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My wife and I are heading to London to celebrate President's Day. OK, not really a celebration, but what the hell, we have it off, so why not take advantage of it. It has been a while since I have been. Does anyone know of any hidden gems?

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Due to an early arrival (6:30 a.m) with alcohol induced sleep, my body clock is all jacked.  It’s 1 a.m. now but I just woke up up after a 4 hour nap.  I was soooo tired but why can’t I sleep thru the

We went to the original Ottolenghi, which was delicious.  It's kind of cramped so if you want luxury/space and a newer feel go to Nopi which we walked by and is nice in a white/gold theme.  I kind of

I was TOTALLY going to suggest Wagamama. If you get tired of yer fancy gourmet what-what, and you just want to sit at a long table covered with butcher paper and slurp awesome noodles, Wagamama's your

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Sthitch said:
My wife and I are heading to London to celebrate President's Day.  OK, not really a celebration, but what the hell, we have it off, so why not take advantage of it.    It has been a while since I have been.  Does anyone know of any hidden jems?

You should try The Capital restaurant [replaced by Outlaw's in 2013] located in The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge -- very near Harrod's & several museums. The restaurant has two Michelin stars under chef Eric Chavot and is excellent! Also recommend staying at the hotel itself. Not much beats room service from a 2-star chef :lol:

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Rasoi Vineet Bhatia

10 Lincoln St.

London, United Kingdom

020-7225 1881

Vineet Bhatia was the chef at Zaika in Knightsbridge. This was the first Indian restaurant in the world to receive a Michelin star. A year and a half ago he left to open this restaurant near Kings Road which some have called the best in the world. I would describe it as interpretive, even Indian fusian. It is absolutely outstanding, unlike anything in America or elsewhere in England for that matter. Zagat even gives it a 27 for food. This is the link to approximately 15 reviews of it including some comments from Sietsema:

http://www.vineetbhatia.com/reviews.htm

This is the link to part of his menu and prices:

http://www.vineetbhatia.com/menu.htm

Note that this is expensive: 69 pounds sterling is a nine course prix fixe of about $125.

For more traditional Indian Vama on Kings road is considered by many to be second best in London.

North Sea is a fish and chips "shop" near the British museum, also considered among London's best.

Visits to Zafferano and the River Cafe have found both to be excellent. Gordon Ramsey on Hospital road has three stars and is considered the best overall restaurant in the U. K. along with the Fat Duck, about 75 miles west. These last two and Vineet Bhatia are difficult reservations.

Good luck!

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Well, as long as you insist. But confirm that your Gordon Ramsey dinner is his "Hospital Road" location which is the three Michelin star. He has a second which I have not been to but does not-yet-share the same reputation.

Arguably, the "El Bulli" of England is The Fat Duck which also has three Michelin stars. If you google you'll find many links for this; it is somewhat notorious with long threads on eG from people debating its merits. I have not been to the Fat Duck so I do not have a personal opinion.

For many, the real "challenger" to Gordon Ramsey is this:

Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

Church Rd.

Great Milton, United Kingdom

01844 278881

This is the link to their website:

http://www.manoir.com/web/olem/olem_a2a_home.jsp

Two Michelin stars, much more traditional than the Fat Duck (which is not that far away) and for a nearby comparison I would suggest this is the English version of the Inn at Little Washington-at its best. Approximately one hundred miles west of central London at the "entrance" to the Cotswolds which are a whole different discussion.

I am not a fan of Le Gavroche nor several other top end London restaurants. Personally, I believe it is a huge step down from Gordon Ramsey to other aspiring London restaurants. I DO like the River Cafe and Zafferano. Vineet Bhatia is an experience that you should NOT miss, or a great fish and chips place like North Sea. If you're not into high end Indian fusian give serious consideration to Vama on Kings Road or Chutney Mary for more traditional. Both are superior to Heritage of India-far superior-here. For me I cannot imagine going to England without having either Indian or fish and chips. (Coincidentally, I'll be in Manchester in two weeks and will have three out of four meals on Wilmslow road, at Shere Khan. The fourth meal will be in Blackpool at a great fish and chips place, Seniors. With all due respect to Gordon Ramsey and The Manoir aux Quatre Saisons the tandoori shrimp at Vama, Shere Khan's tikka masala (don't laugh; it's the national dish of England and the best in the entire U. K. is at Shere Khan on Wilmslow road) any of four or five fish at Seniors-all of this is far superior to anything, anywhere on this side of the Atlantic! Even better than Shere Khan is Shezan about 25 miles north of Manchester in the countryside.

