service (and making known she had spotted it…..), and even when I began to make a move on ordering my gravy on the side (as I had forgotten to ask when I first ordered) she was on it without a blink. In …

Quite curious, but damn good. Mr P’s.

On a day out in York a few weeks ago, I decided to take up a recommendation from a fellow Great Food Club editor in Yorkshire and try out Mr P’s Curious Tavern (no relationship so far as I can tell to any “Curious” parlours, taverns, townhouses or manors in Nottingham). I am very glad indeed that I did. I’ m getting a bit weary of the parade of tapas, world tapas, cuban tapas, small plates thing there seems to be one popping up every few weeks, so few really do them well and honestly please don’t present me with another bowl of square chips puroporting to be patatas bravas and charging me a fiver for the privelege. No, I am becoming a little jaded with the whole tapas thing. But Mr P (the eponymous Mr Perkins is Andrew Pern, executive chef and chef owner at Michelin starred Star Inn at Harome and The Star Inn the City) is in another league though, offering a range (and I mean a range) of small plates with …

Sunday Lunch – hold the red cabbage and don’t pretend your Aunt Bessie didn’t make those Yorkshires.

As you may know, I get properly fed up with poor Sunday Lunches in pubs and, God forbid, “carveries”. So poor had many of these offerings become that I pretty much stopped eating Sunday lunch out, especially since my own version made at home was, even if I do say so myself, pretty damn good. Anyway, in the interests of research I have begun to venture out again on a Sunday, not least because I had a fairly good one in a local pub and, so surprised was I, I decided the time had come to bite that bullet (which pretty much was my former experience of most pub roasts). I always go for beef. I do this because I think it is the hardest to cook well and the hardest to keep well during service. I know, mean eh? Anyway, I am going to give a shout out to two of my local pubs, the Chestnut and the Royal Oak Pub and Kitchen (part of the Moleface Pub group) in Radcliffe on Trent. All …

Wearing my Invisibility Cloak to the Curious Manor

I don’t like to take to my blog to complain about places without having given the offending bar, restaurant, shop etc the chance to put things right. When I got home from town a couple of weeks ago, I was so furious at my treatment at the Curious Manor that I was prepared to make an exception. I sat down and wrote a long, detailed, and no holds barred post on what happened. Having reached a certain age (and this is relevant given that my “certain age” no doubt accounted in no small part for the service I received) I have learnt that it is usually wise to sleep on such posts/emails etc before sending and, as, since then, The Curious Manor has apologised for the service I received, tell me they have spoken to the member of staff involved and have offered to make amends, I have, on reflection decided not to post my original draft. But, as it something of an apocryphal tale, about women, age, rudeness, customer service and moments in time …