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by all means, you should pay a visit (or several) to st. john, in smithfield and its sibling, st john bread and wine in spitalfields. it is a truly unique place, in every aspect of the term. it is notorious for serving up every bit of every animal, from hoof to spleen. whilst i encourage everyone to try at least once, if you dont want to, the menu has more, ahem, conventional (i.e. loin cuts) options. and for a restaurant as reknowned for serving bone marrow or kidneys, the vegetables (and seafood) are unbelievable. lastly, this is a place with soul. there is no pretention and the variegated offal on the menu is not a gimmick or concept, its simply the way that people should be eating; there's more to life than chicken breast and proteins cut from the loins.

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LOL, I have that on my list! I think I saw this profiled on "Cooks Tour" or "No Reservations". As soon as I knew I was going to London, I added St. John's to the list. I am a big fan of Kidney Stew and marrow!

by all means, you should pay a visit (or several) to st. john, in smithfield and its sibling, st john bread and wine in spitalfields. it is a truly unique place, in every aspect of the term. it is notorious for serving up every bit of every animal, from hoof to spleen. whilst i encourage everyone to try at least once, if you dont want to, the menu has more, ahem, conventional (i.e. loin cuts) options. and for a restaurant as reknowned for serving bone marrow or kidneys, the vegetables (and seafood) are unbelievable. lastly, this is a place with soul. there is no pretention and the variegated offal on the menu is not a gimmick or concept, its simply the way that people should be eating; there's more to life than chicken breast and proteins cut from the loins.

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I wish we had Wagamama in DC.

I was TOTALLY going to suggest Wagamama. If you get tired of yer fancy gourmet what-what, and you just want to sit at a long table covered with butcher paper and slurp awesome noodles, Wagamama's your place.

And grab me a Chicken Chili noodle bowl while you're there, wouldja?

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I was TOTALLY going to suggest Wagamama. If you get tired of yer fancy gourmet what-what, and you just want to sit at a long table covered with butcher paper and slurp awesome noodles, Wagamama's your place.

And grab me a Chicken Chili noodle bowl while you're there, wouldja?

I'm shocked there isn't one in DC, or something similar. We should get Rockwell folk (and our collective cash! :lol: ) together to become joint owners of the first Wagamama this side of the pond. The place is genius.

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Recap of my london trip:

St John's was totally awesome including meeting the owner and having him sign his book. I had the marrow with parsley salad and the deviled kidneys. Whish I could have gone back there.

Gordon Ramsey's at Claridges was a fantastic night. The food and wine excellant, the service outstanding. Highly recomended! Best was the homemade chocolates that we took home with us at the end of the meal.

I also went to Wagamama and enjoyed it. Another treat I had was Salt Beef on a bagel sunday morning. sort of a corned beef, slided thick on a fresh bagel. Truely awesome in its own right.

Fish and chips were great...I got mine with a additive curry sauce/ gravy for the chips. Most of the pub food was very good, if lacking in the vegtables department.

Edited by Scott Johnston
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I will be taking a week long trip to Paris and London with my boyfriend and his very learge family over New Years. Since there are 9 of us going, we are looking for inexpensive restaurants that are close to the more touristy areas. There will be several teenagers going, so unfortunately nothing to adventurous. We are looking for restaurants in Paris and London, so I will also post this on the London thread. This is their first trip to Europe, so we are looking for some really good finds, like Wagamama's!!

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For anyone looking for a Sichuan fix in London, you might want to check out the new Bar Shu on Frith Street. It was opened recently to phenomenal accolades, and features a chef plucked out of the hugely popular South Beauty chain in China and Fuchsia Dunlop (the author of what I consider to be the seminal Sichuanese cookbook in English) as consultant. It comes at a price, however, with meal for four at around GBP 120, but what meal in London comes cheap? You can read about it from Fuchsia herself here: http://news.ft.com/cms/s/e8852bd6-e19f-11d...00779e2340.html

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A buddy of mine lives in London, and wrote the following response to an inquiry (not my inquiry) for a "top notch restaurant with exceptional food, opulent room, and a great wine list." It wasn't intended for publication, but with his permission, I'm reprinting it here because I think it may be useful. He lives in London and knows what he's doing.

Cheers,

Rocks

---

Very difficult ... I assume this is for a business dinner ....

Some compromises:

Tim Aitkens (not opulent)

Fat Duck (not in London)

Also

Maze

Sketch

Gavroche

The Square

Ledbury

Gordon Ramsay at Claridges

Connaught

Locanda Locatelli

(I think Plotnicki's forum opinionatedabout.com is pretty fair on the

whole for London comments.)

(1) exceptional food

None perhaps!

In a strange class ... St John or StJ B&W (for interest)

In a stranger class ... Tayyab (for those on a £14 budget inc tip)

Italian (of sorts) ... River Cafe or Locanda Locatelli

Michelin types ... Gordon Ramsay, RHR (Royal Hospital Road ... lots

of varied reports lately ... GR is busy empire building)

Le Gavroche (comfy, if not amazing)

The Square (an ugly room - I can't

recall an amazing meal here)

Pied a Terre (cramped poor service, ok food)

Capital (variable, v expensive wine list that

isn't great)

Tim Aitkens (perhaps the foodies

favourite atm in central London ... but variable)

Best food of all (but may not be totally enjoyable) ... Fat Duck ...

(also a 30 min train + taxi ride FROM Paddington, so not exactly London)

(2) opulent room

None of the above!

Sketch (sort of)

Hotels now run by GR group (Claridges, Connaught etc - see

www.gordonramsay.com - virtually a monopoly atm)

(3) great wine list

... virtually none ...

some quirky exceptions ... none have great food ...

RSJ (not as good as it was, Loire) ... Tate Britain (only open for

lunch) ... Andrew Edmunds (but a pale shadow of its former self,

terrible food)

Many of the michelin starred places have long lists, you can find a

number on line, e.g., GR RHR.

Certainly no Cru or Veritas.

Good luck,

[Mr. X]

P.S. the restaurant I seem to have enjoyed most this year is Moro

(River Cafe-influenced Spanish / Moroccan)

I visit Defune quite a lot for Sushi, but it is pretty

expensive and you may be disappointed if you typically dine at Kuruma

or Masa in NY

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A good excursion available Thurs. - Sat. is Borough Market. It's a food/produce market. Stalls of exotic meats, fresh produce, cheeses, pastries, dried fruits and nuts, beers, jams, olive oils, cider... the list goes on: http://www.boroughmarket.org.uk/

The absolute best thing is at the Brindisa stand. They grill the best chorizo sandwiches there. They use Spanish chorizo that is an entirely different beast from Mexican and South American styles. There are also great burger stands and various kebabs.

There are loads of opportunities to sample, and you can easily get your fill, though it is hard to resist buying something.

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It's been a few years since I was in London but I still have the business card for Zeina at 9-10 Market Place, London (Tel: 0207 323 0776). It's a nice Middle Eastern Restaraunt and bar. We had a fantastic Morrocan wine there and a delightful evening.

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Scotch enthusiasts: I found two very useful shops near two of London's best market areas. Near food geek haven Borough Market, The Whiskey Exchange has an outpost inside of the Vinopolis wine museum. Plenty of stuff open to taste if you show the least engagement, and some real rarities from Port Ellen and others. Near the more conventionally commercial Covent Garden, the Covent Garden whiskey shop is the storefront for the Cadenhead's independent bottlers, with scads of cask-strength bottlings from all over Scotch country, almost all cask strength and very few sherried.

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Near the more conventionally commercial Covent Garden, the Covent Garden whiskey shop is the storefront for the Cadenhead's independent bottlers, with scads of cask-strength bottlings from all over Scotch country, almost all cask strength and very few sherried.
Milroys of Soho (Greek St. just off Soho Square) also has a pretty broad selection, with lots of older bottlings, along with a "tasting cellar." Would that their 30yo Laphroaig had been only twice the price of the 15yo. :)
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Milroys of Soho (Greek St. just off Soho Square) also has a pretty broad selection, with lots of older bottlings, along with a "tasting cellar." Would that their 30yo Laphroaig had been only twice the price of the 15yo. :)
I believe Milroy's is the storefront for independent bottler Murray McDavid in London, though they do sell many more scotches that those.
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With all the talk about coffe on the Murky thread, it reminded me of my favorite coffee place, Monmouth Coffee Company, which has places near Seven Dials/Covent Garden and one near and one in Borough Market. Their espresso-based drinks are great, as is their filter coffee, which you will see lined up in rows; it looked old-fashioned to me the first time I saw it.

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I'm taking my mom on a four-day museum trip at the beginning of February. She's not an adventurous eater (no St John's for me), hates Indian food, and will not be interested in any destination dining that would take time away from sightseeing. I do plan on dragging her to Borough market Saturday morning, and trying to locate decent options near the British Museum, Vic & Albert, Tate Britain, etc. Are any of the museum cafes/restaurants any good?

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North Sea is near the British Museum. Arguably this place has the best fish and chips in greater London. At least Time Out thinks so. The two block walk is well worth it.

And don't forget the mushy peas.

I would also suggest that "your mum" has never had a properly prepared chicken tikka masala which is, indeed, comfort food to an awful lot of Brit mums who wouldn't eat much of anything else.

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I'm taking my mom on a four-day museum trip at the beginning of February. She's not an adventurous eater (no St John's for me), hates Indian food, and will not be interested in any destination dining that would take time away from sightseeing. I do plan on dragging her to Borough market Saturday morning, and trying to locate decent options near the British Museum, Vic & Albert, Tate Britain, etc. Are any of the museum cafes/restaurants any good?

ha, ha! Your Mom sounds like she has similar tastes to my parents who I will be spending this weekend in London with....so I'll add to this request :P

The North Sea sounds good - thanks Joe

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I will never, ever again complain about how expensive restaurants are in Washington. Never ever.

St. John for dinner tomorrow. I thought I would post some of the notable starters in light of the variety meats discussion on the Eve thread

Smoked Sprats & Beetroot £6.40

Terrine £6.50

Jellied Pig's Ear & Dandelion £6.60

Roast Bone Marrow & Parsley Salad £6.60

Venison Heart & Celeriac £7.30

Mmmmmmm.

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Holborn is nearish the British Museum. I would suggest Fryer's Delight as a good fish n'chips spot. They still fry in beef fat. I don't know if they have it at Fryer's, but a lot of chippies have saveloys - kind of like a red hot.

Also... kebab shops. Particularly the ones with the rotating doner meat. I used to like the one on Southwark Street near the Old Vic because they have really good chili sauce.

As for Vic & Albert, seeing as it's near Kensington, I know there's high concentration of Frenchie places near there. I couldn't name any off the top of my head, but maybe that will refresh someone's memory. It's chain food, but I love Nando's chicken. Their peri-peri sauce and fries... mmm... and it's halal!

Also walking into a Marks and Spencers food hall or Waitrose... there's usually a nice selection of prepackaged foods and it's always fun to explore. I'm a big sandwich person, and I love the chicken avocado basil from Pret-a-Manger. May not exactly be what you're looking for when trying to pack in a foodie vacation, but does well in a pinch.

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Mom wants to try a traditional English Breakfast tomorrow, which should render me unconcious for most of the flight home. :o

We had a respectable, and seriously gigantic afternoon tea today at the National Gallery. Can I assume this is a meal only eaten after skipping breakfast and lunch? I was unable to convince Mom to split one and was able to finish only about half what was served.

The dairy products here - butter, cream, double cream, milk, cheese - have all been excellent. And I will be seriously disappointed if Blackcurrant Ribena isn't available back home.

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I am sorry I saw this too late, but the V & A is a good place to eat traditional food, at least around Christmas time when the menu changes. Sorry your mother doesn't like Indian food, though.
And it has the gorgeous William Morris room.

We had lunch at the Tate Britain. Quite good - thanks for the tip, Jake.

St. John was inspirationally hardass. Decor so Spartan, it makes the Spartans look Rococo, and uncompromising food. I loved it; Mom had to have the menu translated because she didn't recognize anything. I had pheasant terrine (with some serious age on the pheasant, mmmm) and lamb tongues with turnips and an anchovy/caper sauce. Excellent coffee and bread, but the desserts didn't live up to the starters or mains. Nuits St George, Domaine Machard de Gramont 'Aux Allots' 2003 to drink.

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Mom wants to try a traditional English Breakfast tomorrow, which should render me unconcious for most of the flight home. :o

We had a respectable, and seriously gigantic afternoon tea today at the National Gallery. Can I assume this is a meal only eaten after skipping breakfast and lunch? I was unable to convince Mom to split one and was able to finish only about half what was served.

The dairy products here - butter, cream, double cream, milk, cheese - have all been excellent. And I will be seriously disappointed if Blackcurrant Ribena isn't available back home.

Blackcurrant Ribena is available in concentrate form at a lot of Asian grocery stores. (Concentrate is never as good.) It's also been years since I've had it, but I know that Vitasoy makes a blackcurrant drink (found only at the Chinese grocery stores, at least in MD). Their other drinks are pretty darned good, so my assumption is it's probably similar.

And darn it, I forgot how good the Welsh rarebit at tea at Fortunum and Mason is.... grr... and if you're looking into English breakfast... http://russelldavies.typepad.com/eggbaconchipsandbeans/

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... and if you're looking into English breakfast... http://russelldavies.typepad.com/eggbaconchipsandbeans/
That is a righteous blog. Loved this:
This is the best fry-up I've had in a long time. Absolutely magnificent. Look at those chips, they look like dragons teeth, and that bacon looks like it's been torn from the pig by the Pontypool Front Row. The egg is a limpid pool of lovely and the beans are dark and brooding, waiting to delight you once you've cleared the mountain of grub.
:o Why the beans? When did they become part of breakfast?

I have to pass on them - bad memories of seeing Ann-Margret in "Tommy."

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That is a righteous blog. Loved this: :o Why the beans? When did they become part of breakfast?

I have to pass on them - bad memories of seeing Ann-Margret in "Tommy."

All the protein you can eat? I'll avoid seeing the movie since I love stewed tomatoes next to runny eggs with buttered soldiers to dip into the yolk and baked beans on the fork before it spears sausage.

I've never had the guts to eat at St. Johns, though the marrow bones sound as if there might be a few things I could manage. What did Mum order?

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I've never had the guts to eat at St. Johns, though the marrow bones sound as if there might be a few things I could manage. What did Mum order?
There were suprisingly few guts on the menu. Mum had Jerusalem artichoke soup, and smoked haddock with mash, side of sprouts.
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I'm shocked there isn't one in DC, or something similar. We should get Rockwell folk (and our collective cash! :o ) together to become joint owners of the first Wagamama this side of the pond. The place is genius.
The first one is scheduled to open in Boston in April. They will follow this with one in Harvard Square in the summer. According to the chain's website, they have not made any decisions beyond that. Interestingly, the US operations will not be franchises.
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NQD and I will be spending four nights in London in a few weeks. That's obviously not enough time to cover everything, but we'd like to hit the culinary highlights. We have reservations for dinner at Fat Duck and

lunch at Restaurant Gordon Ramsey. On the lower end of the price scale, we'll probably also hit North Sea for fish and chips (or perhaps some place else on the "Time Out" list), Wagamama, and whatever looks good at Borough Market. Vineet Bhatia is probably on the list as well.

To fill out the trip, we're looking for a decent curry place, a somewhat more upscale traditional Indian restaurant, some good pub food, and breakfast. Any recommendations? Anything else we're overlooking?

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Borough Market. Great foodstuffs (raw and assembled), a Cask Marque pub across the side street, plus a block from Vinopolis, which is a curiosity as a wine museum but has the London branch of the Whisky Exchange, a great retailer with lots of bottles open for tasting at all times. And there's a serious St. Johnesque gastropub called Anchor & Hope very nearby.

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If you want to narrow things down by location, the Evening Standard's restaurants page has a good restaurant locator. Their ethnic/cheap eats reviewer, Charles Campion, did his latest "best of Borough Market" a couple of days ago, and his recommendations on which Indian place is doing the best cooking at any given time change pretty frequently.

As far as breakfast, we didn't make it over there last time, but St John Bread and Wine's breakfast menu looks awfully tempting.

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